Thomas Tyack

Thomas Tyack

I was quite the ancient mariner by the time the war broke out in 1914.

I was born in Devoran on 7th October 1864, the third child of Richard and Elizabeth Tyack. My father was a master shoemaker, who was originally from Chacewater but he had a good business in Devoran and employed three men. We lived at 24 St. John’s Terrace.

When I left school I went to live in Fairmantle Street, Truro where I lodged with Mrs. Emma Curnow and her daughter, Mary. Emma was a widow and they took in laundry to earn a living. I got a job as an apprentice engine fitter but I soon got fed up with life ashore and took my trade into the Royal Navy, which I joined on 3rd July 1887.

I served on a lot of ships and saw service and action all over the British Empire in the late Victorian era and into the early years of the 20th century.

I rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer, Engine Room Artificer and was discharged from the navy in 1909 with “very good character” on my discharge papers.

I came back home to the family in St. John’s Terrace after my discharge and lived with mother, who was now past 80 and my sister Mary, who was a year older than me and was at home looking after her.

Father had died back in 1906 at the age of 91 and was buried in Devoran Churchyard on 26th October of that year.

War in Europe was becoming ever closer during July 1914 and Britain declared war on Germany on 4th August 1914. I had re-joined the Royal Navy just a couple of days before that on 2nd August when there was a general call to the nation to prepare for war.

I joined HMS Albion, a 13,000 ton pre-Dreadnought type Battleship first launched in 1896. We were stationed in the English Channel for a while and then off the coast of Finisterre in case the German navy tried to break out into the Atlantic. After that we went out to the Dardanelles where we were in action against Ottoman shore bases in preparation for troops to move in. We were hit many times by gunnery from ashore, but the old ship was tough and managed to avoid serious damage until May 1915 when we had suffered so much damage that she had to make for Malta for repairs.

I came back home to HMS Vivid, a shore base at Devonport, but I was not in the best of health by then and I was invalided out of the navy in July 1915 suffering from bronchitis and emphysema.

I came back home to 24 St. John’s Terrace.

Mother died just a few months after I got back and we buried her alongside father in Devoran Churchyard on 19th November 1915. She was 89.

There were just me and Mary left now and we grew old together.

Mary followed mother and father up to the Churchyard on 30th November 1940, at the age of 77 and I followed them all up the road a year later and was buried in Devoran Churchyard just a week before Christmas 1941 also at the age of 77.

 

Written by Bob Richards for the 1st July centenary 2016 in Devoran Village Hall.

Read more about  names on the Devoran War Memorial and Roll of Honour:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/index-of-devoran-ww1-names/

 

 

Edwin Marshall

 

Edwin Marshall of Devcran (c/o Olwen Martin / Ancestry)

Edwin Marshall

My family had associations with Devoran and more particularly the Carnon Mine area going back to before 1900. We were quite a big family. There was father, William Marshall, mother, Leah, and five children, Richard, William, Jonathan, Leah and me, the baby of the family. Father was born in Perranarworthal but the rest of us were all born in Kea Parish. Father was a Coal Porter. I believe his job was taking coal from the ships that docked at Point and Devoran around the area for domestic purposes rather than taking it to the mines.

Before I got married we all lived at Bleak House between Carnon Mine and Devoran but after I got married in 1902 to Eveline Louisa Pearce, we got our own cottage just down the road at Carnon Mine.

We had five children of our own within a few years, Florrie, who was actually born before we got married, William Edwin, 1904, Elsie Louisa, 1906, Bertram John, 1908 and Leah Vera born in 1909.

When the war came, I joined up like so many others and in 1915 I was in the Army Service Corps as Private SS/14236 of the 18th Labour Corps. We were not front line troops but did a lot of work behind the lines, making roads and railways, working with supplies and ammunition and a whole lot of other work to keep the front line troops supplied and ready for action.

On the morning of 28th July 1915 we left Avonmouth on the RMS Royal Edward, with a total of 1,367 officers and men aboard, bound for the Gallipoli Campaign. Our sister ship the RMS Royal George had left Devonport the day before. Our last sight of Cornwall was when we passed The Lizard on the evening of that same day.

There were a lot of Cornishmen on board, including at least thirty from Falmouth and Penryn and we all said they could have saved a lot of time if they had called in to Falmouth to pick us up instead of taking us all the way to Avonmouth!

Written by Bob Richards for the 1st July centenary 2016 in Devoran Village Hall.

Read more about Edwin Marshall and the other names on the Devoran War Memorial:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/index-of-devoran-ww1-names/

 

 

Claud Trenoweth

Claud Fitzgerald Trenoweth

Although my surname of Trenoweth is Cornish, I was born in Aldershot. The reason for that is that my mother and father left Cornwall for a short time after they got married in 1892, but came back to live at Carnon Mine soon after I was born and before my younger siblings, Percy, Norman and Marion were born. In fact the family continued to live at Carnon Mine right up to the 1940’s. Father died there in 1942. Mother lived on until 1956, and the grand age of 86.

When I was old enough to leave school, I went to work as an engine cleaner. This was in the last days of the old Devoran railway. Soon after, the war came and me and my brother Percy both joined up.

We both joined up early in the war and both got our names beautifully inscribed by Dr. Edwards’ daughter Gwendoline on the Roll of Honour she began right at the start of the war.

I was in the 5th Battalion, DCLI, known as the Pioneers. We started off in Falmouth, moved on to training camps on Salisbury Plain and then came back to Cornwall. We were all anxious to get over to France and finally got there.

We landed in Le Havre on 22nd May 1916 and were straight into action.

The Battle of the Somme began on 1st July 1916, just a few weeks after we got to France and far from being the big adventure we had all thought it would be to fight the Hun, it was a terrible time. Thousands killed, wounded and missing, mud everywhere, rats the size of cats, not the sort of thing you want to remember or even describe.

Our first major action was at a place called Fromelles. The idea was to try and divert some of the German defences from the main Battle of the Somme a few miles further south, but it was a miserable failure. Everything was planned in a rush, men weren’t properly trained in trench warfare, most of us had only been in Flanders for a few weeks. We were outnumbered two to one, we were trying to attack uphill into German defences that had been dug in for months, in some cases a year or more.

The whole thing only lasted two days but cost the lives of over 7,000 men, over 5,000 of those were Australian troops. “The worst day in Australian history” they called it.

The following year, 1917, I was discharged from the Army. It said on my discharge papers that I was no longer physically fit for military service. They said that my military character was only “fair” on my discharge papers. If they had seen some of the sights I had seen they would know that nothing was “fair” in that terrible war.

I came home and by the end of 1917, I got married to Alice Dix. She lived down at Ponsmaine, Feock. Her mother had been a widow for a long time and they lived with her uncle, John Penna who was an Oyster Merchant.

We had two boys, George and Henry and we carried on living down at Ponsmaine for many years. Pill Creek was a lot different to the Somme.

I later got a job as an AA patrolman.

They laid me in my final resting place at Kea Church on 16th February 1954 at the age of 58.

Alice lived on until she joined me there on 17th February 1969 at the age of 73.

Written by Bob Richards for the 1st July 2016 centenary talk at Devoran Village Hall.

 

Albert Crocker and the Crocker family

The Crocker family

I am Albert Ernest Crocker. I was born down at Paul near Penzance although my family roots were around Feock parish. Father, Samuel was born in Feock parish in 1866 and mother, Catherine Jane, formerly Williams, was also born here. My younger brother, Richard Henry, known as Harry, was also born in Paul but we came back to live at Penpol before my other siblings were born. They were Samuel, Edward, Gordon, Eva and Reginald.

Father worked as a farm hand.

When the war came, Harry and me both joined up. I was in the 7th Battalion DCLI and we went to France in the middle of 1915. We saw a lot of action but somehow I managed to survive it all right up to near the end of the war.

In March 1918, the Germans began their Spring Offensive, a last ditch attempt to break through the Allied lines and advance through France. They made a lot of progress in a very short time, pushing us back across the old battlefields of the Somme. Parts of our lines were in full retreat and we thought for a while the game was up.

We were fighting just a couple of miles north of the town of Albert and on 2nd April, I was lost in action. My body was never recovered and my name is etched along with over 14,000 others who have no known grave on the Poziers Memorial to the Missing.

My younger brother, Harry was luckier than me. He survived the war and came home to Cornwall where he got married and I believe moved to Redruth and had a coal merchant business.

I had two cousins also killed in the war, George Francis Crocker and Richard Stephens.

George Francis Crocker joined the Merchant Navy. Before the war he lived down near Trelissick and worked with his father, also George as a gardener. I am not sure if they were gardeners at the big house at Trelissick, but they might have been. On 2nd October 1915, he was sailing back from Cyprus to Leith in Scotland but they were spotted by a German submarine, U-39 and sunk by shelling from the U-boat. Most of the crew survived but sadly George was one of two men aboard who were killed. Like me, he has no known grave and lies somewhere beneath the Mediterranean Sea a few miles north of the island of Crete.

The sad thing is that they weren’t involved in carrying supplies for the war as far as I know. They were carrying a cargo of Locust Beans, but I don’t suppose that made any difference to the submarine captain, he just saw them as an enemy ship.

My other cousin, Richard Stephens survived the war but died in February 1919 as a result of war related injuries.

He lived at Point with his wife, Ottilia, always known as Tilly. Richard was the son of James and Eliza who lived over at Trolver Croft for many years, he followed his father in a maritime career. He married Ottilia Siebert in 1897 and they lived at Point. She was from Stepney in London originally where her father worked as a Tailor before coming to Cornwall. Her grandfather and many more like him were German Jews who came to London in the middle of the 19th century because of religious persecution.

Richard had a long naval career and rose to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. When he died in 1919 he was serving with HMS Terrible.

His name is not with the other Great War victims on the Devoran War Memorial. It is around the back, on the panel with the World War Two casualties. Some say this is because he died after the war and after the names of the others had already been put on the memorial, but others think that he is separate because his wife’s family had German origins.

We may never know the real reason.

His widow Ottilia lived on at Glenavon, Point with her son, John and daughter in law, Margaret until she died in 1950.

Written by Bob Richards for the 1st July 2016 centenary talk  at Devoran Village Hall.

Read more about these men at

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/index-of-devoran-ww1-names/

Gwendoline Edwards drives off to war 13 October 1916

100 years ago this week on 13 October 1916, as the Somme battle raged on through its long 141 days,  Devoran doctor’s daughter Gwendoline Mary Edwards drove off to war in France with the British Red Cross. She  had been part of nursing with the VAD Voluntary Aid Detachment Cornwall district 34.

Her engagement for service overseas began on 13th October 1916 as a G.S. (General Service?) Chauffeuse, her duties being Motor Ambulance Driving in France.

GLB BRCS record

Gwendoline Layton Blunt (nee Edwards) British Red Cross Society record cards (Courtesy: BRCS archive )

What terrible things and what human wreckage this spirited young lady must have seen in France.

There is more about Gwendoline at https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/life-in-wartime-devoran-in-world-war-1/ and elsewhere in the Blog.

She left the Red Cross to marry an army officer Denzil Layton Blunt at Devoran Church in July 1917, and is likely to be the GLB responsible for producing the Devoran Roll of Honour (recently restored) which hangs in the Village Hall. She emigrated to Africa with Denzil and her children  and died there in Kenya in the late 1960s

We look forward to tracking down more about her including maybe one day  a photograph.

Postec by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project.

Willie Davey of Devoran died Somme 1916

100 years ago the Methodist congregation at Carnon Downs in Cornwall would arrive at chapel on Sunday to hear the sad news that Willie Davey, one of their choristers, had been killed on the Somme, aged 21. His body was never found.

At the 1st July 2016 commemoration of the Battle of The Somme at Devoran Village Hall, Bob Richards read out this interesting first person tribute to Willie Davey that he had written, whilst Willie Davey’s photograph in uniform  was projected on the wall:

wjtdavey ww1

W J T Willie Davey in DCLI uniform (image from Tony Dyson’s 2007 research)

William John Trebilcock Davey

I was born towards the end of 1895, second of five children of Joseph Henry and Catherine Ada Davey. I got the name Trebilcock from my mother’s maiden name.

I had an older sister, Laura Gwendoline and younger siblings, Enid Irene, Gerald Ewart and Joseph Henry. We lived at Carnon Crease.

My father was a Monumental Mason, carving mainly headstones.

We were all strong Methodists and attended the Chapel in Carnon Downs.

When I left school I worked as a gardener but when the War came I joined up and was proud to be in the 10th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.

The Battalion was formed in Truro in March 1915 and we were known as the Cornwall Pioneers. There were a lot of local boys in that unit.

On 20th June 1916 we landed at Le Havre and were soon in the thick of the action when the Battle of the Somme began just a couple of weeks later on 1st July.

It was a terrible time, men and boys being killed in their thousands, many more horribly wounded.

On 16th July we were temporarily attached to the 66th Division and fought alongside them. Many of these men were from the 2nd East Lancashire Regiment and sounded strange when they talked, not like us Cornish at all.

28th July we went into action and I never came back.

Nobody knows exactly how I died and nobody ever found my body.

cwgc thiepval

W.J.T. Davey has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. (Image: http://www.cwgc.org.uk website)

Later they etched my name on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing along with over 72,000 others who died in that horrible campaign and who have no known grave.

willie davey plaque ww1

Plaque in Carnon Downs Methodist Chapel to Willie W J T Davey (Image: Tony Dyson)

Back home they remembered me on the Devoran War Memorial and also on a plaque in Carnon Downs Methodist Chapel where the family still attended after I died.

Father never did have the honour of knowing how I died or carving me a headstone.

—————————————————————-

Written by Bob Richards, Carnon Downs.

Willie Davey, remembered on the Devoran War Memorial and in his home village.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-d-to-j/

http://somme-roll-of-honour.com/Units/british/10th_DCLI.htm

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project.

 

 

Remembering Frederick Webb of Devoran died Somme 18 July 1916

 

 

Webb_F

F Webb Gravestone , Albert Communal Cemetery Extension (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

Over the next few days 100 years ago in July 1916, news would have arrived at the Devoran Post Office in the form of a letter or telegram addressed to aMrs. Maud Webb.

Maud(e)  was working or staying with her children at the Crown and Anchor Pub (now a private rather than a public house) on Quay Road in  Devoran, down near the disused old railway sheds workshops, which are now the Village Hall.

Devoran Village  Postman William Pascoe would be familiar with such telegrams, as he had received one about his own son William Donald Pascoe who died at Cosham on army training in 1915.

Maud Webb (nee Penhaligon) would have to break the dreaded news of their father’s death to his six children, some of whom were under a year old at the time. Her oldest daughter Dorothy Maud was of school leaving age around 14, the other older children would have attended Devoran Council / Board School in its old School buildings on the Market Street crossroads.

In time Maud would have to battle to receive Frederick’s war pension for her family, requiring   local Devoran Policeman  PC9 Albert Killow to clarify the number and similar names of Webb’s six children, all born in Truro. The family later moved to Penryn in the 1920s.

Frederick (Gordon) Webb, Sapper, 155779, 179 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers was killed on 18 July 1916, aged 41.

According to Simon Jones’ excellent website, Webb was a tunneler’s Mate and was “killed by enemy shrapnel whilst returning to billet after relief. Davey wounded.” You can read nore about Webb at:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-q-to-z/

‘F.G. Webb, Sapper RE’ appears on the first 1914 draft of the Village Roll of Honour, recently discovered behind the finished copy.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2016/05/21/devoran-men-of-1914-mcmxiv-first-volunteers-and-old-sweats/

F.G. Webb’s name would in time appear on the granite Devoran War Memorial sometime around 1919/20 in the churchyard opposite the school which his children attended. His name would be on the final  Roll of Honour in the Village Hall, yards away from the Webb lived on Quay Road. The recreation ground would be dedicated in memory to the serving men of the village in 1919, behind the Devoran Council School whilst Webb’s family may have still lived there.

cwgc qmaac front

Webb is buried in Albert Communal Cemetery Extension on the Somme,  grave reference I.K.38, beautifully maintained by the stonemasons and gardeners of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/61300/ALBERT%20COMMUNAL%20CEMETERY%20EXTENSION

A few days after being part of the “Names on The Roll” WW1 talk at Devoran Village Hall and talking about Devoran’s Somme Casulaty F.G. Webb amongst others, I was a guest at a talk on 6th July 2016  at Kew Gardens given by David Richardson, the CWGC Director of Horticulture who mentioned and showed pictures of Albert Communal Cemetery. http://www.hortweek.com/interview-david-richardson-director-horticulture-commonwealth-war-graves-commission/article/1135983

Albert was one of the cemeteries where the cemetery is still planted up and screened off from the busy road by trees as suggested during a visit 100 years ago by the Director of Kew Gardens Arthur Hill, one of the Kew Gardens staff working as a Horticultural Advisor to the CWGC http://www.kew.org/discover/blogs/kew-science/plants-and-conflict-landscapes-%E2%80%93-somme-and-beyond

David and his colleagues also coincidentally showed a picture of Maala Cemetery where Devoran casualty James Johnson is buried, now in war-torn Yemen. David  reassured me with the news to pass on to the wider Devoran Village today that despite the unrest this cemetery is well maintained and that local CWGC staff would return when safe to check on the cemetery and Johnson’s graves amongst others, as they are maintained “in perpetuity”. https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/james-johnson-of-devoran-ww1-casualty-update/

Remembering Frederick Webb and the grieving families of Devoran, 100 years on.

Posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, 18/19 July 2016