Tag Archives: 1915

Devoran Men In His Majesty’s Forces January 1915

Interesting newspaper clipping found whilst researching the names on the Devoran Roll of Honour and War Memorial for this web site / blog.

Useful in preparing for the talk on the “Names on the Roll” in Devoran Village Hall 7.30 pm on the evening of the Friday 1st July 2016 by Bob Richards and Mark Norris. This marks the centenary anniversary of the first day of the Somme. Watch the Village Hall website and Facebook page for further talk details, entry is £8 including refreshments / ploughman’s supper in aid of Village Hall restoration Phase 2. Tickets from the usual devoranvh email at live.co.uk

During the village hall restoration and paper conservation of its signs such as the Roll of Honour, a hidden first draft panel turned up behind the finished one.

This adds to several lists of Village or Parish names – the granite war memorial, the brass plaque in the church, the finished Roll of Honour, the first draft 1914-1916 panel and now this January 1915 list in the local  West Briton newspaper.

In his Majesty’s Forces”, West Briton Thursday January 7th 1915

Article listing six local parishes including Feock which Devoran was part of:


James Bilkey,

John Bilkey,

Charles Brabyn,

Fred Cooke,

Charles Coad,

John Collins,

– Cooke,

– Chenoweth,

– Chenoweth,

Albert Crocker,

S. Dowerick,

R. Ellis,

J. Ferris,

William Geach,

Walter Hamlin,

Fred Hichens,

W. Hichens,

Louis Hall,

S. Hall,

Humphrey Hicks,

James Johnson,

George Lilly,

James Lewarne,

W. Lewarne,

R. Lewarne,

P. Marshall,

J. Merrifield,

H. Merrifield,

James Murray,

R. Rickard,

Arthur Rosevearne,

E. Searle,

– Sandwell,

A.W. Thornton,

Alfred Teague,

Thomas Tyacke,

Claude Trenoweth,

Percy Trenoweth,

William Teague,

Thomas Arnold Venning, (Engineer Lt. Commdr – killed)

Albert John Venning (Engineer Lt. Commdr)

Orlando Webster,

William Woolcock,

Richard Williams,

Fred Williams,

W. Dunstan,

Arnold Brown.

Why the Variations from the 1914 “Names on the Roll”?

This listing shows some of the men from Feock parish (including Devoran and surrounding hamlets and villages) who were on active service by January 1915. It is different from the Roll of Honour 1914 lists.

Whilst some of these names  appear on the Devoran Roll of Honour finished or first draft, others will  likely be on the Feock War Memorial or other local lists. More about them another time …

Some differences or variations in names may be typing, printing or spelling errors in the newspaper. Walter Hamlin may well be the W. Hamblyn Seaman RN of the 1914 list. Claude Trenoweth’s family name I have seen miswritten on army documents as Trenwith (maybe how it was then pronounced?)

devoran poppies and roll of Honour

The newly unveiled handmade poppies made by Ann, Esther and others garland the Roll of Honour, Poppies Coffee morning, Devoran Village Hall, 19 July 2014

Some names  like E. Searle don’t appear on the first draft 1914-16 roll of Honour draft list until the finished Roll of Honour is completed after the war.

This may be as Searle is listed in the 1919 / post war finished Roll of Honour listing amongst a small group of Devoran men in the Mercantile Marine (in what we would now call Merchant Navy), as opposed to regular Royal Navy men like William Geach, Thomas Tyack(e) or Charles Brabyn.

Perhaps in 1914 their regular seaman’s job in and out of ports like Falmouth and the ailing Devoran or Point Quay serving with the Mercantile Marine would not at first be regarded or recorded  as on war service like the other Devoran volunteers or veterans.

This may have changed when the realities of the U -Boat submarine blockades, news of torpedoing of Merchant Navy ships off the Cornish coast and  rationing at home  made it increasingly clear to people that the Mercantile Marine men were  every bit as exposed to danger as Devoran men in the trenches or the Royal Navy.

Anyway a few more helpful clues like first names to identify more of the “Names on the Roll”.

Posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project, May 2016.



Remembering G F Crocker of Devoran, SS Sailor Prince sunk 2 October 1915

Remembering G F Crocker of Devoran, SS Sailor Prince sunk 2 October 1915 by a U Boat

Thousands of names of lost Merchant Navy men from WW1 . Tower Hill Memorial, London (Picture: Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project )

Thousands of names of lost Merchant Navy men from WW1 . Tower Hill Memorial, London (Picture: Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project )


His story is told here and his name remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial for Merchant Navy crews.


George Francis Crocker, a Fireman on SS Sailor Prince, Newcastle in the Merchant Navy / Mercantile Marine died on 2 October 1915, aged 33. He “drowned as a result of an attack by enemy submarine” (CWGC).

The other Sailor Prince casualty on 2 October 1915 listed on the CWGC website was Crocker’s shipmate Fireman Frederick William Barker, aged 28, son of the late Frederick William and Mary Beatrice Barker (nee Bartlett).

Frederick Barker and George Francis Crocker, SS Sailor Prince, died 2 October 1915, remembered.

Remembering Tommy Agar Robartes 30 September 1915

Tommy Agar Robartes Cornish LIberal MP for Bodmin then St Austell and heir to Lanhydrock died in action 30 September 1915.

There is a full wikipedia entry about him https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Agar-Robartes 

Captain The Honourable Thomas Charles Reginald Agar-Robartes, in command of No. 2 Coy, 1st Bn, the Coldstream Guards, was wounded in the Battle of Loos on 28 September and killed by a sniper on 30 September 1915 after rescuing a wounded comrade under heavy fire for which he was recommended for the Victoria Cross

Lapugnoy Cemetery Image Source: CWGC

Lapugnoy Cemetery Image Source: CWGC

Amongst the first casualties to be buried in the cemetery which was opened in September 1915, Tommy  is buried in Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, near Béthune.

Looking through the casaulty list below just of his row, Tommy is an ‘Honourable’, high ranking officer and MP amongst sappers and privates, all with the same headstone, such is the democratic genius of Fabian ware and the early staff of the Imperial / Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

T C Agar Robartes headstone cwgc

“Be Thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life” – Tommy’s inscription from his family on his headstone.

CWGC summarise his career in the cemetery register as “Eldest son of Thomas Charles, 6th Viscount Clifden, and Mary, Viscountess Clifden, of Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. Member of Parliament for St. Austell and Mid-Cornwall since 1908.”

There is a interesting article by National Trust volunteer Caroline Shipton on wordpress about delivering a wreath for Tommy, with a good summary of Tommy’s war expereinces  https://lanhydrock.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/a-wreath-for-tommy-agar-robartes-and-my-grandad-by-carolyn-shipton/

Despite his plain white CWGC headstone in Lapugnoy, he is commemorated by a grander memorial in Truro Cathedral:  “Members of the House of Lords and present and former members of the House of Commons mourning a loyal colleague and a brave soldier have erected this tablet in the Cathedral Church of Cornwall.”

Tommy's memorial, Truro Cathedral (Image Source: AndrewRabbott/Wikipedia)

Tommy’s memorial, Truro Cathedral (Image Source: AndrewRabbott/Wikipedia)

Tommy  is also unusually commemorated in  stained glass at St. Andrew’s parish church Wimpole   and also http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/58472 pictured as a crusading knight with his friend Captain J. Wingfield at Church Norton in West Sussex.

East window, Church Norton, Chichester (©The Friends of St Wilfrids Church Norton, 2006)

https://ukniwm.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/portrait-window-memorials/  He is also remembered at Christ Church Oxford and Eton College.

Had Tommy lived, he would have become heir to the Lanhydrock estates and lands including Devoran. Instead it was his younger brother Francis 7th Viscount Clifden (1883 – 1966),  who later succeeded their father in the viscountcy on his death in 1930. When his successor, the  youngest brother Arthur Victor Agar-Robartes died, this was the end of the line.

Tommy’s  father was Thomas Charles Agar Robartes 2nd Viscount Clifden (1844-1930) and is remembered in a plaque on the wall at Devoran Parish Church – “For many years a patron and benefactor of this church and parish”.

Looking at his portrait on his Wikipedia entry, this Thomas (Tommy’s father) is I think the elderly man photographed donating the Devoran War Memorial Recreation ground to the people in 1919. No doubt Thomas ‘The Lord Robartes’ he would have thought of his son and  his many tenants affected by the war. Had Tommy lived, he would no doubt have been alongside his father at this dedication ceremony.

Dedication stone of the Devoran War memorial ground.

Dedication stone of the Devoran War memorial ground. Note the misspelling of ‘Viscount Clifton’ which should be ‘Clifden’ . Image Source: Mark Norris

Thomas Robartes Memorial steve@kammneves.co.uk

Thomas Robartes Memorial steve@kammneves.co.uk

The Tommy’s suitcase story 

“A trunk containing the military and personal effects of a British officer killed in action during the first world war, was carefully packed away in an attic in Cornwall by his grief-stricken mother, after he died saving an injured comrade in the First World War. In 1999, the belongings of Captain Tommy Agar Robartes were found perfectly preserved after gathering dust for 84 years in the attic of his former home, Llanhydrock House in Cornwall.

“National Trust property manager, Andrea Marchington, opened the trunk. “Inside there were some of the things he used in the trenches. A trench periscope, a monocular, his sword, walnut talc holder, moustache comb, a tiny silver spirit lamp, and a little drinking cup inside a leather case, also made of silver. Everything beautifully made, each with its own case, and giving a rare insight into a serving officer’s life.

“Captain Agar-Robartes’ possessions are now on permanent display at Lanhydrock and act as a poignant reminder of life at the time of the first Great War.” [BBC 11 November 1999 and others.]

Tommy Agar-Robartes, Remembered. 

Remembering William Apps of Devoran died 30 September 2015

W. Apps

W. Apps is listed on the brass plaque in Devoran church and the Devoran Parish Roll of Honour in the Village Hall, but not on the granite war memorial.
The most likely casualty has always been Private William Apps, 14215,  3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, who died on 30 September 1915. Apps’ identity and  death date on 30 September 1915 was confirmed by its appearance on the first 1914-1916 draft of the Devoran Roll of Honour, revealed last weekend at the Devoran Railway Centenary Festival September 2015.


Image source copyright: The War Graves Photographic Project

He is buried in Plot IV E57 in Bethune Town Cemetery in France, which has over 3000 casualties buried in this railway, Headquarters and Hospital (33rd CCS Casualty Clearing Station) hub related cemetery. His entry in the WW1 Serviceman’s effects lists his place of death as related to No. 6 Field Ambulance.  His widow Hilda chose the headstone inscription for him “In the midst of life we are in death”.

According to his medal record cards, William Apps had only been in France with the Grenadier Guards for two months (since 26 July 1915) before dying of wounds. The war diary for the 3rd Grenadier Guards exists for 1915 but sadly not for September 1915 https://3rdgrenadierguardsww1.wordpress.com/home/july-and-august-1915/

Apps is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery (image: www.cwgc.org)

Apps is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery (image: http://www.cwgc.org)

So far the closest local link to Devoran parish is the address listed on the CWGC website for his wife Hilda Apps of 16 Bohill, Penryn, Cornwall.

In “Soldiers Died in the Great War” William Apps is listed as:
Birth Place – Luton, Beds
Death Date – 30 Sep 1915
Death Place – France and Flanders
Enlistment Place – Warley, Essex
Rank – Guardsman
Regiment – Grenadier Guards
Battalion – 3rd Battalion
Regimental Number – 14215
Type of Casualty – Died of wounds
Theatre of War – Western European Theatre

W. Apps, Remembered on the same day as Tommy Agar Robartes, the heir of Lanhydrock estate and one of Devoran’s major landowning families, both died 30 September 1915.

Remembering Edwin Marshall of Devoran and others lost on the troopship SS Royal Edward

Edwin Marshall of Devcran (c/o Olwen Martin / Ancestry) Remembering Edwin Marshall of Devoran and many other Cornishmen lost on the troopship Royal Edward sunk  en route to Gallipoli 13 August 1915.

Royal Edward postcard image (Source: Wikipedia)

Royal Edward postcard image (Source: Wikipedia)

The story can be found at our previous blogpost covering Edwin Marshall: Edwin Marshall link


There is also a BBC Radio Cornwall World War One at Home radio extract about the Royal Edward sinking at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p022v86t

Devoran war memorial names M to W

Devoran war memorial names M to W

Edwin Marshall, remembered in his home village 100 years on.

Posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project.



Gallipoli casualty Edwin Marshall of Devoran portrait found

A photograph of Edwin Marshall of Devoran has been found, in time for the centenary of his death en route to Gallipoli on the Troopship Royal Edward which sank on 13 August 1915.

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

Thanks to Olwen Martin, who still has relatives in the village, for permission to use this photo. Another face added to a name on the war memorial!

You can read more about Edwin Marshall at: https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-k-to-p/