Tag Archives: Percy Sweet

Remembering Percy Sweet killed Battle Of Arras 9 April 1917 WW1

Rifleman Percy Archibald Sweet, Died 9 April 1917

In 2014 Rifleman Percy Sweet’s name was included on the additional panel to the Devoran Parish War Memorial, despite not appearing on the original Roll of Honour.

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The new panel on the Devoran War Memorial, listing two new WW1 Devoran casualty names P.A. Sweet and W.J. Hoyle, thanks to work / research by Bob Richards and the Feock Parish Council.

Devoran resident Rifleman Percy Archibald Sweet 474189 of the 12th London Regiment (The Rangers) was killed aged 31 on 9 April 1917 during the battle (7-9 April) to take the French village of Neuville Vitasse by the 56th (London) Division.

He is buried at plot 1 A 35 with many other London Rangers in the London Cemetery, Neuville Vitasse.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/285585/SWEET,%20P%20A

The Battle of Arras is being commemorated by centenary events hosted by the Commonwealth War Graves commission. http://blog.cwgc.org/arras/

One famous casualty of the Battle of Arras, fought at Easter,  was the talented Country writer and poet Edward Thomas. He was killed by shellfire at Easter during the first day of the Battle of Arras two years later.

In Memoriam (Easter, 1915)
By Edward Thomas
The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood
This Eastertide call into mind the men,
Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should
Have gathered them and will do never again.

A fitting tribute to one such of the men who was a resident of Devoran and London, Percy Sweet.

Sweet_P_A

Percy Sweet’s headstone, London Cemetery (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

Percy Sweet’s father Francis and Louisa Sweet lived at Fernmere on Market Street in Devoran. Percy is also listed on the CWGC website as a ‘native of Hammersmith’ London where Percy and his brothers and sisters were born.
His father (a shoemaker) and mother are still listed in the 1911 census working in London but by the time Rifleman Percy Sweet was killed in France in 1917, the family were living in Devoran.

His father Francis Sweet was born in Kenwyn, Truro and his mother Louisa (nee Pridham) from Southdown in Cornwall.
Percy Sweet was born in Hammersmith, 1887 and was listed in the 1911 census as a Cordwainer (a leather worker / shoemaker) in London. This explains why he enlisted in a London regiment.

Percy Sweet’s Service Records survive and give a few personal details of his enlistment (attestation) including being issued with spectacles whilst out in France on army service.

His family chose the suitable Easter resurrection wording for the personal inscription on his headstone “He Is Not Here, He Is Risen

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/other-devoran-related-wartime-casualties-and-a-wartime-marriage/

 

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Rifleman’s headstones at the London Cemetery, Neuville Vitasse, Arras, France. (Image source CWGC)

The London Cemetery, Neuville Vitasse Cemetery CWGC

Neuville-Vitasse was attacked by the 56th (London) Division on 7 April 1917 and captured by the same Division on 9 April. The village was almost entirely lost at the end of March 1918 but regained at the end of the following August. It was later “adopted” by the Metropolitan Borough of Paddington.

The London Cemetery was made by the 56th London Division in April 1917 and greatly extended after the Armistice when graves were brought in from other burial grounds and from the battlefields between Arras, Vis-en-Artois and Croisilles.

Neuville-Vitasse is a village in the department of the Pas-de-Calais, 5 kilometres south-east of Arras on the D5. London Cemetery stands on the west side of the road to Arras in a shallow valley.
London Cemetery contains 747 burials and commemorations of the First World War, amongst them Rifleman Percy Sweet, one time resident of Devoran. 318 of the burials are unidentified. The cemetery was designed by famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Remembering Percy Sweet of Devoran and London, his Comrades of the London Regiment and all those of all nations who fell at the Battle of Arras 1917, remembered in Devoran, 100 years later.

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Devoran First World War Casualties, Q to Z

 

Devoran war memorial names M to W

Devoran war memorial names M to W

G. Rogers

On the brass plaque inside the church it looks like C.M.  Rogers. On the war memorial itself G and C are very similar in lettering.

The most likely local match is G. F. Rogers, Flight cadet 137361, RAF / 73 Company Royal Garrison Artillery who died on 30 June 1918, possibly having drowned. Rogers is buried at grave B65, Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery (a hospital base cemetery) in Egypt.

Alexandria (Hadra) Cemetery in Egypt. (Image; www.cwgc.org website)

Alexandria (Hadra) Cemetery in Egypt. (Image; http://www.cwgc.org website)

The local connection is his listing as the son of Joseph and Gertude Rogers of Bissoe, Perranwell, and husband of Elsie M. Richards (formerly Rogers), Carnon Downs, Perranwell.

Tony Dyson’s 2007 research notes (via Bob Richards) that Elsie M. Rogers his widow remarried between July and September 1920 one Frederick J. Richards.

R. Stephens

Of the 33 R.Stephens listed on the CWGC website for the First World War, the most likely local match is Sub Lieutenant R. Stephens,  HMS Terrible, Royal Navy , who died on 7 February 1919, aged 49. He is buried in Feock Church Cemetery, amongst 2 other  local naval casualties from the 1914-1919 period.

R. Stephens image (Courtesy of Graham Crocker / Tony Dyson)

R. Stephens image (Courtesy of Graham Crocker / Tony Dyson)

His attractive nautical headstone can now be seen online as part of the International War Graves project partnered to the CWGC

Born around 1870, Stephens is listed as the son of James and Eliza Stephens, as well as husband of Ottilia ‘Tilly’ Stephens of Glenavon, Point, Devoran.

R Stephens non-military headstone, Feock Churchyard (Image Copyright: TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

R Stephens non-military headstone, Feock Churchyard (Image Copyright: TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

All the other First World War names are in alphabetical order. R. Stephens’ name is added on a separate panel round the back of the memorial, above the area of the maker’s name section on what must once have been a blank panel. This maybe because he had died  in 1919 after the war (and dedication of the war memorial) . It may be that the parish were expecting further deaths from the effects of war service so left this panel blank  Sadly underneath his name instead are the names of the Second World war casualties. 

Feock Churchyard (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

Feock Churchyard (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

Tony Dyson’s 2007 research notes (via Graham Crocker, a relative who still lives at Glenavon) that Stephens is a cousin of the two Crocker casualties from Devoran.

According to Graham Crocker and the book “Chapel by The Creek”, Stephens was a scholar of Penpoll Chapel and later became a teacher in 1887 then moved to London.

He married Ottilia Siebert (known to Graham as Aunt Tilly) from a German emigre family in 1897. By the 1901 Census, the couple had moved back to Point and the couple had a three year old daughter, Edith (born 1898).

Bob Richards suggests that this German emigre connection might account for the late addition to the war memorial.

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The new panel on the Devoran War Memorial, listing two new WW1 Devoran casualty names P.A. Sweet and W.J. Hoyle, thanks to work / research by Bob Richards and the Feock Parish Council.

Percy Sweet
Sweet’s name was added to a Devoran Parish War Memorial in November 2014 as part of the WW1 centenary – see more about Percy Sweet here.

Rifleman Percy Sweet was killed on the first day of the Battle of Arras in April, whilst serving with the London Regiment known as The London Rangers. He was buried with many of his London Rangers comrades at the London Cemetery, Neuville Vitasse, Arras, France.

Sweet_P_A

Percy Sweet’s headstone, London Cemetery (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

So in Percy Sweet and Richard Stephens we have two later additions to the WW1 memorial, almost a century apart.

R. Stephens' name added round the back section of Devoran war memorial, above the WW2 names.

R. Stephens’ name added round the back section of Devoran war memorial, above the WW2 names.

F. or F.G. Webb

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.” Webb is buried in Albert Communal Cemetery Extension, grave reference I.K.38.

Sapper F. Webb  is buried in the Albert Communal Cemetery Extension., Somme, France.

Sapper F. Webb is buried in the Albert Communal Cemetery Extension., Somme, France.

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

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

Born in Truro, Webb was initially in the 3rd battalion Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry before the war ‘time expired’ and As a former soldier seems to have been part of the Special Reserve, so quickly rejoined the 1st Battalion, arriving in France on 20 January 1915. As a result he was awarded the 1914-15 Star along with the standard Victory and British Medal.

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

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

Promoted Corporal by 12 December 1914, he was demoted to Private on  April 1915 “reduced or misconduct – drunkenness” .  Webb was transferred to the 179 Tunnelling Company of the Royal Engineers, one of many infantry attached to the miners or  tunnelers  and survived long enough to see blown the huge mines under the German lines on the La Boiselle Sector on the First Day of the Somme, 1st July 1916.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/179th_Tunnelling_Company

F. Webb headstone close up, Albert Communal Cemetery Extension (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

F. Webb headstone close up, Albert Communal Cemetery Extension
(Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

Married to (Edith) Maud or Maude Webb (nee Penhaligon, b. 1879) in Truro in 1901, he left 6 children. At the time of his death his wife was living (staying or working?)  at the Crown and Anchor pub (now a house on Quay Road) in Devoran. Before marriage in 1901, she is listed on the 1901 Census as a (Temperance) Hotel Cook in the River Street Truro. Frederick Webb was listed as a Horse Driver and Waggonner / GWR Carrier with an address at 16 Edward Street, Truro. by the time that his medals were sent through and the complexities of pensions being paid to his wife, she was residing at 7 West Street, Penryn.

The Army and Pensions authorities had difficulties arranging suitable pensions due to the habit of naming boy children after their father, requiring local Devoran Police Station PC9 Albert Killow to clarify the number and names of Webb’s children, all born in Truro:

  • Dorothy Maud, born 2 February 1902;
  • Frederick Denzil born 12 May 1904;
  • Cecil, born in Cury 9 January 1906;
  • Frederick Gordon, 19 September 1909;
  • Frederick Gordon ‘Donald’, 5 June 1912
  • Irene Sylvia, 5 August 1915.

Interestingly Sapper Davey who was wounded alongside Webb, T Davey on 18 July 1916 is assumed to be 148552 or 148532  Joseph Davey, formerly 5400 Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. Several other DCLI Cornishmen were also attached to 179 Tunneling Company, RE.

Webb's Underground war: one of the Somme deep mine craters at Lochnagar that I have visited, now preserved as a memorial to the Allied tunnelers (Image source: Wikipedia)

Webb’s Underground war: one of the Somme deep mine craters at Lochnagar that I have visited, now preserved as a memorial to the Allied tunnelers (Image source: Wikipedia)

.The underground war was powerfully portrayed in the novel and film of Sebastien Faulks’ Birdsong.  More can be found about the Tunneling Companies and their underground mine warfare  on Wikipedia and also at Simon Jones’ website.

H.C. White
Henry Cecil White was a Private 215895, 745 Area Employment Company, Labour Corps who  died 31 October 1918, aged 33. White is buried at II.C.16, St. Pol British Cemetery, St. Pol-sur-Ternoise, France. This cemetery was linked to No.12 Stationary Hospital.

St Pol cemetery looking a little like Devoran memorial recreation ground (Image: www.cwgc.org website)

St Pol cemetery looking a little like Devoran memorial recreation ground
(Image: http://www.cwgc.org website)

He is listed on the CWGC website as the son of Mr. W.H. and Mrs. E.A. White, Carnon Gate, Devoran, Cornwall.

H C White  headstone  St Pol British Cemetery  (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

H C White headstone St Pol British Cemetery
(Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

William Henry White (born 1847, Princetown , Devon, England) married  Elizabeth A. White (born 1856, Calstock, Cornwall) in 1884 and they were listed as living at Lydford in Devon in the 1891 census. He appears to have retired to Devoran by 1901 as he was previously a prison warder at Dartmoor Prison (in the era of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles)

H..C. White is buried in St. Pol cemetery (image: www.cwgc.org website)

H..C. White is buried in St. Pol cemetery (image: http://www.cwgc.org website)

Henry Cecil White was born at Portland, Dorset in 1886. Living in Carnon Gate with his family, Henry became an apprentice at an iron foundry (fairly illegible 1901 census entry) along with his brother William C. White also born at Portland, Dorset in 1886. Brother Wiiliam became an apprentice wood pattern maker in a foundry, a job that took him to board and live like Henry did  in Redruth by the 1911 census.   Henry is listed as an Iron Moulder in the 1911 Census. Both brothers were single at the time of the 1911 census.

 St Pol British Cemetery  (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

St Pol British Cemetery
(Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

On his CWGC headstone (pictured at the website) can be found the following short verse chosen by his family:  “Call not back/ the dear departed/ Anchored safe/ where storms are o’er”. 

Tony Dyson’s 2007 research notes that Henry Cecil White is remembered on the gravestone of his father in Devoran Churchyard, near the rear of the Parish Centre.