Tag Archives: WW100

Devoran WW1 100 Remembered 2018


A named handmade poppy for each Devoran man lost … felt poppies made by Ann Ramsden

A few photos from a very successful Poppies coffee morning to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice today Sunday November 11th 2018.

After the reading of the names on the war memorial, names now very familiar through research on this blog, the two minutes silence and the sounding of the Last Post, many people headed down to the Village Hall for a centenary cup of tea.

The standards of scouts, brownies, guides and cubs were paraded back into church by the young bearers.

Poppies and wreaths were laid both quietly, privately and also publicly on the newly cleaned memorial.


Down in the Village Hall, there was a good and chatty crowd ranging from young scouts and brownies through to white-haired veterans. There was a chatty queue for tea and every chair was soon taken at the tables – except for one special silent guest already seated there as people arrived .

This silent witness could be one of any of the WW1 and WW2 casualties who never returned to his home village to share tea and talk with friends, family and neighbours.


The Man Who Wasn’t There …

A poppy was made of felt by Ann Ramsden for each casualty named on the Roll of Honour and the War Memorial.

The Centenary knitted poppies of 2018 reminded me full circle of the 2014 poppies made to garland the Roll of Honour before it went off for conservation and came back in 2015 with the discovery of the lost first draft panel (shown on the right).


Centenary poppies of the 11th November 2018

Children were shown how to make tissue paper poppies.

ANZAC biscuits were served with tea (all eaten too fast for me to photograph these!)

setting up display DVH 2018

Setting up before everyone arrives (Devoran Village Hall facebook image)

I produced eight exhibition display boards featuring information from this blog on Devoran casualties and survivors of WW1.



I created a CWGC headstone shaped A4 panel for each WW1 casualty as part of the display in the Village Hall. Two sailors survived WW1 – Charles Brabyn and Thomas Kemp – only to die at sea in WW2, so we featured them as well.


I also selected a few others named on the Roll of Honour and created an A4  panel for them, often with their Navy or Merchant Navy records and photos.


I brought along a few original WW1 items ranging from War Budget original WW1 weekly magazines and postcards to WW1 ration books.


There were also an original recipe book, Punch cartoons, cigarette cards, an armistice flyer  from the Basrah Times  and an original RFC / RAF aerial photograph glass negative storage box stamped 1918 (surplus from the Imperial War Museum archive).

Once it was all over,  I remembered to photograph the well-thumbed display before I  packed it away with family help to take home.

dvh facebook full house

Full House for Devoran !00 Remembered (Devoran Village Hall Facebook image)

Only as the tables and chairs were being put away could you once again hear the WW1 music and songs that I had put on to add some atmosphere as people arrived.

Thanks to Ann Cunningham and the Devoran Village Hall volunteers for all the organising, the setting out and tea and cakes. 

We did the occasion proud and I’m sure the WW1 villagers would have been pleased with the turn out and the renewed Remembrance by today’s village.

Reading through the WW1 casualty panels and stories of surviving  service men (and women), where they lived, their peacetime occupations and what their families did, you realise that in someways you are connecting back with  a very different village as it was then in WW1, still very focussed on the river, the sea and local farming.

Walking home afterwards we went back through the churchyard to see and read the poppy crosses in the now quiet churchyard.


A fresh crop of poppy crosses on the newly cleaned Devoran War memorial, 11 November 2018.

Devoran 100 Remembered 1918 / 2018.

Postscript / future plans 

At some point in 2019 Bob, Ann and I  hope to organise a second and final talk on Devoran and WW1 1917-1919 sometime around the time the war memorial playing field was dedicated  in September 1919/ 2019 and when the war memorial was unveiled (possibly in November 1919?) The first talk took place about Devoran 1914-16 on the 1st July 2016. This second talk will hopefully also add a little more to the Devoran Village Hall funds.

We might even stretch to a third talk sometime (in 2020?) on Devoran in WW2 and the thankfully small list of casualty names (including some WW1 veteran seamen) as the 75th D-Day and 80th Outbreak of War/ Blitz  anniversaries approach.

Watch this blog, the Village Hall Facebook page and the telegraph pole posters for further information nearer the time.

Further research and blog posts will appear over the next few months on

  • Conscientious Objectors and the Conscription Tribunals locally,
  • the Volunteer Training Corps (WW1’s Home Guard?) ,
  • the 1919 deaths / casualties
  • the survivors named on the Roll of Honour.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project, 11/ 13 November 2018


100 Years On We Remember …


The new 2014 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.

100 years on from the Armistice  about ten minutes before 11 am on 11th November 2018, people from Devoran will gather around the Memorial to hear the names read out on the War Memorial.

Shortly afterwards as part of the Armistice Centenary year  there will be tea and coffee in the Village Hall, along with the chance to see a display of some of our research about each man named on the Devoran War Memorial and a sample of a few others on the Roll of Honour …

All are welcome



Devoran WW1 100 Remembered



A Date for Your Diary Armistice Sunday 11 November 2018 www.devoranvillagehall.org

Join us for the next part of Devoran 100, remembering the local men who served during World War 1  one hundred years ago, as World War 1 came to an end.

I will be updating the display from 2014 about each casualty with what we have unearthed or researched about them since then.

Every Remembrance Sunday the local casualty  names are read out at the War Memorial.

How else has Devoran marked the contribution of the area in World War 1 during the 1914-1919 Centenary? 

Devoran oppies Bob Richards

Bob Richards talks at the coffee morning about the WW1 casualties, Poppies Coffee Morning, Devoran Village Hall, 19 July 2014

In 2014 the fabulous Devoran Village Hall team organised the Poppies coffee morning to mark the outbreak of WW1 100 years on.

Shortly after this the Devoran Parish Roll of Honour left for restoration, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant.

devoran poppies 1

Rev. Margaret Saville unveiling the Handmade poppies framing the WW1 roll of Honour, Devoran Village Hall, 19 July 2014.


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. Image: Mark Norris

In 2014 two new WW1 names – P. Sweet and W.J. Hoyle –  were added to the Devoran War Memorial after research by Bob Richards.

DEvoran poppy book pages

A few of the simple biographies of each WW1 casualty from Devoran. Poppies Coffee Morning , Devoran Village Hall 19 July 2014


A few of the items on display in 2014.

At the Devoran Centenary Railway Festival in 2015, the WW1 Roll of Honour returned, looking as good as new,  with the exciting discovery of a lost early draft section hidden behind the familiar frontispiece.

On 1st July 2016  Bob Richards, Ann Cunningham and I told some of the stories behind the 1914 – 1916 casualties and the “Names on The Roll”.

In 2018, on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice,  the Devoran Village Hall is hosting a tea and coffee event with the chance to view an update of the Devoran War Memorial Project display from 2014 and 2016. 


We hope to see you there.

Bob, Ann and I hope in autumn 2019 – after five years of researching the names on the Roll and the  War Memorial – to do the final talk about Devoran men of WW1 and their families. This will update the story from   1916 to  1919, and be scheduled for  round about the time that the War Memorial recreation ground was dedicated and the War Memorial built in Devoran. Dates tbc.

Meanwhile … 

On the 100th anniversary date of each identified casualty on the WW1 Devoran War Memorial, I have posted an update on this blog of what we know about that man and his death in WW1.

We marked or will mark the 70th,  75th and 80th anniversary of the WW2 names from Devoran as well. We may do a future talk on the thankfully fewer WW2 names after 2019.

Sadly these posts do not come to an end with the Armistice Centenary but extend out into 1919/2019 as the final casulaties died of wounds many months after the Armistice.

The mental and physical scars were born by the surviving men and the families of Devoran for many years afterwards.

100 years on, Devoran remembers.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, September 2018.

Remembering the lost sailors of Devoran on Merchant Navy Day 3rd September 2018


A mass of wreaths and poppies at The Tower Hill Merchant Navy memorial, Oct 2014 (Mark Norris, Devoran War memorial Project)

Remembering all the men and women of The Merchant Navy throughout both wars and peacetime who work hard to supply and feed us https://www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day/

Many Devoran men served in the Merchant Navy during both wars. some of them sadly died on active service.




Devoran’s T.H. Kemp, SS Ocean Courage recorded on the WW2 section, Tower Hill memorial.

Devoran men like G.F. Crocker died with Merchant Navy in WW1.


Devoran’s G.F.Crocker of the SS Sailor Prince, one of the Merchant Navy men from WW1 with no known grave lost at sea recorded on the Tower Hill Memorial, London (Picture: Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project )

T.H. Kemp and W.C. Nicholls were also lost at sea in WW2.



W.C. Nicholls, AthelPrincess, WW2 section , Tower Hill memorial

3rd September is of course also the anniversary of war being declared on 3rd September 1939.

Remembering the men and women of the Merchant Navy past and present  on Merchant Navy Day 3rd September. Hooray for the Red Duster!  

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, 3rd September 2018.


Remembering William Thomas Ball Peters of Carnon Downs died of wounds WW1 27 August 1918

William Thomas Ball Peters of Carnon Downs, who served with the RFC Kite Balloon Section and the Sherwood Foresters died of wounds in France on 27 August 1918.


W.T.B. Peters lies buried in the small casualty clearing station related cemetery at Fienvillers (Image: CWGC)

Private William Thomas Ball Peters, 72511, 10th Battalion, Sherwood Forestrs (Notts and Derby Regiment) died of wounds aged 26 on 27th August 1918.

Peters is buried in grave B24, Fienvillers British Cemetery, Somme, France. This small cemetery of 124 burials was made by the 38th and 34th Casualty Clearing Station, Fienvillers between May and September 1918.

Before his transfer to the ‘Sherwood Foresters’, according to his surviving army service records, W.T.B. Peters (resident in 1914/5 in Shulock Road, Hampstead as a Milk Carrier) had a strange wartime career in the early Royal Flying Corps as 12357, Kite Balloon Section, RFC.

Kite Balloons were a tethered balloon for two observers, maintained by a large ground team – see the kite balloon entry in the Mary Evans picture library blog.

He joined on 11 / 12 November 1915 at South Farnborough and served in the RFC until 8 March 1916 when he was transferred into the Army in France. His RFC training in December 1915 was at Hare Park Camp, Curragh in Ireland, an RFC training depot.

Local links

Born in Perranwell, Cornwall in 1893, Peters was the only son of Thomas (b.1864) and Mary Annie Peters (nee Davey, b.1867) of Ash Tree Cottage, Carnon Downs, Cornwall.

Thomas his father was listed on the 1911 census as an egg merchant and farmer. Obviously a family business, for William his son is an 18 year old Assistant in Wholesale Egg Merchant ‘looking after warehouse’ in 1911, living in Gospel Oak, NW London.

William had two sisters to mourn his loss,

Dora Annie Peters (born Feock, 14 March 1899 – died Truro, March 1973). She married Leslie R.J. Hannam (b. 1891- ) in 1918.

His other sister, Ida Mary Peters was born c. 1907/8 in Hampstead when the family were working in or visiting London.

William Thomas Ball Peters – Remembered.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, Devoran, 27 August 2018

Remembering Edgar Francis Medley 27 May 1918 WW1

Lance Corporal Edgar Francis Medley,
883217, 31st Battalion Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)  died aged 39 on 27 May 1918 of war wounds.


One name that crops up on a CWGC search under the name ‘Devoran’ is Edgar Francis Medley but his connection appears at the moment quite slim but interesting –  involving family connections of forgotten Canadian war graves, emigration, Red Cross Orderly Reverends and Conscientious Objection by the “conchie” brother of a British prime minister.

Born May 4th 1879 in Toxteth,  Liverpool, he is the only CWGC burial in Innisfail Bowden Chalak Farm Cemetery, Alberta, Canada. Intriguingly the CWGC website records that ‘recent research shows he is buried here.


Image source CWGC

He graduated from Oxford Wadham College and his Oxford memorial records that he died in Canada of wounds received in France and Belgium in 1917.

He married in 1905 in Banff, Canada where he seems to have spent most of his life working as a farmer in the Red Deer District, Innisfail, Alberta, Canada  having emigrated in 1903 or 1905.


He is listed as the husband of Louise Maude Medley, living in Innisfail, Alberta, who was also British born. They had two daughters Catherine (Kitty) and Eileen.

He enlisted in the 31st Battalion (Alberta) Canadian Expeditionary Force Through the course of the First World War, the 31st Battalion suffered losses of 941 dead, and an additional 2,312 non-fatal casualties.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/31st_Battalion_(Alberta),_CEF

He was remembered at Remembrance commemorations in 2014 in Innisfail, Canada by his community and descendants.





This Newspaper article suggest that he has a refurbished or CWGC headstone, and that his once forgotten grave is now on private land.


“In 2014, a Veterans headstone marker was placed on land just east of Innisfail in memory of Lance Cpl. Edgar Medley who died in 1918 as a result from his war wounds. After nearly 100 years, a permanent memorial was dedicated to his memory. Funded by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission, this was achieved through many hours of devoted work by locals David Hoar, Don Chalack and Johnnie Bachusky.” .

Even more clues to this forgotten British born hero of Alberta is given here:


Last weekend, hours before the season’s first big snowstorm hit, I took a small road trip southeast of Innisfail to look at a once abandoned gravesite, one that had been largely forgotten for nine decades.

This tranquil spot, in a small forest overlooking a creek valley, is the final resting place of Lance-Cpl. Edgar Medley. Once a prominent citizen who was a vice-president of the Innisfail Agriculture Society, Medley joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force’s 31st Battalion in the First World War. He was a decorated soldier and badly wounded in combat while serving with the army in France. Medley came home but died from his wounds on May 27, 1918. He left behind his wife Maude and daughters Catherine and Eileen.

His gravesite, the only one at the isolated location, is commemorated with a huge ornate headstone. Maude died in 1970 and her ashes were spread at the site. The property, meanwhile, changed hands many times. It is possible some of the owners over the years never knew about the gravesite. Certainly, the Canadian government did not know, nor did the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, an organization created by Royal Charter after the First World War to ensure worthy veterans were and still are properly commemorated.

But three years ago both organizations received a tip about Lance-Cpl. Medley and his gravesite. He has since been properly commemorated as a war casualty in the Canadian Book of Remembrance and the Canadian Virtual War Museum. He is the last Alberta soldier from the First World War to receive this honour. He is certainly a true hero.”

What is Edgar Francis Medley’s Connection to Devoran?

The slim  but very interesting Devoran connection on the CWGC website appears to be his mother Mrs Gifford Johnson of Devoran.

Although he was born in Britain, her son Edgar’s name is not recorded on the Devoran memorial as he has his own burial headstone in Canada. He is also remembered on the Oxford University Roll of Honour.

Edgar’s mother was born Katherine Frances Sinclair Scott in Malta, daughter of Robert C. Scott, an RN Naval Surgeon.


The possible Devoran connection may lie here.

Edgar Francis Medley had a sister Katherine Mary Ida Medley, who later married architect and WW1 Conscientious objector  T.S. (Thomas Simons) Attlee, the brother of British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

Tom Attlee (1880-1960) moved to the relative obscurity of Perranwell, Cornwall in 1919 on discharge from jail as a “conchie” or C.O, living at Tullimaar and Leory Croft Perranwell near Devoran. Katherine’s decision (after her husbands Gifford’s death in 1921) to move to Devoran appears to be linked to her daughter and son-in-law living there.

More about Tom and Kathleen Attlee (Edgar’s sister) and a WEA connection to Winston Graham and that most Cornish of things, Poldark here:


This site mentions the shame that Kathleen Attlee suffered with a conchie Husband and decorated military uncles like Alexander


One of Edgar and Kathleen Medley’s decorated military uncles, WW1  Brigadier General Royal Garrison  Artillery Alexander Francis Sinclair Scott.



As a widow of F.W. Medley (Edgar’s father) Mrs Gifford Johnson had remarried in 1898,  the Reverend Gifford Henry Johnson (1859-1921). They had a son around 1900, Raymond Sinclair Johnson who enlisted in the Indian /  British Army and became a Brigadier General and MBE, dying in 1988.

The Gifford Johnsons lived variously in Richmond, Worthing (1901)  and Waltham Essex  (1911 Census), still as lodgers no doubt as a Reverend of clerk in holy orders.

Edgar’s stepfather, Reverend Gifford Henry Johnson served  as a Red Cross Orderly in France 19/4/15 to 16/1/16, Salonica from 17/1/16 to 15/12/16 and France agin from 5/2/17 to 3/4/18.  He appears to have received an MBE at some point. He died in Croydon in 1921.

Edgar Frances Medley  and family – Remembered 100 years on, Canada and Devoran.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, Cornwall

Gwendoline Edwards heads happily home from France WW1


On Devoran Lane, not far from St Johns Church & Vicarage, pictured here c. 1905/6  is the Driffold Hotel listed on BBC Domesday reloaded

9th July 1917 – a young woman from Devoran finishes her service as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War and heads home to her village with a happy heart.

She must have seen some terrible sights during her nine months service overseas, seeing some of the human wreckage of the trenches. The Doctor’s daughter must have been relieved to see her home safely again.

On Devoran Lane, not far from St. John and St Petroc’s Church and Vicarage, is the Driffold, once a hotel, now known as Edwards Road.  The Driffold in Late Victorian times and into the Edwardian / First World War period was home to Doctor Philip Hugh Edwards family. It is still known as Edwards House, opposite the modern 1980s houses of Edwards Road.

An enquiry lodged with the BRCS archives for any further information on Gwendoline Mary Edwards elicited that VAD Cornwall 34 (34 might be her number or an area number) Gwendoline Edwards served as a 21 year old from 13 October 1916 as Rank G.S. (General Service?) Chauffeuse until 9 July 1917 (a week before her wedding). Particulars of duties: Motor Ambulance Driving in France.

VAD Cornwall 34 might be her number or an area number.

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

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

The reason for her happy return before the end of the war?

A week later 100 years ago on the 16th July 1917 Gwendoline was married and became Mrs Gwendoline Layton Blunt.


Although we have failed to find a photo of the wedding or of Gwendoline so far, we have found  a duplicate of the certificate.

We will publish more about the wedding including press cuttings found by my fellow researcher Bob Richards.