Elaine Way's Soldier Profiles J-Q

Private 9778 Charles Jackson

Born in London but there is no indication of when; he enlisted in Kilburn and his army number dates to approx.1903, although that could be misleading. His CWG record says his father was ‘Mr. C. Jackson of 77 Cambridge Road, Kilburn.’ There are many Charles Jackson’s in the census with father’s forename beginning with ‘C’; too many, unfortunately.

London Online War Memorial has his CWG details, but nothing personal. They quote 1st Battalion’s war diary, making the observation that nearly all deaths for the end of October were recorded as being on 30th, but many could be the result of action during previous days. This particularly applies to Private 9778 because his record says ‘Died of Wounds’. He was with 1st Battalion and is buried in the British & Indian Cemetery at Gorre in the Pas de Calais.

Private 8132 Thomas Henry Jarvis

On his page at Everyone Remembered someone has said ‘In memory of my great-grandfather Thomas Jarvis’ which is all very well, but anybody could say that. Are they sure they have the right Thomas Jarvis? CWG has twelve of them who died in WW1.

Private 8132’s CWG page says he was ‘Son of William Jarvis of Kingsbridge, Devon; Husband of Lily E.E. Jarvis of 1 Russell Place, Plymouth”. Their marriage was registered at East Stonehouse - which is part of Plymouth - in the last quarter of 1907. However, in 1911 Thomas Henry was in barracks at Malta with 2nd Battalion and ‘Single’ - perhaps he had not told the Army of his marriage, or maybe they had not made a proper note of it.

With the onset of war, he was transferred to 1st Battalion which arrived on the Western Front at the end of August 1914. Thomas Henry is recorded as having died on 29th September and records comment that ‘the sick amounted to near 60 - not excessive considering conditions under which the battalion had been living …..’ Thomas Henry was buried at St.Nazaire (Toutes Aides) Cemetery on the Loire. This small (by WW1 standards) burial ground is within the town’s cemetery. Maybe it was close to a medical facility where Thomas Henry was taken when he became ill.

Private 9441 Victor Leonard Jenkins

Son of the late William and Florence Jane Jenkins - was born in Portsmouth and 28-years old when killed in action on 29 October 1914 whilst with 1st Battalion. In 1911 he had been at home in Portsmouth with his mother and two older brothers and was a 17-year old Errand Boy to a Florist. Three years later he qualifies for having his name, eventually, put on Le Touret Memorial to the Missing which was not unveiled until 1930.

Private 7535 William Samuel Jewell

In 1911 he was living in Devonport with two brothers and their widowed mother. William Samuel is another recorded as having died; he was buried in the churchyard at St. Jans-Cappel in the Nord Department of France. There was only one other WW1 burial in this particular place but paperwork from 1921 indicates that both had proper CWG headstones. Much later, in 1952, they were transferred to the war-grave cemetery at Longuenesse (St. Omer). William Samuel’s mother had requested this personal inscription for him :

“Always Willing, Always Kind, Beautiful Memories Left Behind”

Private 3/6130 William Johnson

He has nothing on his CWG page other than “2nd Battn. - 18th December 1914 - Le Touret Memorial”; the book of the Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918 says he was born in Brixham, Devon. Devon Heritage website has personal details of those named on Brixham’s very extensive war memorial. This has the name ‘S.W. Johnson’ which they say is incorrect. It should be ‘W.G.’ (There are people who do an awe-inspiring amount of archive research - a lot of them online at the Great War Forum).

Private 3/6130 is William George Johnson, born 1892 in Brixham to parents Eleizar and Sarah. Thanks to this information, I’ll have a look at census records.

Sure enough there they all are - in 1901 and 1911 - William George and his many siblings; their father is a trawler-fisherman. When he was eighteen, William was an Ironmonger’s Apprentice. So sad to see these lads growing up whilst knowing exactly what lay in store for them.

Drummer 7156 Herbert Joy

“Drummer” seems such an archaic concept for a battlefield in the 20th century, but during WW1 sounds of the drums were often the only way of communicating orders to scattered troops with heavy artillery exploding for miles around. Technology was changing although it took time for radios and telephones to become reliable and efficient. Nowadays the role of drummers is purely ceremonial.

Herbert Joy’s parents were John and Emily of St. John’s Chapel (not a building but a hamlet) at Tawstock near Barnstaple. Inside the parish church at Tawstock is a marble plaque with 19 names of those who perished in WW1 including “Herbert Joy Pte. 1st Devons”. Recently (2020) a dealer in WW1 memorabilia had advertised for sale Herbert’s memorial “Dead Man’s Penny” - a bronze plaque issued to next-of-kin after the war.

Herbert’s army number indicates he joined up before 1903. He was 30-years old when he died of wounds on 16th September 1914; he is named on La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial in France.

Drummer 9028 John Kilgannon

How long did it take those in command to realize a drummer stood very little chance of surviving? - The very nature of their role drew the enemy’s attention to their whereabouts. Warfare had become industrialised, gentlemanly manners did not count anymore.

John was a regular soldier who had served in the army during the Boer War. In 1906 he married Agnes Gillard and for the census of 1911 both of them were in barracks at Tidworth with their three daughters - Doris, Bertha and Thora.

When Agnes was recorded as next-of-kin, she was living in Broadclyst and that is where John is named on the war memorial inside the parish church. He was 34-years old when he died of wounds on 20th September 1914 and was buried at Braine Communal Cemetery in France, where his headstone is surmounted by the words “Known to be Buried in this Cemetery”.

Private 3/6961 Thomas Kennedy

1st Battalion - 24 December 1914 - Ypres (Menin Gate) says his CWG page; that is all - no next-of-kin - no age. Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918 says he was born St. Lukes, Middlesex, enlisted Stratford, Essex and at the time was living in Finsbury E.C. So a real Londoner it would seem. St. Lukes registration district was abolished in 1869 and became part of Holborn. In June 1881 there was a birth registered there for Thomas Kennedy.

Several census entries could be him, but without knowing next-of-kin how can we be sure which is the right one? London Online WW1 Memorial aims to commemorate every one of its 100,000 citizens lost in action - and they have ‘Private Thomas Kennedy - Devonshire 1 - 24/12/1914’.

Private 7695 George Kiff

After the Armistice Vailly British Cemetery was created on the north bank of the River Aisne in Picardy. There were known to be several burials already in the plot, but they proved impossible to locate accurately. Because of this, each was given a CWG headstone with name, rank number, date of death and regimental insignia. Along the top runs the legend “ Buried Near This Spot ” and along the lower edge “Their Glory Shall Not Be Blotted Out”. This is standard in many war cemeteries.

George Kiff is commemorated in this manner. He is also remembered on the war memorial in the village of West Down in North Devon where he had lived. This village produced a commemorative booklet for the centenary of the Great War, which says that George “ lived in Bradwell Mill and was a railway worker. He married Mabel and had one child ”. Mabel re-married in 1916.

Serjeant 7880 Alfred Kingdom

His CWG page has nothing other than the date he was lost - 17th September 1914 and that he is buried at Vailly British Cemetery. According to the Devon’s book he was born in Tiverton. Census 1911 shows him with the 2nd Battalion in St. George’s Barracks, Malta. His Army number dates to 1905 so Alfred was a regular soldier. Looking for where he might be on

a war memorial, the Devon Heritage website shows what looks like a cutting from a newspaper :

“Roll Of Honour of those Men Gone to Serve their King and Country From the Parish of Washfield, North Devon - Easter 1917”, shows 39 names with six of them having been killed by that time. One is “Kingdom, A. Sergeant 2nd Devon Regt, 17th Sept. 1914”

Washfield is 2-miles from Tiverton and has a memorial brass in St. Mary’s Church with six names, but not Alfred Kingdom. On the village green is a shelter commemorating men who served during the Great War; there is a panel with 22 names, one looks like ‘Pte. A. Kingdom’, so it gives him the wrong rank.. ‘Devon Honour’ has Sgt. Alfred Abram Kingdom - Devon Regt. France Sept. 17th 1914 on a memorial in Washfield but I do not know which it is.

Private 3/6520 George Frederick Knapman

He lost his life on 18th December 1914 and is named on Le Touret Memorial to the Missing. CWG page has nothing else but the Devon’s book says he was born Ashburton, enlisted Exeter at which time he was living in Kingsteignton. The war memorial there has 58 names for WW1, one being G.F. Knapman. Devon Heritage has details about him :

He was the son of William and Mary Ann Knapman, born Ashburton in 1883. He is believed to have been a postman.

Private 9445 Herbert Knapman

He was nineteen years old when killed in action on 30 November 1914. Initially, he was buried at ‘Map Ref. 36.S.27.a.45.10 alongside three others. After the war, Private Knapman’s identity was proved by his service dress, boots and disc. The one next to him had a disc which was damaged; he and the others remain ‘Unknown British Soldiers’.

In 1929 they were re-buried in Canadian Military Cemetery No.2 at Neuville-St.Vaast in France. Until this time Herbert’s parents, Richard Henry and Emma would have simply known their son was missing in action. They now knew where he was buried so had the opportunity to provide an inscription for his headstone :

“ Gone But Not Forgotten”.

After losing Herbert in 1914, they then had to cope with the loss of another son, Robert James in 1915. He was with the Royal Marine Light Infantry and on HMS “Goliath” which was sunk in the Dardanelles. He is one of 23,195 named on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

In October 1916 a third son died of wounds whilst serving with the Devons. During the previous year William John had married Alice White and for his headstone at Grove Town in Meaulte on the Somme she chose :

“ In Loving Memory of My Dear Will - from His Loving Wife Alice ”

Herbert and his brothers are remembered on the war memorial at Thorverton, the Devon village where they had grown up.

Private 3/6617 Albert Edward Knight

He has no next-of-kin shown; neither does it show that he was only seventeen when he lost his life on 18th December 1914.

Albert Edward was born in Truro, Cornwall which has an online transcription of names on the war memorial with some details of their lives. His parents were Joseph and Sarah who show up in census 1901 with their six sons and a daughter. Joseph was a general labourer who died in 1902.

In 1911 Sarah Jane, now widowed, has a daughter and four sons still at home. Albert Edward is employed as an Errand Boy for a Fruiterers; two other sons are general labourers and the youngest is still at school. Albert Edward is one of the Missing on Le Touret Memorial.

Private 9539 George Henry Lale

He was 20-years old when he died on 14th December 1914 and was buried at Wimereaux Communal Cemetery, near Boulogne. Even if he was not wounded or killed in action, nonetheless his life was lost as a result of the war.

George Henry was born in Torquay and has his name on a marble tablet to the memory of 57 pupils of Tor School who lost their lives in the Great War. This is set up outside what is now St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church. His mother, Emma, requested an inscription for his headstone :

“ In Memory Of My Dear Son Who Gave His Life For His Country ”

Private 5853 Ernest George Lambert

His CWG page merely has “13 November 1914 Ypres Menin Gate, Belgium ” with no age or next-o-kin. Devons book says he was born Dover and when he enlisted was living in Kempston, Bedfordshire. A birth with his name was registered at Dover in 1883. Census 1911 has Ernest George Lambert born Dover 1883 living in Bedfordshire working as a ‘Handyman, Engineering’; this must surely be Private 5853. He has a wife called Kate Mary.

Private 9528 Percy Thomas Lang

Born Georgeham, North Devon 1892. He lost his life on 18th December 1914 whilst with the 2nd Battalion in action at the Moated Grange. Initially, he was buried at Map Ref. 36.m.29.d.05.80 - close to where he fell no doubt. After the war, he was interred at Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery at Souchez having been identified by numerals on his khaki uniform, his number and regiment on a knife-handle

The parish church at Georgeham has a brass plaque with seven names of those lost in WW1. It is divided into those killed in action and those who ‘Died On Service’. Percy Thomas comes under those killed in action and his older brother William John died on service. He was in the Royal Navy on HMS “Vivid” - a shore establishment in Devonport. William John died in 1916 and is buried in the churchyard at Georgeham.

Serjeant Roy Middleton Langrish

Born in Kingston-on-Thames where his grave is in the cemetery. Around it is a kerbstone with lettering incised “ In Most Loving Memory of Roy (Sgt. 9th Devons) - Youngest Child of G & S Langrish who Died for his Country at Aldershot December 22nd 1914 Aged 22. No Greater Love Than This … ” According to CWG and the Devon’s book Roy ‘Died of Sickness’. The Borough of Kingston War Memorial Association has produced a Roll of Honour and Roy Langrish is named; there is also a stone war memorial in Kingston-on-Thames with 547 names - one being ‘R.M. Langrish’.

In 1911 Roy, aged 18, was employed as a clerk in an insurance office; the census records him sharing a home with his older brother Harold who was an accountant to Bromley Education Committee.

Private Samuel James Larcombe

The son of Tom A. and Helena J. Larcombe of Rosy Cottages, West End, Honiton. This is where confusion can arise; Samuel was born in a small village nearby - Cotleigh - where his name is on the war memorial at St. Michael’s Church.

In 1901 Samuel was at home in Cotleigh with parents Tom and Helena (although she was spelt Elina), brothers Tom and William and three sisters. Ten years later he was in barracks at Tidworth - aged 18 and “Single”. At the same time, his family is still in Cotleigh and there is another sister. Samuel lost his life on 22nd November 1914 and is named on Le Touret Memorial to the Missing.

Private 9806 Wesley Charles Lawrence

His CWG page says he was 19-years old when he lost his life on 24th October 1914 at Givenchy. His parents were Charles & Annie Lawrence of 38 Essex Road, Chadwell Heath. According to the Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918, Wesley Charles was born at Chadwell Heath, but this is incorrect. His birth was registered in September Quarter of 1896 at Hoxne, Suffolk. So he was only 18. After the war, his mother donated to Imperial War Museum a photograph of Wesley Charles in uniform - a dignified young man who does not look like a teenager.

In census 1901 Wesley was four years old and living in Essex Road, Ilford with his parents and two siblings. Father, a plate-layer for the railway, was born in Hoxne. In 1911 Wesley does not seem to be with his parents, brother Stanley and sister Hilda who are at home; maybe he has gone on a visit somewhere else.

Between 1920 and 1926, Ilford War Memorial Committee had the idea of building a children’s hospital with a ‘Wall of Memory’ naming citizens who lost their lives. People were invited to give names to the local Gazette and 1,159 were submitted; Wesley Lawrence is one of them. He is also one of the Missing on the Le Touret Memorial.

Private 9391 Fred Lee

Killed in action with 1st Batallion on 30th October 1914. His CWG page gives no next-of-kin; Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918 says that he was born in Stockport, Cheshire enlisted in Bath, Somerset and had previously been with Royal Lancaster Regiment. Between years 1875 -1890 five with the names ‘Fred Lee’ were registered in Stockport; he could be any of them.

However, in 1911 at Fort Regent on the Island of Jersey with the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regt. is Fred Lee born 1889 in Stockport. That must be him! Waiting to become Private 9391 of the Devonshire Regiment! He is aged 22 and “Single”. The Channel Islands website has many photos of the King’s Own showing them on parade at Fort Regent and taking part in various events between 1908 and 1911 - Fred could easily be in them. The King’s Own was replaced by 1st Battalion the Devonshire Regiment in September 1911 as the garrison force in Jersey; this must have been when Fred changed from one regiment to the other. None of this helps to locate him in an earlier census so, sadly, we have no idea of Fred’s family or his life before the army.

Captain Ronald George Legge

Son of the Hon.George Legge; grandson of 4th Earl of Dartmouth; husband of Mrs Ronald Legge (now Mrs Roger Baggallay).

Ronald George, born 4th July 1878 at Southgate, Middlesex was 36-years old when he was killed alongside many of the 2nd Battalion at the Moated Grange. He had been a pupil at Sherborne School and was a veteran of the South African (Boer) War. In 1902 he was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant with the Devons then progressed up the ranks to Captain. In 1910 he married Phyllis Mildred Ford at Holy Trinity Church in Exmouth but his name is not on the war memorial there.

However, he is on several other war memorials, particularly at his old school. His brother donated £50 towards Sherborne’s memorial staircase and a pew in the school’s chapel in remembrance of Ronald George. He is also remembered at Holmer in Herefordshire where his grandfather had lived.

Despite coming from a privileged background and having an impressive army career, the 1914-1918 war turned Ronald George into one of the Missing on Le Touret Memorial.

Private 9446 Frederick James Leworthy

He was 19-years old when he died of wounds on 30th November 1914. His parents Noah and Mary Jane lived in the hamlet of Charles, near South Molton in Devon. They chose an inscription for Frederick’s headstone at Merville Communal Cemetery :

“ O Rest in the Lord ”

Noah and Mary Jane lost two sons in this War to End Wars; both were with 2nd Devons. William Henry was 24 when he perished on 7th September 1916. He is buried at Bethune Town Cemetery and his parents requested this :

“ Peace Perfect Peace ”

The brothers are remembered on a wooden cover over the font in the parish church at Charles.

Private 9766 Frederick John Little

Born and enlisted in London and that is all. London Online WW1 memorial has his name, rank and number with a brief description of the 2nd Battalion’s experience at the Moated Grange where Private 9766 was killed in action on 18th December 1914. His name is on the Memorial to the Missing at Le Touret.

Private 7743 Albert Lock

Born and lived in the seaside town of Paignton, until war claimed his life on 30th October 1914. He was with the 1st Battalion of the Devons, one of the earliest units to arrive on the Western Front. Albert, born in 1886, had been one of his hometown’s postmen and joined the Army Reserve in 1904/05, probably without any idea that war was ten years in the future …..

He was buried at ‘Map Ref. 36.S.27.a.60.05’ alongside several comrades of the 1st Battalion. When they were re-buried in 1923, Albert was identified by his clothing, boots and identity-disc. They were then given permanent burials at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas-de-Calais.

Private 3/6546 Frederick Ronald Lock

With the 1st Battalion of the Devons which arrived in France on 21st August 1914. On 26 September Frederick Ronald died of appendicitis; he was 19-years old.

He was born in Dartmouth which has a website dedicated to recording the lives of those on its war memorials. His parents Henry and Charlotte had nine other children and show in the census of 1901 and 1911. For Frederick Ronald’s headstone in the cemetery at St. Nazaire his mother requested this simple phrase :

“ Until The Day Breaks ”

Private 7787 Alfred Luxton

Born in Barnstaple and with 1st Battalion when killed-in-action on 14 October 1914 - so it says in The Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918. His CWG entry just names him ‘A.Luxton’ but includes service number 7787 and ‘14 October 1914’. So far, so good - the two sources are talking about the same man.

However - when it comes to his burial at Vielle-Chapelle New Military Cemetery at Lacouture - that is when we encounter an anomaly. This cemetery was created in November 1915. Paperwork from the time shows that Pte. Luxton was originally buried in the King’s Liverpool Graveyard at Cuinchy. They were all King’s Liverpool Regiment men except 7787 Pt. A. Luxton of 1/Devons with his death being ‘14.10.15’. This graveyard was not begun until February 1915; Alfred could not have been buried there in 1914 because it did not exist, meaning his date of death has been misrecorded

His service number dates to 1905 and in census 1911 ‘Alfred Luxton - born Barnstaple 1886’ is a Soldier at Bulford Hut Barracks. He was part of Britain’s professional army that got wiped out early in the Great War. Alfred Luxton was killed in action on 14th October 1915, not the previous year as the records show. He is not on Barnstaple’s war memorial which was unveiled in 1922. Probably because he had left the town many years before and there was no one left who remembered him.

Private 8551 Thomas Arthur Luxton

He may or may not have been related to Alfred, the previous entry. Thomas Arthur came from Bideford and in 1901 that is where he was living in Meddon Street with eight siblings and their parents. Father was a green-grocer. Thomas Arthur joined the army in 1907 and in 1911 was with 2nd Battalion the Devonshire Regiment in St. George’s Barracks, Malta. He lost his life on 18th December 1914 and is remembered on the memorial plaque in St. Mary’s Church, Bideford. His CWG entry quotes his parents address - they were still in Meddon Street after the war when these records were made.

Private 7240 William Alfred Mann

The son of William and Louisa Mann of London, according to his CWG record and 29-years old when he lost his life in November 1914. Putting all that together gives his birth registered at London City in the September quarter of 1885.

In census 1891 William Alfred, with parents William and Louisa, are living in Holly Street, Hackney. Father is a ‘car-man’ so he drives a vehicle delivering goods - a delivery-man as we would say. There is a younger daughter and the household also has two borders - a shoemaker and a printer. Ten years later they have moved to Dufferin Street, Finsbury and there are two more children.

William, the father, died in about 1904/5 and Louisa married again to Harry Colborn in 1909. She arranged for her son, William Alfred, to have an inscription on his war-grave at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, were because of the sandy soil, headstones have to be laid horizontally :

“ God’s Will Be Done ”

Private 9781 Walter Manning

He was 19-years old when he died of wounds and was buried in Bethune Town Cemetery in the Pas-de-Calais. He was born in Tiverton and by the time he was 14-years old worked as a ‘Machine Boy’ in Heathcote’s lace factory. His older sister was employed there as well. Their widowed mother was a ‘Laundress’ - whether she washed other people’s things in her own home, or went to their homes would be interesting to know. Perhaps she worked in a commercial laundry. Whichever it was, she must have had a hard life.

When the war was over and next-of-kin had the opportunity to pay for a personal inscription for a loved one’s headstone, Walter’s mother Bessie requested :

“ Sadly Missed By All At Home ”

Private 5290 Joseph Marks

Born in Birr, King’s County, Ireland which nowadays comes within County Offaly in the Irish Republic. In 1911 he was with the 2nd Battalion of the Devons in St. George’s Barracks, Malta when his age is given as 26 and his year of birth, 1885. His army number dates to approximately 1900 when he would have been fifteen years old and not eligible for foreign service. So he wouldn’t have gone out to the Boer War.

There is no indication of his parents or family. Joseph lost his life in fighting around the Moated Grange on 18 December 1914 and has his name on Le Touret Memorial to the Missing.

Corporal 8725 Leslie Gordon Matthews

In 1911 was at Mooltan & Lucknow Barracks at Tidworth on the edge of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. He was born in East Stonehouse (Plymouth) on 14th April 1890. His father at that time was a Private in the Royal Marines with a wife called Helen. By the census of 1901 Arthur had come out of the marines and was now an assurance agent; his wife kept a grocery shop.

Leslie Gordon joined the Army in 1908 by which time his father had died, but his mother continued with the shop. In 1912 Leslie married Emily M. Jarvis and their son Arthur was born in 1913. The following year Leslie died of wounds and was buried in Bethune Town Cemetery. Emily requested an inscription for his headstone :

“ Sadly Missed By His Loving Wife, Son And Mother - Thy Will Be Done ”

Private 7099 Timothy McAuliffe

He has nothing on his CWG page which could lead to identifying him. He was born Marylebone and enlisted in London; army number suggests he joined up in the early years of the 20th century and there are two birth registrations for Marylebone in 1880 and 1883. If he enlisted at the age of 16 or so, both tie in with that. On his page at Everyone Remembered someone has left an acknowledgement - “In memory of my Great-grandfather Timothy”.

Private 7099 has an entry with London Online WW1 memorial describing the Devons at the end of October 1914 - “Nearly all 1st Battalion’s deaths recorded as being on 30th could have been as a result of action on 29th”. That fits with Timothy McAuliffe’s CWG entry.

Private 6992 Ernest John McNeil

He was 32-years old when he lost his life on 25 October 1914; next-of-kin was brother Donald, of Roborough, Devon. This is what I have discovered about them :

Their father, born in Fort William, Scotland, was a corporal in the Royal Marines who married Sarah Jane Munford at East Stonehouse, Plymouth in 1878. Sarah died in 1890 leaving their three sons, Robert, Ernest John and Donald to be brought up by her mother in Cornwood, a village in the South Hams not far from Roborough where Donald was living when named next-of-kin. Ernest John joined the Army in 1902/3; Robert joined the Royal Navy several years before WW1 and Donald became assistant to a bootmaker, doing the repairs.

A stone war memorial cross was put up in the churchyard at Cornwood in 1919. It has no names but inside St. Michael’s is a marble tablet - “ The Names Inscribed … Are Those Of The Men To Whom The Cross In The Churchyard Was Erected … Who Being Dead, Yet Speak ” The tablet has 27 names and gives rank, regiment and place of death - “ Pte. E.J. McNeil - Devons - Givenchy ”

Private 3/7183 Gilbert Metters

He was with the 8th Battalion of the Devons which did not go to the Western Front until August 1915. This was a brand-new ‘Service Battalion’ which spent the first year of WW1 training in England.

Gilbert died on 4 November 1914; this was registered at Hartley Wintney in Hampshire, which covered Aldershot where the Army was based. He may have died as the result of an accident, but more likely of an infectious disease such as pneumonia; these trainees were ill-equipped, had inadequate clothing and food and most of the time were housed in tents. Government and Army authorities had been totally unprepared for the numbers responding to recruitment posters - “Your Country Needs YOU”

Gilbert is buried at Tower Hill Cemetery, Chudleigh, the Devon town where his parents had lived. He was not subjected to the full horrors of industrialised warfare but died for his country nonetheless.

Private 8127 Frank Miller

He was born at Colaton Raleigh, a small village between Exmouth and Sidmouth. In 1901 Frank was with his parents and an aunt who was a maker of Honiton lace. There were also his four siblings; their father was employed as a ‘Land Drainer on Estate’ - probably Bicton

where the extensive gardens are these days open to the public. Frank, aged 13 worked as a ‘Farmers Boy ’ then five years later, he joined the Army.

For census 1911 he was with the 2nd Battalion of the Devons in St.George’s Barracks, Malta, but was unwell at the time; he was in the military hospital at Cottonera on the island. He lost his life on 21st October 1914 at Canteleux whilst with ‘D’ Company of 1st Battalion. Frank is remembered on a plaque inside St. John’s Church at Colaton Raleigh and on Le Touret Memorial to the Missing.

Corporal 9468 Philip Michel

Born in Jersey and was 21-years old when he lost his life on 30th October 1914. The Channel Islands website has information about him.

Philip was the third son of John and Louisa Michel of St. Peter Port; he enlisted in Jersey in 1912 and was promoted to the rank of Corporal shortly before the Devons left the island (on August 21st 1914). In the Jersey Evening Post of Friday, December 4th 1914 was an article describing how his parents received news of him being killed at Festubert - “ ….. he was a most promising soldier and very popular with his comrades … ” Four days later the newspaper published a letter Philip’s parents had received from one of his comrades :

“ I am very sorry to say your son was killed … He was a chum of mine and I join with you in such a time of sorrow. We were very sorry to lose him and it upset us all; we were such chums, we being signallers together. Poor Phil fought hard for his life but it was no good - he being badly hit in the head. He did not suffer long … I am sure you have lost a good boy. I conclude in joining you in your sorrow and regret …. ”

Philip was buried at Map Ref. 36.5.27.a.41.14. After the Armistice, he was transferred to Canadian Cemetery No.2 and identified by his uniform which had “9468 1/Dvn” on the boots, together with a silver matchbox bearing the initials “P.M” and a fountain-pen. Next-of-kin was his brother Mr A. Michel of Daisy Farm, St. Peter’s, Jersey who arranged for a personal inscription for his headstone :

“ Hold Thou Thy Cross Before My Closing Eyes - Peace, Perfect Peace ”

Private 2599 Samuel Miller

Belonged to the 5th Battalion, a Territorial unit based in Plymouth. Samuel died on 7th December 1914 and is buried in Plymouth (Western Mill) cemetery where he has a CWG headstone, neatly tended with its own small shrub beside a bush of red roses. Perhaps he has descendants who know who he was.

Samuel was forty-one when his death was registered. Samuel James Miller had a birth registration at Plympton in 1875 - the nearest date and place suitable, but Miller is not an uncommon surname so looking in the census is bound to be inconclusive.

Private 9444 Robert Mitchell

He was 22-years old when he lost his life on 18th December 1914. His CWG page says he was the eldest son of R.H. and Agnes E.Mitchell of Essex Road, Portsmouth.

Robert was born in Kent and in 1901 the family is in Northfleet; his father is a Commercial Traveller meaning his working life is spent visiting shops and businesses on behalf of whatever supplier employs him. There are six children at home, the eldest two being girls then Robert aged 8 followed by another girl and two boys. By 1911 they have moved to Portsmouth and there are two more girls and a boy. Robert is now 18-years old and works for a wholesale tobacconist’s firm.

His name is on Portsmouth’s city centre war memorial and Le Touret Memorial to the Missing.

Private 5390 William Henry Mitchell

Born in the village of Hennock on the edge of Dartmoor but by the time he was 8-years old his family had moved to Alphington on the outskirts of Exeter. William Henry was the eldest in a family of eight; his brother Samuel also perished in WW1 and both are remembered on a tablet inside the parish church at Alphington.

In mid-1910 William Henry married Flossie Saunders and the following year they are in the census living in the St. Thomas district of Exeter; they have a baby son and William works as a Carter for a Market Gardener. He was 32-years old when he lost his life on 30th October 1914. He did not belong to the Regular Army but maybe was a reservist. Why would he forsake his family and put his life in danger? But of, course, it would all be over by Christmas so he could return home knowing he had done his duty to King and Country. William Henry is one of the Missing on Le Touret Memorial.

His brother Samuel was 31-years old when he perished on 29 September 1916 whilst with a territorial battalion of the Devons. He died in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and is buried at Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery which was not begun until 1917. He was moved there from Adana Cemetery which was in Turkey. Out of all the horrors of WW1, having contact with the Turks was as bad as things could get.

Samuel possibly died as a prisoner of war; he was not killed in action.

Private 7614 Arthur Moger

When his birth was registered at Bath in the first quarter of 1886 he was named ‘Arthur Henry’ but Army and CWG records only have his first name. However, in the census of 1911 when he is at home with his parents and a younger brother he has both. Arthur Henry and his father both worked in an iron foundry. On the war memorial in Bath, he is ‘Moger A.H.’

Arthur was an early casualty of the Great War; he died of wounds on 21 September 1914 and is known to be buried in the Communal Cemetery at Braine in the Aisne Department of France where a casualty clearing station was established. After the war, although these burials were documented, their exact position could not be determined. 68 of them have CWG headstones with the wording ‘Known To Be Buried in this Cemetery’ at the top and ‘Their Glory Shall Not Be Blotted Out’ as a personal inscription. Private A. Moger of the Devonshire Regiment shares a headstone with Private W. Stevens of the Wiltshire Regiment who lost his life on the same day. His wife requested a personal inscription: “ I Thank My God Upon Every Remembrance of You ”.

Private 9257 George Monk

He was 23-years old when killed in action on 18th December 1914 at the Moated Grange. He was with the 2nd Battalion and records say he was ‘born London’.

According to his CWG page, George was the son of Mrs Daisy Monk of 40 Great Eastern Road, Stratford, London. He is buried at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery at Souchez in France alongside four others of the Devons. George was identified by numerals on his boots, spoon and battledress. On the Find-a-Grave website, someone has commented “In Memory of a 2nd Cousin - Rest in Peace” - it would be interesting to know how they are sure of having the right George Monk. Quite a lot with that name perished in WW1.

If he was 23 in 1914 he would have been born in 1891 or thereabouts. Several birth registrations in London could be him; his mother is not identifiable in the census. In 1901 at the Midland Truant School for Boys in Lichfield is George Monk aged 9 born in East Ham (London). Ten years later at Higher Barracks in Exeter is George Monk aged 19, born somewhere unknown in Surrey. Both those fit with him being 23 in 1914. This may be Private 9257 - that army number was issued in 1911.

Private 3/6569 William James Moore

CWG says he was with 2nd Battalion, lost his life on 18th December 1914; that he was 19-years old and son of Mrs Mary Moore of High Street, North Tawton.

William James is remembered on the war memorial in North Tawton although he was born in Exeter at the end of 1896. He is also remembered in a Memorial Book Roll of Honour and Service in the Great War kept in the parish church at North Tawton. He is one of the Missing on Le Touret Memorial. It has not been possible to find William James or his mother in the census. From his service number, it would seem that he could have been in the Territorial Army before WW1.

Private 5886 George Morrell

He has a very informative entry on his CWG page. George was 31-years old when he lost his life on 18th December 1914. His parents were Amelia and the late George Morrell of 72a Barkham Terrace, Lambeth Road, London and he was the husband of Charlotte Louise Jane Morrell of 7 Malmsey Place, Vauxhall St., Lambeth. A reservist, he had served in the South African Campaign.

George and Charlotte Louise married in 1910 and for Census 1911 were living in Southwark. They have a baby daughter called Hilda Louise; George is a Labourer for an Engineering Company. Two years later they have another girl and name her May - perhaps that was the month she was born. Eighteen months later, George is killed at the Moated Grange whilst with the 2nd Battalion of the Devons. He is remembered by the London Online WW1 Memorial.

Private 3/6515 Thomas Morris

Nothing on CWG page other than ‘2nd Btn. 18 December 1914 Le Touret Memorial. According to the book ‘The Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918’ he was born and enlisted at Torquay. ‘Pte. T. Morris’ is a name on Torquay’s war memorial; In census 1911 are two Thomas Morris born in Torquay; he could be either of them but he could also be neither.

Private 7311 Thomas Charles Newland

He was 33-years old when killed in action on 30th October 1914; son of Harriet Newland, 43 Everett Street, Nine Elms, London and the late Thomas Newland says his Commonwealth War Graves page.

Thomas Charles was buried at ‘Map Ref. 36.5.27.a.60.05 until 1923 when he was laid to rest in Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery at Souchez, Pas de Calais, France. On his entry at Find-a-Grave website someone has added a photograph of a large tablet Roll of Honour with many names - one being ‘Newland T.C.’ The heading reads “Names of the Company’s Employees Who Gave Their Lives In The Great War”. Over one hundred names are ranging from K to R so there must be other tablets covering the rest of the alphabet. Commonwealth War Graves website names only one T.C. Newland so it must relate to Private 7311. Which company did he work for?

In census 1911 he is living in London with a younger brother and their mother. Thomas Charles describes his employment as ‘General Dealer - Hawker’ - so he does not work in a shop but maybe travels around selling goods. His brother is a van guard for the London & South Western Railway Company. At Waterloo Station are four large wall-mounted rolls of honour with 527 names of employees who perished in WW1. There is a website with details of most of them; Thomas Charles Newland was employed as a Porter - presumably at Waterloo Station. If his brother had not been working for LSW Railway in 1911, I would never have known about the memorial with Thomas Charles’ name, or that he had been a railway porter in those far off days when passengers had help with their luggage.

Private 5900 Charles Joseph Newman

He has an unusual entry on his CWG page saying he “Enlisted Feb. 1900 - Served in the South African Campaign and also in India” - but there is no next-of-kin named. Someone provided that information, but who? Can we find out? The short answer is “No”.

It also says that Charles Joseph was 33-years old when he perished on 23rd November 1914. His name is on the Menin Gate in Belgium. He was born and enlisted in London and a birth fitting his description was registered at Hackney in the June Quarter of 1882. If he was in the Army from 1900, the only census he could appear in would be 1891; there are several entries which could be him, but no means of telling which he is.

Private 9401 John Nickols

His parents were George and Florence Nickols of ‘The Jolly Sailor’ at East Ogwell, Newton Abbot. Inside St.Bartholomew’s Church at East Ogwell is a shield-shaped white marble plaque bearing the inscription :

“ This Memorial Was Erected By The Parishioners of Ogwell In Memory Of Pte. John Nichols - 2nd Devon Regt. Who Was Killed Whilst On Active Service During The Great War 1914-19 ”

John was 20-years old when his life was lost on 18th December during the 2nd Batallion’s attack on the Moated Grange. For census 1901 he was in Highweek, Newton Abbot, with parents, a brother and a sister plus two boarders who lived with the family.

Ten years later the parents are in Ogwell; George works as a timber feller, maybe it is Florence who runs the pub. John is working on a farm in Beaminster, Dorset. It’s possible he joined the Devons shortly after census 1911; his army number relates to early 1912. The Jolly Sailor at East Ogwell was still functioning as a pub in 2020.

Private 9640 Sydney George Norman

Son of Richard and Elizabeth Ann Norman of Church Street, Coombe Martin, Devon. CWG record says he was 21-years old when he lost his life on 18 December 1914 but according to his birth registration, he would have been nineteen. Sydney was yet another casualty of the 2nd Battalion who perished at the Moated Grange and is one of the Missing on Le Touret Memorial. His parents lost another son in July 1915. Francis John was a corporal with the 1st Battalion of the Devons and had married Eva E. Darch in the final quarter of 1913. He was 25-yrs. old when he lost his life and was buried at Chester Farm Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Private 9642 William Joseph Norris

There is some discrepancy regarding his surname. CWG has Norris; the Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918 has “Norrish” with his place of birth being Devonport. The only likely birth registration is in mid-1891 at Stoke Damerel which seven years later became part of Devonport. Theoretically, William Joseph could appear in the census of 1901 and 1911. Several entries might relate to him, but there is nothing to specify which is the right one.

William Joseph died of wounds on 23rd October and is buried at Bethune Town Cemetery in France.

Private 9686 Walter Herbert Noyes

Born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire in 1896 making him eighteen when he died of wounds on 22nd September 1914. He had been in France for less than a month. Next of kin was his mother Selina and they are in the census of 1911. Walter Hebert aged 14, works as an under-gardener for a nurseryman.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial on the banks of the River Marne in France. Walter Herbert is also named on the war memorial in Trowbridge.

Private 8573 Alfred William Oatway

This one must be taken one step at a time to make sense of it. His CWG record says he died 29 October 1914 and was 22-year old. He was the son of William and Jane Lyons Oatway of 2 Quay Hill Exeter and the husband of Lilian Maud Harris (formerly Oatway) of 30 West Street, Exeter.

Alfred William’s birth was registered at Exeter in the last quarter of 1890 so he would have been 21 at the end of 1911; he cannot have been 22 in October 1914. So far, so logical. To legally marry, this could not happen until December quarter 1906 and indeed that is the time his marriage to Lilian Wright was registered in Portsmouth. Alfred was sixteen when he married but what age was Lilian - older … younger … exactly the same ?? Was Portsmouth her hometown?

Looking for them both in census 1911 has proved confusing. Alfred’s Army number indicates him joining up in 1907 - the year after he got married. In 1911 at Lucknow & Mooltan Barracks is William Oatway, born Exeter. He is aged 21 and ‘Single’. Is this Private 8573? And where is his wife? In the same census; the only entry suitable is Lily Oatway living at Exeter in the home of George and Jane Lyons - who could be Alfred William Oatway’s parents (his NOK were William & Jane Lyons Oatway). Jane Lyons is a Fish Hawker which fits with their address being Quay Hill; trust me, I know Exeter. Lily is aged 18 and single. This is not Alfred William’s wife.

In the previous census, Lily and her brother William (? Alfred William) are with their mother Jane Lyons, a widow who went on to marry William Oatway. No! That cannot be right - at Exeter in 1899 a marriage was registered - George Lyons wed Jane Oatway - So How Does That Work???. And What About Alfred William’s wife .. is she somewhere else? Maybe whoever completed the 1911 census form did not fully understand what they were doing. I certainly don’t.

Alfred William is one of the Missing on Le Touret Memorial; Exeter Roll of Honour has his CWG details, but nothing more. Alfred William’s wife remained a widow for about six months. At Exeter in April/May/June Quarter 1915, Lilian M. Oatway married George Harris.

Private 7435 Frederick Osmond

His Commonwealth war graves page does not have a next-of-kin. He was killed in action on 27th November 1914 and his name is on the Menin Gate at Ypres (Ieper) in Belgium. He was born in Wellington, Somerset in early 1878. From his Army number which dates to the latter part of 1903, I was expecting Frederick to be an old soldier, but this does not seem to be so. Only one birth was registered for Frederick Osmond in Wellington over the timespan 1870-1900, so census entries which are consistent from 1881-1911 are likely to be the future Private 7435. His parents were Daniel Osmond, a wool dyer and his wife Emma and in 1881 they are together but ten years later, Emma has become a widow. From there on she and Frederick are in every census; Fred works as a general labourer.

Inside the church of St.John the Baptist at Wellington is a 3-section wooden panel war memorial with 89 names - one being “F.Osmond”.

Corporal 8212 Charles Osborn

No next-of-kin to indicate his life. However, in 1911 the census places him at St.George’s Barracks, Malta with the 2nd Battalion the Devonshire Regiment. His date of birth is 1889 at Twickenham. His Army number suggests he signed up early in 1907.

Charles lost his life on 18th December 1914 and is buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery; when he was brought in from a battlefield burial he was identified by his army number on boots and khaki.

Private 6852 George Paris

Born Brighton in mid-1875 and baptised in St. Peter’s Church on 7th November 1878; his parents James (a plasterer) and Emma had nine children. For census 1881 they were living in Brighton but by 1891 had gone to London and were living in Pitts Place, Southwark. George, aged 16 was now employed as a tin worker. His Army number dates to 1902,

although he could have signed on before then and been given the number when he joined the Devons.

The war memorial in Brighton takes the form of a colonnade set within gardens. Two 4-sided pillars have 2,600 names of the fallen. The Roll of Honour website has gone to great lengths in researching those named and there is an online transcription. George’s entry makes a point of saying that he was a Regular soldier.

George was with1st Battalion and killed in action at La Bassée on 31st October 1914. He is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial to the Missing.

Private 9789 George Henry Parr

The former registration district Portsea Island covered Landport which was where George Henry was living when he enlisted in Gosport. The birth was registered there in mid-1898 only it was for George William Parr.

In 1911 at Portsmouth/Landport is George H. Parr aged 14. He is a ‘Servant - assisting in house’. What that indicates is anybody’s guess but it is the only reference to George Henry Parr that can be found, bearing in mind Devonshire Regiment 1914-18 says he was born Gosport; enlisted Gosport whilst living at Landport, Hants. Gosport and Landport are, these days, parts of Portsmouth

Portsmouth has an extensive war memorial in the city centre. Under the heading “Army” is the name “Parr G.H”. George Henry lost his life on 24th December 1914 and has his name on the Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium.

Private 9585 Charles Daniel Passmore

The son of William Passmore of 8 Kiddicott, The Green, Crediton, where his name is on the war memorial.

In 1911 the family is at home. William, their father, is a farm labourer with a wife named Lydia. They have six children - the eldest being Edith Mary who is a Cook - domestic; so she works for a private household rather than an institution. Daniel (Charles Daniel) is 18 and employed as a Waggoner on a farm; his brother Alfred aged 13 is an Errand Boy for a dairy and their sister Ida who is 14 works as a Wrapper in a lozenge factory. Only the two youngest - Walter age 9 and Evelyn Maud who is seven years old, have no employment - they probably go to school but the census does not record it.

Charles Daniel enlisted at Exeter and was 20-years old when he lost his life on 18 December 1914. He is one of the 13,479 Missing of the first year of WW1 named on Le Touret Memorial at Festubert.

Private 7057 George Albert Paterson

Son of the late Mrs Mary Paterson; husband of Louisa Paterson of 11 James Street, Chiswick, London. George Albert married Louisa Baltens in the September Quarter of 1907.

In the census of 1911, they are living in Chiswick and have two children - George Albert is an infant under one-year-old and their daughter Louisa is aged 3. George Albert, their father works as a general labourer in soap works. He was thirty years old when killed in action on 24 October 1914

Chiswick has a war-memorial obelisk but there are no names. George Albert is remembered at the London Online WW1 Memorial and on his page in the Everyone Remembered website, P.J. Paterson has left an acknowledgement but given no explanation of their connection. George Albert is one of the Missing on Le Touret Memorial.

Private 7384 James Pearce

No next of kin; no age given; all we know is that he was born Calstock, Cornwall which is on the border with Devon so goodness knows where his birth was registered. There are plenty of ‘James Pearce’s in the census but a) we have no idea of his age. Was he born in 1870, 1880 or 1900? and b) who else can he be connected with? When he enlisted in Exeter, James was living in Gunnislake, Cornwall. He is remembered on the war memorial at Calstock which is on the grounds of the parish church at Albaston which is near Gunnislake.

Serjeant 8198 Archibald Peck

His number dates to 1906 and in 1911 he was at Lucknow Barracks, North Tidworth. He was aged 23, single, with an estimated year of birth in 1888 in London. There is a birth registration at Holborn in the last quarter of 1887; if that is him, then he was Archibald Harold. On his page at ‘Everyone Remembered’ for those lost in WW1, Alison Peck left an acknowledgement :

“ For Your Sacrifice … From One A. Peck To Another … Thank You ”

Sjt. Peck lost his life on 20th September 1914 one month after his battalion had landed at Le Havre. He is buried in Vailly British Cemetery alongside several others of the Devons who perished two days before and Lieutenant Hopkins of the R.A.M.C who was killed whilst tending to them.

Private 5993 Henry Phillips

Lost his life on 24 December 1914 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial. Devonshire Regiment 1914-18 says he was born in Tiverton but he does not appear on any of the war memorials. Ten miles away the village of Witheridge has a stone cross war memorial outside the church with the name “H. Phillips.” An online transcription, probably taken from a roll of honour kept inside, names him Harry Phillips of the Devon Regiment who died in France. This must be Private 5993. He was with the 1st Battalion and that is the total of what can be discovered about him. CWG gives him no next-ot-kin.

He is not confused with the following entry; their army numbers, battalions and dates of death are completely different; similarities of their names is pure coincidence :

Private 3/6480 Henry Phillips

Died of wounds on 29 December 1914 and was buried in Exeter Higher Cemetery. He was with the 2nd Battalion so possibly was a casualty of the first weeks of the war on the Western Front, when casualties were being repatriated. Henry had been born in Exeter in 1890 to parents Henry and Ann and was 23-years old.

He has a Commonwealth War Graves headstone showing insignia of the Devonshire Regiment. In addition to his death being recorded in 1914, it is also a ‘late entry’ in 1919 - possibly delayed by there having to be an inquest. Exeter had many military hospitals during WW1 so the amount of paperwork must have caused a great workload for the authorities involved.

Private 7074 Henry Piper

Born in South Molton, the Devon town on the edge of Exmoor. His parents John, an agricultural labourer and Elizabeth had five children with them in census 1891. Henry was the second youngest. In 1901 only Bertie, the youngest of all was still at home; the others must have gone to seek new lives. When Henry enlisted it was at Pontypridd in Wales.

Henry is remembered on South Molton’s war memorial; he is also one of the Missing at Le Touret.

Private 6935 Louis Charles Pitt

He was 32-years old when he lost his life the day before Christmas in 1914. He was born at Bodmin, Cornwall in 1882 but by 1891 his family had moved to Plymouth. His parents, Susanna and Louis Richard had five daughters and three sons, one who died aged ten in 1899. In 1911 Louis Charles was in St. George’s Barracks, Malta with the 2nd Battalion of the Devons. At this time, his younger brother Theodore Richard was at Horfield Barracks in Bristol, the home of the Gloucestershire Regiment.

Louis Charles has his name on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres in Belgium.

Private 7483 Edgar Pitts

Born in Totnes 1886 with his birth registered as Edgar Carew Pitts. In census 1901 he is 15-years old, living with parents Henry and Ellen, brother Henry Thomas and sister Bessie. In 1911 he was in Plymouth boarding in the home of Walter Seaward who was a Plate-layer for Great Western Railways; this is also Edgar’s occupation.

In 1912 Edgar married Edith Rowden. Two years later he was killed in action and buried at Map. Ref. 36.S.27.c.45.95 alongside three others of 1st Battalion the Devonshire Regiment who had all perished on 30th October 1914. In due course, they were re-interred at Arras Road Cemetery at Roclincourt in northern France. Edith was then able to request an inscription for Edgar’s headstone :

“ Thy Will Be Done ”

He is remembered on the war memorial at Ashburton, Devon where he was based as a plate-layer and on the extensive Roll of Honour prepared by Great Western Railways, copies of which are displayed in main-line train stations which had been used by GWR. Edgar is also remembered on the triptych war memorial in St. Mary’s Church at Berry Pomeroy, the South Hams village where his father was born and where Edith was living when named Edgar’s next-of-kin.

Private 7739 Hedley Thomas Potter

He was 28-years old when he lost his life on 30 October 1914. When she was recorded as his next-of-kin his mother was Mrs M.J. Potter of 9 Wote Street, Basingstoke. Hedley Thomas was born in Bideford in the first quarter of 1886 and in 1891 was there with his mother in a boarding-house aged four and known as ‘Eddie’.

Ten years later he and his Mum are living with his Aunt Emily. Hedley is fifteen and apprenticed to a shoemaker; he now has a sister named Florrie, who is six years old. In 1904 Hedley joined the Army and in 1911, aged 25, is in barracks at Tidworth.

He was with the 1st battalion who arrived in France on 21 August 1914; two months later Hedley lost his life at Festubert and is one of the Missing on Le Touret Memorial. He is remembered on Bideford’s war memorial.

Private 8711 Leonard George Potter

He was born in Plymouth in 1888 and had three sisters and an older brother Alfred Ernest, who was named next-of-kin. In 1891 they were living in Plymouth with their father who was a widower; the youngest in the family was Leonard George aged 2 so his mother had died when he was very young.

In 1911 Leonard George is with the 2nd Battalion the Devonshire Regiment in Malta. At the same time, Alfred Ernest who is a Leading Stoker in the Royal Navy is a married man with a three-year-old son named after him and a wife called Rosina. Living with them in Plymouth is Thomas Charles, Leonard and Alfred’s father, who still works as a dock labourer.

Leonard George was killed in action on 21st November 1914 and is named on Le Touret Memorial.

Private 7036 Henry Powell

His CWG page says that he was the husband of Maud Powell of “9 Pimlico, Torquay”. That address sounds unlikely but, yes - there is a small street in the centre of Torquay called ‘Pimlico’.

Henry Powell was a fisherman in the census of 1911 when he and Maud are recorded together.

He was 32-years old when he died of wounds on 29 October 1914 after being in France since 22nd August - so Henry was out there for nine weeks. He was buried in the British & Indian Cemetery at Gorre, a small hamlet close to where 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Devons had been giving their lives. Once hostilities were over, Maud paid a very modest amount for an inscription to go on his headstone; taking into account where they lived in Torquay, she probably had a very hard life :

“ R. I. P. ”

Private 8144 Arthur Thomas John Proule

He was 26 years old when he died on 22 September 1914. His name is on the war memorial at La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre, a small town forty miles east of Paris.

Arthur was born in Bedminster, Bristol in 1888 and by 1911 was with the 2nd Battalion of the Devons at barracks in Malta; he was an Army bandsman aged 23. His number indicates joining up in 1906 but before that, must have been employed by Great Western Railways; his name on their roll of honour at Temple Meads Station in Bristol. “A.T.J. Proule” is an uncommon set of initials and name - it surely must relate to the future Private 8144.

In 1901 he was with his parents John and Elizabeth living in Redcliffe, Bristol and had two brothers George and Frederick. In September 1918 Frederick lost his life whilst with the London Regiment; he was nineteen years old and buried in France at Peronne Communal Cemetery on the Somme. His mother provided a personal inscription for his headstone :

“ Until The Day Breaks And The Shadows Flee Away ”

Private 8061 Alfred Earl Prowse

When his birth was registered at Kingsbridge in the September quarter of 1888 his second name was spelt ‘Earle’.

In 1891 aged 3, Alfred is at home with his parents William and Mary and their four daughters, two other sons and a grandchild. So Alfred has at least seven siblings. None of them seem to be in the next census - 1901 but In 1911 Alfred is with the 2nd Battalion of the Devons in Malta. He lost his life on 24th October 1914 and is one of the Missing on Le Touret Memorial.

Private 5995 Lewis Prowse

37 years old when he was killed in action on 27th November 1914, according to his CWG page, which also says that he was a brother of Mrs F.M. Underhill of Tarrs Lane, Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot. A birth was registered at Newton Abbot for Lewis Prowse in mid-1874 so he was actually over 40. Fanny Maria Prowse married James Underhill in 1902.

In 1881, Lewis aged 6 and Fanny Maria who is 12 are with their parents Albert and Jane in Highweek, Newton Abbot. There are also another four siblings. Ten years later their mother is now a widow with four sons and a daughter still at home - Fanny works as a general domestic servant, Lewis aged 16 is employed at a factory and their youngest brother, Reginald is still at school.

For the 1901 census, Reginald was in Dorchester where the Dorsetshire Regiment was based - he is a Private in the Infantry. Lewis’ army number dates to 1900, so if he was with the 1st Battalion of the Devons, he could be with them in India. Lewis has his name on the Menin Gate at Ypres.

Corporal 8342 William James Pudner

Born in Donegal, Ireland but enlisted at Devonport where he was living in 1901, with parents and six siblings who had all been born in Ireland although their parents came from Devonport. Father was a shipwright in the Royal Navy dockyard.

William James joined the Army in 1907 and for census of 1911 was with the 2nd Battalion of the Devons in Malta, although his CWG record puts him with 1st Btn. He was 24-years old when he lost his life on 21st October 1914 and is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial.

Private 7662 William Way Pye

Thanks to the website ‘Devon Honour’ (not to be confused with Devon Heritage which sometimes has inaccurate information) was born on 26 August 1885 in Silverton to parents James and Jane (née Way).

In 1901 his parents were living in Silverton with their three youngest children but William, aged 15, was off on his own, working in nearby Bradninch as a stock-boy on the farm of John James. Ten years later William had become a wagoner on a farm; it may have been the same one but the census records him boarding in the home of Eliza Davey, a laundry worker. There are 38 names for WW1 on the war memorial at Silverton, one being ‘W.W. Pye’. William is also one of the Missing remembered on the Menin Gate.

Private 8601 Alfred Quick

He lost his life whilst with the 2nd Battalion on 27 November 1914. His battalion created a burial-ground known as Winchester Post at Laventie in the Pas de Calais and Alfred was one of its first occupants. In 1925 all were concentrated into Aubers Ridge British Cemetery and this is where they have been ever since.

He is remembered on the war memorial at Culmstock, a small village near Tiverton and the Roll of Honour website has researched into lives of the 22 named. They must have obtained Alfred’s army service records :

When he was 19-years of age he attested at Collumpton on 30th December 1907, becoming Private 5048 in the Devonshire Regiment. He had been a general labourer, was unmarried and described as being 5’6¾ inches in height (1.70m) with a weight of 125lbs (56.7kg) and a chest measurement of 35inches. So he was taller than me and somewhat more slender. He had a fresh complexion, light brown eyes and brown hair. He belonged to the Church of England and became a Regular soldier of the Devons in January 1908 - that would be when he was given the service number ‘8601’.

His father, William was a road contractor for the council with a wife called Selina. In 1911 they were in Culmstock with three sons who were also employed by the local authority. At the same time, Alfred was in Malta with the 2nd Battalion the Devonshire Regiment. “Join the Army and See The World” - sadly it also meant giving your life for King and Country. But Alfred is not forgotten.

Captain Edward Owen St.Cyres Godolphin Quicke

Son of the late Ernest Henry Godolphin Quicke of Newton House, Newton St.Cyres and Adelaide Mary Quicke. Ernest Henry died in 1921.

In the church at Newton St.Cyres is a large wall plaque commemorating his parents and Edward Owen himself :

“ Killed in action Sunday, October 25th 1914 at Givenchy and buried in the battlefield there, aged 27

Greatly beloved, being blessed with the gift of charity and also wonderful kindness and generosity ”.

The book of “Devonshire Regiment 1914-1918” has a description of Edward Owen’s outstanding bravery which led to him losing his life ….. “ in gallantly running across open ground to the Dukes (presumably Duke of Cornwall’s regiment) to tell them that if the French had gone, the Devons were going to stick it out .... ”

In addition to the family plaque in his parish church, there is also a window dedicated to Edward Owen and he is the first name on the memorial to local men who lost their lives in WW1.

He was born at Kaikōura in New Zealand on 16th May 1887 but had come to England by the census of 1901. Edward Owen was at a boarding school in Southsea, Hampshire but the record does not give its name. Ten years later he was in Sidmouth, again as a ‘Boarder’ but presumably no longer in a school; he is aged 23 and has no occupation, just ‘Private Means’ - he does not need to work, but that does not mean he has been idle.

The London Gazette of July 1908 records him becoming a Second-Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion the Devonshire Regiment. Wills Online for 1915 styles him “Edward Owen St.Cyres Godolphin Quicke … a Lieutenant in the Devonshire Regiment .” His Commonwealth War Grave page gives his rank as “Captain” but this may have been an acting rank, rather than a full commission. But no - his promotion to full Captain was gazetted on 17th November 1914 and it makes the comment “since killed in action” - so Edward Owen did not live to see this acknowledged in print.

His plaque in the church at Newton St. Cyres explains that he was buried on the battlefield. This is perfectly possible, but during the ensuing years of war, his grave could have been obliterated by the constant movement of troops and artillery or bombed out of existence. It is equally possible that he could lie in a war-grave cemetery with his identity unknown. As things stand, Edward Owen is named as one of the Missing on Le Touret Memorial.