Roll of Honour A-F

The following pages, commemorating the dead of World Wars I and II, have now been considerably enlarged by the research of Bob Shemeld, to whom many thanks. Below is an introduction to his work.

'As Poppy Appeal Organiser for Ashburton, one of the rolls that the Royal British Legion Committee undertake, in conjunction with the Town Mayor and the Portreeve, is to remember the fallen who are buried in St Andrew's Church graveyard, and each year on Monday morning of Remembrance week we attend a short service in the grave yard, and then place a remembrance cross upon each resting place of a fallen comrade who is buried in the church grounds.

Whilst laying the crosses, I sometimes wonder what circumstances brought the named person to be interred in the graveyard. One such person is John Peacock RMLI*. As an ex Royal Marine myself, I decided I would try and find out what circumstance brought John to his grave, and what his service life was like, quite a surprise was in store.

Bob Shemeld.

* See the M-S subsection.


Above: Close-up of memorial to members of the Constitutional Club who died in World War 1

Many thanks to the Constitutional Club for allowing me to take this photograph, 2014

Arthur J Anning

Arthur was born in Ashburton, date unknown, and there appear to be very few records regarding him. I have found a marriage for Arthur in 1911 when he married a Bessie Blackmore in South Molton in the 4th quarter of 1911.
He enlisted into the 1st battalion Devonshire Regiment in South Molton and was allocated a service number of 15958. His medal index card records that he landed in France on the 1st October 1915.
The 1st Battalion were operating in the Givenchy region during the period November 1916 - March 1917, a time when the autumn had been excessively wet and the winter very hard, leaving the ground very boggy and oozing with mud. The battalion also served at Neuve Chapelle and Cuinchy, and in February 1917 they were at Ferme du Bois. Arthur was killed in action on the 4th February 1917 and he is remembered at the Gore British and Indian Cemetery, grave reference 111.E9. His name is also on the memorial at Bishopsnympton, North Devon. Arthur's wife Bessie was living at Bish Mill, South Molton at the time of his death.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research




Rifleman Sidney Baker, Royal Irish Rifles, died 5 September 1918, aged 18. The son of Alfred and Jane Baker, of 25, North St., Ashburton, Devon.

Pte Sidney Baker

Sidney Baker was born in Ashburton in the fourth quarter of 1899, he was the third son born to Alfred (born 1870 in Ottery St Mary) and his wife Jane, (born Ashburton 1869), Sydney’s 2 brothers were James, ( born Ashburton 1891) and Thomas (born Ashburton 1895), and according to the 1901 census for Ashburton the family was residing in North Street Ashburton, and Alfred’s occupation is recorded as a Pearl Insurance Agent.

The 1911 census for Ashburton records the family as still living in North Street, and Alfred now 41 years old is employed as a Wool Dyer, Jane is at home caring for the family, James is employed as a dumping machine maker, Thomas is working as a grocery shop assistant and Sidney is still at school aged 11 years old.

Records showing when Sidney actually joined the armed forces are unavailable, however he did enlist at Newton Abbot, either into the Somerset Light Infantry, or the 1/8th London Regiment, which was a Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. Due to Sidney's age of 18 when he died it is possible he enlisted before his 18th birthday, and after training would have been sent straight to the battlefields of France. His (MIC) medal index card should have recorded on it when he first entered a theatre of war - this has not been completed on the card, and it is possible that Sidney had only been in France for a couple of months before his death.

I have listed the actions for 1918 in which the 58th Division were involved in, and the Royal Irish Rifles were a part of this Division.

The Battle of St Quentin 21-13 March

The Battle of Avre 4 April

The Battle of Villers-Bretonneux 24-25 April

The Battle of Amiens 8-11 August

The Battle of Albert 22-23 August

The second Battle of Bapaune 31 Aug – 1 Sept

Sidney died on the 5th Sept 1918 aged 18, and he is remembered at Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, and his grave reference is V.H.14. His medal index card records he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

The Western Times dated Thursday Oct 3rd 1918 records a Roll of Honour for West Country Casualties in recent fighting, Sydney’s name appears on this Roll and it also states that Sidney was formerly an assistant at JJ Tapes, and that he had also been a member of St Andrews Church Choir, and as a mark of respect to the parents the Liberal Club flew its flag at half mast.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research




 Rifleman Jubal Bartlett, Royal Irish Rifles, died 25 September 1915, aged 39. The son of Elizabeth Ann Bartlett, of Back Lane, Ashburton, Devon, and the late Jubal Bartlett.

Rifleman 4949 Jubal Bartlett 

I recently came across a Memorial Plaque, (see below) commonly known as a death plaque, and I immediately recognised the name of Jubal Bartlett on this plaque as a person who is named on the War Memorial in Ashburton, after purchasing the plaque I researched it, and confirmed it had been issued to Jubal Bartlett’s mother upon his death. So I have undertaken this research on a further son of Ashburton, who also fell during the great war of 1914-1918.

Jubal Bartlett was born in Ashburton in 1887, to Jubela (born 1843 in Totnes) and Elizabeth (born 1851 in Ashburton). According to the 1881 census the family was living in North Street, and consisted of mother and father, 2 sons, and 3 daughters, Ada E born 1871, Cecilia born 1879 and Laura born 1881, the two sons were Henry J born 1874 and Albert M born 1877, all were born in Ashburton.

Jubela, the Father is employed as a Mason, and Ada, Henry and Albert were scholars. The 1891 census records the family living in Cherry Chase North Street, Elizabeth the mother is now a widow, and Albert works at the Mules factory, whilst Cecilia and Laura are scholars, Jubal is 4 years old, and Henry and Ada do not appear on this census.

In the census of 1901 the family is recorded as living in East Street, Cousins Court, Albert, Cecilia, Laura and Jubal are all recorded as working as labourers or woollen sorters. The 1911 census records Jubal as a Driver in the Livery stables, and residing in North Street.

In Exeter Jubal enlisted as a Rifleman in the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles and was given the service no 4949, however records show that Jubal had previously been in the Hussars with a service No of 3533, but no further information is available as Jubal's service records along with many others were burnt during the bombings of London. What I can confirm is that Jubal entered the war in France on the 23rd June 1915 on completion of his training.

Jubal was killed in action on the 25th September 1915 near Ypres, during the 2nd Attack on Bellewaarde, and the following information is taken from the War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles on that fateful day.

The following are extracts from operational orders No1 by Lt Col GA Weir 3rd Dragoon Guards commanding the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles dated 24th September 1915. "Five Corp, with 14 Division attached will attack and occupy the front. The front allocated to the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles was to be on the left flank of its division, and its objective was the southern half of the western shore of Bellewaarde Lake and an imaginary continuation of this 200 yards farther south.

B and D Companies will carry out the assault and assemble in trenches c5 c6 and c7. Five minutes before bombardment ceases, these companies will leave their trenches and deploy opposite their front and attack. The might of B Company will be on the right with the 2nd South Lancashire Regiment, and on the left will be D Company and the 5th Shropshire Light Infantry. C Company will be in support and will occupy trenches, and A Company will be in reserve.

The battalion paraded at 7.10pm and marched up to Hooge, relieving H.A.C. Headquarters at 1130pm who were dug in under the Menin Road. Our artillery bombarded the front to be attacked, from 03.50am until 04.20am on the 25th September 1915, lifting their fire gradually from the front line to the support line commencing at 04.50am.

14 Divisions signal for the assault, will be the explosion of the second mines at 0449am, the first pair having been exploded at 0419am.

At 4.14am the attacking companies crossed the parapet and deployed about 30 yards in front, in a line which runs out from the trenches. Each Company had 2 platoons in the front line, and 2 platoons in the 2nd line, six sections of bombers and two machine guns accompanied the assaulting troops. The attack reached the German second line, and occupied it with little opposition, but no bombers reached the objective, and a bomb attack by the enemy forced those who had reached it to retire to the German first line, where one officer and some dozen men held on till dark. The attack was held up by barbed wire and machine gun fire, and the men took whatever cover they could in shell holes close to the German lines. Some of them rejoined after dark at about 4.30am.

C Company in support, went up to reinforce the attacking companies, and were seen to have penetrated the enemy lines. This company was met with heavy rifle and machine gun fire, and few if any succeeded in reaching the enemies trenches. A Company then formed up and occupied our front line trenches, at about 6am some of our men could be seen in the enemies trenches, but after that hour nothing further could be seen of them, and although parties volunteered to go forward to find out what was going on in front, none succeeded in getting any definite information, and Headquarters remained in doubt as to the actual situation till morning.

None of the signallers who accompanied the attack succeeded in getting back any messages. The situation remained unchanged until dark, by then those of the attacking companies who were able, rejoined.

The total casualties were 15 officers, and 350 other ranks killed. One machine gun reached the front line about midnight, but the team were either killed or captured, and the gun was found deserted by a man who came back from the German front line, he destroyed it with his rifle butt before returning.

The attack had been carried out with the greatest of determination and gallantry, and the reserve company, after it saw that the attack had been successful was still eager to be allowed to go in.

No Man’s Land was full of dead and wounded, and so swept by fire that it was all but impossible to bring in the dead and wounded during daylight. Many of them crept into shell holes to protect themselves, plugged and bound up their hurts as best they might, to crawl back to our trenches when dusk fell, or be picked up by stretcher bearers if life still remained in their bodies.

A Company of the 1st Wiltshire Regiment moved up into reserve in place of A Company Royal Irish Rifles, about midnight 25th/26th September the 1st Wilts commenced reliefs, and our relief was completed at 2.15am on the 26th September 1915".

Recorded casualties were 15 officers killed, and 316 other ranks killed, missing or wounded.

According to the Western Times for Devon on the 7th November 1916, Jubal Bartlett was first reported missing, then wounded, then killed.

Jubal Bartlett is remembered on the YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Panel Reference: Panel 40. And according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission his age is recorded as 39, but actually he was 29 years old.

For Jubals service in France he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal, and these medals would have been sent to Jubals mother along with his Memorial Plaque.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research


Left: Jubal Bartlett's Memorial Plaque.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for this photograph. 


John Henry Bevan, Devonshire Regiment, died 20 July 1916*

Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919

*Western Times 23 August 1916 p2 col3 says died of wounds August 1916

John Henry Bevan was born about 1888 in Torquay, and he enlisted into the Devonshire Regiment in Torquay with a service number of 8430. This indicates that he enlisted about 1907. He may have been living in Ashburton when he enlisted, but I cannot confirm this.

The 1911 census shows the 21 year old John as a private in the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment, based in Malta. John married a girl called Edith, but I cannot find when.* His medal index card records tht he only served with the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment, and that he entered France on the 6th November 1914. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that John had served with the 1st Battlaioni Devons, but I cannot confirm this, even if he had been attached to them when he was wounded.

The 2nd Devonshire Regiment were involved in actions at the Lys Valley, Neuve Chappelle, and the build up to the battle of the Somme prior to John being wounded, and his subsequent death on the 20th July 1916. If John had been serving with the 1st Battalion he could still have been wounded during the build up to the battle of the Somme.

John's parents, George and Francis, were living in Paignton at the time of his death, and John's wife Edith May was living at 38, White Street, Topsham, Devon. John is remembered at Morlancourt British Cemetery No. 1

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research

* Possibly John H Bevan married Edith M Boull or Boult June quarter 1916 St Thomas registration district.



Private Gerald H S Beveridge, Gordon Highlanders, died 16 May 1917.

Gerald was born in Totnes, and his birth was registered in the 1st Quarter of 1881, his father Hugh Ted Spalding Beveridge (born Edinburgh 1809) and his mother Sarah Salome (born Southpool Devon in 1841). Gerald's father was a Naval Surgeon serving in Queen Victoria's fleet.

The 1881 census shows the family living in Dart Villas Totnes, and the 1891 census records the family living in Manor Bridgetown Berry Pomeroy. A further son has been born in 1890 and was named Thomas, a daughter also has been born in 1883 she was called Evelyn.

The 1901 census records Gerald, Evelyn and Thomas living with their mother at Milton House, Tundergarth in Dumfriesshire Scotland and Gerald is recorded as on loan to the 3rd Highland Light Infantry.

According to the 1911 census Gerald’s mother is living at Hazledene Worston, Yealmpton near Plymouth, and the only other member of the family at this address is Evelyn. I cannot find any link between this family and Ashburton, or why Gerald is recorded on the Ashburton Memorial.

According to the forces war records website Gerald was only entitled to the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, this indicates that he could not have been involved in the war until 1916, his Medal index card has not been filled in to show when he first entered a theatre of war either. Gerald enlisted in London, and died serving with the 5th Battalion Gordon Highlanders this was a Territorial Battalion, so I have listed the battles in which the 5th Battalion were involved in from 1916 to 1917.


The attacks on High Woods

The Battle of Ancre


The first and second Battles of the Scarpe

The Battle of Pilkem Ridge

The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge

The capture of Boulon Wood, part of the Cambrai Operation

Searching casualty lists for the Great War, I can confirm that Gerald was killed during the Battle of Arras, (The chemical Works) on the 16th May 1917, and Gerald is listed as Wounded later killed, and he was serving in A Company.

This is an extract from the 1st/5th Battalion Gordon Highlanders War Diary May 1917.

At dawn, the enemy attacked our front trenches N and S of the railway embankment, and at the same time placed a heavy barrage on the roads to the front line. The camp at H13b was shelled at the same time and the men were ordered to scatter along the embankment south of the road and north of the River Scarpe. An order was received at 04.15am ordering the battalion to move off at once to the OPPY LINE (H16d). The battalion moved off across country by platoons at 100yards distance, along an overland track parallel to the ARRAS-FAMPOUX road and about 300 yards north of it. The enemy was shelling the whole area with considerable violence, but with the exception of 15 men of D company who were hit at the railway H13b the battalion reached the OPPY LINE safely. On arrival a message was received from the 152 Inf Brigade, under whose orders we now came, to the effect that the German attack had succeeded in penetrating beyond the Chemical Works and through ROUX and that the battalion was to move up at once to counter attack along the north of the railway embankment, retake the station buildings and then push up to CUPID and CURLY trenches.

The events of 16th-17th May 1917 are described in "The Life of a Regiment" pp 148-149.

The 5th Gordon Highlanders, detached from the 153rd Brigade and put under command of the 152nd arrived on the scene and was ordered to counter attack to restore the situation at The Chemical Works and astride the railway. It was given no time to draw grenades or extra ammunition. Attacking wit extra-ordinary gallantry and fresh by comparison with most of the infantry of the Division, it regained all the ground lost as far as the North of the railway, including the Chemical Works, and shot down many Germons as they streamed back. At one moment it had recoiled in the face of a fierce barrage but had simply shaken out, waited for another chance, and gone forward again as soon as the fire slackened. This again was a feat worthy of remembrance in regimental annals.

The 5th Gordon’s had more work yet to do. North of the railway the British frontline (CUPID TRENCH) remained in German hands. The Gordon’s were ordered to retake it in conjunction with a Battalion of the 17th Division on their left. They had only a few minutes’ notice, but they rushed Cupid Trench. Unhappily, the Battalion of the 17th Division was too far away when the orders reached it and never got to the scene. This left the left flank of the Gordon’s open and they abandoned Cupid Trench.

The losses of the 5th were very high, 11 Officers, 4 killed and 7 wounded and over 200 other ranks, 38 killed, 179 wounded, and 19 missing.

Gerald is remembered on the Arras memorial, and his memorial reference is Bay 8 and 9.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the research above 



Private  David John Bowden, Devonshire Regiment, died 9 May 1915 aged 31. The son of Mrs. B Bowden, North Street                        

David was born in Ashburton in 1884 and his birth was registered in Newton Abbot in the 4th quarter of 1884. The 1891 census for Ashburton records the family living in North Street, with head of the family as David's father James. He is aged 40 and was born in Ashburton in 1851, and his occupation is a general labourer. David's mother Bessie, born Ashburton in 1853, is a lace weaver. William H Pascoe is a stepson living with the family and he was born in Ashburton in 1880. Clara A born in 1883 and David are all registered as scholars. Emmie born 1888 is aged three, and she was also born in Ashburton.

The family are still living in North Street on the 1901 census: James is still a general labourer, Bessie is a charwoman, David is employed as a mule minder in a woollen factory, and Emma aged 13 is a domestic servant. Three further children have been born in Ashburton since the 1891 census, James Thomas born 1892, Esther born 1894 and George born 1898.

In 1911 the family are still living in North Street, however Bessie is now head of the family and employed as a charwoman. David is a general labourer, Esther is a weaver and George is at school.

David enlisted into the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment in Newton Abbot sometime prior to 1915, and was given a service number of 3/7321. He served in C Company. David's Medal Index Card (MIC) shows that he landed in France on the 24th March 1915.

Prior to David arriving in France the 2nd Battalion had seen action at Neuve Chapelle between the 10th–14th March 1915 and casualties had been heavy. Between March and May reinforcements to replace the casualties taken at Neuve Chapelle started to arrive, but by the beginning of May they were still under strength. The battle which took place on the 9th May was planned to assist the French in attacks further south. The 23rd Brigade to which the 2nd Battalion Devon's was attached would support the assault.

A heavy bombardment began at 5am, the infantry assault began at 6am, and the 2nd Devon's were ordered forward to occupy trenches nearer the frontline. It seemed at first that all was going well, but by 7am heavy machine gun fire was brought to bear on the 1st Battalion Devon's. The 2nd Battalion remained unscathed and the attach now came to a halt because of the wounded, and because ammunition was low. The Devon's, when they reached the British frontline trenches found them choked with men from all units, but hardly any officers. A fresh bombardment was ordered by British artillery but nothing could stop the accurate fire from the German machine guns.

Heavy losses were sustained, but the 2nd Battalion had got off lightly compared to other units. 67 men had been killed or were missing, and 167 wounded. The total casualties for the 8th Division were 4500 persons, and this was to cripple the division for several months.

David was a casualty of this attack on the 9th May 1915 when he was killed. He is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial, panel 3, and also on the Ashburton War Memorial.

David's mother was still living in North Street and was informed of his death. She would have been entitled to claim his 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research.


Private Sidney B Bowden, Devonshire Regiment, reported killed August 1915. Formerly of Ashburton, he was the youngest son of Mrs Parrish, 23, Bowden Hill, Newton Abbot

Western Times 31 August 1915 p2 col5

Private Sydney Bowden, Devonshire Regiment, died 10 March 1915. He was born in Ashburton

Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919

It seems likely that the two entries above in fact refer to the same person.

Sydney was born in Ashburton in 1896 and his birth would have been registered in Newton Abbot.* According to the 1901 census for Ashburton the family lived at Globe Arch, North Street, and the record shows the head of the family as Susan Bowden. She was born in Ashburton in 1829 and her occupation is a housekeeper. Mary E. is Susan's daughter and she was born in Ashburton in 1872: she is employed as a wool carder in a factory. Mary's eldest son is Reginald W. born 1891 in Ashburton, and he is a scholar. Sydney is aged 5 years old.

The 1911 census shows Sydney as a lodger living at 3, Rose Cottage, Woodland, Ashburton, and his occupation is a baker's apprentice. Sydney's mother is also at the same address and employed by the head of the family as a house keeper domestic. Sydney's mother has married since the last census and is now widowed. Her marital surname is Parish.

There is also an article in the Western Times which states that Sydney was the youngest son of Mrs. Parish of 23 Bowden Hill, Newton Abbot, but I cannot confirm this.

Sydney enlisted into the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment in Exeter during September to October 1914; he is a private with a service number of 11273. According to Sydney's medal index card (MIC) he landed in France on the 19th January 1915. He was killed in action on the 10th March 1915 at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle which took place 10th–14th March 1915.

Sydney is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial, panel 8 and 9; he is not on the Ashburton War Memorial. Sydney's mother would have been able to receive his 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

2nd Battalion Devon's; March 1915

The 2nd Battalion spent the first two months of 1915 in trenches at Neuve Eglise. It was a quiet time, but casualties were taken through snipers and handovers. During the first week of March the battalion went to the Forest of Nieppe for a rest prior to the spring offensive in which they were to take part. By the end of February 1915, nine British divisions and two Indian divisions along with some territorial battalions were prepared for the intended battle.

The 2nd Devon's battleground was to be in the area of Neuve Chapelle, near the moated grange, and from this point they advanced to the assembly point at midnight on the 9th March 1915. The 2nd Devon's were to support an assault by the 2nd Middlesex and 2nd Scottish Rifles, and at 0730 the artillery bombardment began. However it did not achieve the aim of destroying the barbed wire entanglement in front of the advancing troops.

The Scottish Rifles began their attack at 8am, and advancing bravely into the ferocious fire they took heavy losses. The German bombardment of artillery was heavy, and communication lines were cut as soon as they were laid. By now Sydney had become another casualty of war, and as the battle carried on more casualties were taken. The Battle of Neuve Chapelle on the first day promised much but in the end achieved very little. 

A village was destroyed and a strip of ground three miles long and one mile deep was won. However it cost 12,000 British and Indians killed, wounded and missing. The 2nd Devon's had 9 officers and 274 soldiers listed as killed, wounded, or missing believed killed.

Extracts from: The Bloody Eleventh Vol 3, WJP Aggett.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research.

* Sidney Bertrand Bowden's birth was registered in the December quarter of 1895 in Newton Abbot



Private George John Bray, Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment), formerly Welsh Regiment, died 28 April 1918. Residence Moretonhampstead, but born Ashburton

Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919

Member of the Constitutional Club, commemorated on memorial in the club

Western Times 11 August 1922 p5 col2

George was born in the second quarter of 1890 in Ashburton and his birth was registered in Newton Abbot. The 1901 census for Ashburton records the family living at Screeches Hill, Ashburton. There is George's father, Thomas, born 1866 in Manaton, and his occupation is recorded as a blacksmith. His wife Bessie, born in Ashburton in 1872 is at home tending the family.

Also living at Screeches Hill are their 3 children George, William, born Ashburton in 1893 and Richard, born Ashburton in 1900. Also residing with the family is Elizabeth Dunstan, born in Redruth Cornwall in 1835, and she is recorded as the mother-in-law.

The 1911 census shows the family still at Screeches Hill. Thomas is still a blacksmith, Bessie is still at home, George aged 20 is employed as a hotel waiter, and Richard is at school. A further two children have been born since the 1901 census, these being Bessie born 1913 and John born 1907. William, who was on the 1901 census, does not appear on the 1911 census.

There are no attestation papers available, but George's Medal Index Card has survived,

and this shows he must have entered his first theatre of war in 1916. George married Louisa E Edwards in 1915, and his marriage is registered in Newton Abbot.

George is recorded as living in Moretonhampstead when he enlisted in Newton Abbot into the Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment); he enlisted into the 2nd Battalion with service No. 32747, and he had formerly been enlisted in the Welsh Regiment with the service No. 50875

The 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment was part of the 75th Brigade, of the 25th Division when George joined them in France and Flanders. In 1916 his Battalion was involved in the German attach on Vimy Ridge, the Battles of Albert, Bazentine, Poziers and the Battle of Ancre Heights. In 1917 his Battalion was once again in action at the Battle of Messines and Pilkern. 1918 saw the Battalion involved at the Battle of St Quentin, and the 1st Battle of Bapaume.

George was killed in action on the 28th April 1918, during one of the above actions, and he is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, panel 92-93 and 162A. He would have been entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal, and if claimed would have been sent to either his father or wife. George John's wife, Louisa Emma Bray was residing at Elm Cottage, Shinfield, Reading, in Berkshire

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research.



William John Bray

William was born in Ashburton around 1876; I cannot confirm any other family details as no 1901 census or earlier could be traced. In 1909 William married Emma Hamlyn, and the marriage was registered in Newton Abbot in the last quarter of 1909.

According to the 1911 census William and Emma, who was born in Ashburton in 1878, were living at 8 Bridge Cottages, Exeter; they have a son called William Aaron Sidney George born in Exeter in 1911. William is recorded as a private soldier in the Devon Regiment on the census.

William had enlisted into the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment in Exeter around about 1894; he was a private and his service number was 3984. According to medal rolls William qualified for the Queen's South Africa Medal for service in the Boer War; he saw action at, and received clasps to his medal for Transvaal, Elandsgate, Tugela Heights and the Relief of Ladysmith.

The 1st Battalion was stationed in Jersey when war broke out; the Battalion was under strength, but hastily prepared for action in France. They landed at Le Havre on the 21st August 1914, and initially the battalion was tasked with the chores of moving ammunition and stores from dock head to railhead. On the 11th September 1914 the battalion began to march across the Marne battlefield, covering 17 miles each day in full equipment. The battalion's task was to replace the 1st Gordon's. On the 18th September the Devons moved into the line to stiffen up the dangerously thin area between the Royal Irish and the Royal Scots. It was a poor position with very little protection from fire.

On the 22nd October 1914 the Devons withdrew from Canteleux to Givenchy and set to work to improve their new line in hard ground with inadequate digging tools. Two companies were north and south of the tracks leading to Canteleux with A and D companies in support behind the village. There was a great value placed on holding Givenchy, because if it was lost there would be a divide between the French and British forces.

The enemy were shelling continuously and there was no time to dig communication trenches. Water, rations and reinforcements during daylight were impossible, with runner after runner shot down in the fire swept zone behind the trenches.

On the 25th October 1914 the pressure through infantry assaults was intense. The French had to give ground and the battalion's right flank became exposed. The casualties mounted, the last of the B Companies' officers was killed, and an officer carrying a message to the Duke of Wellington's stating that they were not going to retire was shot dead. It was during these days' actions that William was killed in action.

He is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial, and also on Ashburton War Memorial. William's wife Emma Bray was informed of his death; she was living at Hannaford's Court, East Street, Ashburton. She would have been able to claim William's war medals, which would have been the 1914 Star and clasp, the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research.


George Broughton.

Member of the Constitutional Club, commemorated on memorial in the club

Western Times 11 August 1922 p5 col2  


Coventry George Warrington Carew.

Major Coventry George Warrington Carew, Dorsetshire Regiment, died 20 November 1916, aged 45. The son of the late Rev. W Carew; husband of Mary Jane Carew, of "Rocklands", Vicarage Rd., Chelston, Torquay.

In 1911 Coventry George Warrington Carew was living with his wife Mary Jane at Greylands, East St.

1911 census, RG14; Piece: 12728; Schedule Number: 66.

Probably equals George G W Carew, member of the Constitutional Club, commemorated on memorial in the club

Western Times 11 August 1922 p5 col2

Coventry was born in Clatworthy, Somerset, and his birth was registered in the 1st quarter of 1870.

The 1871 census shows 31 year old Mary A Carew heading a household in Dawlish. She has three daughters and one son: George C 'M' Carew, born in Clatworthy, Somerset.

1871 census RG10, piece no. 2072, folio 31, p28

Many thanks to Barbara Grayson for pointing out this record.

By 1881 Coventry G W Carew is back at Clatworthy, where his father, John W Carew, is rector.

1881 census, RG11, piece no. 2357, folio 95, p1

The 1891 census shows the family still living in the Rectory in Clatworthy, Somerset.There are 5 daughters, Florence, Ida, Beatrice, Mabel and Nester, and 3 sons, Coventry, Gerald and Gwyn.

In 1891 Coventry married Mary Jane Tomlin (born 1854 in Bishops Hull, Somerset) and the marriage was registered in Newton Abbot. There is a record of Mr and Mrs Carew departing Liverpool on the 28th April 1891 on the Carthaginian, a passenger ship of 2755 tons, belonging to the Allan Line, bound for Halifax in Canada. 

Assumption must prevail next, because according to the 1911 census for Ashburton Mr and Mrs Carew were residing at Greylands in East St, Ashburton, and three girls had been born in Rosean Dominica, West Indies: Gwillin May Warrington born 1893, Ida Dorothy Warrington born 1894 and Laura Jennifred Warrington born 1897. I believe that Coventry and his wife, either after leaving Halifax were located in the West Indies, or came back to england and then went to the West Indies before their eldest child was born.

A further record shows Mr and Mrs Carew departing Southampton on the ship PARA on the 3rd October 1900. The reocrd shows that Mr and Mrs Carew had with them 3 other passengers named Carew; however there are no Christian names entered, and it states that there were 2 males and 1 female.

According to the 1911 census the occupation of Coventry is a Planter of lime and cocoa in Dominica, there are no records of Coventry returning to Dominica. 

There is a possibility that any time after 1911 Coventry enlisted into the armed forces, especially as his rank on his Medal Index Card is recorded as Major in the 1st Dorsetshire Regiment. He would have needed to have undertaken officer training, and to acquire the rank of Major would have taken a couple of years at best. As Coventry was not awarded the 1914 or 1914-15 star he was not involved in the war until 1916, and this bears out with him only being issued the British War medal and Victory medal. 

The Medal Index Card records when a soldier first enters a theatre of war, and the location: Coventry entered France on the 2nd August 1916. The war diaries shed no light on when or where Coventry was killed, however he served in the 7th Battalion Dorset Regt and was attached to othe 1st Battalion Dorset Regt.

In 1916 the 1st Battalion Dorsets were involved in the Battle of Delville Woods and the Battle of Fleurs-Coucelette; Coventry died of wounds received in combat on the 20th November 1916, aged 45. He is remembered on the Theipval Memorial, reference pier and face 7B. Coventry was the son of the late Reverend W Carew and Mrs Mary J Carew of Rocklands, Vicarage Road, Chelston, Torquay.

Coventry's wife applied for her late husband's medals on the 19th January 1922, and she was residing at 1 Redcliffe

Gardens, Southsea, Hampshire.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the research above 


Captain John Charles Ashford Caunter

John was born in Radyr, Glamorganshire in 1897, and was baptised on the 11th July 1897. His parents were James Eales born 1859 in India, a serving officer in the Army, and Kate, born 1866 in Alnwick, Northumberland.

Apart from John there are two daughters, Grace born 1891 and Katherine born 1892, both in Bermuda. The 1901 census for Frimley in Surrey shows the family living at 6 Terrace, Frimley, York Town, Surrey, with James serving as a Major in the Lancashire Regiment and Kate caring for the family.

I can find no further census records for John, or indeed the family as a whole, probably due to the family moving around with their father on drafts abroad. I have received from the National Archives a folder of 39 pages of information on John, some useful with regards to dates etc., but mostly they relate to his death.

John's records show that he was serving from 23rd December 1914, and he was in the 1st Battalion Welsh Regiment. I believe at this point he was a 2nd Lieutenant. The 1st Welsh Regiment was part of the 28th Division, and in January 1915 they were moved to the Western Front. John was promoted to Lieutenant, and his promotion appeared in the London Gazette on the 23rd June 1915.

John did not join his Regiment until the 8th October 1915, and a week later the 28th Division embarked at Marseilles for Alexandria. They left on the HMT Shropshire arriving on the 30th October 1915. On the 21st November 1915 the Battalion embarked on HMT Manitou bound for Salonika, and they disembarked there on the 25th November 1915. The Division had very little to do on arriving as the expedition arrived too late to assist the Greeks. There was an action at Lake Dorian which British elements were involved in; after this there was only an occasional air raid on Salonika.

During 1916 the British Salonika Force spent months digging trenches and laying barbed wire defences and by the summer of 1916 the British forces had been reinforced by Russian, Serbian and Italian forces. The British Salonika force was involved in the following actions during 1916:

The occupation of Mazirko (2nd Oct)

The capture of Karajakois (30th Sept–2nd Oct)

The capture of Yenikoi (3rd–4th Oct)

The battle of Tumbitza (17th November–7th December)

John transferred to the Royal Flying Corp on the 26th November 1916, when he embarked on the HMT Kingstonian bound for Egypt, arriving at Alexandria on the 29th November 1916. On the 3rd December 1916 John joined the 20th Reserve Squadron RFC and attended the No 3 school of Aeronautics at Aboukir.

On the 16th March 1917 John embarked at Alexandria bound for the UK. Records are vague now as to when or how John arrived in France, but medical records show John being admitted to hospitals in France during March, April, May and October 1917. There is evidence that John served in the 60th Squadron and also the 56th Squadron; I can find no clarification on whether John had qualified as a Pilot or Observer, but records do state that he received flying pay.

John was killed in the field on Passchendale Ridge in Flanders on the 28th October 1917, during the battle of Passchendale.

John is remembered on the Arras Flying Service Memorial, and also on the Ashburton Memorial. I can find no direct link with John or his family living in Ashburton;* John's parents were living at Elm Bank, St Mary Church when he died. John's father had been a serving officer since the late 1880s, and had served in the Boer War and during the 1st World War, holding the rank of Brigadier General.

John's British War Medal and Victory Medal were claimed by his parents.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research.

*When John's father, James Eales Caunter, died in 1937, he was described as the son of the late J E Caunter of Waye, Ashburton.

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 5 November 1937 p15 col3


2nd Lieutenant Richard Lawrence Luscombe Caunter

On Ashburton war memorial.

Richard was born in Axbridge in Somerset, and his birth was registered in the 3rd quarter of 1891.

His father was Richard Lawrence (born 1860 in Liskeard, Cornwall) and his mother Wilhelmina Johanna (born 1866 in Leith Scotland).

The 1891 census records the family, including their eldest son, John Alan Lyde (born 1890 in Banwell, Somerset)living in Eversleigh, Rodwell, Banwell Somerset, and the father is engaged as a medical practitioner. I cannot find a record of where the family were living in 1901, but they appear on the 1911 census as living in London. The father is still a general practitioner, mother is at home and Richard is an agricultural student. John the eldest son does not appear to be living at home. There appears to be no service record which would show where and when Richard enlisted, but reading through his Medal Index Card it is clear he was 15 star when he died, and his medal card has his first theatre of war in which he served as Gallipoli, and the date of entry as August 1915.

Looking through records of the 7th Battalion Gloucester Regiment, they were raised at Bristol in August 1914 as part of Kitchener's First New Army and they joined the 39th Bridgade, 13th Division which assembled on Salisbury Plain. I believe that Richard was probably a part of this formation. They moved to Tidworth, and spent the winter in Basingstoke. They moved to Aldershot in February for final training, and sailed from Avonmouth on the 19th June 1915, landing at Alexandra first then moving on to Mudros by the 4th July to prepare for a landing at Gallipoli. The Infantry landed on Cape Helles between the 6th and the 16th July to relieve the 29th Division. They returned to Mudros at the end of the month, and the entire division landed at Anzac Cove between the 3rd and 5th August 1915. They were in action in the Battle of Sari Bair, the Battle of Russell's Top, and the Battle of Hill 60, at Anzac. Soon afterwards they transferred from Anzac to Sulva Bay. They moved from Sulva Bay to a rest camp for a week's rest, and then moved to the Helles bridgehead. they were in action during the Turkish attack on Hellas on the 7th January 1916.

The Division was then transferred to Egypt and took over the defence of the Suez Canal. On the 12th February 1916 they were moved to Mesopotamia to join the force being assembled near Sheikh Sa'ad for the relief of the besieged garrison at Kut al Amara. They joined the Tigris Corps on the 27th March and were in action in the unsuccessful attempts to relieve Kut. They were in action in the Battle of Kut al Amara, the Hai Salient, the Capture of Dahra Bend and the Passage of the Diyala in the pursuit of the enemy towards Baghdad, and it was during this period that Richard was wounded at Pointed Ruin South of Kut on the 14th December 1916, and died in hospital on the 18th December 1916. He is buried in the Amara War Cemetery, marker XV. D7

There are notations on Richard's Medal Index Card which state that his mother claimed his medals, and that she was living at the Priory, Kingswear, Devon. I cannot form a link with Richard and Ashburton. *

Note: Richard's brother also served in the Army from 1909 to the end of the Second World War. He served in the 1WW in the 1st Battalion Gloucester Regiment and in 1915 was awarded the Military Cross, and he also received a bar to his Military Cross in 1918. He was captured by the Germans during the First World War, and managed to escape. He wrote several books and was a noted artist with works in National Trust properties. He attained the rank of Brigadier and died in 1981.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research

* Richard's father, Richard Lawrence Caunter, is probably the Richard L Caunter who is 7 months old in the 1861 census for Liskeard.

The Cornwall Online Census Project shows Richard L to be the son of Henry Caunter, a 28 year old solicitor born in Ashburton. It seems highly likely both that this is the correct Richard L, and that Henry was connected to the Caunter family featured in the People and properties sub-menu.

1861 census, Lower Dean, Liskeard, Enumeration District 9, Folio 103, page 41 - Accessed 11-12-2013



 Lt Evelyn Anthony Cave Penney, Queen's Own Regiment of Guides, died 8 June 1918, aged 19. The son of the late Mr Frank Cave Penney, Torquay, and Mrs Cave Penney, Rogue's Roost, near Ashburton.

Western Times 22 June 1918 p3 col4

Evelyn was born in Exeter in the 4th quarter of 1882 to parents Frank and Amelia. The 1901 census for St Thomas Exeter shows the family living in Heavitree.

Head of the family is Frank who was born about 1863 in Parkstone, Dorset: his recorded occupation is a bank manager. Amelia, Evelyn's mother, was born in Southampton about 1870.

The 1911 census for Great Stanmore in Middlesex shows Evelyn residing as a boarder in The Homestead, Stanmore, which is the residence of Mr William Nichols, an assistant schoolmaster at Stanmore Park, where Evelyn was being tutored.

A quote from the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 18th November 1916 states that Evelyn had passed out of Wellington College, Madras Presidency, and had been attached to the Queen's Own Guides. It also states that he was not yet 18 years old.

The Queen's Own Corps of Guides was the brainchild of Sir Henry Lawrence when it was founded in 1846, and formed by Lt Harry Lumsden. It originally consisted of one troop of cavalry and two companies of infantry, and they went on to be a formidable force in action throughout India during the late 1800s.

A company of Guides infantry had been attached to the 57th Wildes Rifles in France in 1914, and when the Great War started the Guides were on the frontier until November 1917. They then left to join the 11th Indian Cavalry Brigade in Mesopotamia, and saw action at Sharquat and Bagdadi.  Evelyn went to war with the Guides on April 14th 1917. The infantry also served in Egypt and Palestine, and it was during his time in Palestine that Evelyn died on the 8th June 1918. He was leading his troops into battle when he was shot by a sniper, and he is buried in the Ramleh War Cemetery. 

Note. At 1300 feet on Corndon Hill on Dartmoor stands a cross firmly fixed to a large boulder. This is known as the Cave Penney Memorial, grid reference 684739, or Sherwell Cross. This monument was erected in recognition of the sacrifice given by Evelyn Cave Penney in the 1st World War. Rogues Roost, where Evelyn's mother Amelia was living at the time of his death is about 1 mile NNW of the memorial, and is clearly marked on the ordinance survey map sheet OL28.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research


Private S Chivell reported killed April 1915. The only son of Mr and Mrs Chivell, North Street.

Western Times 6 April 1915 p2 col1

Probably equals Private Simon Chivall, Devonshire Regiment, died 10 March 1915

Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919

Simon Garfield Chivall

Simon Garfield was born in Buckfastleigh, Devon in 1895 and his birth was registered in Totnes in the third quarter of 1895. The 1901 census for East Buckfastleigh records the family living in Jordan Street, with head of family Simon aged 37. He was born in Plymouth, and his occupation is recorded as that of an engine driver (stationary).

Mother to the family is Elizabeth, born in Plymouth in 1862; she is tending the family. There is a daughter called Evelyn and she was born in Buckfastleigh in 1898. The 1911 census shows that the family have moved to North Street, Ashburton, and the father is now employed as a tin miner above ground. Simon Garfield is in the baking trade, and Evelyn aged 13 is employed as a wool sorter. A further daughter has been born and she is called Hilda. She is at school.

Simon Garfield enlisted into the Devonshire Regiment in Exeter, and his service number was 9561, which would indicate that he enlisted at some time in 1912. His first battalion was the 1st Devon's. According to Simon's Medal Index Card (MIC) he first entered a war situation on the 22nd August when he landed at Le Havre with the 1st Devonshire Regiment. They became an integral part of the 8th Brigade 3rd Division, and their role initially was to be responsible for the lines of communication. This involved shifting many tons fo stores and ammunition from the dock head to the railhead.

Simon's MIC shows that throughout his service he only served in the 1st Devonshire Regiment; however the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records that he was in the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment when he died. If he was in the 2nd Battalion then it is more than likely that he died during the battle of Neuve Chappelle between the 10th and the 14th March 1915.

On the other hand, if he was in the 1st Battalion it is possible that he was one of the numerous casualties of sickness that the battalion had between November 1914 and March 1915. Simon died on the 10th March 1915 and is remembered on the memorial at Le Touret, panel 8 and 9; he is also remembered on Ashburton War Memorial. Simon was awarded the 1914 Star and clasp, the British War Medal and Victory Medal, all of which his parents would have been able to claim.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research


J Coaker, Devonshire Regiment, reported killed November 1916

Western Times 25 November 1916 p2 col5

Probably equals John Coaker, Devonshire Regiment, died 6 September 1916. Birth place and residence Holme (sic)

Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 

John Coaker

John was born in Holne near Ashburton about 1891 and his birth was registered in Totnes. The 1901 census records the family living in Mount Cottage in Holne, and head of the family is George. He was born in Lydford in 1855 and is a road contractor; John's mother is Elizabeth Ann, who was born in Holne in 1856.

There are four further sons and two daughters recorded on the census: George Edward born 1878 in Lancaster, who works in a woollen factory; Mary Ellen born 1884 in Holne, also employed in a woollen factory; William born 1886 in Holne is a farm labourer; Samuel born 1893; Thomas born 1895 and Emily born 1900, all in Holne.

The 1911 census shows the family at the same address, and the only family members still living there are George, Elizabeth Ann, George E., John and Samuel, who are all workers, and Emily, who is at school.

John enlisted into the 9th (Service) Battalion Devonshire Regiment in Newton Abbot in 1916, and he was given a service number of 20652. He was killed in action on the 6th September 1916 whilst serving with the 9th Battalion in France and Flanders; unfortunately John's medal index card does not record when he entered the war in France. John is remembered at Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, and also on the memorial in Holne.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research


Sidney I F Cole

Member of the Constitutional Club, commemorated on memorial in the club

Western Times 11 August 1922 p5 col2


 Private William James Collins, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, died 24 November 1916, aged 27. The son of Samuel and Eliza Collins, of Roborough Cottages, Ashburton, Devon.

William was born about 1889 in Clyst St Mary, Devon. A 1911 census for Sharpham, Totnes, Ashprington records Wiliam as a servant, groom domestic. He enlisted in Bridgend where he resided, into the 10th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. His service number was 54843 and he was a private.

The 10th Battalion was formed on the 16th September 1914, and were mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne on the 27th September 1915. On the 15th October 1915 they transferred to the 76th Brigade of the 3rd Division, and engaged in various actions on the Western Front. These included, during 1916, the action of the Bluff and St Eloi Craters, the Battle of Albert, the Battle of Bazentin, the Battle of Delville Wood and the Battle of the Ancre.

William died on the 24th November 1916, possibly as a result of wounds received during the Battle of Ancre, which was a final phase of the battle of the Somme. He is remembered at Etaples Military Cemetery and also on Ashburton War Memorial.

William's parents, Samuel and Elizabeth, were living in Roborough Cottages Ashburton at the time of William's death.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research.


Able Seaman Bertram Cecil Cowls, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, died 24 February 1918, aged 24. The son of David Foale Cowls and Mary Harnet Cowls, of Ashburton, Devon.

Member of the Constitutional Club, commemorated on memorial in the club

Western Times 11 August 1922 p5 col2 

Bertram was born in Ashprington near Totnes on the 11th February 1895 and his birth was registered in Totnes. His father David, born 1859,was recorded on the 1891 census as a butcher, and his mother Harriet, born 1863, had no occupation

The 1901 census shows the family living at Bow, Ashprington and the parents had 5 sons: David (the father) is recorded as a butcher, his wife was at home looking after the sons who were all under 13.

The family moved to Ashburton and are recorded on the 1911 census as residing at 22 East Street, Ashburton. Bertram's father has now passed away, and the mother is registered as the head of the family. Her recorded occupation is butcher. Sidney, born 1889, the eldest son, is a butcher's assistant; Frederick, born 1892 is a fitter in an iron foundry; Bertram is a butcher's assistant and Harvey, born 1900 is at school along with two more sons who have been born since the 1901 census, these being Leslie born 1902 and Harry born 1906.

Bertram joined the Army Reserve on the 25th November 1915, and entered service on the 21st August 1916. He was drafted to the British Expeditionary Force on the 4th December 1916 where he joined Nelson Battalion Royal Naval Division between 12th December 1916 and the 1st April 1917. Bertram was an Able Seaman in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and his service No was R/67. He  suffered with an ulcerated left foot and was invalided to England on the 13th April 1917, and then returned to Nelson Battalion on the 11th August 1917.

Bertram was wounded in action on the Western Front and he died in the 47th General Hospital of wounds received. He is remembered at the Mount Huon Cemetery Lu Treport, France: the location of the grave is 5./E./4.b.

Bertram's family would have received his British War Medal and Victory Medal. Bertram's elder brother Frederick also died during the First World War, and is  remembered on the Ashburton Memorial.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the research above.


Act E.R.A. 4th Frederick John Cowls, R N, born Totnes, February 2 1892. Died 16th April 1917. In Ashburton Churchyard. Mother Harriett (presumably Cowls), 22 East Street, Ashburton.

Member of the Constitutional Club, commemorated on memorial in the club

Western Times 11 August 1922 p5 col2

Frederick was born in Ashprington on the 2nd February 1892, and his birth was recorded in Totnes in the 2nd quarter of 1892. On the 1901 census for Ashprington the family are living in Bow, Ashprington; David Foale Cowls is the head of the family and his occupation is a butcher. He was born in Blackawton in 1859.

Harriet  born 1863 in Staverton is David's wife, and between them they have five sons: Sydney born 1889, Frederick born 1892, Bertram born 1895, David born 1897 and Harvey born 1900, all born in Ashprington. The 1911 census for Ashburton records the family living at 22 East Street Ashburton; David Foale had died in 1908 and Mary Harriet is now head of the family. Sydney is employed as a butcher's assistant, Frederick is a fitter in an iron foundry,  Bertram is a butcher's assistant, and Harvey, Leslie born 1902 and Harry born 1906 are at school.

Frederick must have joined the Royal Navy late 1915 or early 1916 as he did not qualify for the 1914/15 star; he was serving on HMS Submarine C16 when he died on the 16th April 1917. His service No was M11220 (Dev) and he was an engine room artificer 4th class.

C16 was built by Vickers of Barrow in Furness and was laid down on the 14th December 1906 and launched on the 19th March 1908; she was commissioned on the 5th June 1908, and had a length of 143 feet. She displaced approximately 300 tons and had a surface speed of 12 knots and a submerged speed of 7 knots. She operated with a crew of sixteen, and was fitted with two 18" torpedo tubes.

C16 had been previously sunk in a collision with C17, another submarine, south of Cromer on the 14th July 1909: there was only one survivor, and C16 was salvaged and re-commissioned.

On the day Frederick was killed, 16th April 1917, C16 was rammed at periscope depth by the destroyer Melampus off Harwich. The boat bottomed out at 60 feet. The 1st Lieutenant was fired out of a torpedo tube to escape but unfortunately drowned. The Captain, Lieutenant H Boase tried to flood the boat to enable the crew to escape, but this failed and the whole crew were trapped and perished.

The escape attempt had been recorded by the Captain, and was found in a corked bottle lying near him when the boat was salvaged. C16 was salvaged and re-commissioned and was finally sold in August 1922.

Melampus was a Medea class destroyer laid down for the Greek Navy by Fairfield shipbuilders in Govan in 1914; she joined the Royal Navy as HMS Melampus on the 29th June 1915.

Frederick's mother Harriet was notified of his death, and she would have been entitled to claim his British War Medal and Victory Medal. Frederick is buried in Ashburton Church Graveyard on the East side, and is remembered on the Ashburton Memorial.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research

Left: C16 on the left in Torquay harbour

Photograph supplied by Bob Shemeld


2nd Lieutenant William Ronald Morley Crossman

William Crossman was born on Holy Island in Northumberland on the 6th September 1894 and his birth was registered in Berwick in the last quarter of that year. William's father was Major Lawrence Morley Crossman JP, Lord of the Manor on Holy Island; he died in 1908. 

The Crossman family had resided in the area for many years, and one particular house on the estate was Cheswick House, a Victorian gothic mansion built in 1859 for Robert Crossman (1803 - 1883), owner of the Berwick brewery Mann, Crossman and Paulin, and the Cheswick and Holy Island Estates. His eldest son William Crossman (1830 - 1901) undertook an illustrious career in the army prior to moving to Cheswick.

On his retirement and succession to the Cheswick properties he took a major part in activities in Northumberland. He was a JP and Alderman of the County Council, and as a keen archaeologist he undertook major excavations at Holy Island Priory. The estate passed to Sir William's second son Lawrence Morley Crossman (William's father) in 1901, then to Major General Francis Morley, then to Colonel Humphrey Crossman. Born in 1924, he served in the Royal Artillery until his retirement in 1970. Would William ever have been in line to inherit?

The 1901 census for Berwick shows William and his mother living at 1 Goswick Ancroft Brockmill Northumberland; William's mother was called Frances A and she was born in 1861 in Northumberland. The 1911 census shows William as a student in Crowthorne in Berkshire. William was educated in Lyndhurst, Wellington College and the Royal Military College Sandhurst; he was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 25th February 1914. William saw action with the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders and was sadly killed in action at Veldhock on the 2nd November 1914.

The 2nd Battalion KRRC were at Blackdown with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division when war broke out in August 1914. They proceeded to France, landing at Le Havre on the 13th August 1914 and fought on the western front throughout the war. They took part in most of the major actions including the Battle of Mons and the retreat, the Battle of Marne and Aisne and the 1st Battle of Ypres; this is most likely the battle in which William died, on the 2nd November 1914 aged 20 years old.

William is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial; he was entitled to the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

I can find no link with William or his family with Ashburton; however he is remembered on Ashburton Memorial.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research.


 Captain Richard Long Dawson, Coldstream Guards, died 20 November 1914. The only son of the late Hon R Dawson and Mrs Dawson, Holne Park.

Western Times 27 November 1914 p10 col1  

Richard was born on the 23rd June 1879 in Westminster, London, and his birth was registered in the 3rd quarter of that year. On the 25th July 1879 he was baptised in the parish of All Saints, Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge, London. Richard was the grandson of the 1st Earl of Dartrey.
The 1881 census for London records the family at 57 Rutland Gate, London, with head of the family The Honourable Richard Dawson (father) born in Ireland in 1845. His wife was called Jane E., and she was born in Lewisham in 18147. Richard Long was their only child.
The 1891 census records Richard Long with his parents at Higher Runnaford Coombe in Holne. The 1911 census for 6, Lennox Gardens, Chelsea, London, shows Richard Long aged 31 and single as a captain in the reserve of officers of the Coldstream Guards. A transcript of Richard Long's career shows that he was educated at Eton between January 1893 and April 1895, and that he was then gazetted as a 2nd lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards in 1898. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1899.
He served during the Boer War in South Africa, and was involved in operations in the Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Diamond Hill; he received the Queen's South Africa Medal with 4 clasps and the King's South Africa Medal with 2 clasps. Promoted to captain in 1907, he transferred to the reserve of officers in 1911.
At the outbreak of the First World War Richard Long was mobilised as a captain in the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards in August 1914, and was sent to France. Richard received a posthumous Mention in Dispatches on the 17th February 1915.

Richard was killed in action on the 20th November 1914 whilst serving with the 3rd Coldstream Guards at Zillebeke during the first battle of Ypres. On the 18th November 1914 the 3rd Coldstream Guards relieved their sister battalion in the line, and remained there under the usual intense artillery barrage until the 20th November 1914. On that day 10 men were wounded and four were killed when a high explosive shell exploded about 50 yards from Captain Dawson, and he was killed outright by the blast.
Richard is remembered at Zillebeke Churchyard and also on the memorial at Holne. His father was living at Holne Park Ashburton when he applied for Richard's 1914 star in 1918.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research.



 E J Derges*, Somerset Light Infantry, died as prisoner of war in Germany, reported 11 December 1918

Edward James Dergis, Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry), formerly Devonshire Regiment,  died 27 June 1918

*Western Times 11 December 1918 p2 col5

Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919

Edward was born in Holne near Ashburton in 1886 and his birth was registered in Newton Abbot in the 2nd quarter of 1886. The 1901 census records the family living in Holne Village, with head of the family as John. he was born in 1843 in Holne and his occupation was a domestic gardener. Maria born 1880 in Holne is John's wife; she is recorded as a general domestic servant. Their only child is Edward.

Edward married Ellen Willis, born 1886 in Plymouth. Their marriage was registered in Totnes in the 2nd quarter of 1910.

The 1911 census shows the family still living in Holne. John is still the head of the household and is still employed as a domestic gardener. Edward and his wife Ellen live with his father, and Edward is a domestic gardener. Ellen has no occupation.

Edward enlisted into the 6th Battalion Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry) as a private with a serial number of 27449; he had previously served in the Devon Regiment with a service number of 26532.

The 6th (Service) Battalion which formed in 1914 at Taunton came under the command of the 43rd Brigade (Light) Division, and on the 18th June 1918 transferred to the 16th Division and returned to England for reconstruction on the 20th June 1918, by absorbing the 13th Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. On the 1st August 1918 they landed at Boulogne.

Edward was killed in action whilst serving in France and Flanders on the 27th June 1918; he is remembered in the Berlin South Western Cemetery, and also on the memorial in Holne.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research.


John Henry Dunn

John was born in Holne near Ashburton about 1895 and his birth was registered in Totnes. The 1901 census records the family living at Wotton Cottage in Holne, and head of the family is John, born 1852 in Holne. His occupation is agricultural labourer.

John's mother Elizabeth was born in Holne in 1861. His sister Anna was born in 1882, also in Holne. The 1911 census for Holne shows John living with his brother-in-law and sister: John is aged 16 and is working on his brother-in-law's farm.

John enlisted into the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment in Totnes. His service number was 16470 and he was a private. He entered France with the battalion on the 1st October 1915 and would have been present with the battalion during the battle of the Somme in July 1916, in the Givenchy region. John was killed in action on the 25th September 1916, the same day that Charles Henry Manning was presumed dead during the battle.

John is remembered on the memorial at Thiepval, pier and face 1c. He is also on the war memorial at Holne.

Many thanks to Bob Shemeld for the above research.


 Alfred Eales

Alfred was born in Cornworthy in the parish of Totnes about 1892, and his birth was registered in Totnes in the 4th quarter of 1892. The 1901 census for Ugborough records Alfred aged 8 as a boarder at North Filham Ugborough, with the head of the household being Mr John Brooking, who is living there with his wife Selina.

The 1911 census shows Alfred living in Craig's Corner, Kingsbridge Lane, Ashburton, in the residence of William Thorne. Alfred is aged 18 and employed as a woollen mule pieces. He is also recorded as a cousin to the family.

Alfred enlisted into the Royal Garrison Artillery in Caerphilly, Wales, and his service number was 43158. During his service time he rose to the rank of Sergeant. I do not know when he enlisted or when he entered France to take part in the war.

The 91st Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, of which Alfred was a member, first entered France on the 25th May 1916 and were equipped with 9.2 inch Howitzers. The following is an extract from the History of the 91st Siege Battery RGA December 1915 to 11th November 1918 by W F Christian. It confirms how Alfred Eales died on the 12th October 1918.

'On July 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th (1918) only the usual concentrations were done owing to bad weather. 2nd Lieut. Dunn joined us on the latter date. 2nd Lieuts. Ainsley and Nightingale joined us about the same time.

On Oct 10th the Battery completes the move to Maretz and billeted....

The 12th Oct. was a very bad day for us. We had fired a few rounds at active batteries and a few 8" shells came back in return. Lieut. Ainsley, Sergeant Eales, Bombardier Newton, Gunner Graham and Gunner W. McCullough took refuge in a cellar under a house, together with its inhabitants, nine French civilians. A shell hit the house and the cellar collapsed, the ruins of the house falling into it. Lieut. Nightingale was the first to discover the calamity and he, with Bombadier Bradshaw and Gunner Fletcher were conspicuous amongst many in the rescue work which started at great personal risk before the shelling ceased. The moans and cries of suffocating children were heart rending and desperate efforts were made to reach them, but in spite of all that could be done it was seven hours before the last bodies were reached. All the civilians (were killed) except a little girl of 15, Marie Louise Lariche, who had a miraculous escape. The heroism of this child will live in the memories of all that witnessed it so long as they live. The bodies of her mother, brothers, sisters and grandparents were all removed before her eyes. She was pinned down in the debris, only her head being free.  She remained conscious all the time and gave most useful help to the rescue party in describing the details of the cellar and telling where the bodies lay. It was a scene of many painful deaths which I do not care to recall. Lieut. Ainsley, Sergeant Eales, Bombdier Newton and Gunner Graham were all killed; Gunner W. McCulloch was taken out alive and apparently only badly shaken, but died from concussion next day.

Thus only one survived out of the fourteen who were buried by the shell. The work of the rescue was exceedingly difficult as there was always the danger of the collapse of the small portion of the cellar which remained, and where Marie Louise was. The services of Lieut. Nightingale, Bombadier Bradshaw and Gunner Fletcher were suitably rewarded. The greatest regret was felt at the loss of Lieut. Ainsley and that of the five N.C.O.s and the men who were all members of the battery from its formation.'

 'History of the 91st (Siege) Battery, R.G.A. December, 1915 to 11 November, 1918', Major W F Christian, Tynemouth, 1920

Alfred is remembered in the Maurois Communal Cemetery, and also on Ashburton War Memorial.