The Rifle Volunteers, continued.
The following research has all been done by David Dycher, to whom many thanks. He welcomes any additional information - please contact the website (via the About Me page) if you can help.

Ashburton 1859


Hon Sec. TBD (To be determined)

Hon Treasurer. TBD

Finance Committee. TBD

Officers and NCOs:


HQ / Drill Station : 
  • Ashburton
    • Market Hall, Ashburton (1859 ~ TBD)
Armoury : 
  • TBD
Task : Where was the original Armoury placed ? There are no ref' on file with any detail on the Armoury 1860~1865. Explore further

Range :
  • TBD
Task : Where was the original range ? There are no refs on file wrt any detail on a range until the end of 1860. Explore further

Uniform : 
  • Dark grey with red and black braid on the cuffs, trousers and cap bound with red. 
  • The Corps had an early affectation where their uniform included a mauve plume. This was the source of some amusement. It is not known how long this lasted. 
  • Officers to wear a shoulder belt for distinction (1860 ~ TBD)
Task : How consistent was the initial uniform with Teignmouth and Torquay ?

Task : Did it initially have brunswick green facings, the same as Newton Abbot ?


        Are the Minute Books for the Corps still in existence ?

        Details of the original Ashburn Volunteers of 1804 ~ 1805 held at the Devon Heritage Centre.
        The Account Book for the 9th DRV for 1878 ~
1888 is held at the Devon Heritage Centre.

Meeting was called by W. Mann, the Portreeve, on the 3rd December with a view to establish a Corps in Ashburton. This was held at the Market Hall on the 5th December 1859.
Robert Coard Tucker proposed the first resolution that a Corps, or section of a Corps, should be raised at Ashburton. Initially it was considered that Ashburton may be a section of the Newton Abbot Corps. Tucker states that if they could form a section Newton would supply a Sgt to drill the section at Newton. The section would not be required to go to Newton except for Field Days and ball practice. He stated they would need around l.400 to raise the Corps. Uniforms estimates at 4l.6s.6d. Annual subscription was to be set at 10s. Subscriptions would be raised towards the uniforms but originally members were asked to contribute 30 ~50s. to the cost.

Task : Robert Tucker appears to have had early conversations with Newton ? With whom at Newton ? Explore further. 

Robert Coard Tucker was a local solicitor in the firm of Tucker and Sons and came from an established local family. At the time he and his wife Catherine with their young daughter, also Catherine, were living with his father, Robert, in East St. 

Robert Abraham, the seconder of the original proposal, first brings up the option of forming an independant Corps at Ashburton. He states that when the proposal was brought to him (by Tucker?) it was for a section of the Newton Corps. He supports omitting the NEwton connection and forming an independant Corps stating this is merely about l.s.d. but should not be taken lightly. He asks the meeting not to be too proud and to join Newton if sufficient funds can not be raised to form an independent Corps.

Robert Abraham_Robert Graham Abraham the Solicitor of 31 East St.

He suggests having Dean and Buckfastleigh join them. This strongly supported by W. R. Whiteway who deprecates the need to be second to Newton. 

W.R. Whiteway_William Rolestone Whiteway. The Maltster from Kinsbridge House, Kingsbridge Lane.

He offers to cover the cost of establishing the Corps at Ashburton if required. Very excitable throughout the meeting he is ultimately called to order by Robert Tucker. Although voicing his willingness to cover the costs of the Corps he is not thought to have ultimately subscribed. H. Foaden then proposes the amendment to form an independant Corps and this is seconded by Henry Maunder. 

H. Foaden_thought to be a typo in the original and that this should be John Foaden the Relieving Officer
Henry Maunder_Henry Maunder, farmer from Lower Whiddon.

However the meeting carried the motion to establish an independent Ashburton Corps. Edward Sawdye headed the subscription list to cover cost of uniforms etc. He opens a motion for subscription which is seconded by W.A. Cockey.

E. Sawdye_Edward Sawdye of the London Inn.
W.A. Cockey_William Cockey the Ashburton Coroner.

Capt Thomas Eales Rogers proposed a committee be raised to manage the subscriptions and this was seconded by Robert Tucker. 

Thomas Rogers was a retired Commander from Her Majesty's Indian Navy. He had served in India, the Persian Gulf, South China Sea and had been the Superintendent of Marine at Calcutta and Bengal. He had retired back to Ashburton in 1857 with his son Thomas and daughter Sarah. His second wife Sarah having died in Calcutta. He married locally for the third time when he married his cousin Mary Caunter, nee Eales, in 1859. At the time of the est'b of the Corps he and Mary, along with their extended family, were living in Waye House, Ashburton.

The initial committee was selected as : Capt Rogers, Robert George Abraham, Mr R. Tucker, Mr F.G. Amery, Mr. R.M. Bovey, Mr W.A. Cockey, Mr J. Addicott, Mr T. Maunder, Mr G. Langler, Mr H. Eddy, Mr W.R. Batten, Mr W. Mann, Mr J. Bowden.

F.G. Amery_thought to be a typo in the original and refers to Fabyan Amery
J. Addicott_James Addicott, a navy pensioner, then living with his wife Elizabeth at Rose Cottage, Ashburton.
T. Maunder_thought to be Thomas Maunder of Old Mill
G. Langler_George Langler the Sadler Master from North St.
H. Eddy_Henry Eddy see later
W.R. Batten_thought to be William Batten the Carrier Master of Kingsbridge Lane.
W. Mann_it is not known which William Mann this was.
J. Bowden_thought most likley to be John E. Bowden of North Cottage but this needs further exploration.

46 men enrolled for the Corps at this meeting. Following the meeting on the 5th, the committee for the 9th DRV met the following Wednesday (8th December) at "Angel's London Inn". By the end of the first week 80 men subscribed. Subscription was set at 10s.

The London Inn was on West Street. A 15th century coaching house it was ran by the Angel family at the time. The Landlords being John Angel and his wife Eliza. An early favourite with the Corps it fell out of favour quickly being replaced by the Golden Lion as a meeting place. It was to again become a centre point in 1864 first for Robert Bovey's testimonial and then the 4th Anniversary celebrations / AGM in the February.

James Port joined the Ashburton Corps as Drill Inst. on the 29th from the South Devon Militia. By the end of the month the officers were selected as :

Capt. Rogers 
Lieut. Robert Coard Tucker
Ensign William Coulton

Task : When / how were the officers selected ? Explore further.

Muskets were loaned by the South Devon Militia at the end of the month and the Corps starting to practice.

Ashburton 1860


Hon Sec. TBD

Hon Treasurer. TBD

Finance Committee. TBD

Officers and NCOs:

Capt - Thomas Eales Rogers

Lieut - Robert Coard Tucker

Ensign - William Richard Coulton

Chaplain - N/A

Drill Instructer - Sgt James Port

Qtr Master Sgt - Fabyan Amery?

Col Sgt - Henry Eddy

Sgts - John Hern

John Robert Philips

John (?) Hamlyn

Cpls - John Harding

James Forster

David Taylor

TBD Petherbridge

TBD Bunclark

Bugler/bandmaster - John Eddy

HQ / Drill Station : 
  • Ashburton
    • Market Hall, Ashburton (1859 ~ TBD)
Armoury : 
  • TBD
Task : Where was the original Armoury placed ? There are no refs on file with any detail on the Armoury 1860~1865. Elsewhere it was not uncommon for Police Stations etc to be utilized. Explore further
  • Armoury, Buckfastleigh
Task : There was an Armoury in Buckfastleigh in 1880 used by A Coy 5th Devon RV. Explore further.

  • Armoury, Station Road, Ashburton.
Task  : Before 1894. Explore further
  • Armoury, St. Lawrence Lane
DD note : St. Lawrence Lane used to be known as Station Road.

DD note : Kelly 1893 first ref for Station Road for A Coy, 5th VBDR later H Coy 5th Devons.

Range :
  • In July the Corps were holding ball practice in a field in Fursleigh
  • By the end of 1860 Ashburton had a 600 yard range a mile above the bridge near Buckfastleigh. 
Task : A range would have had to be identified before submitting to the Lord Lieut. Where was this ? Explore further

Task : Before the range could have been accepted it should have been inspected by an Inspector on behalf of the Secretary of State. Explore further

Uniform : 
  • No change
  1. Are the Minute Books for the Corps still in existence ?
  2. Details of the original Ashburton Volunteers of 1804 ~ 1805 held at the Devon Heritage Centre.
  3. The Account Book for the 9th DRV for 1878 ~ 1888 is held at the Devon Heritage Centre

1860 :

On the 4th January the Ashburton Corps hold their first instruction under their assigned Drill.Inst. Sgt. James Port. of the South Devon Militia. James Port was to be the first drill instructor at Ashburton, it is not known what the initial drill schedule for the Corps was.

James Port was a Sgt with the South Devon Militia based at the Depot in Plympton St. Mary. At the time James Port was married to Elizabeth. James had previously served in the 47th Foot.

Task : Summer drill schedule for 1860 not as yet known. Norm at the time was for x3 drills / week. Explore further. See October for Winter schedule.

By the end of the month uniforms had been ordered and were due to arrive within the next few days. Musical members were setting up a fife and drum band.

The uniform, which duly arrived in early February, was consistent with Newton Abbot, Teignmouth and Torquay. 

On the 8th February Drill Instructors were authorised by the government. Current assumption is that this led to the offer of the post to James Port. Drill Instructors were originally Sgts from the disembodied militia. Initial appointments were for 3 month periods at 2/6d per day. Lodgings were to be provided by the corps. Later it was typical for the Drill.Inst. to live at the Drill Halls but in the early days they would have been found lodgings in the town. No references have yet been found to confirm when this happened. 

James Port's wife Elizabeth died in Ashburton on the 10th.

Task : James Port did not move to Ashburton at this point. He was still at the South Devon Militia Depot at Plympton St. Mary at the time of the Census in 1861. When did he move to Ashburton ? He was in Ashburton by the birth of his son, Samuel James, later in the year. Where was his lodgings ? Was he drilling any other Corps at the same time ? No evidence to support this being the case as yet, however Ribbons was known to have been given an are including multiple Corps. Why would Port be any different ? Explore further.

On the 10th February the Volunteers march through the town accompanied by the drum and fife band, the instruments having been recently supplied by the committee.

Task : Band not previously thought to have been formed until 1863. Explore further.

By the 18th Earl Fortescue the Lord Lieut had received telegraph confirmation of the acceptance of the Corps as the 9th Devon Rifle Volunteers (Ashburton and Buckfastleigh). Up to this point they had been known as the Ashburton, Buckfastleigh and Staverton Rifle Corps. HQ was at Ashburton with a detachment at Buckfastleigh / Staverton. By the time of the Corps acceptance Thomas Eales Rogers had been confirmed as Capt. Robert Coard Tucker as Lieut and William Richard Coulton as Ensign by the Lord Lieut. The Buckfastleigh detachment was initially commanded by William Coulton. 

William Richard Coulton was a farmer / yeoman from Buckfastleigh. He was single at the esbt of the Corps.

Task : When were the officers actually selected ? Explore further.

On the 21st the Corps drilled at Croppin's Park (John Phillips' estate) in Buckfastleigh where they are watched by some local veterans.

John Robert Phillips, soon to be Sgt, then Ensign, with the Corps was a "gentleman" then single living at his family's seat at Croppins Park in Buckfastleigh.

The commissions were gazetted on the 23rd February. At this time officers had to pay a fee for their commissions, nominally set at 1 Guinea by the government actual amount was left initially to the discretion of the Lord Lieut. No indication that Fortescue as Lord Lieut set those for Devon any differently.

DD note : The 23rd seems to have been taken as the establishment date and is celebrated each year going forward as the anniversary of the Corps.

Task : As yet there is no ref on file for the public swearing in of the Corps. Explore further.

By the end of February the first rifles had arrived. Thought to have been pattern 53 long Enfield but this needs confirming. These were shipped on the orders of Lord Churston from the South Devon Militia stores in Plymouth. At the time of the arming of the Corps the government had already (in January) confirmed that all Corps should be fully armed. Not yet known if all Volunteers at Ashburton were armed this month. According to the Volunteer Regulations each Corps should have had an approved Armoury and Rifle Range before being issues with rifles. Where the Corps initially stored their arms remains unknown but it is thought unlikely that they would have been allowed to keep them at Market Hall.

Task : Explore early / initial armoury further.

Likewise the Welstor Common range is not thought to have been commissioned until the end of the year. The location of the original submitted range is unknown.

Task : Where was the first range ? Current thinking is both refer to Welstor Common. Explore further.

Robert Tucker's wife gives birth to their second child (their first Catherine was born in 1858) Robert Charles Tucker on the 19th.

The Drill Schedule for the 1860 summer season starting 1st March is unknown. At this time Volunteers had to attend 8 drills in a 4 month period to be "effective". Volunteers were to prove themselves well acquainted with Recruit Drill before moving on to musketry training. Musketry schedule for this year is likewise as yet unknown. 2  men from the Corps would have been nominated for Musketry Training at the Hythe School of Musketry.

Task : One of these is known to have been Henry Eddy the other TBC. It is not as yet known when they went to Hythe. Explore further.

Task : Explore Drill Schedule and Musketry Schedule further for 1860.

On the 7th March Robert Tucker represents the Corps at Queen Victoria's levee for Volunteer Officers at St James Palace. 

On the 6th March Robert Tucker's infant son dies at less than three weeks old. Robert Tucker is thought to have been away from home and on his way to London when his son passed away.It is not known when he was informed of his son's death.

On the 27th March the Corps attend the swearing in of the Newton Abbot Corps. The men attend in uniform and by the end of the month the 9th DRV were almost fully clothed and accoutred, the rest said to be complete within the week. 
On the 31st "elections" were held to appoint the NCO's. Fabyan Amery, Henry Eddy, John Hern, John Philips and S (?).Hamlyn were appointed Sgts. Current thinking is that Fabyan Amery was appointed QMS but this needs further verification.

Fabyan Amery was the son of local magistrate John Sparke Amery. He was single at the time living with his parents and brother John at Druid House, Ashburton
Henry Eddy was a draper who at the time was living at North St with his wife Sarah and their 10 year old daughter Sarah.
John Hern was a farmer / yeoman from Chuley Farm at the time. John Hern was married and he and his wife Caroline had a 7 year old daughter Jessie, and sons John and William 5 and 3.
John Robert Phillips_see above
Hamlyn_Now thought to be John Hamlyn. John Hamlyn (the founder of Hamlyn Bros) was living at Park View, Chapel St., Buckfastleigh with his wife Emma. 

J. Harding, James Forster, David Taylor, TBD Petherbridge (late of the 60th Rifles) and TBD Bunclark were appointed Cpls. 

J.Harding_thought to be either John Harding, Wool Comber of Great Bridge Row. Ashburton. He was living there with his wife Mary, three sons (John 28, James 21, Henry 9) and daughter Kelurah (9). He and his son John, thought to have served in the Corps at the time.
James Fo(r)ster_thought to be James Forster from Tidwell Farm, Staverton
David Taylor_Not yet identified.
Petherbridge_Possibly Richard Petherbridge farmer / yeoman from Buckfastleigh. Alternatively John Petherbridge a farmer's son from Buckfastleigh.
Bunclark_It is not known as yet which of the Bunclarks this was.

There were some disagreements and a number of volunteers tended their resignation because of the selections. These were accepted by Rogers. Subsequently it appears that the first NCOs were selected purely by Thomas Rogers (or Rogers and his officers) with not even the Drill.Inst Sgt Port (? why should he be ?) being involved with the selection. It was widely perceived at the time that Corp Cos had the right to nominate their NCOs however in the early days of the Volunteer Corps it was common practice for a CO to waive these rights and it was not unusual for the NCOs to be voted in by ballot. This however apparently not the case in Ashburton. What caused umbrage was not the men who Thomas Rogers selected but the manner in which it was done. It is not known how many men left the Corps because of this.

The 1st of April would also have seen Rogers submit the first Returns for the Corps. No copy has yet been located. The returns at this time were submitted to the Lord Lieut. and would have detailed effectives, non-effectives and supernumerary (or Hon.) members.This year saw the start of Surgeons being assigned to Volunteer Corps. Ashburton was to have the first surgeon in the 5th (later 4th) DAB with Walter Soper Gervis, M.D., being gazetted to the Corps as Honorary Assistant-Surgeon on the 26th April. At this time a Coy was not entitled to a Surg. There was 1 Surg for a 4 Coy battalion. A Surg and an Asst Surg for a 6 Coy Battalion. 

Task : Explore the Hon. role further.

Walter Gervis was at the time a young unmarried doctor of the town. He was then living with his mother and two sisters Elizabeth and Lavinia in West St. A partner in practice with Dr Edward Bean at East St.. It is thought that he was either a Member or a Hon. Member of the Corps before being appointed Hon. Asst. Surgeon but this has yet to be proven.

Task : Walter Gervis, along with Robert Tucker and later Henry and Soloman Tozer were members of the Ashburton Freemason Lodge. Explore further.

On the 27th April the Corps hold their first recognised Field Day. This being the first time the entire Corps appear in public in uniform. They assemble at Market Hall at 4pm and march by fours, headed by their drum and fife band, to Pear-tree (the residence of John Bovey). John Bovey having lent the Corps the use of his lawn for the day. Thomas Rogers who was feeling ill accompanied them on horseback. On arrival Tucker leads them through their evolutions and they drill at Pear-tree until 8pm. At the end of the day Robert Tucker compliments them on their performance. At the time of their first Field Day the Corps number 66 all members, A number of which now understood to come from Holne. The Buckfastleigh contingent is now led by William Coulton. James Port would have temporary left the 9th DRV to rejoin the South Devon Militia on embodiment for training in Plymouth on 30th April returning at the end of May.

Task : When did James Port leave the South Devon Militia ?

Walter Soper Gervis was formally sworn in as Hon. Surgeon on the 11th of May. Gervis having received his commission as Hon. Asst. Surg. was sworn in by Lieut Tucker in the presence of the men assembled for drill. Henry Saunders proposed a round of applause for the "generous and kind manner" that Mr. Gervis had volunteered his services. Walter Gervis invited the Corps to join him at the Globe Hotel after drill and a "convivial evening" was spent. It was decided this month to drill in a field in Summerhill rather than at Market Hall during the summer months.The first out door drill taking place on the 21st.

On the 11th of June Robert Tucker invited the Corps to meet again at the Golden Lion Hotel at his cost. Concerned about his health he had recently tendered his resignation to the Lord Lieut. On the Corps finding out about this they raised a requisition which every man signed asking him to withdraw his resignation. This he subsequently did and the evening was to celebrate the fact. 69 men were present and speeches were given by William Coulton, Walter Gervis, Fabyan Amery, Robert Bovey and E. Priddis.

On the 2nd July the Corps are again drilling in Buckfastleigh returning to Ashburton at 10pm.

Task : Not clear as yet how the early drill broke down between Ashburton and Buckfastleigh. Explore further.

On the 11th held ball practice under the supervision on James Port in a large field at Fursleigh mid-way between Ashburton and Buckfastleigh.
Returns would again be due 1st August. On the 4th August Robert Tucker, who was a solicitor and a firm liberal, represents the Liberals at the registration courts in Ashburton where one of the voters objected to  Baldwin Bastard. Bastard himself was a staunch Conservative. Bastard is said to only come to his home in Buckland occasionally to visit his brother and the Liberals contest his right to vote in the local elections. 

It is not known what the relationship between Robert Tucker and Baldwin Bastard was like at this time. Baldwin Bastard's letter at Tucker's testimonial in 1878 would imply that it was amicable. 

On the 3rd August Tucker and a number of the Corps are present at the Inspection by Maj. Gustavus Hume of the 17th DRV at Totnes. On 6th Capt Rogers, Lieut Tucker, Ensign Coulton, as well as Sgts Fabyan Amery, Henry Eddy, John Hern, Robert Phillips, join the initial Devon County Volunteer Association musketry class. This was the first since the forming of the Volunteers. Out of this was to come the core of the 9th DRV shooting squad.
August also saw the forming of the 5th Devon Administrative Battalion. Included in its establishment were 9th DRV (Ashburton), 10th DRV (Newton Abbot), 17th DRV (Totnes), 23rd DRV (Chudleigh), 26th DRV (Kingsbridge). The 5th DAB was to be HQ'd at Totnes and was placed under the command of Baldwin John Pollexfen Bastard of Kitley. His promotion to Lt.-Col was gazetted on the 24th. Around the same time Bastard subscribes heavily to the Corps, to the tune of £10, it is not known if he did likewise to other Corps in the newly formed Bn.Nationwide there was much confusion around the forming of the Admin. Bns and the government had to clarify their intentions in the middle of September Things in Devon seem to have gone much smoother and the absorption of the separate Corps into the 5th (later 4th) DAB was said to be completed by the middle of the month. Nothing is as yet known of how the Corps reacted to the restructuring.

Task : Research the absorption into the DAB and the Corps reactions further.

Sgt John Hern's infant son Charles Herbert dies on the 13th August aged 2 mths.

The Corps is inspected for the first time by the government's Asst. Inspector of Volunteers Maj. Hume on the 5th September. 

Gustavus Hume

Hume is responsible for Volunteers in the Western Military District. The event generates something of a holiday spirit in the town. Around 65 muster for the inspection under their Drill Inst. Sgt James Port. Hume comments favourably on the state on the Corps whilst telling them to focus on Light Infantry drill and skirmishing and releases the Corps to blank cartridge firing preparatory to ball practice. All in all the event raises local interest in the Corps and 8 new volunteers join after the inspection.

On the 2nd October, 9 months after its establishment, the Corps holds its first bazaar to raise funds in the new Market Hall. The Market Hall was decorated by the Corps, under the superintendence of Sgt Henry Eddy, for the occasion fir trees were planted in front of the hall, flags suspended across the streets and the hall decorated  At the head of the hall the banner of the 9th DRV was surrounded in flowers and evergreens with a crown of flowers on each side. In the evening chinese lanterns were suspended from the beams. The bazaar ran by the Hon. Mrs Wrey of Holne Park, Mrs Marsh and the misses Abraham. It opened at 12 o'clock with an admission of 2s. and by 1pm the hall was full. Men parade in the afternoon at the Bullring.

Above: The Bullring, where North, East and West Street now meet.
From my own collection

70 in attendance. They then marched through the streets with the band of the 1st Devon Militia which arrived from Exeter about 11am. Bazaar closes at 8pm. Afterwards there was a Promenade Ball at Bishop's Golden Lion Hotel where dancing went on until 3am the following morning. Altogether the event raises nearly £150 for the Corps funds.
On the 4th Tucker represents the Liberals at the registration courts. One of the Conservatives objected to is Bastard. Bastard said to occupy a residence at Aswell and although residing at Kitley and Buckland sometimes went to Aswell. Bastard stated as being a Churchwarden at Newton. Bastard said to keep his whole establishment at Kitley only visiting his brother occasionally at Buckland.

Task : Given their opposing political allegiances was there any friction between Tucker and Bastard? Explore further.
Above: The Golden Lion
From my own collection

On the 9th October the Corps under Ruston compete in the first DCVA Annual Shoot held at Totnes. They are represented in the shooting for the County Prizes by Hon.Member W. Tucker. Sgts John Hern, Fabyan Amery and Henry Eddy, Cpl James Forster and Pte Henry Saunders. All men fired at 400 yards. Fabyan Amery came in equal 2nd for the best shot in the 5th (later 4th) DAB. John Hern represents the Corps in the 5th DAB company prize. Over all the Corps do well with Sgt John Hern winning a rifle (worth 8 guineas) and 50s. The rifle was donated by Mr Harvey of Exeter. Henry Eddy came in 15th and Henry Saunders 24th. 

W.Tucker thought to be William Tucker the younger brother of Robert Coard Tucker.
Henry Saunders was a local hairdresser who was at the time living with his sister Sarah in West St.

William Coulton marries Marianne (Miriam/ Mary Ann) Hole at Crediton this month. The Corps not thought to be in attendance.

The Corps were represented by Hern, Eddy and Amery at the Grand Shoot at Newton on the 18th. Whilst they are at Newton all 53 of them are invited for breakfast with Josiah Harris Esq., at Ess Hill House. At the end of October the Corps were meeting at "Second Meadow" for distance judging and marking drills on the 27th. 2 squads of the Corps numbering 21 men meet at "Second Meadow" for aiming and judging distance drill. Weather was hazy. 31st October sees the formal end of training for this Volunteer Year for 1860. The drill schedule for the winter season was set for Monday afternoons at 2pm for distance and marking and Thursday evenings at 8pm at Market Hall for positional drill. Extra drills were available for recruits.

Josiah Harris Esq. not yet investigated.

Task : Where was "Second Meadow" ? Explore further. 

In November Bastard is known to have been staying with his brother at Buckland House. The Rev. W. Bastard left Buckland for Cornworthy in early November. It is assumed that during his stay some interaction took place with the Corps but no references have been found to date.
On the 1st December the third of the annual returns was due. No copy as yet found. During December the Corps was asked to return their arms for "a month or two". It is not known why. On the 17th Col.Sgt Eddy gave a lecture on the use of the rifle. Henry Eddy's rank of Col.Sgt is confirmed in the Western Times of the 22nd. By the end of the year the Corps had commissioned a 600 yard range near the bridge at Buckfastleigh.


Ashburton (1861)


Hon Sec. TBD

Hon Treasurer. TBD

Finance Committee. TBD

Officers and NCOs:

Capt - Thomas Eales Rogers (resigned)

Robert Coard Tucker

Lieut - Robert Coard Tucker (promoted)

William Richard Coulton

Ensign - William Richard Coulton (promoted)

Peter Fabyan Sparke Amery

Chaplain - N/A

Drill Instructer - Sgt James Port

Qtr Master Sgt -
Fabyan Amery ? (to Ensign)

Robert Mitchelmore Bovey ?

Col Sgt - Henry Eddy

Sgts -

John Hern

John Robert Philips

John ? Hamlyn (to Hon Mem?)

James Forster

Cpls - John Harding (died)

James Forster (to Sgt)

David Taylor

TBD Petherbridge (resigned)

TBD Bunclark (resigned)

Thomas Mann

Henry Saunders

Bandmaster - John Eddy

HQ / Drill Station : 
  • Ashburton
    • Market Hall, Ashburton (1859 ~ TBD)
Armoury : 
  • TBD
Task : Where was the original Armoury placed ? There are no refs on file with any detail on the Armoury 1860~1865. Elsewhere it was not uncommon for Police Stations etc to be utilized. Explore further

Range :
  • Nr bridge at Buckfastleigh (?)
  • Welstor Common (from February)

Uniform : 
  • No change (?)



In early February 1861 the Corps was using John Hern's Chuley Farm for blank cartridge firing practice. Current thinking is that the range at Welstor Common was only opened in time for the first anniversary celebrations at the end of the month. Why the Corps were not using the original range at Buckfastleigh is unknown. Corps to re-assemble for drill on the 18th.

Task : What is meant by re-assemble ? We're they closed for a period ? Explore further.

Rogers sends out a public announcement that the Corps is to assemble at HQ on this day for drill. 52 men muster under Capt. T.E. Rogers. Corps met in the centre of the town. Lieut Tucker inspects the arms and accoutrements and puts the men through a few evolutions. The men then march to Chuley Farm (property of John Hern) for blank cartridge practice. 10 rounds each.

Above: Building at the site of the Welstor Common rifle range.
Many thanks to Keith Ryan for this photograph

The Corps celebrate their 1st anniversary (23rd February) on the 25th February. Their new range at Welstor Common is commissioned for the event which consists of a two day Rifle Prize Shoot at the range. Entrance fee was set at 4d. which covered the ammunition and 61 members and Hon. Members attended. The celebrations start at 9am  with the Ashburton men starting to meet at the Bullring from 8 o'clock. The Ashburton men marched off behind the drum and fife band to Welstor Downs arriving about 10 o'clock. They are joined there by men from Buckfastleigh and Staverton.
Above: Part of 1886 map Devon CVIII.10 (Ashburton; Buckland in the Moor; Holne; Widecombe in the Moor).
Rifle range and targets are shown in the top right hand corner.
Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International
Courtesy of The National Library of Scotland. See for the full map - Accessed 07-09-2019

Prizes to the value of £5 to be shot for. All at 5 shots with the long Enfield. The shoot was to consist of three periods. The 1st Period at 150 and 200 yards for 10s. 8s. 6s. 4s. and 2s. where a min of 8 points was required to qualify for 2nd period. The 2nd Period was at 300 and 400 yards for 12s. 8s. 5s. here a minimum 6 points required to qualify for the 3rd period. The 3rd Period at 500 and 600 yards for 15s. and 10s. There was an additional 10s. for the largest number of shots in the three periods. No member to take more than one prize. Shooting for the 150 and 200 yards starts on the first day.
There was an ordinary on the evening of the 25th at "Husson's" Globe Hotel which Robert Tucker chaired. It appears Thomas Rogers was not present although he was at the shoot. Present included J. Harris Esq., E. Bean Esq., and Mr Thomas Hext spoke for the tradesmen of the town.

E. Bean Esq.,_Possibly Dr. Edward Bean of East St,, Ashburton.
Thomas Hext_Thomas Hext was a mason, broker and baker of the town, Then living at North St., Ashburton.

Task : Explore the relationship between Josiah Harris and the Ashburton Corps. Josiah Harris seems to have paid alot of interest in the early days on the Corps. Reasons are not clear.

DD note : Typically this annual dinner seconded as the Corps AGM. This not the case this year see 27th March.

Above: The Globe Hotel, North Street - it is the building with the horse and cart outside. One of the town's 'better' establishments, it was at the time run by Edward Husson senior and his son Edward. Both served in the Corps.
From my own collection


The 26th sees shooting for 150 and 200 yards completed with Sgt Henry Eddy and Pte Edward Husson (jun) tieing at 18 points. The 300 and 400 start and finish with Henry Eddy again leading this time with 16 points. Cpl James Forster and Pte Edward Geach tie in 2nd at 11 points. The 500 yards starts with James Forster leading at end of the day. The event ran out of time and the final 600 yard shoot was deferred.

Edward Husson (jun) was single at the time and working with his father Edward Husson (snr) at the Globe Hotel.
Edward Geach was a Draper's Asst then working for his father (?) and living with his parents at North St.

Returns for the 1st March and the beginning of the Volunteer Year not as yet known.

Task : Locate copies of the 1861 returns.

March 1st would also have seen the start of the summer drill schedule and the commencement of the seasons class firing. Summer schedules ran from here until October. Initial reports that Thomas Rogers had donated £10 to be shared over the highest scores of the season was later disputed and turns out not to be correct. Prizes are to come from central funds. Comments that Rogers has yet to donate any prizes for the Corps. Actual summer drill and class firing schedules are not as yet known

Task : Explore Summer schedules further. Task : Locate copies of the 1861 returns.

The last of the celebration shoots (600 yards) carried over from the Anniversary meet was due to finish at Welstor on the 4th March.

Task :  Did this happen ? What were the results ? No refs as yet located.

First actual firing of the season takes place on the 18th with the commencement of the annual course of musketry starts. First references the Corps being formed in Sections date from here. There were 4 Sections in the Corps at this time. This tallying with the initial NCO headcount but this thought to have started to fall from this point. There are also occasional refs to the Corps being made up of two sub-divisions rather than having just a detachment at Buckfastleigh. This needs further exploration.

The Corps AGM takes place on the 27th. Capt. T. E. Rogers presiding. Accounts presented to the meeting. Total Income : £418. Expenditure : £347. Balance on hand £71. Hon. members now number 50 (?). Effective member subscription reduced from 10s to 5s. There is no mention of Rogers pending resignation.

DD note : The Hon. Member numbers are thought to be a typo in the original.

On the 31st the Corps meet at Tuckers residence and attend church service at St Andrews. After which they march back to the Bullring where they are dismissed. This appears to be the start of the Corps attending service once a month together.
Above: St. Andrew's Church, on West Street near the centre of the town. My own photograph 2013

On the 12th April the resignation of Thomas Rogers is announced. The step is said to "be regretted by both officers and men".  This only two weeks after the AGM and one week after Rogers had attended the quarterly DCVA meeting in Exeter. No reasons are given for his resignation. There are subsequent ref's too this being driven by the health of his wife but these have not been confirmed. The only event of note which happened in the interim is the announcement of Frederick Bewes appointment as Adjt of the 4th DAB (Nb.The 5th DAB was redesignated the 4th DAB this month when the Exeter and South Devon were confirmed a true battalion not an administrative one). No direct references have been found to tie Rogers resignation, or that of Ruston at Totnes or Yates at Newton Abbot with Bewes appointment but conjecture says they should be related.

Thomas Rogers left Ashburton to return to India at some point. It is not known in what capacity. He returned to Ashburton again in 1865.

The gazettes of Robert Coard Tucker to Capt. William Richard Coulton to Lieut. and Peter Fabyan Sparke Amery to Ensign are dated on the 17th although the men were not made aware of this until the 22nd. 
Frederick Bewes inspects the Corps for the first time as Adjt of the 5th DAB on the 19th. All but 2 men from the muster roll, who were ill, attend.

Frederick Bewes_see 4th DAB

They assemble at 5.30 and marched under Lieut Tucker to a field next to the residence of R. Tucker Esq., where they were put through preliminary evolutions. Bewes states he is proud to have made the acquaintance of the 9th DRV. He considers them "well up in their drilll". He praises their late musketry instructor Sgt Henry Eddy. This is the only ref to date for Henry Eddy having carried out that role. 
On the 22nd the Corps assemble on their shooting ground for practice.Tucker now recognised as Capt, Coulton Lieut and Amery Ensign. Robert Michelmore Bovey is appointment to Sgt (QMS ?) from Pte succeeding Fabyan Amery. 

Robert Bovey was a farmer / yeoman from Buckfastleigh. He was single at the time.

Task : Col.Sgt's were introduced to the Volunteers this year. Is this Bovey to Sgt or Col.Sgt ? Explore further.

This caused "umbrage" and two Cpls, Petherbridge and Bunclark, resigned their ranks. Thomas Mann and Henry Saunders are immediately appointed in their stead. 

Thomas Mann is currently thought to be one of the sons of William Mann the local butcher. Single at the time he was living with his parents at 63 East St.

Statements in the local press say that issues are said to be resolved harmoniously. 
Shooting season continues at Welstor Common. At the end of the month the Corps attend church service in Buckfastleigh on the 28th in full uniform and side arms. After which they march back to the Bullring where they are dismissed.

The Corps' favourite The Golden Lion changed hands this month. Mrs Bishop leaving and a Mr Ryle from Plymouth taking the lease.The Golden Lion actually owned by George Moffatt MP for Honiton at the time.

Although issues around the promotion of Fabyan Amery and Robert Bovey were said to have been dealt with grumbles continue through early May. 
Shooting at Welstor Common continues and by the 17th 42 members have now completed their practice 35 second class and 7 third class. 
A prize shoot was planned on the 27th at Welstor Common. 500 and 550 yards. Sweepstake held at 6d. each. Won by H. M. Tucker and 2nd Thomas Mann. Tucker puts up his prize for shooting again at 150 yards. Henry Saunders and David Taylor tie. Saunders winning in a shoot off. Henry Saunders ref'd as Cpl for the first time. 

H.M. Tucker_Currently though to be Robert Tucker's younger brother Henry.
Bastard in residency at Buckland House this month.

On the 10th June the Corps holds its first, of what was to become an annual, shoot against the Totnes Rifle Corps at Bridgetown. This annual match going forward to be shot alternately at each ground. 15 per side 15 shots each. 5 shots at 200, 300 and 500 yards. Ashburton represented by Ensign Fabyan Amery, Sgt's Henry Eddy, John Hern, James Foster, Robert Bovey, Cpl Henry Saunders and Pte's J. Bowden, Horton, Joint, George Liscombe, Richard Martin, F. Materface, William Rowland, David Taylor and Hon.Mem. TBD Tucker. The Corps win by 17 points.
Shooting continues at Welstor Common through June. 

J. Bowden_presently thought to be James Bowden. Thomas Rogers gardener at Waye House.
Horton_Thought to be John Horton the smith. Married at the time he was living at West St. with his wife Anne and their 9 year old son Henry.
Joint_Possibly William Joint the mason of West St. Then living with his wife Sarah and four sons William (19), James (14) George (12), Charles (1) and 2 daughters Mary (10) and Emma (8)
George Lipscombe was Robert Tucker' Esq's groom at East St. Married at the time.
Richard Martin_the only potential identified to date is the step son of Samuel Thomas. A tin miner then living at Kingswill Court with his mother, brother William and step father. This needs further exploration. 
F. Materface_Frederick Matterface and his brother Charles were both in the Corps. The sons of John and Sarah Matterface of East St. Frederick was a 17 year old tailors apprentice at the time.
William Rowland_Not yet identified.
On the 21st Bastard lets his home Buckland House. How often he is in Ashburton at this time remains unclear.

On the 24th July the Corps hold a shooting match against Tiverton on the ground near Bolham (Tiverton Range). They arrived at 11 o'clock and had lunch at the Angel Hotel. Shooting starts after lunch and Ashburton win by three points. The team for this match consists of Fabyan Amery, Sgt's Henry Eddy, John Hern, Robert Bovey, James Forster,  w/ Cpl's Henry Saunders and Thomas Mann. After the match they march headed by the Tiverton band back to Angel Hill and dined together at the Angel Hotel. Ashburton team left at 7.45pm by train.
Little is known re the inspection by the government inspector Maj. Hume on the 26th July bar that it was held in a field adjoining Robert Tucker's residence and that Hume complimented them on their efficiency in drill and told them that by attention to light infantry drill they wouldsoon perfect themselves.
On the 29th the Corps compete at Welstor Common for a rifle donated by Robert Tucker. The shoot was over 300 and 600 yards. Tuckers father added three minor prizes. James Forster won the rifle with 18 points, Henry Eddy second with 15 and Fabyan Amery third with 12. Pte's James Bowden and Edward Geach tied for 4th with 11. Weather was very rough with the wind blowing "within a point or two" dead against the shooters. Herrn, Priddis, Savery and D. Taylor also mentioned.

Priddis_Alfred Priddis was an Inland Revenue Officer living at 10 East St with his wife Ann and 6 children.
William Savery_was a farmers son from Little Coombe, Staverton. Then unmarried living with his parents.

James Forster is now a Sgt seemingly having been promoted sometime between May and July.

Task : Now thought to have been on John Hamlyn choosing to be an Hon. rather than substantive member. Explore further.


On the 17th September the Corps compete at the 2nd DCVA Annual Rifle Prize Meeting at Newton Abbot. A shadow was cast over the event due to the death of Earl Fortescue the day before as a result the inaugral ceremony and bands were cancelled. The Ashburton men were in the 2nd and 3rd Sections, the Corps being represented by Ensign Fabyan Amery, Sgt's : Robert Bovey, John Hern, James Forster, Henry Eddy, Cpl's : Thomas Mann, Henry Saunders, Hon. Mem.'s : Robert Tucker, W. Tucker, Pte's : George Lipscombe, Richard Martin, J. M. Furneaux, William Rowland, David Taylor, William Savery.

Robert Tucker_Robert Tucker Esq. Robert Coard Tucker's father. Also a solicitor.
W. Tucker_William Tucker. Robert Coard Tucker's younger brother.
J.M. Furneaux_John Furneaux was a farmer son from Buckfastleigh. Then unmarried living with his parents at Bridge and Silver St., Buckfastleigh

The core shooting team seems now to have been stabilized. It flexes as the size of teams needed for each event. The DCVA event runs from the 17th through to the 20th inc. Robert Tucker did well at the pool targets. He shared the prize at the 150 and 600 yard targets. In the Filing and Volley Ashburton initially come in a close second to Broadclyst. However Robert Tucker files a complaint that the Broadclyst team had not entered according to the rules and that Broadclyst had not entered in time. This was agreed and Ashburton were issued the prize. The file and volley team consisting of : Amery, Bovey, Forster, Hern Eddy Richard Martin, Rowland,  David Taylor, William Savery, Lipscombe. Ashburton's star of the event was William Savery who took 3rd Prize in the 3rd Class shooting with 17 points winning £2

At the first 4th DAB Bn shoot at Sharpham Lodge, Totnes on 28th October. The Corps is represented by Sgt James Forster, Pte's Martin, W. Furneaux,  John Horton, John Furneaux and William Rowland. 

W. Furneaux_This could be William Furneaux landowner from Buckastleigh.

They win the inaugral Challenge Cup. James Forster also winning a new Enfield rifle for the highest score at the event. At the dinner in the evening at the Seven Stars Hotel the Ashburton squad (actually Robert Tucker) order a dozen bottles of champagne, which was drunk out of the Cup, setting the precedent which was to last for a number of years.
Summer training formally ends at the end of October. The winter drill schedules as yet unknown.

Task : Explore Winter schedules further.

Task : Efficiency classifications submitted at the end of the season are todate unknown.



Ashburton (1862)


Hon Sec. TBD

Hon Treasurer. TBD

Finance Committee. TBD

Officers and NCOs:

Capt - Robert Coard Tucker

Lieut - William Richard Coulton

Ensign - Peter Fabyan Sparke Amery

Hon Assist. Surgeon - Walter Soper Gervis

Chaplain - N/A

Drill Instructer - Sgt James Port

Qtr Master Sgt - Robert Mitchelmore Bovey (?)

Col Sgt - Henry Eddy

Sgts -

John Hern (to Hon. Mem.)

John Robert Philips

James Forster (resigned?)

Cpls - John Harding (died)

David Taylor (resigned?)

Thomas Mann

Henry Saunders


Bugler - William Waycott Chapple
Bandmaster - John Eddy

HQ : 
  • Ashburton
    • Market Hall, Ashburton (1859 ~ TBD)
Armoury :
  • TBD
Task : Where was the original Armoury placed ? There are no ref's on file wrt any detail on the Armoury 1860~1865. Explore further

Range : 
  • Welstor Common (3m from the town)
Uniform :
  • No Change (?)
Misc :

On the 3rd January there was a major all-comer event at Totnes with competitors coming from all around the country. With prizes to the tune of 150 Guineas it attracted a number of national crack shots. The Corps were well represented and performed credibly. Although Robert Tucker did not have one of his best days not attaining the min 10 points required to pass the 300 yards and therefore not qualifying to continue. Hon,Mem. Tucker along with Sgt's Henry Eddy, James Foster, John Hern did. As did Pte's William Savery and Richard Martin. Although ultimately not prize winnners the Corps shot well. Surprisingly Fabyan Amery is not shoown to have been present and it is not known why he did not attend.There was a ball in the evening at the Mechanics Institute which was said to be well attended but where the only Corps members known to have been present were William Coulton and his wife and William Distin, (then a private with the Corps), the rest apparently returning to Ashburton by train after the shooting was completed.

William Distin_Not as yet identified.

On the 25th January the Corps hold their annual Rifle Prize Meeting and AGM.

Task : This now thought to be a DD typo and the Annual Dinner was held at the Globe on the 25th February. Explore further.

On 25th February the Corps holds its anniversary (23rd February) celebrations. This includes a prize shoot at Welstor Common. The Corps shoot for a Silver Cup w/ a second prize of £2. 200, 500 and 600 yards, 5 shots at each with Hythe targets and regulations. Highest score to win. The shoot is open to effective and hon. members of any Devon and Cornwall Corps. Edward Husson provided refreshments on the grounds and there was a pool target for guests. 49 competitors from Devon and Cornwall competed. 30 from Ashburton, 6 from Totnes, 5 from Newton, plus 1st Devon and Cornwall Corps. Shooting started at 11 am. A strong wind blew across the range and their were few visitors. Robert Tucker umpired and he was assisted by Henry Eddy, Edward Sawdye and TBD Foaden. There were two sets of ties before the prizes could be awarded. John Hern had to shoot off against Pte Evans from Totnes, John Hern won on the third try and took the Silver Cup. Robert Bovey and William Rowland shot off for 3rd prize where Robert Bovey won out.

E. Sawdye_Edward D. Sawdye was an unmarried retired farmer then living with his brother at the London Inn.
Foaden_John Foaden a relieving officer then living at Mulberry Cottage with his wife Sara, his mother and 6 children.

The shoot is followed by dinner at the Hussons Globe Hotel. 80 sat down for dinner. Robert Tucker presided with Rev. F. Hole of Broadhampston and Fabyan Amery.


Task : Locate copies of the 1862 returns

Task : Explore Summer schedules further.

On 23rd March William Coulton's wife gives birth to their first child a son William Richard.


On the 5th May the Corps go to Totnes for the first 4th DAB drill. This was the initial practice drill in preperation for the Brigade Field Day at Little Haldon on the 12th June. The 2nd practice takes place on the 19th May. Henry Eddy was at Hythe this month where he qualified as a Hythe Marksman having obtained 7 points or more in the 1st class shooting. Henry Eddy had shot 12 points. He was forced to cut short his time at Hythe and return home before qualifying as a Musketry Instructor.

The 3rd practice was set for the 2nd June and this drill took place at Totnes. Capt. Harrington again in command. Ashburton, Kingsbridge, Chudleigh, Newton and Totnes Corps a total of 150 men where the Ashburton Corps was the strongest represented. The Bn ran through maneauvres from last drill, then formed lines and fired volleys by companies and forming company squares. After forming a battalion square the drill was concluded by firing a Bn volley. After this the corps left the ground. There  would be no further battalion practice before the Bde Field Day at Little Haldon.

On the 12th June Robert Tucker takes three subalterns and 48 men to the Bde Field day at Little Haldon. DCVA considered the Bn drill sufficiently advanced to warrant a Bde Field Day. The event was a wash out. Dreadful weather had been building all week and it rained steadily with a strong wind blowing throughout the day. The Ashburton Corps train to Teignmouth where the 4th DAB muster at the Den and from where they marched the 3 miles to Little Haldon. The 4th DAB were led by two Royal Marine officers Captain Harrington and Lieut Owens due to Bastard being out of the country and Adjt Bewes being at Hythe.  There were over 2800 men present with the Earl of Mount Edgecumbe in command of the Bde and Inspector Hume also being present. Maj.Gen Hutchinson (GOC Western Command) was at the Teignmouth Road end with his ADC Lieut W.F.A. Hutchinson R.A and Bde.Maj Kirk. Hutchinson decreed that due to the weather there would be no evolutions but only a march past and the men would then be dismissed. The 4th DAB being 5th from last respectively and the 4th DAB march on to the ground during the heaviest rain of the day. Hutchinson galloped to the head of each Battalion / Bde and addressed the men. The Gen said he had never been at a review held in such weather. He was cheered from Bn to Bn and as he left the field.The Corps along with the rest of the 4th DAB return via Teignmouth and train home.
Also in June Henry Eddy is named in the list from the Inspector General of Musketry at Hythe as being entitled to the marksmans badge of cross muskets. 

On 24th July the 9th DRV hold an open day at Welstor Common. Entrance 1 guinea. There were £100 in prizes available.1st prize £50, 2nd £ 20, 3rd £14, 4th £10, 5th £5. Periods were at 800 and 300 yards where competitors had to score a minimum 5 points to qualify to shoot at 500, Hythe rules. Long or short 3 or 5 groove Enfields. Weight < 10lb. Competitors were free to choose their own ammunition. Interestingly Thomas Rogers is the Chairman of the event, nothing having been heard of him since his resignation in April the previous year. Robert Tucker acts as Hon.Sec. first Lieut Malone of the Royal Marines acts as umpire. Men competed from across Devon and Cornwall as well as Gloucestershire, Civil Service Rifles, and Oxford University. There was a total of 61 competitors. Weather was hit and miss with the Dartmoor mists interfered intermittantly with the shooting. About noon the fogs broke and sunshine came out but a high wind continued through out the day. This picked up as the afteernoon wore on. Around 200~300 spectators made it to the ground and alot of pool firing under the supervision of Robert Tucker took place.
  • 1st Prize - Pte Opie  (16th DRV (Stonehouse)
  • 2nd Prize - Sgt Dingle (5th CRV)
  • 3rd Prize - Ensign Peter (5th CRV)
  • 4th Prize - Sgt Hook (3rd DRV (Devonport)
  • 5th Prize - Sgt Ham (1st DMRV)
Hook and Ham had originally tied with Hook winning out in a shoot out. At the end of the shooting an assembly call was sounded and the winners were presented their prizes by Robert tucker on a mound by the committee tent. Tucker states that although the Ashburton men had lost the prizes they did not begrudge the winners from Cornwall or elsewhere. He states that he hopes Ashburton will be more successful when they go to Callington. Ashburton represented by : Robert Tucker, Sgt's Robert Bovey, Henry Eddy, John Hern; Cpl's James Foster, Henry Saunders: Pte's John Furneaux, William Furneaux, John Langdon, William Joint and Hon.Mem's. Gribble, and Bean, Again Fabyan Amery is inexplicably missing.

William Furneaux_a landowner from Buckfastleigh. Single at the time he was staying with John and Elizabeth Bickford at Wrigwell
Hon.Mem. Gribble_thought to be John Gribble who was then single living with his mother at 39 East St., Ashburton. John Gribble was deaf

John Hern represents the 9th DRV in the Allcomers shoot at Sneyd Park in the first week of August. He shoots well but does not get in the top 10. On the 6th August Bugler Chapple of the Corps takes part in the band contest at Totnes in aid of the 17th DRV. Unfortunately he does not seem to have done very well.

Chapple_William Waycott Chapple was a printer. Then working for his father and living with his parents in East St. William Chapple was soon to be appointed Bugle Major for the 4th DAB. It is not yet known when he joined the Corps as a Bugler but likely to have been from the establishment of the Corps.

The Corps hold internal prize shooting at Welstor Common on the 4th September for prizes donated by Hon.Mem. Tucker. They shoot at 250 and 500 yards
  • 1st : Ensign Fabyan Amery
  • 2nd : Sgt Henry Eddy
  • 3rd : Pte John Horton
  • 4th : Hon.Mem Tucker
  • 5th : Pte Daniel Skewes
  • 6th : Capt Robert Tucker

  • On the 26th September the Corps defend the Challenge Cup at the 4th DAB Annual Shoot. The Cup is shot for by a team of 6 men from each Coy at 300 and 500 yards, 7 shots, any position. It is not known who actually shot for Ashburton.

    Task : Who shot for Ashburton ? Local papers only name the Totnes section.

    They initially tie with Totnes. In a shoot off at 500 yards they lose out to Totnes and the Challenge Cup is transferred to the 17th DRV. Frederick Soper initially ties for the highest score but loses in a shoot off with J.R. Browne from Kingsbridge. The men attend the dinner in the evening at the Globe Hotel, Totnes.

    In the annual returns the Corps present 47 efficients and are awarded lb67 by way of the Capitation Grant. On the 16th October the annual friendly match against Totnes was shot off at Welstor Common.15 men per side. Enfield rifles. Totnes side arrived on the ground soon after eleven. Weather was fine but with a few showers. Wind blowing across the range from right to left. Alexander Stupart, the Bn Sgt.Maj, shot for the Totnes side. Ashburton win the day 425:338. Totnes band led the men as they marched to the Golden Lion after the shooting. Hon. Member Tucker entertained the Ashburton section that evening where Robert Tucker presented Pte Soper, the highest scoring member of the Ashburton side, an inscribed tankard.

    Pte Soper_Frederick Soper was a Master Carpenter, married at the time and living with his wife Margaret and 6 children at East St. Ashburton.

    Task : Who shot for Ashburton ?

  • No ref for the annual inspection at Ashburton of the Corps by the Gov'n Inspector has yet been located. Hume and Bewes appear to have "done the rounds" in October but no ref for Ashburton as yet uncovered.

    Task : Explore further.

    No ref to any inspection at Ashburton by Adjt Bewes has yet been found for the year but typically this would have happened at the end of October or early November.

    Task : Explore Winter schedules further.

    Task : Explore Bewes visits to Ashburton this year further.

  • Tragedy strikes the Corps when on the 5th November a young labourer named William Foot is struck in the head by a cartridge at Bowden Hill during Bonfire Night celebrations."20 or 30" rifleman present in uniform at the Bonfire Night celebrations. Originally the riflemen stood in line and fired one volley then seperated. They had been firing with blank cartridges. Foot was letting off rockets near to the position of the riflemen. He is said to have been discharging his rockets over the heads of the riflemen. Daniel Skewes a rifleman with the Corps said to have fired the cartridge. Foot was standing close to Daniel Skewes when he was hit. He was going up hill at the time towards the riflemen. Foot apparently shot whilst carrying a lighted rocket. Rocket subsequently setting his clothes on fire. The cartridge hits Foot on the left side of his head fracturing his skull. Skewes is said to have shouldered him rifle and swung to the left firing on Foot as he approached. Although there was no quarrel and no liquor was involved Foot is said to have been firing rockets over the heads of the riflemen. Skewes actions thought to be in retaliation not realising that blank cartridges could still be deadly at that range. Skewes behaviour on the evening brought in to general question. He is said to have discharged his rifle at one point close to the ear of another man. for which he had been cautioned by Mr John Charles Hurst (Chemist from Ashburton). Skewes apparently replied "if that hurt a man he was not fit to live in this country". 
    William Foot did not die immediately he passed away on the 10th aged 23. Daniel Skewes subsequently arrested on a charge of manslaughter. On the 11th Coroner F.B. Cuming Esq. holds an inquest into the death of William Foot at the London Inn, Ashburton. Officers of the Corps were present and the members of the Corps implicated were represented by Mr. Francis of Newton. At the inquest Thomas Fox, blacksmith of Ashburton claims to have seen Daniel Skewes shoot William "Bill" Foot.  Coroner dismissed the possibility of murder but believed Skewes action required further investigation. The Coroner also slams the Corps for being armed at public events like the Bonfire Night celebration. Skewes is arrested and taken into custody. On the 15th Daniel Skewes brought before the bench on the charge of manslaughter. Magistrates included J. Woodley Esq. (Chairman), C.J. Wade Esq., J.S. Amery Esq.(himself an Honorary Member of the Corps). The hearing lasted five hours. Mr Tozer prosecuted

  • Task : Soloman Tozer ? Explore further 

    Mr Francis (Newton) defended. Others said to have fired at the same time and the evidence against Daniel Skewes not conclusive. Dr Sharpham questioned whether the injury could have been the result of Skewes firing given their relative position. The case was dismissed and Skewes discharged.


    Task : Between October and December Sgt John Hern, and possibly Sgt James Forster, appear to have left the Corps. It is not known if this had anything to do with the events in November. Now known that John Hern stayed with the Corps as an Hon.Mem. He was still there in 1865. Explore further

Ashburton (1863)


Hon Sec. TBD

Hon Treasurer. TBD

Finance Committee. TBD

Officers and NCOs:

Capt - Robert Coard Tucker

Lieut - William Richard Coulton (resigned)

          Peter Fabyan Sparke Amery

Ensign - Peter Fabyan Sparke Amery (to Lieut)

Robert Michelmore Bovey (resigned)

John Robert Phillips

Hon Assist. Surgeon - Walter Soper Gervis

Chaplain - N/A

Drill Instructer - Sgt James Port

Qtr Master Sgt - Robert Mitchelmore Bovey (?) (to Ensign)


Col Sgt - Henry Eddy

Sgts -

John Robert Philips (to QMS?)

Cpls - Thomas Mann

Henry Saunders

Bugler - William Waycott Chapple
Bandmaster - John Eddy

HQ : 
  • Ashburton
    • Market Hall, Ashburton (1859 ~ TBD)
Armoury :
  • TBD
Task : Where was the original Armoury placed ? There are no ref's on file wrt any detail on the Armoury 1860~1865. Explore further

Range : 
  • Welstor Common (3m from the town)
Uniform :
  • Scarlet trimmings added to their hand cuffs and collars.
  • Bn level uniform agreed in January but seems to have been slow to implement in the Corps.
Misc :

A new Battalion level uniform is agreed at a meeting in Heath's Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes on 22nd January. There were 20 officers of the Bn present. It is not known who represented Ashburton.

The Corps celebrated their 3rd anniversary the last week in February (exact date unknown). In fine weather they hold a Rifle Prize Match at Welstor Common. Shooting starts at 10am with a break for lunch at 12 noon during which the targets were adjusted for long range. References are made J.R. Roberts' harriers being seen in the distance at Halshanger Common (approx 1m from the range). Squad firing finishes at approx 2.30. A number of prizes are competed for:
  • 2 Cups donated by J. Marshall Esq.,
    • 200 yard, 5 shots
    • Won by Asst Surg. Walter Gervis
  • Company Prizes
    • 1st class marksmen at 200, 500 and 700 yards, 5 shots
    • Won by Henry Eddy
    • Non 1st class prize taken by Pte Bartle
Pte Bartle_not as yet identified
  • Hon.Mem. Prize (2 decanters)
    • Won by Hon. Mem. Tucker
  • 1st Class men not firing in 220 and 500 yards
    • Won by William Distin
  • 2nd Class men at 200 and 400 yards
    • Won by Thomas Mann
  • 3rd Class men at 150 and 200 yards
    • Won by Pte Eggbeer
Pte Eggbeer_thought to be Thomas Eggbeer. Then a gardener living with his wife Elizabeth and three sons at Roborough Lane.
  • Recruits at 100 yards
    • Won by Pte Chalk
    • 2nd Pte Knapman
Pte Chalk_not as yet identified
Pte Knapman_it is not known yet whether this is John or Joseph Knapman

That evening a dinner was held at the Golden Lion with Robert Tucker in the chair, and Walter Gervis vice. Fabyan Amery does not seem to have been present during the day, but it is not known why. 60 members and friends attend and entertainment is supplied by Foot, Baker and Halls. Lieut Pates from the 1st DVA is present (this being the first ref to him wrt the 9th DRV). At the dinner Robert Tucker reviews the proceedings of the previous year. and then awards the prizes.

Foot_Harrry Foot
Baker_not as yet identified
Halls_thought to be Richard Halls the cabinet maker then living with his 3 daughters and son at East St., Ashburton

Task : The annual dinner appears to have seconded as the Corps AGM. Explore further

Returns of the 6th March show the Corps at 65 strong. On the 10th the Corps were part of the celebrations in the town on the marriage of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The Corps were to fire a salute of 21 volleys in Stone Park at 10am. Then the band were to take part in the procession which formed at the head of East St. at 11am. The procession went from East St to the Bull-ring up North St.and Kingsbridge Lane returning by way of West St. to St. Lawrence Lane and Heavyhead Lane into East St. then to Violet Cottage on Eastern Turnpike Road and return to Market Hall. The parade was followed by sports in North St. from 4pm and fireworks at Bank's Brim from 7pm.

Task : Explore Summer schedules further.

On the 3rd April Walter Gervis of the 9th DRV had presented a silver challenge cup to be shot for on Easter Monday.

Task : Where was this to be shot ?

At the beginning of April (?) William Richard Coulton resigns his commission. On the 5th the Corps attend Divine Service at St. Andrews. They muster ~ 50 under Robert Tucker. William Coulton is replaced as Lieut by Peter Amery who is promoted from Ensign on the 9th. Sgt Robert Michelmore Bovey replaces Peter Amery as Ensign.

Task : Why did William Coulton resign ? Detail William Coulton's departure. Explore further.

Task : Was Robert Bovey Sgt or Col.Sgt. ? Now known that Col.Sgts (along with QMS's) not introduced until the July. Explore further

With Bastard being absent Robert Tucker (now the senior officer in the battalion) was in command of the 4th DAB during its first inspection as a battalion by Maj. Gustavus Hume on the 23rd June at Totnes racecourse. 
The annual Totnes friendly is held after the inspection.

Task : Who won ?

Task : When was the home leg held ?

Volunteer Regulations coming into force this July capped the NCOs to 1 QMS, 1 Col.Sgt, Between 2 and 4 Sgts and between 3 and 5 Cpls. If the Corps was below establishment only 1 Sgt was allowed for every 20 enrolled members. In addition the appointment of an Asst. Surg. was an Hon. One and not part of the establishment. Every Corps was entitled to appoint one.

Task : For the remainder of the 1860's the Corps remained light on NCO'. This now thought to reflect the enrolled numbers in the returns. Explore further.


On the 22nd September Bugler William Chapple married Louisa Jane Passmore in Ashburton.

On the 28th the Corps recover the Challenge Cup at the 3rd Annual battalion shoot at Totnes. They beat Totnes by 8 points. The Corps do well not only recovering the Cup but Pte Richard Martin is runner up in the individual competition with Rober Tucker and Pte W. Edgecumbe also taking prizes.

31st October was the last day of training and returns were to be forwarded as soon as possible for publishing at the formal end of the Volunteer Year the 30th November. From the number of Sgts it would appear that the Corps stood at between 40 ~ 60 men but this needs confirming.

Task : Locate the returns for this year.

Task : Explore Winter schedules further.

On the 5th November the Corps held a shooting match at Welstor Common under "hurricane" conditions. Heavy wind and rain prevented any high scores but the men competed for prizes donated by Hon.Mem. J.S. Amery Esq., and R. Tucker Esq., Cup won by Pte Richard Martin after a tie with Pte George Lipscombe.3rd and 4th were Pte Frederick Soper and Cpl Henry Saunders. Prize for second class men was won by Pte Robert Abraham with Langdon second and Yolland 3rd. A supper held afterwards at Angels' London Inn. 

Langdon_Possibly John Langdon the Baker/Grocer then living with his wife Elizabeth and young son John in North St.

On the 30th the Corps were inspected by Adjt Bewes at the Market Hall.The Corps are put through their evolutions and said to have performed well. Bewes happy with the performance of the men. Efficiency Certificates were handed out in line with the recent Volunteer Act for the first time. Such certificates would have been dated effective 1st December.

Task : understand better the efficiency levels of the Corps as of this date.

Robert Bovey had this day tended his resignation. He addressed the men, he was leaving the country (going to New Zealand), and thanked them for their support during his time with the Corps. Tucker expressed sorrow at his departure stating he had been one of the chief supporters of the Corps.

On the 16th December John Robert Phillips is gazetted to Ensign.
On the 30th a TBD number of men attend the Open shoot at Totnes. None are thought to have taken prizes.

Ashburton (1864)


Hon Sec. TBD

Hon Treasurer. TBD

Finance Committee. TBD

Officers and NCOs:

Capt - Robert Coard Tucker

Lieut - Peter Fabyan Sparke Amery

Ensign - John Robert Phillips

Hon Assist. Surgeon - Walter Soper Gervis

Chaplain - N/A

Drill Instructer - Sgt James Port

Qtr Master Sgt - vacant

Col Sgt - Henry Eddy

Sgts - vacant

Cpls - Thomas Mann

Henry Saunders

Bugler - William Waycott Chapple

Bandmaster - John Eddy

HQ : 
  • Ashburton
    • Market Hall, Ashburton (1859 ~ TBD)
Armoury :
  • TBD
Task : Where was the original Armoury placed ? There are no ref's on file wrt any detail on the Armoury 1860~1865. Explore further

Range : 
  • Welstor Common (3m from the town)
Uniform: no change?

Misc :

John Phillips is gazetted to Ensign vice Robert Bovey on the 15th January

Task : Conflicting dates. 16th December 1863 or 15th January 1864 ? Explore further

On the start of the drill season on the 18th of January there are 67 members. This includes 13 new recruits.

On 13th February the Corps assemble at the London Inn to make presentation to Ensign R.M. Bovey. Bovey about to leave for New Zealand. Tucker in the chair. States that it was Bovey and William Cockey who were the drivers in founding the Corps.

Task : Who was William Cockey ? Is he refering to Ashburton and Buckfastleigh or only Buckfastleigh ? Explore further

Tucker presented Bovey with a gold Albert chain and locket engraved "To Robert Bovey Esq., from the officers and men of the 9th DRV (Ashburton). February 1864" Bovey thanked them. Band played God Save the Queen  around 10pm.
The 4th Anniversary on the 23rd was celebrated with shooting and prizes by class on a cold day at the Welstor Common range. 200, 400 and 500 yards, 5 shots. Shooting finished around 4pm.
Tucker donating a timepiece as a price (to be retained it needed to be won twice). 
Dinner was to be held at Angel's London Inn at 6pm, this was also to second as their AGM.
Dinner held at the London Inn. Robert Tucker in the chair. Supported by Ensign Phillips and Sgt Eddy, Lieut Amery and Dr. Gervis. Hotel decorated. Banners included "Unity is strength" and "Defence not defiance". Big event with 130 people present. This included 16 old volunteers from 1801 ~ 1815. James Port, the Drill.Inst states the men are improving with their musketry. Promotes having one meeting weekly where everyone attends rather than multiple smaller meetings. Fabyan Amery thanks Port for his efforts. Robert Tucker states the Corps in a very prosperous condition. The Band had been added in the last year.  Drum and Fife Band played under the conductorship of J. Eddy. Scarlett trimmings added to their hand cuffs and collars seen as an improvement. Present  included J.S. Amery Esq. of Druid House, Rev. J. Lay, T. Windeatt (17th DRV, Totnes), Sgt Wotton (10th DRV, Newton), W. Maunder, T. Pearse, Reed (Hon.Member)

Task : Typically this annual dinner seconded as the Corps AGM. Explore further

Task : Locate copies of the 1864 returns.

On the 1st March John H Astell M. P. gave the 9th Devon R.V. £20 towards new uniform. £5 of this was appropriated to their Easter prizes. On the 22nd Robert Tucker left Ashburton for medical convalescence. He left he town leaving Fabyan Amery in command of the Corps.

DD note : Astell was the M.P. for Ashburton. Explore his involvement with the Corps further.

Ashburton ladies were planning another 'fancy bazaar' to raise funds for the corps.

Task : Explore Summer schedules further.

Robert Tucker away in April.
Robert Tucker returns in early May. On 17th May the Corps met on Welstor Common to contend for money prizes donated by R. Jardine Esq. Weather fine. Robert Tucker is present.

Task : Detail the shoot.

At the County shoot on the 2nd June Soper, Eddy and Lipscombe (?) win prizes.The bazaar planned happens in June when £154 were raised for the Corps funds.
The Corps attend the 4th DAB drill at Totnes on the 27th where they muster 61 inc 16 band. Robert Tucker nominally in command (Bastard again absent) but has not yet fully rcovered from his illness and as such deferred to Bewes. After the inspection the Bn paraded through the streets of Totnes headed by the Ashburton band.

Ensign Phillips entertains the Corps at Buckfastleigh on 12th July. Tucker believes that the 4th DAB not being present at the Grand Field Day on the 28th was down to Baldwin Bastard.Tucker hopes that the appointment of Adair to command of the Bn will lead to better things.

Task : Explore further.

On 8th August the Corps compete in a Rifle match against Torquay at the Torquay Coy range at Babbicombe. 8 man per side. 200, 300, 400 and 500 yards. 5 shots each. Enfield rifles, government ammunition. Strong wind from the left caused shooting to be done behind screens. Torquay win. Return match to be arranged at Welstor Common.

Task : Who represented Ashburton ? Known that Robert Tucker was one.

Task : When was the Totnes home and away this year ? Explore further

On the 15th the Corps holds individual firing practice at Welstor Common. The Corps now has 23 embers who are entitled to wear the badge for good shooting.
On the 18th the Corps hold a married vs single men shoot at Welstor Common. 8 men per team. Robert Tucker led the married men and Fabyan Amery led the single men. The singles won by one point.

Bastard resigns in August. He is replaced by Adair.

On the 5th September the Corps host Torquay for the return (home) leg. Shoot at 200, 300, 400 and 500 yards. Ashburton win by 32 points.

Task : Detail the shoot

On 10th October the Corps are present for the annual inspection of the 4th DAB by Maj. Hume. Capt. Tucker, Lieut. Amery, Ensign Phillips, Hon. Asst. Surgeon Gervis are present with Sgts. Eddy and Port (thought to be James Port the Drill Instructor) and 44 rank and file.

Task : Why so few Sgts ?

On the 24th the Corps compete for the Bn Challenge Cup at Totnes. Totnes known to have won but no details yet on file.

Task : Detail the event

31st October was the last day of training and returns were to be forwarded as soon as possible for publishing at the formal end of the Volunteer Year the 30th November. Number of Sgts (1 off) would indicate that the Corps had fallen to less that 40 enrolled men this year but this needs confirming.

Task : Explore Winter schedules further.

On 24th November Walter Soper Gervis appointed Surgeon to the battalion.

Task : 21st or 24th ? Confirm.

Task : This is the first battalion level medical appointment. Current thinking is that Walter Gervis continued to cover Ashburton as well until the appointment of James Adams in 1875 when he was more focused at the Staff level. Explore further.

Task : Explore Administrative Bn’s establishment and M.O’s. As less than a 6 Coy Bn the 4 th DAB would have been entitled to a single Surgeon. Explore further.

On 2nd December the Corps was inspected by Frederick Bewes. Bewes awards certificates of efficiency. 54 men of the Corps have now gained certificates. 41 were entitled to 30s. having passed out of 3rd Class to 2nd Class.13 entitled to 20s still being in 3rd Class.

Ashburton (1865)


Hon Sec. TBD

Hon Treasurer. TBD

Finance Committee - Henry Eddy

Henry Saunders

Thomas  Mann

TBD Frost

Thomas Maynard

Edward Geach

Frost - possibly G T Frost from the Inland Revenue

Officers and NCOs:

Capt - Robert Coard Tucker

Lieut - Peter Fabyan Sparke Amery

Ensign - John Robert Phillips

Hon Assist. Surgeon - Walter Soper Gervis

Chaplain - N/A

Drill Instructer - Sgt James Port

Qtr Master Sgt - vacant

Col Sgt - Henry Eddy

Sgts - vacant

Cpls - Thomas Mann

Henry Saunders


Bugler - William Waycott Chapple

Bandmaster - John Eddy

HQ : 
  • Ashburton
    • Market Hall, Ashburton (1859 ~ TBD)
Armoury :
  • TBD
Task : Where was the original Armoury placed ? There are no ref's on file wrt any detail on the Armoury 1860~1865. Explore further

Range : 
  • Welstor Common (February 1861 - 1895)
    DD note : New regulations for ranges and shooting were issued by the War Office this year. Alterations in classing of targets brought in-line with the Wimbledon systems. Outers, centres and  bulls-eyes in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd periods. Points to be 2,3 and 4 for outer, centre and bull. 3rd class is to be 4 feet wide. 2nd class reduced to 6 feet from 8 and the 1st class 8 feet instead of 12. Regiments armed with the Enfield will only fire upto 800 yards instead of 900. 1st class ranges being at 650, 700, 750 and 800 yards. Whitworth can fire upto 900 yards. For the Enfield 20 points are requird for marksman, 30 for 2nd class and 36 for 3rd class. For Whitworth these are 3rd / 42, 2nd / 40 and 1st 32. The "best shot" badge (rifle and three stars) was to be awarded to the man with most points in second and first classes (2nd and 3rd period) combined.
Uniform: New uniforms issued in March

Task : This currently thought to be the implementation of the standardized uniform agreed in January 1863 when the Bn had selected serge grey with scarlet facings. The 9th DRV were a long time coming in-line. Appears that it took the fancy bazaar and the donation by John Astell to enable. Explore further.

Misc :

 DCVA returns published in January show 3 officers, 2 staff 1 Sgt, 1 Bugler and 52 rank and file for a total of 59.

Task : Numbers lower than previous. Was the 9th DRV seeing a drop ? Explore further

On 23rd February the Corps celebrates its fifth anniversary. The Corps is now 55 strong.
Bad weather prevented prize shooting. Prize shoot being postponed until Easter Monday. During the afternoon the fife and drum band paraded in the streets "playing lively music". They later joined their "rifle brethren". Walter Gervis is now said to be the driving force behind the band and the reason for its high efficiency. This is not understood as John Eddy is still the conductor / bandmaster. 70 met in the evening at Husson's Globe Hotel. Robert Tucker, Fabyan Amery and John Phillips also present. Every member apart from two who were ill said to be present. Other guests include Asst. Surg Owen of the 17th DRV present Lieut. Worthy (late 82nd Regt) and Dr. MacGill. Lieut. Worthy took the toast for the Army and Navy having "recently thrown off his sword". He states that a Sgt of his own regiment was among them. This must have been James Port as he was the only member of the Corps at this time to have served in the Army. Previously thought he had only served in the 47th Foot not 82nd Regt. this needs further exploration. By this time the Corps of 55 consisted of 37 in the 1st class, 13 in the 2nd and 5 in the 3rd class.

Lieut. Worthy_Lieut Charles Worthy, late of the 22nd & 82nd Foot. Son of the Rev. Charles Worthy, thought to have recently returned from India. Although then only in his mid twenties he does not seem to have had anything further to do with the Corps after this.
Dr. MacGill (McGill) TBD

On 15th March the Corps held their AGM at the Market Hall with Robert Tucker in the chair. Receipts : Subscriptions (Effectives) (1863) £2 15s. Subscriptions (officers) (1864) £5 15s.6d. Subscriptions (Four Hon. Mem) (1863) £2 2s. Subscriptions (53 Hon.Mem) (1864) £277 6s. Donations £16 Annuities £12 14s. 10d New barrels £2 10s. 1d Capitation grant (1863) £76 8s. Expenditure : Range £28 11s. 9d. Ammunition £5 19s. 6d. Battalion drill £28 11s. 9d. Rents £15 10s. 10d. Salaries £16 6s. 6d. Clothing and badges £5 10s. 9d. Printing 11s. 3d. National Rifle Association £2 1s. Balance due : £60 13s. 9d. Balance in hand : 17s 8d. Tuckers Report : Year ended 1st March. Total receipts for the year £145 11s. 5d. £4 17s owed carried over from 1863. Overdues meant to actual balance should be £36 1s. 2d. £24 12s.7d spent on the band. Numerical strngth is "well kept up". The number of drilled members being 64 with 15 bandsmen. Coy did not win the Challenge Cup (they had won it twice to date). 25 men who shot in the 1st class had now become marksmen. Hopes that target size reduction will not diminish the number this year. Comments positively on the way them men have adhered to their drill. Out of the enrolled strength there are only 4 non-efficients. 53 Hon. Mems had subscribed to the Corps in the last year (Men and women). 6 less than in 1863, 7 less than 1862. Bazaar conducted by the ladies of Ashburton raised £154. This will be spent on the new uniform which he hopes the Corps will appear in on Easter Sunday. He thanks everyone for their support, the owners and occupiers of the range and the Hon.Mem. He especially thanks Mr Astell for the £20 donation toward the cost of the new uniforms. Tucker's report was adopted and the accounts audited and passed. Finance committee for 1865 was elected : Sgt Eddy, Cpls Saunders and Mann, Ptes Frost, Maynard and Geach. Fabyan Amery was elected to represent the Corps at the DCVA. The Corps to march to church as usual on Easter Sunday.
Task : Although the nominal representitive at the DCVA Fabyan Amery rarely seems to have attended. Explore further.

Task : Explore Summer schedules further.

In the first week of April the Corps take part in this years cross nation simultaneous match. Robert Tucker, Fabyan Amery, Henry Eddy, Henry Saunders Thomas Maynard, Frederick Soper, Richard Martin, William Rowlands, Edward Geach and Pte Tucker compete for the 9th DRV. Robert Tucker has the lead score with 44 pts. On 16th April the Corps march to TBD church in their new uniforms. Now numbering 62.

Task : Ashburton very slow to adopt the battalions' standardized uniform. This had taken over two years. Thought only to have been enabled by Astell's donation. Explore further.

On 17th the Corps joins the Bn drill at Totnes. They drill at Broad Marsh. The Corps having to find their own way there as no railway transport was arranged. They were drilled twice during the day by Adair. Robert Tucker, Fabyan Amery, John Phillips and Walter Gervis all present with the NCOs Henry Eddy, Henry Saunders and Thomas Mann and 41 men plus 15 band members. The full strength of the Corps at the time said to be 76.

On the 7th May the Corps intended to march to Buckfastleigh for divine service. This was cancelled due to bad weather, Instead on the 8th there was a good muster at headquarters when 3 officers, 3 NCOs 44 rank and file and 15 band mustered before marching to Buckfastleigh headed by the band. On arrival at Buckfastleigh they are met by Ensign John Phillips. Armed with blank cartridges they then marched to the grounds of J. Hamlyn Esq. where they were put through company drill with file and volley fire by Robert Tucker. After drill the men retired to the Sun Inn. They left at 9.20pm to return to Ashburton.

J. Hamlyn Esq._John Hamlyn, one time Sgt of the Corps now believed to be an Hon.Mem. Close friend to Robert Tucker.

On the 10th John Hern's wife gives birth to a baby girl.

May also sees Capt Thomas Eales Rogers return to England from India. On arrival back in Ashburton he again appears to have paid interest in the Corps - see June. The first section completed their third class government practice this month. All men making the prescribed minimum grade of 36 points. Henry Eddy coming out on top with 60 points. On the 28th May the Bn again drill. This time it is the first drill at Newton Abbot, the HQ having recently moved there. The Corps are weakly represented with only Robert Tucker, Fabyan Amery, James Port, Henry Saunders, Thomas Mann and 32 rank and file. In general low show for the battalion where only 135/350 turn out.

On 6th June the Corps held their annual prize meeting on Welstor Common.The Challenge Cup, then held by Pte Soper and the Timepiece, then held by Sgt Eddy were also to be competed for. Weather was said to be "delightful" bringing out a large number of spectators. Money prizes reached 20l. including 12l. from the then still M.P. John Astell 5l. from R. Jardine Esq. and 10l. from the returned Thomas Eales Rogers. Mr. R. Tucker presented a splendid timepiece which was won by his son Capt. Robert Tucker with a score of 68. Robert Tucker also won the Challenge Cup presented by Walter Gervis as well as 30s. Pte Rowland with a score of 63 won 3 spoons also presented by Mr. R. Tucker and 10s. James Port won the electroplated Cup, donated by Capt. Robert Tucker, and 15s. with a score of 13 at 600 yards. The cake donated by Mr. W. Maunder (Hon.Mem) was won by Pte Maynard with a score of 32 at 150 and 200 yards. In all there were 54 competitors with money prizes divided such that approx half the competitors should win something and although the shooting was said to be not so good as generally the case the event was a success. Other winners included : Cpl Mann 20s., Pte Langdon 20s., Cpl Saunders 20s. Sgt Eddy, Pte Geach, Horton, Martin. Maynard (also cake for best at 150 and 200 yds) 15s. Pts Pitts , Lipscombe, Browning, Bartle, Simms 10s. Ptes Soper, G. Lowland, Bowden 8s. Pte Weeks, Staff Surg. Gervis, 6s. Ptes Abraham, Gill, Frost, White, Searle, W. Ford, Rowland, 2nd Bugler Chapple 5s. Prizes for recruits and 3rd class men : Pte C. Ford, Shillabeer, Foot, 4s. Pte Bully, Yolland, Eggsbeer 2s. After shooting was over 25 of the prize winners were invited to dinner at Pte Tuckers residence where the prizes were presented. Fife and drum band in attendance the whole day.

Later in the month John H. Astell Esq. M.P. and R.J. Tucker Esq both give £5 to be shot for on Whit Tuesday. 

On the 13th Robert Tucker along with James Port, Henry Eddy, Henry Saunders and 45 rank (alt. ref states they mustered 62 for the event) and file go to Totnes for the 4th DAB annual inspection when the Bn is inspected by Col. Bruce the government inspector. It is not known why Fayan Amery and John Phillips were not present. Henry Saunders is ref'd as a Sgt but this is thought to be a typo in the original. Henry Eddy still ref'd as a Sgt.

The 6th Annual Prize Meeting of the DCVA took place at the Warren on the 26th & 27th with the weather on the whole favourable. Competitors arriived on the ground around 10am with The South Devon Railway Coy opened a temporary siding next to the  ground for the event. Little is known of the Corps performances that day apart from William Rowland taking 3rd place in the 200 & 300 yard shoot.

Task : Explore events of the two days at the Warren further.


Cpl Thomas Mann married Elizabeth Ann Smerdon at St. Andrews on 3rd August. There is no ref as yet to the Corps being in attendance.

On 7th Robert Tucker and Fabyan Amery take 60 men (alt ref. cites 70 men and 13 band) inc Henry Eddy, James Port, Henry Saunders and Thomas Mann to the Grand Review at Roborough. John Phillips is absent. Special trains ran to Bickleigh. Lord Templeton guest of honour. Viscount Templeton was then GOC Western District. Lieut.Gen Viscount Templeton commanded. Sham fight lasted two hours. On the 29th the Corps band plays at the Bovey Tracey Horticultural Show.

They was a friendly shooting match between Devon and Cornwall arranged for the 14th September. Robert Tucker was involved in arranging this but in exactly what way remains unclear. He and John Hern (now an Hon. Mem) represent Devon. On the 18th September the Corps again compete for the Bn Challenge cup at Totnes. Here they are represented by Robert Tucker, Fabyan Amery, Henry Eddy, Thomas Mann Pte's Martin, Rowland, Langdon and Pitts. Both Totnes and Ashburton looking to keep the Cup if they win. The Cup comes down to the last round where all but Robert Tucker and Pte Martin miss the target bt Totnes score 20 points.Totnes ultimately win by 6 points and get to retain the Challenge Cup. Robert Tucker does well and wins the £5 prize donated by Bastard.  Small no. of spectators in the morning. Event had not been well publicized. Prizes were awarded in the evening at a dinner at the Seven Stars Hotel.By the end of the month the Corps had completed their first class firing and the following had successfully qualified as marksmen Robert Tucker, Fabyan Amery, James Port, Henry Eddy, Henry Saunders, Pte's Browing, Longdon, Tucker, Geach, Martin, Ford, Wessaway, Horton, Rowland, Abraham.
31st October was the last day of training and returns were to be forwarded as soon as possible for publishing at the formal end of the Volunteer Year the 30th November. Numbers appear to have remained at less than 40 enrolled men this year.

Task : Explore Winter schedules further.


Task : Bewes should have awarded Efficiency Certificates either late November or early December. Explore further

In the returns published in December the 9th DRV has 39 members claiming the capitation grant of 30s. each, 17 members at 20s. and there were 2x non-efficients for a total strength of 58 men. Since the last returns 11 men have left the Corps. Total Capitation grant was £75 10s. Travelling expenses for 56 men at 4s. each giving a total claim of £86 14s. At the close of the class shooting the Corps had 27 first class, 22 second class and 7 third class with 18 men classed as marksmen.