Stoke Gabriel Remembers the Great War
A Memorial Record of the Servicemen and Civilians of the Parish
(A pdf version of this record additionally contains numerous text boxes of supplementary information and detail. It is available by clicking on the button directly below the “Upcoming Events” section)
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Social History of Stoke Gabriel (Mike Stott)
- The Parish & its Institutions at the Outbreak of War
- Parish Enlistment
- The Parish at War
- Armistice Day, Peace Celebrations & the Parish Memorial
Part 3: Servicemen with Links to Stoke Gabriel (Mark Hifle)
- List of Servicemen
- General Observations
Part 4: Sources and Acknowledgements
Part 1: Introduction
The Great War began in 1914 and ended in 1918. Initially, the conflict involved two opposing coalitions: France, Russia and Britain (including its Dominions) in the Triple Entente, and Germany and Austria-Hungary in a Dual Alliance. Later, the Triple Entente was expanded to include Italy, Japan and the United States to form the Allied Powers, while the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria joined Germany and Austria-Hungary to form the Central Powers. The introduction of the Ottoman Empire opened fronts in Mesopotamia, Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The Western Front, extending from Flanders to the Swiss border, consisted of opposing German and Allied trenches and became an attritional war zone with unprecedented levels of carnage and destruction.
The fighting in the trenches may have seemed miles away to the parishioners of Stoke Gabriel, but the war in the English Channel was much closer. To prevent food imports, German submarines blockaded the English Channel. Many allied ships were lost off the South Hams coast including the battleship, HMS Formidable. At least 45 British or Allied merchant ships and the clearly marked hospital ship, Asturias, were sunk within 8 miles of Start Point.
By the time that the war had concluded, more than 16 million people had died. In the grand scheme of things, the parish of Stoke Gabriel was a minor, if not insignificant, player but it experienced the impact and consequences of the war no less than anywhere else. Men from the parish left their homes to serve their country, some of whom died in action while others were wounded and required a lifetime of care. Many suffered the mental trauma of the experience and found it difficult, if not impossible, to make the adjustment back to a “normal” life. Some died from their wounds after their return but some lived to a ripe old age. Few of the survivors talked about their experience.
The parish was a very different place during the war. Those who remained at home had to learn to cope with an uncertain situation at a time when news was slow and not always reliable. As an agricultural and fishing community, the practical challenge for the parish was to produce more food for the country at home and abroad. Voluntary aid was also required to help the war effort by supporting the work of the Red Cross and the servicemen themselves.
Using historical records and other sources, a picture has been created of the parish of Stoke Gabriel during the Great War. The intent is not to provide an account from a military perspective but to identify the men who went to serve their country and to provide some insight into the response of the parishioners who were left behind. It is about the social history of the parish one hundred years ago and how it supported the war effort.
Part 2: Social History of Stoke Gabriel
1. The Parish & its Institutions at the Outbreak of War
According to Kelly’s Directory of Devonshire, the population of the parish of Stoke Gabriel in 1914 was 591, which is about half of that today. The Directory identifies a number of residents and tradesmen by name although the Licensed Victualler of the Victoria and Albert Inn was Albert Robert (not Richard) Baker:
There were three main institutions within the parish and these were the Parish Church, the Parish Council and the Council School.
The parish vicar, Rev’d John Henry Napper Nevill, died in 1915 and was succeeded by Rev’d Hugh Lindsay Pigot, then Rev’d Hugh Henry Ensor and in 1918 by Rev’d Vincent John Leatherdale. A succession of four vicars in as many years created interregna which totalled in excess of 18 months. The churchwardens were John Peter Baker and Richard Newland Matthews, who both remained in office through to 1918. The sexton was James Narracott until his death in 1916 when he was succeeded by his son James Robert Narracott.
The vicar, churchwardens and sexton attended the annual vestry meetings. Parishioners who also attended these meetings included Mr & Mrs F Adams, Mr C F Churchward, Mr J H Collings, Mr Dodd, Mr Downs, Mr Edwin Hannaford-Hill, Mr Lawrence, Mr C Matthews, Mrs J Narracott, Mr W H Narracott, Mr & Mrs T E Studdy, Mr & Mrs Tope, Mr Tozer, and Mr & Mrs Utton-Sayers. In 1918 a Parochial Church Council (PCC) was established by the vicar, some 20 years after the statutory division between lay and ecclesiastical affairs and the formation of the parish council. The newly formed PCC comprised the vicar, the two wardens and Mr C F Churchward, Mr Dodd, Mr Downs, Mr Lawrence, Mr Utton-Sayers and Mr T E Studdy. During the war years, the church records reveal that the church building and clock were repaired, and additional support was provided for the yew tree.
The Chairman of the Parish Council throughout the war years was Mr Thomas Edward Studdy of Mazonet who was the brother of Colonel Robert Wright Studdy of Waddeton Court. The other members of the Parish Council were: Messrs John James Baker (parish clerk until his resignation in 1915), W H Blank, Collings, Luscombe (resigned in 1916), R N Matthews (appointed as parish clerk in 1915), R Preston (appointed in 1916), T Preston (resigned in 1918), Searle, H Shilston, J E Tope and Tozer. The items of business that the council covered during the war years were the management of the allotments, the cleaning out of the Crownly reservoir, the domestic water supply, wayside hedge cutting, Wednesday half-day closing of the village Post Office, waste paper collection, and repairs to Stoke Road.
The Overseers of the Poor were annually appointed by the parish council and were: in 1914 Mr Reginald Hartley Thackery of Woods & Mr John Beavis Duder of Aish House; in 1915 Mr S Trenchard of South Downs & Mr W Thomson of Aish Cross House; in 1916 Mr C Ford of Yarde Farm & Mr C Tunyman; in 1917 Mr P Luscombe of Byter & Mr C Matthews; and in 1918 Mr W Heath of Waddeton & Mr S Scadding of Rydon farm.
Stoke Gabriel Council School
The school was built in 1876 at a cost of £1100 for some 150 children. The attendance in 1914 was 105. William John Warren was the Schoolmaster and Mr T E Studdy, Mr J E Tope and Mr H Shilston were School Managers with Mr Studdy being the chairman of the management team and the author of many of the entries in the School Log Book. The schoolmaster and managers occupied their posts throughout the war years. The Assistant Teachers were at various times during this period Mrs E Dodd, Miss A Curtis and Mrs W Downes, and the Supplementary/Temporary Teachers included Miss Campfield, Mrs Warren, Miss Mallett and Miss Vinnicombe
The school took children from the age of 5 until 12 when they could leave if their attendance record was good or 13 if it was not. Only the most able children would go on to the secondary school, King Edward VI Grammar School, in Totnes. A scholarship was required and the children were expected to board. During the war years, only one known child, Leslie Narracott, son of James Narracott, obtained a scholarship to the grammar school.
The school taught basic reading, writing and arithmetic together with religious instruction. The schoolchildren were expected to provide the next generation of domestic staff and farm labourers. Schools had accordingly started to teach needlework and housewifery for girls and gardening and handwork for boys. Many children between ages 10 and 14 were illegally in full time employment and even those who attended school often worked for several hours before and after. The summer school holiday was four weeks from the end of July to the end of August.
In the early 20thcentury, there was no public transportation between the village and any of the nearby towns although there was a motor omnibus that ran between Totnes and Paignton with a stop at Longcombe Cross, some 2 miles north west of the village. The ferry operated between Duncannon and Ashprington Point and the Dartmouth and Totnes steam packet called at Duncannon. The rail network extended across the country with connections from Kingswear, Totnes and Paignton station. Parishioners tended to use Paignton station but had to get to it by foot, horse drawn vehicle or bicycle.
The local economy was based on the industries of farming and fishing. Farming comprised both livestock and arable, the chief crops being wheat, barley and root vegetables. Salmon fishing continued to be productive as indicated by the fact that there were seven licensed fishermen. The railway network opened up the market for local produce, enabling it to be sent further and in greater bulk than before.
Smaller trades existed within the village to serve the local community. These included stonemasons, shopkeepers, merchants, road contractors, carpenters, painters, glaziers, ferrymen and innkeepers. There was little tourism at this time although nearby Paignton and Torquay were experiencing a rapid growth in the industry as a result of the arrival of the railway.
In early 20thcentury England, life was hard and opportunities for self-advancement were limited. As a result, over 3 million people from all walks of life decided to emigrate. In the 19thcentury, many favoured the USA but gradually the balance tipped towards the Dominions of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and in particular Canada. In the first two decades of the 20thcentury, some 30,000 people from South Devon, including Stoke Gabriel, emigrated to Canada.
During the first two weekends of August 1914, horticultural shows were taking place and local teams were playing in league competitions of cricket, tennis and bowls. The local regattas had however all been abandoned. On Tuesday 4thAugust 1914, the weather was cool and wet with winds from the south west. The people of Stoke Gabriel were going about their business. The children had just started the school summer holiday and would be working or at play. At night time, the people of Stoke Gabriel would have gone to bed with a sense of foreboding. They would not know for certain until the next day but, following Germany’s failure to withdraw from Belgium, the UK and Germany were at war.
2. Parish Enlistment
At the start of the war in August 1914, there was a widely held belief that the conflict would be over by Christmas and enlistment to the military by voluntary means would be sufficient. Many flocked to the recruiting stations across the county but by 1915 it was apparent that more men were needed. Local Parliamentary Recruiting Committees organized regimental marching bands accompanied by canvassers to persuade men to enlist. Volunteers were required to attend the local recruiting office within 48 hours. If fit, they were sworn in and transferred to a reserve unit for training. Recruitment posters and local newspaper advertisements were also used in which women and children appealed to men’s consciences. But still the numbers were insufficient and compulsory enlistment – conscription – was introduced in February 1916 for single and widowed men and in May 1916 for married men. Parishes were obliged to provide more men and the recruitment drive took on a different tone.
Even before this time, the change in tone was apparent. In November 1914, Vicar Nevill presided at a parish recruitment meeting (Totnes Times, 5thDecember 1914). The address was given by Mr E Hitchings of Torquay in which he said that “what Englishmen had to realise was that we were now fighting for our very existence as a great world power.” He reminded the meeting that “the devastation of Belgium, the murder of its non-combatant population, and the massacre of women and children was a feature of German warfare” and that “if Germany could effect a standing in this country, the devastation of fire and sword would sweep over our homesteads with probably greater force than had been the case in Belgium.” He urged the men of the parish to enlist.
Local newspapers went further and published lists of parishes, their populations and their levels of enlistment, identifying those, which included Stoke Gabriel, with levels below 4%. (The average across the county was 4.7% compared to 10.2% across the nation with rural numbers being lower than urban).
Like many other parishes, enlistment from Stoke Gabriel was slow at the onset of war with 22 volunteers out of a population of 591, which was just below the 4% threshold. Towards the end of the war, the number had increased to 57 according to information that had been compiled by the Torquay Registration Officer for electoral purposes (Western Morning News, 20thAugust 1918). However, this number excluded those who had died in conflict and even still failed to provide a complete picture.
A more reliable figure is that used by Sir Alfred Goodson of Waddeton Court, who reported to the parish in 1919 that it had sent 110 men to serve in the naval, land and air forces, that is nearly one man per house and about 20% of the population. During the war Sir Alfred was president of both the Officers’ Training Corps Selection Board and the Overseas Civilian Advisory Boards, General Headquarters, France, for which services he was knighted in 1922 and became the 1stBaronet Goodson of Waddeton Court. In 1920 he held the office of High Sheriff of Devon (the King’s representative for the county). He is likely therefore to have had access to the most authoritative information. The figure of 57 thus significantly understates the commitment to the war effort by the parish.
The discrepancy between these two figures can be explained by the numerous men who served their country but were unable to vote in its elections. At this time, the franchise was restricted to men who were householders and who were at least 21 years old. Many men did not meet either qualification. The lawmakers of the day recognised the country-wide anomaly and the law was changed in 1918, expanding the franchise by the removal of the property ownership requirement. This change, welcome though it was, still excluded many men.
The introduction of conscription allowed exemptions for men of poor health and certain “starred” occupations. The clergy, teachers and specified classes of industrial workers all qualified for exemption (although some chose to waive their exemption, such as the Rev’d Henry Foxton Beaumont who was an overseas chaplain in the army from 1915-19 before he became vicar of Stoke Gabriel in 1927). In addition, men who worked the land or fished the waters could qualify since the war economy required that the country should be able to feed itself. An application for exemption had to be made and the cases were considered by Tribunals, which in the case of Stoke Gabriel was the Totnes Rural Tribunal. Many applications were made and reported in the local newspapers.
In early 1918, the parish was still actively encouraging men to enlist, even to the extent of establishing a new platoon with the Devonshire Regiment.
Across the country, householders displayed cards in their windows to show that members of their family had enlisted, such as “NOT AT HOME. A man from this house is now serving in His Majesty’s Forces”.
The mobilisation of so many men was a challenge with so few motorised vehicles at the time. But the country possessed an extensive rail network which had been taken over by the government and the army made the most use of it. Stoke Gabriel men, many of whom had probably not ventured far from the parish before, would have made their way to Paignton station by foot or horse-drawn vehicle. In late 1914, in a blaze of patriotic fever, good cheer and hat waving, the troops were sent on their journey from Paignton Station to their regimental posting fully expecting to be back home by Christmas. But Christmas came and went, the local newspapers started to report increasingly lengthy lists of casualties, and the only trains returning to the station were filled with the wounded.
3. The Parish at War
The private residents of note in the parish in the period from 1914-19 were:
- Hill House: Frederick J P (& Charles F) Churchward, 1914-19
- Colston: Tom Norman Dinwiddy, 1914-19
- Rosemount: John Fraser, 1914 to Col Joseph Hulme Balfour, 1919
- Mazonet: Thomas Edward Studdy, 1914-1919
- Woods: Reginald H Thackeray, 1914 to John A Wylie, 1919
- Barney Castle: Frederick Walker, 1914-19
- Sandridge Park: Arthur Henry Wilson, 1914-19
- Waddeton Court: Col Robert Wright Studdy, 1914 to Sir Alfred Goodson, 1919
- Little Pleasance, Aish: Miss Andrews, 1914-19
- Aish Cross House: William Thomson, 1914 to Robert E H Dayson, 1919
The impact of the war on the parishioners who remained behind was not inconsiderable. They needed to be mentally resilient to cope with the uncertainty associated with the wellbeing of a loved one fighting a war far from home. Then there was the dreaded fear of the War Office telegram which may have been at the back, if not the front, of peoples’ minds. In Stoke Gabriel, the first war office telegram would have been received by the Evans’ family in September 1914. Parishioners would thus have become aware of the significance of a War Office telegram at a very early stage of the conflict. And all this anxiety, apprehension and sense of helplessness would have been exacerbated by the absence of a vicar during prolonged periods of interregna when there would have been limited provision of pastoral care.
At the outset of war, the law provided that British-born women who married an alien acquired their husband’s nationality. As a result, many such women found themselves to be enemy aliens during the war although they were not interned. Mary Esther Eales was born in Stoke Gabriel to Edward and Anne Eales. She subsequently moved to Liverpool and in 1885 married an Austrian ships steward, Michael Mathew Cehovich, and thus became just such an alien. She was widowed in 1903 and was re-naturalised on 26 Oct 1916 as a British citizen.
The absence of men created hardship for their families. Women took on the management of the household and undertook tasks previously undertaken by men. Many also responded to the numerous calls for service in support of the war effort. As the land war on the Western Front became one of relentless attrition, working-class women were highly praised for their role at home and their feminist cause increased in political significance.
The government had introduced censorship shortly after the commencement of the war. Keeping the people ignorant while maintaining their confidence in the authorities was vital to the successful conduct of the war. Government propaganda was pervasive. The main source of news in Stoke Gabriel was the newspapers and their reports of events at the Front became distinctly partisan.
Even the Council School would not escape the reaches of Government propaganda. On Trafalgar Day, 21stOctober, 1915, the school had been provided with materials for use in celebrating the event. The lessons for the day were required to be adapted to the role of the navy and patriotic forms had been provided to be read. The school marked Empire Day, 24th May 1916, with lessons on the Empire and the “Daughter Lands of Britain”. On the 7thJune 1916 the school flag was flown at half-mast on the sinking of HMS Hampshire with Lord Kitchener on board. Afterwards, a memorial service was held in the parish church for Lord Kitchener and the sailors and soldiers lost in the naval battle.
Agriculture & Food Production
The economic development of the parish had been based on farming and fishing and their continuing productivity was important to the nation. Across the country, the challenge now facing the farmers and fishermen was how to maintain, if not increase, their productivity with less resource.
There were about 15 farms in the parish in the period from 1914-19. The farms and farmers were:
- Rowes Farm: John Churchward, 1914-1919
- Yarde Farm: Thomas Luscombe, 1914 to Charles Ford, 1919
- Sandridge Barton: Thomas Preston, 1914 to William Henry Horton, 1919
- Byter Farm: Philip Luscombe, 1914-1919
- Unknown Farm: James Skedgell-Hill, 1914
- Rydon Farm: Robert Hardenfeldt, 1914 to Samuel Scadding, 1919
- South Downs: Sidney Trenchard, 1914-1919
- Rhodes Farm, Aish: John Edwin Tope, 1914 to William Andrews, 1919
- Aish House: John Beavis Duder, 1914 to William Harris, 1919
- Unknown Farm, Aish: Richard Preston, 1914-1919
- Unknown Farm, Waddeton: William Heath, 1914-1919
- Unknown Farm, Waddeton: Mrs John Peeke, 1914-1919
- Unknown Farm, Waddeton: Alfred Searle, 1914-1919
- Well Farm, Port Bridge: William Harris, 1914 to William Coker, 1919
- Unknown Farm, Port Bridge: Henry Tully, 1914 to Mrs Susan Crump, 1919
In 1914 the country produced just 35% of its food, caused in part by the bulk grain imports from America. It now faced a German blockade, necessitating changes in farming practices which would bring about greater self-sufficiency. The government began to regulate agriculture and by 1916 farming practises had largely conformed although not without a struggle between government and farmers. Across the county, there was increased production of arable crops and potatoes and a decreased production in fodder crops and sheep and pigs.
While farmers were generally exempt from conscription (and there is no evidence that any of those named above saw active service), the same did not apply to farmhands and agricultural labourers. By January 1915 some 100,000 men had enlisted who had previously worked the land. The loss of experienced menfolk created difficulties especially during the labour-intensive planting and harvesting seasons. Additional human resource was required and there were options. Women were encouraged to train as farmhands, and did so with great success (the Women’s Land Army) but met much resistance from the farmers. The use of schoolboy labour was cheap but the boys were untrained and not always available. The use of conscientious objectors and German PoWs was an option but came with understandable concern and suspicion. A further option was the hired use of agricultural companies within the regiments, formed of men no longer fit to serve overseas. The farmers did not like any of these options, preferring to use their own sons and other family members. In Stoke Gabriel, because of the late harvest in 1917, farmers made use of local schoolchildren. Mr Studdy acknowledged the absences in the School Log Book at the start of the new term, writing that “Many absent especially older boys at work for farmers”. They did not return to school until late September.
Military Requisition of Horses:
In August 1914, the parish had not only lost men to the war but had also lost horses, which had been requisitioned by the military for pulling artillery, ambulances, supply wagons and their own fodder. The horse was an essential requirement of the military campaign in spite of the advances made with mechanisation and remained as such throughout the war. Yet, the horse was also the main source of power to the farmer, drawing ploughs, harrows and seed drills across fields and pulling carts full of manure and lime. South Devon was a major contributor of horses to the war effort and their appropriation compounded the difficulty faced by local farmers. Indeed, the demand for horses (and donkeys and mules) was so great that thousands were imported from the USA and elsewhere. It was not until the country experienced an increase in cereal production in 1916 that horse numbers began to rise again.
By late 1916, food shortages began to bite, prices began to rise and rationing was introduced. At the beginning of 1917, the scheme was voluntary but it still did not eliminate the long queues outside shops across the country. By the end of the year, the scheme had become compulsory with the introduction of ration books. Food allowances were based on a staple daily diet of bread, sugar and meat. In his diary entry for 12thApril 1917, Arthur Thompson, the Vicar of Ide, near Exeter, revealed that food prices had generally increased by 50%. Thus, under the newly introduced scheme of rationing each person was allowed 4 lbs of bread, ¾ lb of sugar & 2½ lbs of meat a week.
Town and parish councils were exhorted to increase the number of allotments and oblige tenants to work them. In Stoke Gabriel, Mr J Wallace asked the Parish Council at its meeting in January 1915 for permission to give up his allotment on Ladyday as he had enlisted. The Parish Council granted permission and agreed at its next meeting that the tenancy should be granted to Mr P Collings.
Potatoes became a very important food source and were in great demand; they were not rationed and everyone was encouraged to grow them. A Totnes resident, Mrs Symons, proposed that potatoes should be grown in the unused plots in the local cemetery (Western Morning News, March 1917). The proposal was controversial because of the consecrated nature of the grounds but, with the support of the Burial Board of Totnes and the reluctant agreement of the Bishop of Exeter, the proposal was eventually accepted.
The British naval blockade in the North Atlantic was less effective against German submarines (U Boats) many of which managed to break free and establish their own blockade along the English Channel. By late summer 1914, the submarines had started to prevent merchant ships delivering food. The impact on fishing in the English Channel was almost immediate and by 1915 the submarines started to sink all vessels in the area including Brixham trawlers. For safety, many fishing grounds were closed while others were fished by trawlers under the protection of British warships. Some trawlers opted to fish closer to the shore. By the end of the war, over 30 of 300 Brixham trawlers had been lost.
In the period 1914-19, netting licences were issued to the following seven Stoke Gabriel river fishermen:
- Martin Adams, 1914-19
- Richard Lewis Adams, 1914-19
- Eli Bonstow, 1914-19
- Evelyn Collings, 1914-19
- John Henry Collings, 1914-19
- John Hannaford-Hill, 1914 to Arthur and Edwin Hannaford-Hill, 1919
- William Rowe, 1914-19
None of the fishermen would have been conscripted given the importance of their trade to the country and indeed the evidence indicates that none saw active service.
The harvest from the River Dart had assumed greater importance than in peace time. Salmon fishing continued unaffected by the blockade, and eels (which were not particularly abundant), mullet and even herrings were added to the catch. The Dart District Fishery Board introduced incentives to kill natural predators, such as otters and shag. (The Dartmoor Otter Hounds were active throughout the war). In September 1915, the parish church was decorated for harvest, the main feature (created by Mr J Baker and Mr W Baker) being a fishing net containing various fish to represent the harvest from the river.
The Baltic supply of timber had been disrupted by the German blockade but timber remained in high demand for use as trench supports, duckboards and planking, railway sleepers, pit props and in the building of huts and much else. Much was sourced from South Devon, in particular in and around Stover, for which experienced Canadian lumberjacks had been recruited. The parish of Stoke Gabriel was probably another source since Stoke Road required repair as a result of “drawing timbers to Paignton Station.”
There were smaller trades that existed to serve the local community. In 1914, these included the following:
- Carpenter: George Ralph Gove, 1914-19
- Ferryman: William Rowe, 1914-19
- Painter & Glazier: Richard Newland Matthews, 1914-19
- Innkeeper (Church House Inn): George Samuel Crinks, 1914 to Thomas Lawrence, 1919
- Innkeeper (V & A Inn): Albert Robert Baker, 1914-19
- Monumental mason: Charles Matthews, 1914-19
- Painter: William Henry Narracott, 1914-19
- Post Office & Shopkeeper: George Skedgell-Hill, 1914-19
- Road Contractor: Philip Collings, 1914-19
- Sand Merchant: John Baker, 1914-19
- Shopkeeper & Stonemason: Samuel Scadding Jr 1914-19
- Stonemason: James Narracott
Of these tradesmen, those who are known to have served in the war include the V & A Innkeeper, Albert Robert Baker, and the painter, William Henry Narracott. By 1919 nearly all the same trades people were still occupying their posts.
Many of the trades were necessary for sustaining the parish both at war and at peace. Many are associated with building construction and repair. Specialist tradesmen would have had to travel from one of the nearby towns. A road contractor reflects the changing times of the period in which motorized transportation was growing even if still in its infancy. Stoke Road in particular was an arterial connection with both Paignton and Totnes and was often in need of repair. The Duncannon ferry was essential not only for ferrying people between Ashprington and Stoke Gabriel but also because it created a connecting stop for the steam packet between Dartmouth and Totnes, both of which had rail connections. The post office was essential for communication, not least with the servicemen who were away from home.
Voluntary aid from the parish took various forms from fund-raising and the donation of clothing, food, furniture and equipment through to the provision of accommodation, practical help and labour.
From the outset, regular fund-raising events were organised by the Committee of the Musical and Social Society, chaired by Mr F W Robinson. Regularly reported in the Totnes Times, the events took the form of whist drives and programmes of patriotic airs, recitations, songs, comedy sketches and piano and violin recitals, often concluding with dancing to musical accompaniment. The proceeds were used to support the Devon Patriotic Fund, Princess Mary’s Christmas Fund, the Belgian Relief Fund and a local fund “for sending a Christmas gift to each man from the village serving in the Army and Navy”.
In January 1917, the Girl Guides put on an entertainment programme and display of first aid and stretcher drill. The programme ended with the singing of Auld Lang Syne and the Russian National Anthem, a reminder that Russia was a member of the Triple Entente. The proceeds were sent to the Star and Garter Hospital for Disabled Soldiers and Sailors.
Schools across the county supported the war effort and lessons, such as geography and history, started to take on a new relevance. The children of the Council School raised funds for Christmas gifts which were sent through the “Overseas Club” to sailors and soldiers overseas. On other occasions, they raised funds in support of the YMCA, Childrens’ Huts and Overseas Empire Day Fund. They also “made garments for Belgian refugees, and knitted comforts for soldiers and minesweepers”.
Schools were required to carry out tasks in support of the war effort. Of use as a field dressing because of its absorbent and antiseptic properties, sphagnum moss grows in abundance on Dartmoor. Children at nearby schools were required to collect the moss. It was dried and packed loosely into gauze bags before being sent to the Front. All schools were instructed in 1917 to collect horse chestnuts. They were vaguely informed that chestnuts are an effective substitute for grain in a certain industrial process essential to the war effort. In actuality, the process relates to the production of acetone which is a solvent used in the manufacture of cordite! An increased demand for jam by the armed forces resulted in the school children also being asked to pick blackberries. The School Log Book reveals that the children collected almost 300 lbs of blackberries in the summer and autumn of 1918. While there is no record that the school collected sphagnum moss or horse chestnuts, it more than fulfilled its duty in regard to blackberries. Needless to say, the use of schoolchildren in these endeavours, taking them away from valuable teaching time, did not meet with universal approval.
The Linen League was a county-wide group of ladies who collected linen, clothing and comforts, such as food, fruit, chocolate and cigarettes, for the benefit of refugees and soldiers at the front. The group was led by the Mayoress of Exeter and by a local lady in each parish. The leader of the Stoke Gabriel Work Group was Mrs Studdy of Mazonet where she had a War Work Room that was used for the purpose. The group was active throughout the duration of the war and regular reports of their activities appeared in the local press.
The greatest level of voluntary aid from within the parish was dedicated to supporting the Red Cross, a newly constituted organisation which combined the British Red Cross and the Order of St John. Carrying out its work under the emblem of the Red Cross, they had established by the end of the war some 60 hospitals, known as Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs), in Devon, the larger ones having operating theatres. Their primary function was to treat the sick and wounded servicemen, but they also undertook searches to locate missing soldiers and provided support to Prisoners of War. They trained volunteers in nursing and hygiene and organised the provision of volunteer and professional staff into hospitals and convalescent homes. The staff were dispatched throughout the UK and also worked close to the Western Front. Casualties chiefly came from the Front and were evacuated by ship to Southampton and then by ambulance train to Devon. Paignton Station received its first contingent of casualties on the 27thSeptember 1914 with 150 soldiers.
The most common cause of admission to a VAD was gunshot and shrapnel wounds and the effects of gas. But significant numbers were also admitted with frost-bite, pneumonia, trench foot, shell shock and stress-related disorders. Treatments were essentially limited to surgery for removal of shrapnel or limb amputation. There was little in the way of medicines and certainly no antibiotics. The most seriously injured were treated by the regular hospitals, the nearest of which was at Torquay.
Local VADs were established at Torquay (the Town Hall Hospital where Agatha Christie famously worked as a volunteer nurse), Paignton and Totnes, and these were used as secondary hospitals for the less seriously injured. There were also convalescent hospitals which were large private houses that had been offered up for use in this way. Some convalescent hospitals were private and for use by officers and one such was Mazonet Officers’ Hospital, Stoke Gabriel.
The Mazonet Officers’ Hospital had 16 beds, was in use from 1914 to 1919, and was staffed by members of the Studdy family. Born in 1855 at Waddeton Court, Thomas Edward Studdy resided with his family at Mazonet. He was the Commandant of the Hospital while his wife, Mary Fannie Studdy, was Head of the War Work Room and also the quartermaster, for which service she received the Volunteer Worker badge. Their daughter, Violet Mary Studdy, also worked in the War Work Room and was also a recipient of the Volunteer Worker badge. Another daughter, Eleanor Frances Studdy, the youngest of the children, worked first as a cook at Paignton VAD Hospital and then as a cook and pantry maid at Mazonet. Towards the end of the war, she worked in the War Work Room for which she was awarded the Girl Guide war service badge. Another family member, Dorothy Studdy, served as a scullery maid and then as a cook. The only son of Thomas Edward Studdy, namely Robert Frank Barton Studdy, served in the army.
Mazonet hospital required a core of professionally trained people and the following volunteered their services from outside the parish:
- Miss Charity Drew of Exeter and Ms Catherine Hildyard of Dawlish were General Duty Nurses;
- Dr Richard Julyan George of Paignton was a part-time medical doctor throughout the war;
- Mrs Kathleen Agnes Harley of Paignton was a masseuse;
- Miss Edith Hesketh of Paignton was a Wardmaid;
- Mrs Alice Muriel Joll of Princetown and Miss Gertrude Douglas Longworthy of Dartmouth were both pantry workers;
- Miss Ada Maud Roskruge of Salcombe was both a cook and a nurse; and
- Mrs Elizabeth Thurnall of Paignton was Sister in Charge.
The hospital enjoyed a huge level of support from local parishioners. They not only volunteered to help with the ironing and cleaning, sewing and mending of hospital linen and patients’ clothes, but also lent furniture and provided recreational comforts, such as cigarettes. Parishioners also grew vegetables, picked fruit, collected eggs and prepared meals for the hospital kitchen.
The patients at the hospital generally did not have life-threatening injuries but needed time to convalesce. Servicemen preferred the VAD hospitals to the military hospitals as the discipline was not as strict, conditions were less crowded and the surroundings were more congenial. One patient at Mazonet was Alexander Francis Garden Brown of the Isle of Wight who was about 60 at the time. While a patient at Mazonet, he learnt of the death of his son, Lieutenant Alexander Claud Garden Brown, who had been killed in action.
To support the Red Cross, the Devonshire branch organised weekly subscriptions, church collections and fund-raising events. Stoke Gabriel made regular contributions as evidenced by frequent reports in the local press.
The voluntary aid provided by the parish endured through the war years. It was extensive, involving numerous parishioners in frequent and regular fund-raising and in various forms of practical support. It involved parishioners at all levels, the parochial institutions and ad hoc organisations.
4. Armistice Day, Peace Celebrations & the Parish Memorial
On Monday 11thNovember 1918, the Armistice was signed and the guns fell silent. How the news arrived in Stoke Gabriel is unknown. In all likelihood, it arrived from Dartmouth or Torquay where naval craft had picked up the news on air waves from the Admiralty at Devonport. The record in the School Log Book suggests that the news had been received about the middle of the day since the children were given a holiday. The record also reveals how much the Officer’s Hospital had become an integral part of the parish community.
Vicar Leatherdale swiftly organised a service to take place later that day. The Register of Services contains an entry in which the vicar had written: “Special Thanksgiving service for the Armistice signed. Almost full church.” One may well imagine that, as with nearby parishes, the bells were rung, flags were flown and there was much relief, rejoicing and celebration, but also a time of mixed emotions for those who had experienced loss or injury to a loved one. In nearby Paignton, the prevailing mood of the people was captured well by the local newspaper.
The cessation of fighting did not result in a cessation of death. The month of November coincided with a virulent influenza outbreak across the country, killing many servicemen who were already in poor health. Many others continued to die in the following decades.
The servicemen returned home once they had been demobilized, which for most men occurred before the 31stMarch 1920. Some men, including British Prisoners of War, were able to return within days of the Armistice. One such man from Stoke Gabriel was Frank Ridgeway (Western Times, 29thNovember 1918). Another was the son of Sir Alfred, Captain Alan Goodson.
Celebrations of Peace
The guns had fallen silent and the servicemen had started to return home, but the peace still needed to be negotiated. A peace treaty, the Treaty of Versailles, was signed on 28thJune 1919 and on the evening of Sunday 6thJuly there was a service of thanksgiving at the parish church. The Baptist Chapel was closed in order that its members might join in one united service. The people assembled at the Council School, where a procession was arranged by Col. Balfour (Totnes Times, 12thJuly 1919). Vicar Leatherdale, Mr G N Bridgman (representing the Baptist Pastor) and the choir led the procession followed by active and discharged service men, wearing their medals; the relatives of those in the parish who had died for their country; the Girl Guides under Miss Studdy; the children under Mr Warren; members of the Church and Parish Council under Mr Dinwiddy; and members of the Working Men’s Club under Mr Tozer. After Sir Alfred Goodson read the King’s Proclamation, the choir led the procession into church, singing the “Old Hundredth”. A large number of parishioners followed and the church was so packed that many could only join the service by standing around the open doors.
The peace was celebrated across the country on Saturday 19thJuly. The country’s finances were in a poor state and many councils decided to levy a rate on parishioners to help meet the costs. Stoke Gabriel Parish Council duly considered the matter at its meeting on the 9thJuly 1919 but Sir Alfred Goodson offered to cover the shortfall.
The inclement weather forced a postponement of the sports events, which took place the following Saturday, the 26th July. Judging from the newspaper reports, both events were very well supported by parishioners, both young and old.
Sir Alfred’s speech, as reported in the Totnes Times, 26th July 1919, is the source of the information that 110 men from Stoke Gabriel had served their country in the armed services. He specifically mentions the Baker, Collings and Scadding families as having each sent three brothers to serve in the armed forces but fails to mention the Evans’ family, which sent five brothers and their brother-in-law, Walter Knowles, to serve and the Potham family which also sent three brothers. These omissions demonstrate the difficulty in obtaining an accurate and complete picture so soon after the war.
On the 1stAugust 1919, the Council School closed for the usual 4 weeks summer holiday and “an extra week granted by the Education Committee at the request of HM the King in honour of the Peace and the Allies winning the War.”
It is at this juncture that Mr T E Studdy starts to withdraw from public life. More than any other person who “remained behind”, he contributed to the war effort in Stoke Gabriel not only by offering up his home for use as a hospital, which he then managed as Commandant, but also through his leadership of the Parish Council and the School governing committee. Although he may not have been a popular man, he led by example and carried on with “business as usual” even though the times were anything but usual. In this way, he inspired others to make their own sacrifices for the war effort. He died in 1924, aged 69, is buried in the churchyard and is remembered in the parish church pulpit.
As reported by Sir Alfred in his speech at the Peace Celebrations, a decision had been taken to erect a memorial cross for those who had fallen in the war. A committee was established to oversee the design and construction of the cross and to decide on the names to be memorialised. The committee comprised three trustee members, namely the newly appointed Parish Council Chairman, Mr T H Dinwiddy, Sir Alfred Goodson and Vicar Leatherdale, all respected members of the local community.
The site of the proposed memorial at the junction of Stoke Hill and Paignton Road near to Gabriel Court had been gifted by Mr F Churchward. The architect was Mr T N Dinwiddy himself and the building contractor was Mr F Horn of Totnes. It was built in 1920 and responsibility for it vested in the Parish Council.
Identification of the Servicemen for Naming on the Parish Memorial:
There were no nation-wide rules for deciding which servicemen should be included on a parish memorial. It was a decision for each parish. Some parishes decided not to mention specific names but to memorialise the men collectively. Of those that decided otherwise, some decided to include the men who survived as well as the fallen but most, including Stoke Gabriel, decided to limit the names to those of the fallen. There was however no central database, from which a list could be readily obtained for each parish. The information had to be sourced locally from parishioners, the parish church and press reports.
The newly established committee for Stoke Gabriel set about their task in 1919. Although the committee knew the names of the 110 servicemen (70 of whom had sat down to dinner at the Peace Celebrations) and the names of men who had died, a complete picture did not exist. There were servicemen who would die from injuries sustained during the war but, because they were living at the time, were excluded from the committee’s deliberations. There were men who had died while on active service but who had not been killed in action. There were also men who died on active service at home. From the committee’s conclusions, it can be inferred that they decided to include all men who died while on active service from August 1914 to November 1918, whether or not they were killed in action, but not to include any who died at home.
The committee arrived at a list of 18 names to be memorialised. Sir Alfred had previously spoken of 19 men. No explanation can be offered for the difference but Sir Alfred was one of the three committee members and would have been satisfied that 18 was the correct number. However, a review of the list of Stoke Gabriel servicemen identified in Part 3 reveals that 30 men gave their lives while on active service during the war years. This comprises the 18 men the committee decided to memorialise and the following 12 additional men:
- Private Leslie Charles Anning TR/7/14007;
- 2ndLieutenant Alexander Claud Garden Brown;
- Lieutenant John Edward Guy Brown;
- Private William Albert Crees 23788;
- Richard Marcus Gordon Dill, Church Army;
- Private Thomas Herbert Gagg Ply/2003 (S);
- Engine Room Artificer 4thClass Henry Thorpe Goddard M/11218 (Dev);
- Sergeant Charles Hannaford-Hill 451858;
- Private George Henry Hannaford-Hill 32069;
- Private Frederick Charles Hockings 29625 (1734);
- Private William John Nicholls 345317; and
- 2ndLieutenant Francis George Stuart Watson.
One may speculate as to why these 12 men were not memorialised. Leslie Charles Anning and Henry Thorpe Goddard both died while on home service. The brothers, Alexander Claud Garden Brown and John Edward Guy Brown, have an association with the parish only because their father was a patient at Mazonet Hospital. Frederick Charles Hockings similarly is linked with the parish only because his mother who was borne here. All three servicemen thus have a tenuous link with the parish and are probably memorialised elsewhere. Richard Marcus Gordon Dill was not a member of the armed services. His name along with the six names of William Albert Crees, Thomas Herbert Gagg, Charles Hannaford-Hill, George Henry Hannaford-Hill, William John Nicholls and Francis George Stuart Watson, may simply not have been captured. Further investigation is required to determine whether or not any of these seven men should have been mentioned on the parish memorial.
Dedication of the Parish Memorial:
The formal proceedings to unveil and dedicate the memorial took place in late November, some two years after the Armistice (Totnes Times, 27thNovember 1920). In the presence of a large congregation, a special service was first conducted in the parish church by Vicar Leatherdale. The lesson was delivered by Rev’d G W Warwick, Baptist Minister of Paignton. The address was given by the Rural Dean, Rev’d W Aitchison, in which he characterised the fallen as being “concerned with unselfishness, self-sacrifice, devotion to duty and heroism’ and called upon those remaining “to live lives straight, clean, true and strong.”
After the service, the clergy, choir, churchwardens, service and ex-service men, relatives of the deceased and school children led a procession to the memorial. Mr A H Wilson of Sandridge performed the unveiling ceremony. The dedication prayers were said by the Rural Dean and Mr J Soper of Paignton sounded the Last Post and Reveille, a sound which has been heard in the parish on Remembrance Sunday and/or Armistice Day in memory of the fallen for the last 100 years and will continue to be heard, it is hoped, for the next 100 years.
Part 3: Servicemen with Links to Stoke Gabriel
1. List of Servicemen
Gunner Frederick R Adams*, (75395) 114th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Frederick Adams was born in Stoke Gabriel and was working as a Fisherman when he enlisted on 17 Feb 1916 under the ‘Derby Scheme’ aged 24. He was placed in the Army Reserve and sent home to await mobilization. On 11 April 1916 he was at mobilized at No.3 Depot Royal Garrison Artillery. On 19 May 1916 he was posted to 45 Company, Royal Garrison Artillery, and then posted to the Heavy Battery at Woolwich on 3 June 1916. He was sent out to a Base Depot in France on 26 Sept 1916 and later joined the 114th Heavy Battery on 5 Oct 1916. He was killed in action at the Second Battle of the Scarpe at Arras, North East of Saint Martin sur Cojeul on 23 April 1917 aged 25. He is buried at Wancourt British Cemetery and is memorialized on churchyard grave 916. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued in 1921.
Private George Gill Agar*, (55650) 24th (Service) Battalion (Oldham) Manchester Regiment, (Pioneers). George Agar was born 1886 in Whitby, Yorkshire, and later lived in Stoke Gabriel working as a Wood Working Machinist. He enlisted in Dec 1914. He initially served with the Devonshire (Fortress) Company, Devon Royal Engineers and at some time was transferred to a Battalion of the Territorial Force the 1st/8th (Ardwick) Battalion, Manchester Regiment in a Theatre of War. Later he was posted to the 24th (Service) Battalion (Oldham) Manchester Regiment, (Pioneers) which was in Italy under command of 7th Division. At some point he returned to the UK either sick or wounded and died at the Bermondsey Military Hospital, in London on 21 July 1918 aged 32. He is buried in the parish churchyard in grave 765. His widow, Margaret Grace Agar, lived at Riviera, Stoke Gabriel. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Leslie Charles Anning, (TR/7/14007) 95th Training Reserve Battalion. Leslie Anning was born in Kenton, Devon. He was living at Sandridge Farm, Stoke Gabriel working as a Farmers Assistant when he enlisted at Newton Abbot on 27 March 1916 and was posted to the 95th Training Reserve Battalion which was originally the 11th (Reserve) Battalion, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He died while still training from acute bronchial pneumonia at the Military Hospital, at Chiseldon Camp, Wiltshire on 11 May 1917 aged 19. He had no Medal Entitlement due to Home service.
Corporal Albert Robert Baker, (106241) 178 Labour Company, Labour Corps. Albert Baker was born in 1878, and was the Licensed Victualler at the Victoria & Albert Inn, Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted aged 37 on 12 Feb 1917 into the Labour Company, of the Devonshire Regiment at its Depot in Exeter. He was then transferred to the 15th (Transport Workers) Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment at Oxford, which was employed on transport duties in the south of England, their headquarters being at Swindon for many months, afterwards shifting to the other traffic centres. At some point he was promoted to Corporal. He then landed in France on 5 March 1917 and was transferred with a new regimental number 36337 and joined ‘L’ Company, 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. On 14 May 1917 he was again transferred this time to the Labour Corps and joined 178 Labour Company. He was discharged on 20 March 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued in 1921.
Able Seaman Alfred James Baker, (200975), Royal Navy. Alfred Baker was born on 23 Sept 1880 in Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted in 1898, and in 1911 was serving on HMS Indefatigable, a 1st Class Battle Cruiser, part of the 1st Cruiser Squadron at Devonport. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Air Mechanic 2nd Class Edwin Victor Baker, (252493), Royal Air Force. Edwin Baker was born on 28 Feb 1895 in Stoke Gabriel. He listed his occupation in 1911 as an Engine Driver. He enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service as 49522 Air Mechanic 1st Class (Driver) Edwin Victor Baker on 13 March 1918. He was re-mustered into the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 at the Pulham Airmen’s Command School, Airship station, near Pulham St Mary which is 18 miles south of Norwich. On 15 July 1918 he was posted to RAF Feltham (Hanworth Park) in London, and eventually to Fovant a demobilization Camp on 20 Jan 1919. Transferred to the RAF ‘G’ Reserve on 19 Feb 1919, and officially discharged on 30 April 1920. Medal Entitlement: British War Medal.
Gunner 1st Class Signaller Ernest Frederick Baker, (152823), 149 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Ernest Baker was born in 1893. His Father was Thomas Baker. He was living at 19 Ridgeway Road, Fishponds, Bristol working as a Farmer when he enlisted. He served briefly in the 3/1st Royal North Devon Yeomanry (Hussars) from 7 Nov 1915 to 7 Dec 1915 which was formed as a Third-Line training unit and for some reason was discharged. He re-enlisted in Bristol on 14 April 1917 aged 23 into the Royal Garrison Artillery and was posted to the No 3 Depot (Heavy and Siege) at the Citadel, Plymouth. On 1 May 1917 he was posted to the Signal Depot, at Plymouth. He was appointed as an Acting Bombardier on 15 June 1917. On 16 Aug 1917 he married Winifred Mary Harding in Clifton. A letter in his service record dated 24 Aug 1917 gives his address as Hut 39, Royal Garrison Artillery, Signalling Training Depot, Withnoe Camp, which was located above Whitsand Bay near Plymouth. On 24 Sept 1917 he was posted to ‘A‘ Depot Siege Artillery the Signal Training Centre for Siege Artillery at Catterick and on 4 Oct 1917 Qualified as a 1st Class Signaller. On 22 Oct 1917 he was posted to No 1 Reinforcing Siege Depot at Bexhill in preparation to heading to France. On 26 Oct he landed in France with the rank of Gunner and posted to the No 1 General Base Depot for Royal Garrison Artillery at Le Havre to await a posting to the frontline, which happened on 3 Nov 1917 when he joined the 149 Siege Battery. He returned to the UK on 19 Dec 1918. He was discharged to the Class Z Reserve at Chiseldon on 15 Jan 1919. His Address on a Disability Pension Ledger Form he completed in 1920 is given as Stoke Gabriel. On 13 June 1922 he applied for his medals most likely to help in find employment. Medal Entitlement: British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Private Gabriel Baker*, (345932), 16th (Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry and Royal North Devon Hussars) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. The eldest of Thomas Peter Baker’s eight sons, Gabriel Baker was living at the Old Forge in Stoke Gabriel and working as a Farm Labourer when he enlisted in Dec 1915 at Newton Abbot into the Devonshire Regiment. He married Ethel Maud Crang at the end of 1916 presumably during a period of leave. He was killed in action at the Second Battle of Bapaume at the village of Moislains on 2 Sept 1918 aged 21. He is memorialized on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Acting Petty Officer Mine Clearance Service, John Charles Baker, (DA 2144 (D 502)), Royal Navy Reserve. John Baker was born on 17 Sept 1872 in Stoke Gabriel. He was living at Dawlish when he joined the Royal Navy Reserve on 1 Nov 1892 and served for 20 years until 1912. When the war started he was mobilized as D502 Seaman 1st Class on 17 Nov 1914 at Brixham. With the rank of Deck Hand he served at HMS Vivid II, on HMS Pelican, and at HMS Idaho the Auxiliary Patrol base at Milford Haven, Wales. He then served at HMS Ganges a trawler base for mine clearance. On 18 Sept 1915 he was promoted to 2nd Hand because he was deemed proficient for that rating. Served at Milford Haven from 30 Sept 1915, on 26 Oct 1916 he was posted to Dartmouth. On 7 Nov 1916 posted to Plymouth. Then on 31 March 1919 he was promoted Acting Petty Officer in the Mine Clearance Service. On 21 Nov 1919 he was posted to HMS Pekin for Ports sweep at Grimsby an auxiliary patrol shore base. He was demobilized on 4 Jan 1920. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal, Reserve Long Service Medal awarded on 8 April 1908 at Brixham, and the Royal Navy Reserve Medal awarded on 10 Sept 1923 at Teignmouth.
Ordinary Seaman John James Baker, J42379 (SD2714) Royal Navy Reserve. John Baker was born 1874 in Stoke Gabriel. He was working as a fisherman and as the Parish Clerk when he re-enlisted on 26 July 1915 and served at HMS Vivid III at Devonport Royal Naval Division Trawler Section. Trawler deckhands were experienced in handling heavy trawls. This experience was transferred to sweep gear and they were trained accordingly. Medal Entitlement: British Naval War Medal.
Private Royston Cocks Baker, (M2/117418), Army Service Corps. A fisherman from Stoke Gabriel, Royston Cocks Baker enlisted in 1914 at the age of 17 into the Army Service Corps. In May 1915 he joined 343 Mechanical Transport Company, part of the 24th Division. This Division was established in September 1914 as part of Kitchener’s Third New Army, K3. The Division disembarked in France on 30 Aug 1915. Concentration was completed in the area between Etaples and St Pol on 4 Sept 1914. He was transferred as 30530 Private Royston Cocks Baker, into the 11th (Service) Battalion (Accrington), East Lancashire Regiment, sometime after March 1916, when the Regiment had arrived in France from Egypt. On 30 April 1918 he was listed as wounded most probably during the defence of Nieppe Forest during the Battle of Hazebrouck, 12 – 15 April 1918. After his recovery he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment. 25th Brigade, 8th Division. Later he was again transferred as 30917 Private Royston Cocks Baker, to the 1/4th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 164th Brigade in 55th (West Lancashire) Division. The demobilisation of the Division began in December 1918 and the service of the Division came to an end on 31 May 1919 when the final cadres left for home. He was discharged to the Class Z Reserve on 11 June 1919. Shortly after he was demobilized, he married Gladys Hannaford-Hill and their son, also called Royston, married Ena who lives in the parish today.
Petty Officer Thomas Baker, (129752), Royal Navy. Thomas Baker was born on 23 April 1869 in Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted 1884-1885. In 1911 he is working as a General Labourer and a Navy Pensioner living in Stoke Gabriel aged 42. He re-enlisted during the war. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Driver Thomas Peter Baker, (29970), Royal Engineers. Peter Baker was married to Eliza with 8 sons, living at the Old Forge, Portbridge, where he was a farm labourer. He was 40 years old at the outbreak of the war in 1914. He enlisted with the Royal Engineers and served in France from 4 May 1915. Unlike his son Gabriel Baker who was killed 2 Sept 1918, he survived the conflict. He was discharged to Class Z Reserve on 5 May 1919 and lived to 84. His grandson, Brian Baker, lives in the parish today.
Private Edwin James Ball, (59578), Essex Regiment. Edwin Ball was born on 27 Sept 1889 at Stoke Gabriel and was working as a Miller with his older brother Samuel Coombe Ball when he enlisted into the Devonshire Regiment. He sailed for India in 1917 to join the 2/4th Territorial Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, which was under orders of the Southern Brigade, 9th (Secunderabad) Division. On 15 Oct 1917 the battalion left for Egypt, landing at Suez on 26 Oct 1917, and came under the orders of Lines of Communication. On 13 Dec 1917 the battalion was attached to 234th Brigade, 75th Division. It left this Division in July 1918. On 17 Aug 1918 the battalion was disbanded in Egypt, and on 4 Sept 1918 he was transferred as 59578 Private Edwin James Ball to the Essex Regiment. This was most likely to have been the 1/4th Battalion, Essex Regiment which was based in Egypt at the time. Edwin’s grandson, John Ball, lives in the parish today. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Lieutenant Commander Harry Ball, Royal Navy. Harry Ball was born on 26 April 1864 in Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted on 26 Oct 1910. In 1914 he was on the Staff (Gunnery) at HMS Vivid Devonport. On 5 June 1917 he was serving at HMS Idaho, as Gunnery Officer on the Staff of Admiral, this was the Patrol Base at Milford Haven. On 8 April 1918 he was badly wounded while testing a depth charge thrower. In 1919 he was Mentioned in Despatches. In 1920 he retired. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal with Oakleaf, and the British War Medal.
Temporary Chaplain to the Forces 4th Class, Reverend Henry Foxton Beaumont, Royal Army Chaplain’s Department. Henry Beaumont was born in 1890 at Ballinrobe, Ireland. He attended Trinity College Dublin, and was Ordained in 1913 by the Bishop of Kilmore. He enlisted aged 25. He served overseas from 8 Dec 1915 to 21 Jan 1919. He was Vicar of Stoke Gabriel 1927. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued in 1929.
Sapper William Henry Bellworthy, (58345), 56th Field Company, Royal Engineers. William Bellworthy was born in 1890 in Stoke Gabriel. He was working as a Boot Maker when he enlisted on 5 Dec 1914 aged 24 into the Royal Engineers. He embarked on 15 June 1915 for Gallipoli with 72nd Field Company and landed in Alexandria on 30 June 1915. He was invalided home sick via Malta in Dec 1915. On recovery he was transferred to 56th Field Company in France on 31 March 1918. He returned to England on 5 June 1919 and was discharged on 8 July 1919. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Stoker Petty Officer Samuel Bickford, (126491), Royal Navy. Samuel Bickford was born on 27 Feb 1866 in Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted in 1884. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private William Bickford, (T/388352), Army Service Corps. William Bickford was born in Stoke Gabriel. He served with the Royal Artillery with the 3rd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery in India from 1888 to 1893. He was living in Torquay working as a Carter when he enlisted on 14 Sept 1914 into the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. On 3 Dec 1914 he disembarked in France as part of a reinforcement draft to join the 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. He was later transferred to Army Service Corps, and was discharged on 6 March 1918 as unfit through sickness or wounds. Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal, and the Silver War Badge.
Temporary Regimental Sergeant Major (Superintendent Clerk) William Blackwood, (L/4756), 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. William Blackwood had his next of kin listed from Stoke Gabriel when his Meritorious Service Medal was awarded in 1918. On 3 Oct 1895 he enlisted into the 3rd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment Militia aged 23. He was married on 1 Jan 1903 when he was a Sergeant in London. In 1911 he was serving in India as a Quartermaster Sergeant with the 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. On 11 August 1914 L/4756 Quarter Master Sergeant William Blackwood landed at Le Havre with 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment and was employed with Lines of Communication Troops in preparation for the British Expeditionary Force arrival in France. On 1 Jan 1916 he was Mentioned in Despatches, and in Jan 1918 he was awarded Meritorious Service Medal for ‘Devotion to Duty’ while serving in France. Medal Entitlement: The 1914 Star, Victory Medal with Oakleaf, and the British War Medal.
Private (William Henry) Archibald Blank*, (72262), 10th (Service) Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. He was born in Stoke Gabriel and enlisted in April 1917. He was killed in action while in a frontline trench at Kemmel during enemy shelling on 3 May 1918 aged 19. He is memorialized on the Tyne Cot Memorial. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Ernest John Blank,(14976), 10th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Ernest Blank was born in 1895 in Stoke Gabriel. He was working as a Gardener when he enlisted on 15 Dec 1914. He landed at Boulogne, France on 22 Sept 1915 with the battalion. On I Nov 1915 he moved with the battalion to Salonika, and while there contracted Malaria in Dec 1915. He was discharged on 10 April 1919 still suffering from Malaria. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Edwin Bonstow, (145014), 646 Agricultural Company, Labour Corps. Edwin Bonstow was born in 1893 in Stoke Gabriel. He was working as a Carter when he enlisted aged 24 on 2 March 1916 at Newton Abbot under the Derby Scheme and was placed in the Reserve to await mobilization. On 21 March 1917 he was called up into the 1st Labour Company, Devonshire Regiment at its Depot 21 March 1917 with regimental number 61828. He was transferred to the Labour Corps on 28 April 1917. He initially served in 213 Labour Company he was then posted to 382 Labour Company on 30 June 1917, then 439 Agricultural Company on 6 Sept 1917, and finally 646 Agricultural Company on 5 Dec 1917. He served in Berkshire, being based at the Cowley Barracks, Oxford. He married Louisa Helen Hickman on 12 Oct 1918, and was discharged on 10 Feb 1919. No Medal Entitlement due to his Home Service.
Cadet Stephen Frederick Brimicombe, Royal Air Force. Stephen Brimicombe was born on 7 Jan 1898 in Stoke Gabriel and enlisted into the Royal Navy on 26 June 1916 as Carpenter crew with no. F47579, and joined the Royal Naval Air Service as M 21132 Air Mechanic 1st Class Stephen Frederick Brimicombe, Royal Naval Air Service on 24 Jan 1918 at the preliminary flying school at Chingford. He also trained at Crystal Palace, and was then posted to Rosyth. He was re-mustered to the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 as no. 247578 Air Mechanic 2nd Class (Trade Classification Rigger) Stephen Frederick Brimicombe. On 15 Sept 1918 he was posted to RAF Turnhouse at Edinburgh, 19 Sept 1918 to HMS Furious, 2 Oct 1918 to the Cadet Distribution Depot with rank of Cadet, 5 Oct 1918 to No.8 Cadet Wing at Shorncliffe for Pilot training, on 27 Oct 1918 to No.5 Cadet Wing, on 9 Jan 1919 to HMS Furious under conversion work at Edinburgh, and finally to class G Reserve on 20 Feb 1919. He was eventually discharged on 14 Dec 1921. In the mean while he had left for Canada on 8 June 1919 Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal. His Obituary in a local Canadian Newspaper: Stephen F. Brimicombe, 90, of Oskaloosa, died Wednesday, April 6, 1988 at his home. He was born Jan.7, 1898 in Stoke Gabriel, Great Britain the son of Robert and Nancy Matthews Brimacombe. He married Elna Walker on Dec. 3, 1924 in Sandwich, Ill. He was a veteran of World War I and an English Flight Sergeant-Major and was in No. Three Flight Squadron which was the squadron that shot down the Red Baron. He was shot down over France several times. He had to his credit 20 German aircraft accounted for. He came to this country to farm with his brother and after his marriage became a casket maker and later a carpenter. He is survived by Ronald of Edgewater, Fla.; one daughter, Nancy Newton of Oskaloosa; five grandchildren and four great- grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Elna in Feb. 14, 1964; two daughters; one son and two half -brothers.
2nd Lieutenant Alexander Claud Garden Brown, Royal Air Force. He was born in 1891. His Father Alexander Francis Garden Brown, and Mother Charlotte Mary Brown were living in Stoke Gabriel during the war. He died on 6 May 1918 from wounds sustained on 3 May 1918 while flying high reconnaissance behind the German lines with 48 Squadron. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Lieutenant John Edward Guy Brown, 1st Battalion (The Queens Own), West Kent Regiment. He was born in 1893. Son of Mr and Mrs A F G Brown, of Mottistone House, Isle of Wight, and the Mazonet, Stoke Gabriel. He was commissioned into 2/1st Battalion (The Queens Own), West Kent Regiment in Sept 1911 and was posted out to India. He was home on leave when war broke out and was attached to the 6th Service Battalion, (The Queens Own), West Kent Regiment. Due to the large number of casualties the 1st Battalion suffered at the Battle of Ypres, he was sent out to join it on 21 Oct 1914. He was killed in action at Hill 60 near Zillbeke, serving as the Battalion scout and bomb officer on 22 Feb 1915 aged 22. Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private John Bulley*, (38023), 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. John Bulley had been born in Denbury and was living in Totnes when he enlisted in 1916 into the 8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. He was posted at some point to the 1st Battalion and was killed in action at the Second Battle of the Scarpe on 23 April 1917 aged 28. He is buried at La Chaudiere Military Cemetery and had served less than 12 months in the army. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Acting Corporal Henry Catchpole, (187296), Royal Army Service Corps (Mechanical Transport). Henry Catchpole was born in 1881, and lived at 7 Braddons Terrace, Torquay. He had married Ellen J Gotham in Stoke Gabriel on 23 Dec 1905. He was working as a Chauffeur when he enlisted on 9 June 1916 aged 35. He served with 718 Company, Army Service Corps in France from 1 July 1916 and was promoted to Acting Corporal. He was discharged on 2 Sept 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Frederick George Channings, (031937), Army Ordnance Corp. Frederick Channings was born in Stoke Gabriel in 1889, and worked as a Farm Labourer. He served as a Private in 3rd Special Reserve Battalion, Devonshire Regiment from 1907 to 1913, and lived in 2 Spring Place, Union Street, Torquay. He had an older brother William Channings, in the Royal Navy, who was serving on HMS Montagu in 1907. During the war he re-enlisted into the Army Ordnance Corp and served overseas post 1915. He was discharged on 21 Dec 1918. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Able Seaman William Channings, (198198), Royal Navy. William Channings was born on 19 March 1882 in Stoke Gabriel. He was living in Torquay when he enlisted in 1898. He was serving on HMS Montagu in 1907. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal which were awarded while serving at HMS Vivid.
Staff Sergeant Thomas Smallridge Chudley, (M/225185), Royal Army Service Corps (Mechanical Transport). Thomas Chudley was born in 1879 in Stoke Gabriel, but moved to Paddington, London where he worked as a butcher. He had served in the2nd Boer War as 22196 Corporal Thomas Smallridge Chudley, 2nd Battalion, Sharpshooters Corps, Imperial Yeomanry, from 1 Feb 1901 to 11 March 1902, and was awarded the Queens South Africa Medal with Clasps for service in the Cape Colony, Orange Free State, and the Transvaal. He was mobilized on 21 Dec 1916, aged 37, and served at the Motor Transport Depot at Isleworth, West London as a Motor Driver and Instructor. He was transferred to class ‘Z’ Reserve on 9 May 1919. No Medal Entitlement due to Home Service.
Gunner Charles Frederick Churchward, (273279), Royal Field Artillery. Charles Churchward was born in 1872 in Cardiff. He trained as a Book Keeper and moved to the USA where he enlisted for 3 years in the United States Army, serving with the 21st Field Artillery, from 10 March 1902 to 11 Oct 1904. He returned to Stoke Gabriel and lived at Hill House, working as an Estate Manager and enlisted aged 46 in 1918 into the Royal Field Artillery. He served on Home Service in the United Kingdom with the 44th & 3c Reserve Battery, Royal Field Artillery. No Medal Entitlement due to his Home Service.
Private Samuel Churchward, 451812 (A51842), 58th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment). Samuel Churchward was born on 17 April 1893 in Stoke Gabriel, the son of Thomas and Sarah Churchward, of “The Hayes,” Stoke Gabriel, and in 1911 was working as a Farm Labourer/Waggoner. He went to Canada on 27 April 1912. When the war started he served in the Militia as a Private from 1914 to 1915 in ‘E’ Company, 91st Regiment, Canadian Militia. He then enlisted on 30 June 1915 aged 22 into the Central Ontario Regiment. He departed Halifax, Canada on 22 Nov 1915 as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and arrived in Plymouth on 2 Dec 1915 with 58th Battalion. He disembarked in France on 22 Feb 1916. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Thomas Churchward*, (558120), 19th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (1st Central Ontario Regiment). Thomas Churchward was born in Stoke Gabriel on 27 May 1890, the son of Thomas and Sarah Churchward, of “The Hayes,” Stoke Gabriel, and left for Canada on 2 April 1913 a year after his younger brother Samuel. He had been working as a Bricklayer. He enlisted 12 Nov 1914 into the 1st Central Ontario Regiment. He departed from Quebec, Canada on 22 Nov 1915 as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and arrived in Plymouth 2 Dec 1915 with 19th Battalion. He later went with his battalion for France. He was listed in the London Times on 28 Oct 1916 as Missing in Action at Courcelette, France. While his service record states ‘Was last seen advancing up a captured communication trench’, on 15 Sept 1916 aged 26. He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial and on parish churchyard grave 877. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal. The Canadian Memorial Cross would have been presented to his Mother.
Ships Corporal 1st Class John Kendrick Collier, (172571), Royal Navy. John Collier was born in Brixham on 27 Sept 1876, and lived in Stoke Gabriel where his wife was from. He enlisted in 1893. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Gunner Alfred James Collings, (65162), 9th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Alfred Collings was born on 15 May 1884 in Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted into the Royal Garrison Artillery and served in France post 1915. He was captured unwounded at Gerincourt on 27 May 1918 during the Third Battle of the Aisne. A small and tired British force had been sent to the Chemin des Dames in exchange for fresh French divisions that went north, and was struck and virtually destroyed as part of a German offensive, Operation Bluecher. The German attack succeeded in pushing the Allies across the Aisne and down as far as the Marne at Chateau Thierry, capturing the towns of Soissons and La Fere-en-Tardenois. While a prisoner of war he was put to work in German salt mines. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal. During the Second World War he served as Corporal Alfred James “Jimmo” Collings in the Home Guard as part of the Stoke Gabriel Auxiliary Unit Patrol.
Stoker Petty Officer Bertie John Collings, (K19213), Royal Navy. Bertie Collings was born on 7 Feb 1894 in Stoke Gabriel to John and Emily Collings. He enlisted on 19 May 1913 into the Royal Navy at Devonport. He was promoted to Stoker 2nd Class on 19 May 1914 serving on HMS Carnarvon, a Devonshire-class armoured cruiser. At the start of the war HMS Carnarvon was assigned to the Cape Verde Station to search for German commerce raiders while protecting British shipping. HMS Carnarvon was transferred to the South Atlantic two months later and assigned to the squadron that destroyed the German East Asia Squadron at the Battle of the Falklands. She was then assigned to the North America and West Indies Station in 1915 and continued to patrol against German raiders and escort convoys. He was promoted to Stoker 1st Class on 18 Aug 1917 and then to Acting Leading Stoker while serving at HMS Actaeon, part of the Navy’s Torpedo school, HMS Vernon. On 21 Aug 1918 he was promoted to Leading Stoker. On 14 Feb 1920 he was assigned to the Royal Australian Navy, and then on 21 May 1921 promoted Stoker Petty Officer. He officially transferred to the Royal Australian Navy on 6 Oct 1921.
Private Charles James Collings, served in the Army (from a local Newspaper item). He was born on 18 April 1893 at Howill, Stoke Gabriel and worked as a Farm Labourer. No Medal Entitlement so most likely served in the Army on Home Service.
Private Francis Ernest Collings*, (16940), 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Francis Collings was born in 1891 in Stoke Gabriel and worked as a Stone Carter. He enlisted into the Devonshire Regiment and was killed in action at the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916 aged 25. He had been in the army less than 12 months. He had made a military will on 22 June 1916 which was usually completed prior to entering the theatre of war, so close to his embarkation date for France. He is memorialized on the Thiepval Memorial and churchyard grave 621. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Air Mechanic 1st Class Frederick Harvey Collings, (242429), Royal Air Force. Frederick Collings was born on 20 Feb 1882 in Stoke Gabriel. He was living at Leek, Staffordshire, working as a Carpenter and Joiner when he enlisted on 27 Aug 1917 into the Royal Navy. He served as K 45185 Stoker 2nd Class Fred Harvey Collings, Royal Navy, and transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service with no. F 42429 on 29 Nov 1917 at HMS President II located at Crystal Palace. He was later re-mustered to the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 at RAF Killingholme, and served with 251 Squadron, at the Northern No. 2 Marine Acceptance Depot. Transferred to the RAF ‘G’ Reserve on 21 Feb 1919, and was finally discharged on 30 April 1920. Medal Entitlement: British War Medal.
Pioneer James Godfrey Collings, (21525), 308 Road Construction Company, Royal Engineers. James Collings was born 1868 in Stoke Gabriel, and worked as a Road Contractor. Enlisted aged 48 and served in France from 1917 to 1919. Prior to the war he had served for 15 months with the Royal Navy Reserve. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Percy Collings*, 18959 (3841), 1/6th Battalion (Territorials) Devonshire Regiment. The son of Mrs Annie Collings, Percy Collings was born in 1897 and lived in Aish. He enlisted in Totnes into 1st/9th Battalion, (Territorials) Devonshire Regiment) and at some point was transferred to 1/6th Battalion (Territorials) Devonshire Regiment. He was killed in action at Es Sinn, in Mesopotamia on 8 March 1916 aged 19. He had served less than 12 months in the army. He had made out a will on 28 Feb 1916 which would be just prior to entering the theatre of war so close to his embarkation date. He is memorialized on the Basra memorial. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, British War Medal.
Cooks Mate Robert John Collings, (M15396), Royal Navy. Robert Collings was born on 30 Aug 1897 in Stoke Gabriel. He was working as a Baker when he enlisted on 20 Sept 1915. He served on HMS Ramillies which joined the 1st Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet in May 1917. HMS Ramillies fired from her position in the Sea of Marmora at Turkish shore targets during disturbances between Turkey and Britain in 1920. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal awarded while he was serving on HMS Thistle a Bramble Class gunboat.
Air Mechanic 1st Class Sydney John Collings, (237712). Sydney John Collings was born on 6 Aug 1884 in Stoke Gabriel, and worked as an Acetylene Welder. He enlisted on 11 Sept 1917 with No. F37712 Air Mechanic 2nd Class in the Royal Naval Air Service, and served at the Royal Naval Air Station Lee-on-Solent (HMS Daedalus) established as a seaplane base in 1917. He was re-mustered to the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918 and served at Cherbourg, France, transferred to the RAF ‘G’ Reserve on 27 March 1919, and was discharged on 30 April 1920. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Sydney William Collings, (181171), Royal Navy. Sydney William Collings was born on 13 Nov 1878 in Stoke Gabriel. In 1911 he was serving on HMS Martin, a Torpedo Boat Destroyer, part of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet, out of Portsmouth. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Walter George Collings*, (72163), 9th (Service) Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. Walter Collings was born in 1898, the son of Walter and Susan Collings. He lived at Hoyle, Stoke Gabriel, Totnes, working as a Builders/Farm Labourer. He enlisted on 25 Oct 1916 at Newton Abbot, aged 17 under the Derby Scheme and placed in the Reserve and sent home to await mobilization. He was mobilized into the 2/1 Royal North Devon Yeomanry on 8th March 1917. He was renumbered as 220576 under the general renumbering of the territorial yeomanry of 1917. He was then transferred to the Devonshire Regiment 12th April 1918 with number 69371 before finally being transferred to the 9th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment in France with regimental number 72163 on 16th April 1918. This transfer happened whilst still at the infantry base depot in France. He was killed in action at the 3rd Battle of the Aisne north west of the village of Sarcy on 31 May 1918 aged 19. He initially had been reported as missing in action, but on 28 Dec 1918 he was officially reported as killed previously reported as missing. He is buried at Chambrecy British Cemetery. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Driver Walter John Collings, (T4/244323), 507 Horse Transport Company, Army Service Corps attached to 2/2nd Wessex Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps. Walter John Collings lived at Port Bridge, Stoke Gabriel, working as a Horseman on a Farm. He was embodied aged 23 in 1915, showing he was a Territorial and was serving in France by 1917, and was injured when his General Service Wagon was hit by a motor lorry on 15 Nov 1918. He was disembodied in 1919. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private William Harvey Collings*, (3/6322), 9th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. William Collings was born 1886 in Stoke Gabriel; his father was Tom H Collings and mother Mary Frances Collings (nee Frost). He was living in Totnes and working as a Farm Labourer when he enlisted in Aug 1914 into the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. He was transferred to the 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment and disembarked in France on 20 Sept 1915. At some point later he was transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. He died of wounds near Colincamps on 30 March 1917 aged 30. He is buried at Euston Road Cemetery and is memorialized on parish churchyard grave 700. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Alfred William Collings, (59714), Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Alfred Collins was born in 1901, and lived at Mill Cottage, Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted in Jan 1918. He was re-numbered 5095958 under Army Order 338 of August 1920 so was still serving at this date. He was discharged on 31 Mar 1922 suffering from Malaria which was attributable to his military service, so he would have served somewhere where Malaria was present. Most likely candidates are the 9th (Service) Battalion, which was part of the North Persia Force in 1918 and in Transcaspia in Oct 918, or the 1st Garrison Battalion based in Egypt. No Medal entitlement so he served on Home service until the war had ended.
Private William Albert Crees,(23788), 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment. William Crees was born in Stoke Gabriel in 1886. He was working as a House Painter when he enlisted in Sept 1916 in Torquay. He was killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres, and his death recorded on 4 Oct 1917 aged 31. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Mark Thomas Crump, (86904), 46th Battalion Machine Gun Corp. Mark Crump was born in 1884 at Lower Well, Stoke Gabriel, and he worked as a Butcher. He enlisted aged 30 in 1914 into the Army Service Corps. In Jan 1917 he transferred to the newly formed Machine Gun Corps which was known as the ‘Suicide Squad’ within the Army, and served in France from 1915 to 1916 and again in 1918. He was discharged in 1919. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Wilfred Charles Dale, (45603), 15th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Wilfred Charles Dale came from Torquay and in 1914 enlisted under age when he was 15 years old into the Army Service Corps. He must have been discovered and discharged at some point since he again enlisted in April 1917 into the Army. In March 1918 he was posted to the 15th (Service) Battalion (2nd Portsmouth), Hampshire Regiment which had just arrived in France back from Italy, and was attached to the 41stDivision as part of the Divisional troops. He served at the Somme and at Lille. He was gassed and temporarily blinded at some point. In March 1918 he disembarked in France and joined 15th (Service) Battalion (2nd Portsmouth), Hampshire Regiment. On 29 Apr 1918 he was admitted to the No.4 Stationary Hospital at Arques, Pas-de-Calais, 40 km from Calais and Dunkerque. The hospital records state he was aged 19 with 1 year’s military service, and 1 month’s field service. On 2 July 1918 he was discharged back to his to unit from No.4 Stationary Hospital. On the 22 Oct 1918 he was listed as wounded. He was most likely to have been wounded during the Battle of Courtrai, 14 – 19 October 1918 during the advance in Flanders. Rather than be discharged, he re-enlisted on 1 Jan 1920 for 2 years as EMT/57398 Private Wilfred Charles Dale into the Royal Army Service and was finally discharged in 1922. Due to the necessity for refilling the depleted ranks of the old Regular Army in order to provide overseas garrisons and reserves at home, an Army Order was published on 10 Dec 1918 authorizing the re-enlistment of serving soldiers for periods of, approximately, two, three or four years. Bounties of £20, £40 and £50 respectively. In later life, he bought the butcher’s shop in Stoke Gabriel. It was here that Mavis, daughter of Charles and resident in the parish today, met and married William Henry (Billy) Hannaford-Hill, the son of William Michael and Nellie.
Temporary Lieutenant Richard Mcgillivray Dawkins, M.A. Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Richard Dawkins was born in Stoke Gabriel on 24 Oct 1871 and was the Director of the British School of Archaeology, Athens from 1906 to 1914. He served from 20 Dec 1916 to 1919. He initially served on HMS Theseus a Cruiser with the Aegean Squadron, then on HMS Pelorus a Light Cruiser with the 1st Detached Squadron of the Aegean Squadron, a Depot Ship based at Suda Bay, Crete from 15 Nov 1917. He was made a Chevalier of the Order of the Redeemer 5th Class by Greece in 1918. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Richard Marcus Gordon Dill, The Church Army. Richard Dill lived at Rosemount, Stoke Gabriel and was a Barrister at law and Newspaper Proprietor. He had trained as a Signalling Instructor with Exmouth Volunteer Training Corps (a voluntary home defence militia) on outbreak of the war. He had previously served in the Militia as Lieutenant R. M. Gordon-Dill, 3rd Brigade, Cinque Ports Division, Royal Artillery and had resigned his Commission on 12 May, 1886. Aged 56 he died as a result of a wound received when in charge of one of the Recreation Huts of the Church Army in Flanders. While waiting in a support trench where he was assisting the wounded he was wounded in the head and suffered shell shock and was invalided home on 20 April 1917. He later died from this wound on 12 June 1917 at the Kent House Nursing Home, Torquay. He had served in France from Jan 1917 to July 1917. Medal Entitlement: British War Medal.
Temporary Lieutenant Tom Norman Dinwiddy, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Tom Dinwiddy was living at Colston, Stoke Gabriel when he was commissioned on 9 Nov 1915 as a Sub Lieutenant. He was in command of Motor Launch 275 from Aug 1916. On 6 Nov 1916 he was promoted Lieutenant, Shipping Intelligence Officer 4th Class. He later served on HMS Idaho from 15 June 1917. He succeeded Mr Studdy as Chairman of the Parish Council and was the architect of the parish memorial. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Chief Boatswain John Charles Dugdale, (112560), Royal Navy. John Dugdale was born on 9 April 1865 in Stoke Gabriel, and was living at 26 St Andrews Street, Millbrook, Plymouth, when the war started. He enlisted in 1880 and married in 1889. He was living in Cornwall in 1911. During the war he served on HMS Devonshire a Cruiser during 1915 and in 1916 as a boatswain and as a commissioned boatswain, at HMS Powerful, Devonport Boys Training Establishment from 6 July 1917. He was serving on HMS Impregnable when he retired in 1920 with rank of Lieutenant a Commissioned Boatswain. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Harry Earnshaw, (252192), 21st (Service) Battalion (6th City) Manchester Regiment. Harry Earnshaw was born on 13 Jan 1897 in Manchester and enlisted on 11 Dec 1915. In early Nov 1915 his Battalion landed at Boulogne. From his Medal Entitlement he did not join it until post 1915. On 20 Dec 1915 the Brigade was transferred to 7th Division. In Nov 1917 he moved with Division to Italy. The 7th Division was one of five British formations selected to be moved to Italy. This was a strategic and political move agreed by the British Government at the request of the Allied Supreme War Council, as an effort to stiffen Italian resistance to enemy attack after a recent disaster at Caporetto. Many diaries at this time, by men who had witnessed slaughter in the floods of Passchendaele, talk of the move and Italy as being “like another world”. Much work was done preparing to move into the mountainous area of the Brenta, but eventually the Division was instead moved to the line along the River Piave, taking up positions in late January 1918. He was discharged aged 21 on 15 July 1918 on account of disablement or ill-health. He died in Stoke Gabriel on 20 Sept 1960. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, British War Medal and the Silver War Badge.
Leading Seaman Gunnery John Elliott, (215921), Royal Navy. John Elliott was born on 1 Nov 1886 in Stoke Gabriel and was working as a Barge Boy when he enlisted on 1 Nov 1903. In 1911 he was serving on HMS Success, a B Class Destroyer. He was serving on HMS Highflyer when the war started in Aug 1914. It was assigned to the 9th Cruiser Squadron in the Central Atlantic to intercept German commerce raiders and protect Allied shipping. Days after the war began she intercepted a Dutch ship carrying German troops and gold. She then sank a German armed merchant cruiser off the coast of the Spanish Sahara. HMS Highflyer spent most of the rest of the war on convoy escort duties. He joined the Royal Fleet Reserve on 6 March 1919, and was pensioned in 1926. Medal Entitlement 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued on 21 Jan 1919.
Gunner Samuel Ellis, (184173), B/301 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Samuel Ellis married Jane Ryder 29 Jan 1902 in Stoke Gabriel and was living at 2 Weston Terrace, Paignton, Devon, working as a Fishmonger when he enlisted on 11 Dec 1915 aged 37. He was placed in the Army Reserve and was mobilized on 7 Dec 1916, and served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force from 9 June 1917 to 13 Aug 1919. He was discharged on 31 March 1920. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued on 5 Nov 1921.
Rifleman Bert Evans, (B/200275), 6th Rifle Brigade. Bert Evans was born 1892 in Stoke Gabriel, the son of Richard and Annie Evans, and worked as a Rabbit Trapper. He enlisted aged 23 on 11 Dec 1915 and was placed in the Army Reserve. He was mobilized on 1 Feb 1916 into 9th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, at some point he was transferred to 3/4th Royal Warwickshire Regiment and then later to the Rifle Brigade in 1916. He served in France from 27 Sept 1916 to 13 Dec 1917 with 10th Rifle Brigade, and was wounded shot in the right thigh on 2 Dec 1917 during the German counter attack at the Battle of Cambrai. After recovery from his wound he served again in France from 6 Sept 1918 to the 3 March 1919. He was finally discharged in 1920. He had four Brothers who served in the navy and a Brother in law, Walter Knowles, who had been killed in the war and who had married his sister Lily Evans in 1884. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Stoker Petty Officer Louis Evans, (K19695), Royal Navy. Louis Evans was born 1897 in Stoke Gabriel, and was working as a servant at Waddeton, near Brixham in 1911 aged 14. His occupation was Trapper when he enlisted on 14 July 1913. He first served at HMS Colleen (Buchannan) the shore establishment at Queenstown, Ireland on MLX94 a Motor Launch used as a scout, anti-submarine craft, inshore minesweeper, smokescreen layer and hydrophone vessel. During the war he served on HMS Quail a B-class torpedo boat destroyer based at HMS Leander a destroyer depot ship to the 7th Flotilla at the Humber. He then served at HMS Saint George, and at HMS Wallington the auxiliary patrol base at Immingham, HMS King Alfred, HMS Collingwood a Training establishment (Fareham, Hampshire), and finally at HMS Sandhurst a Repair Ship at Scapa Flow. He was discharged on 23 Feb 1923. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued in Oct 1919.
Stoker 1st Class Reginald Claude Evans, K46317 Royal Navy, born 2 June 1899 Stoke Gabriel, occupation rabbit trapper, enlisted 24 Sept 1917, served on HMS Lion a battlecruiser and served as the flagship of the Grand Fleet’s battlecruisers throughout World War I, demobilized 16 June 1919 Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Stoker 1st Class Richard Evans*, (K18872), Royal Navy. Richard Evans was the son of Richard and Annie Evans, of Stoke Gabriel but was born in Taunton, and later lived in Stoke Gabriel working as a Farm Labourer. He was serving on H.M.S. “Dartmouth” a Town-class light cruiser at the outbreak of the First World War, and was stationed in the East Indies. He died from Enteric Fever in Hospital at Bombay, India on 31 Aug 1914 aged 19 and was buried at the Sewri Cemetery, Bombay, India. He is memorialized on the Kirkee Memorial. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued to his Father in 1919.
Ships Corporal 2nd Class Richard William Evans, (J66689), Royal Navy. Richard William Evans was born on 25 June 1889 in Taunton, Somerset, and worked as a gamekeeper, then as a Police Constable, in Torquay from 1911, and retired to Stoke Gabriel in 1937. He enlisted on 20 Feb 1917 and was demobilised on 3 Feb 1919, having served at HMS Vivid I and on HMS Marlborough. He is the Grandfather of Ian Potham who lives in the parish today. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Stoker 1st Class Charles Gagg, (153942), Royal Navy. Charles Gagg was born on 25 Sept 1874 in Stoke Gabriel and enlisted in 1890. He landed in China during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 while serving on HMS Aurora and was serving on HMS Nile in June 1902 when he was awarded the China Medal 1900. He was serving at the Royal Naval Barracks, Keyham, at Devonport in 1911. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Thomas Herbert Gagg, (Ply/2003 (S)), 1st Royal Marines Battalion Royal Naval Division, Royal Marine Light Infantry. Thomas Gagg was born on 8 Oct 1897 at Waddeton and his mother was Elizabeth Ellen Gagg. He was living at 12 Elmbank Road, Paignton, working as a Shipwright when he enlisted on 12 Feb 1917 aged 19 at Newton Abbot. He was placed in the Army Reserve and mobilized on 18 March 1917. He trained at Royal Marine Depot at Deal, and then was transferred to Plymouth on 11 May 1917. He left with a Draft of Marines for France on 19 June 1917, and joined ‘A’ Company, 1st Royal Marines Battalion on 1 Aug 1917. On 26 Oct 1917 he was badly wounded in the right ankle. He was invalided to UK on 29 Oct 1917. After recovery he again left with a Draft for France on 19 May 1918 and re-joined 1st Royal Marines Battalion. From 28 May 1918 to 22 Aug 1918 he was under medical care due to his problems with his feet, most probably trench foot, and re-joined 1st Royal Marines Battalion on 8 Sept 1918. He was reported missing in action, later reported killed in action or died of wounds on or shortly after 27 Sep 1918 during the the Battle of the Canal du Nord, a phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg. He was aged 20, and buried at the British Cemetery, at Sucrerie. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued in 1918.
Lance Bombardier Thomas Soper Gagg, (55872), Royal Garrison Artillery. Thomas Soper Gagg was born in 1892 and was working as a Farm Labourer when he enlisted aged 22 on 5 Dec 1914 at Fort Rowner, Gosport. He served with No.1 Company, Royal Garrison Artillery, Eastern District in Malta from 4 May 1916 and in France from 3 July 1917 with 252 Siege Battery. He was ‘wounded on duty’ on 14 Oct 1918, and was reported on the official casualty list on 8 Dec 1918. He was discharged on 19 March 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Engine Room Artificer 4th Class Henry Thorpe Goddard, (M/11218 (Dev)), Royal Navy. Henry Goddard lived at Duncannon Cottage, Stoke Gabriel and worked as a ‘Fitter’. He served on HM Submarine K4. This Submarine sank in Forth Estuary after a collision with HM Submarine K6 on 31 Jan 1918 and he drowned aged 25. His death was listed in the London Times on 21 Feb 1918. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued on 22 Jan 1919 to his Father.
Captain Alan Richard Lassam Goodson, 1/5th (City of London) Battalion (London Rifle Brigade), attached Royal Flying Corps. The son of Sir Alfred and Lady Goodson, Alan Goodson was from Waddeton Court, Stoke Gabriel and initially enlisted as Private Alan Richard Lassam Goodson, as a territorial into the 1/4th Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). He was the commissioned into the City of London (Rough Riders’} as a Second Lieutenant on 18 Oct 1914. He landed in France in Sept 1915, and was attached to the Royal Flying Corps as Lieutenant A. R. L. Goodson, London Regiment, T.F. After training he was appointed Flying Officer (Observer) on 27 Nov 1915. On 31 Dec 1915 he again arrived in France, and by 20 May 1916 he was serving as a Pilot. He was shot down while flying a B.E.2a with 7 Squadron, in France on 3 June 1916. He was initially reported as Missing and later as a Prisoner Of War. He was captured by the Germans on 3 June 1916 at Hollebeke, a Flemish village in the Belgian province of West Vlaanderen, now part of Ypres city. On 9 June 1916 he was in Gutersloh POW Camp. His family made an enquiry about him via the Red Cross on 22 June 1916. He was moved from Crefeld to Schwarmstedt POW Camp on 24 Aug 1917. There was another move to Holzminden POW Camp on 20 Dec 1917, a camp for British officers housed in a former cavalry barracks (built in 1913). The Camp was the site of a noted tunnel escape in July 1918. He was transferred from the Prisoner of War Camp at Holzminden in Germany to the Netherlands on 30 April 1918. The International Red Cross and the Swiss Commission (before 1917, by the American Commission) arranged the repatriation of prisoners, via neutral countries, quite regularly. These were usually sick or disabled prisoners. British and French prisoners, held in central and southern German camps, were transferred via Switzerland and those held in Eastern and Northern German camps went via Holland. German prisoners went back via the same channels. The idea was that these prisoners would be held in camps in these neutral countries and nursed back to health before being repatriated. His repatriation to the UK was on 16 Nov 1918 and he arrived at Hull on 18 Nov 1918 on the SS ‘Arbroath’. Medal Entitlement 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal.
Captain Alfred Lassam Goodson, The City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders). The son of Sir Alfred and Lady Goodson, Alfred Goodson was from Waddeton Court, and on 18 Oct 1914 was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the The City of London Yeomanry, promoted on 19 Oct 1915 to Lieutenant, and on 1 June 1916 to Captain. He landed in France on 19 Dec 1916. He was discharged in 1919 and he applied for his medals in 1923, Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal with Oakleaf, and the British War Medal. The issue of the small bronze oak leaf emblem to be worn with the ribbon of the Victory medal means that he had been mentioned in despatches.
Private Henry Charles Frank Griffiths, (G/51484), 2/10th Battalion, Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment. Henry Griffiths was born in 1886, and lived at The Hayes, Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted in Feb 1916. In June 1917 he was posted to Egypt to join ’A’ Company, 2/10th Battalion, Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment. He was wounded shot in the back during operations in the Jordan Valley on 24 Feb 1918 and transferred to a Hospital. He was at the 19th General Hospital for 12 days treatment, and at 44 Stationary Hospital, at the Convalescent Depot at Mustapha, Egypt. On the 7 March 1918 he was sent in a Sick Convoy, from Egypt to the UK on the Hospital Ship Kalyan. He was discharged on 10 June 1918 still suffering from a Gun Shot Wound to his spine. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Archibald Hann, (42345), Royal Army Medical Corps. Archibald Hann was born in 1888. He was married and living in Aish, Stoke Gabriel when he enlisted on 13 Oct 1914. He landed in France on 27 Sept 1915. He was discharged on 13 Dec 1918 with choroiditis and tuberculosis aggravated by his war service. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Sergeant Charles Hannaford Hill, (451858), 58th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment). Charles Hannaford Hill was born in Stoke Gabriel, and worked as a Market Gardener. He went to Canada on 14 July 1911. When the war started he enlisted in Toronto aged 38. He departed from Halifax, Canada on 22 Nov 1915, and arrived in Plymouth 2 Dec 1915 with 58th Battalion. The battalion disembarked in France on 22 Feb 1916. He was wounded in the head in April 1916 and invalided back to England. On recovery he returned to France and was killed in action on 8 Oct 1916 when he was shot through the head by a German sniper during an Allied attack near Courcelett during the Battle of Transloy. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, British War Medal, and the Canadian Memorial Cross which would have been presented to his Wife
Private George Henry Hannaford Hill, (32069), 21st Battalion (Tyneside Scottish), Northumberland Fusiliers. George Henry Hannaford Hill was born in 1884 in Stoke Gabriel and worked as a Gardener. He enlisted in April 1915 at Totnes as R/4/067929 Private George Henry Hannaford Hill, into the Army Service Corps, Remounts Service. The ASC Remounts Service was responsible for the provisioning of horses and mules to all other army units. He disembarked in France on 23 May 1915. Later at some point he was transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers. He died of wounds at No 42 Casualty Clearing Station, at Aubigny in France on 9 June 1917 aged 33. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private William Michael Hannaford-Hill, (30548), 1/6th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. William Michael Hannaford-Hill was born in 1896 and worked as a local fisherman. He enlisted with the Devonshire Regiment in 1914 at the age of 18 as a Territorial. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment sometime after 1915. He was then posted to join the 1/6th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment in Mesopotamia where he served as a Dispatch Rider/a cyclist during the Mesopotamian Campaign. The battalion came under orders of the Tigris Lines of Communication. He was demobilized on 4 June 1919 and lived with his wife, Beatrice Helen (Nellie), at Steps Cottage and Glenhaven, Paignton Road, Stoke Gabriel. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Chief Stoker John Harding, (153216), Royal Navy. John Harding was born on 9 Dec 1870 in Stoke Gabriel. In 1911 he was serving on HMS Medea in the Mediterranean. He was pensioned in 1912 and re-joined aged 43 on 2 Aug 1914. During the war he served from 1914 to 1919 at HMS Vivid II at Devonport, at HMS Pomone a Training Ship in Dartmouth, at HMS Vivid II, and on HMS Berwick an armoured cruiser, and finally at HMS Vivid II. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Lance Sergeant Ernest Edwin Hockings, (356184), Ernest Hockings was born in 1893 at Ludgershall, Wiltshire and his mother from Stoke Gabriel. He worked as a Brewers Clerk, and enlisted as a Territorial into the 1/9th (Cyclist) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment with regimental number 1732. He enlisted at the same time as his brother as indicated by his regimental number Private Frederick Charles Hockings (1734), 1/9th (Cyclist) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment at Southampton. He had been promoted to Corporal when he left for overseas post in 1915 and was later appointed Lance Sergeant. He was renumbered in 1917 to 356184. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Frederick Charles Hockings, (29625 (1734), 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. Frederick Hockings was born in 1891 in Tidworth, Wiltshire, son of Mary Ann Hockings (nee Matthews) who was born in Stoke Gabriel 1853. The family moved from Stoke Gabriel in 1889/90. He was working as a Brewers Clerk when he enlisted in Aug 1915 in Southampton at the same time as his brother Ernest Edwin Hockings with No. 1734 into 9th (Cyclist) Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, and later transferred to the 14th (Service) Battalion (1st Portsmouth) Hampshire Regiment. He landed at Le Havre on 6 March 1916. The Hampshire Regimental Journal of Oct 1916 reports him wounded in action during an attack at Hamel 3 Sept 1916 and was invalided home. He returned to France for his second period of service and joined the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. The Regimental Journal casualty lists published in March 1917 reports him as wounded in action, gunshot wound, right eyelid. He had previously served in the 14th and 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment. He was officially reported as killed in action on the 1st day of the Battle of the Scarpe during the Arras offensive. Initially reported as missing in action during an attack on Infantry Hill East of Monchy Le Preux on 23 April 1917 aged 26. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Warrant Officer II Rupert Henry Hockings, (11315) DCM, 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. Rupert Hockings was born in Stoke Gabriel in 1885. In 1911 he was a serving as a Regular Soldier and living in Hammersmith and was married. He landed in France post 1915 and served with the Grenadier Guards. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal on 22 Oct 1917. His Citation in the London Gazette 26 Jan 1918 was as follows: 11315 Company Sergeant Major R H Hockings Grenadier Guards (Andover) (For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Although twice wounded he assisted to lead his company throughout the engagement, displaying the greatest coolness and determination. He also carried out very daring and valuable personal reconnaissance in front of the final objective, and brought back information regarding a hostile battery which was causing considerable trouble). He continued to serve after the war and was commissioned. He retired in 1940 with the rank of Captain. Medal Entitlement: Distinguished Conduct Medal, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Sergeant Thomas George Hockings, (D/19749 (2DG/5507)), 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queens Bays). Thomas Hockings was born in 1883 in Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted in April 1901 as a Private in the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queens Bays), 1st Cavalry Brigade, at Wellington Lines, Aldershot, and served in South Africa from 19 May 1905 to 23 Jan 1908. In 1911 he was a Corporal with the 2nd Dragoon Guards, again at Wellington Lines, Aldershot. He landed in France on 14 Sept 1915 part of the 1st Cavalry Division and served with the British Expeditionary Force from 14 Sept 1915 to 3 Jan 1916, and again from 12 May 1916 to 25 Dec 1916. He served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force from 24 June 1919 to 4 Dec 1920. He was discharged on 24 Feb 1922. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal. Mentioned for Valuable Service on 28 Aug 1919, and awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in Nov 1920.
Private Allen Victor Lee House*, (PS2391), 16th (Service) Battalion (Public Schools), Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment). Allen House was born in Wenbor, Glamorgan to Alick Adolphus Nicholas John Lee and Mary Elizabeth House. His younger Sister Elsie May L House was born in Devon in 1898 at Mary Tavy, Tavistock. In 1911 he was working as an Apprentice in ‘The Saddlery’ at Tymawr Hill Llanbadoc near Usk. His family moved to Mazonet, Stoke Gabriel in 1914. He enlisted on 7 June 1916 at Scotland Yard in Mayfair, London. He landed in France on 17 Nov 1915. His Medal Card indicates 2 periods of service overseas with the Middlesex Regiment. The battalion first saw action in the Battle of the Somme. On the first day on the Somme, 1 July, the battalion was in the supporting wave during the attack on Beaumont Hamel. The Battalion advanced into withering German machine gun fire. A few men reached the German barbed wire but got no further. Most were cut down or trapped in no man’s land. After nightfall those that were pinned down near the German wire were rounded up and made prisoners of war. The Battalion suffered 522 casualties. In 1917 the battalion was in action in the First, Second and Third Battles of the Scarpe during the Arras Offensive, then moved over to Flanders. He died of wounds near Mendinghem on 13 Aug 1917 aged 20. He is buried at Mendingheim Cemetery. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Sergeant Joseph Henry Jordan, (42087) M.M., 56th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps. Joseph Jordan was born in 1891 in Stoke Gabriel. He was working as a Carpenter when he enlisted aged 24 into 11th Battalion, Duke Of Cornwall’s Light Infantry in 1916. He was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps at Grantham in Feb 1916 and served in France from 1916 to 1918. He was awarded the Military Medal on 19 Nov 1917 most likely for action in the Battle of Messines. He was later wounded (gassed) on 7 Sept 1918. He was discharged in 1919. His Military Medal was presented at Government House, Devonport by Major General Sir V Couper on 9 April 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Driver Walter Knowles*, (24327), Head Quarters, 23rd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. The son of James Knowles, Walter Knowles lived in Stoke Gabriel and was married to Lilly Knowles (nee Evans) who was from Stoke Gabriel. He was working as a Carman when he enlisted in Aug 1914. He died of heart failure near Albert, France on 24 Feb 1917 aged 39. He is buried in Albert Communal Cemetery Extension. Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Captain Francis Henry Godolphin Layland-Barratt, M.C., Grenadier Guards. Francis Layland-Barratt was born in 1896 in Chelsea, Middlesex, and lived at The Manor House, Torquay. He was educated at Eton College, Windsor and as a Cadet at the Royal Military College. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 26 Jan 1916. He disembarked in France on 11 Aug 1916 and joined the 2nd Battalion, 1st Guards Brigade, Guards Division. He was awarded the Military Cross as a result of his conspicuous gallantry during the 2nd Battalion’s attack on Les Boeufs during the Battle of the Somme on 25 Sept 1916. From the Regimental War Diary “- the following officers took part in the attack … 2nd Lt. F.H.G. Layland-Barratt No. 2 Company” … “After the capture of the first objective there were only two company officers left, Lieutenant A. Lawson-Johnston and Second Lieutenant Layland-Barratt, and the attack on the second objective was carried out by the non-commissioned officers.” Citation for the Military Cross reads. “For conspicuous gallantry in action. When all officers of his company had become casualties, he led on with great dash through a village, and established himself on one side of it. He had only joined the battalion a few days and had never been under fire before. He set a fine example throughout.” He was promoted Lieutenant on 1 Jan 1917. He was subsequently wounded in the face at Gouzeaucourt Wood during the Battle of Cambrai on 11 Dec 1917 “Lieutenant Layland-Barratt, who had been assisting Lieutenant Browning to reorganise the companies in the wood (Gauche Wood), was wounded by a splinter of a shell and had to retire to a dressing-station.” He was invalided home and joined the 5th (Reserve) Battalion, Grenadier Guards in 1918. He later served with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division from 1919 to 1920. He represented Stoke Gabriel on Devon County Council in 1927. Later Sir Francis became an MP. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued 1921.
Lieutenant Colonel Norman Evelyn Leslie, Earl of Rothes, Cyclist Battalion attached Highland Light Infantry (since 1911). Norman Leslie was born in 1877 at Waddeton, Devon. His mother was Georgina Studdy, of Waddeton Court daughter of Mr Henry Studdy. He had served as a Lieutenant in a Volunteer Battalion, and a Captain in the Fife Royal Field Artillery. During the war he was wounded slightly on face and leg on 7 Oct 1916, while commanding 12th (Service) Battalion Highland Light Infantry at the Battle of Le Transloy. He was in command since the end of Sept 1916. On 16 May 1917 he was graded for purposes of pay as Staff Lieutenant 2nd Class. On 7 Feb 1919 he relinquished his commission due to ill health from wounds while serving with the Highland Cyclist Battalion. He died in June 1927. Medal Entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal, Territorial Force War Medal, and the Silver War Badge.
Private Charles Jacob Lewis, (24628), 3rd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Charles Lewis was born in 1878 in Stoke Gabriel, and worked as a Gardener. He enlisted aged 37 in 1915, and served in Salonika in 1916 as a Stretcher Bearer with the 10th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. He was wounded shot in the left leg on 10 Feb 1917 during a raid by the 10th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment against Petit Couronne, a mountain near Doldzeli to the south west of Lake Dorian. The objective was to destroy a large dugout plus trench mortar and machine gun emplacements. Demolition parties were supplied by 107th Field Company, Royal Engineers. The battalion crossed the Jumeaux Ravine in two columns – A and D Companies moving from Dorset Ravine and B and C Companies from Tor Ravine. Trench mortar fire caused several casualties as the Devon’s clambered up the steep slopes of Petit Couronne. The raid was successful but 100 men were killed or wounded. After his recovery he re-joined the battalion on 29 April 1917. He was invalided home with Malaria in 1918, and was then attached to 444 Agricultural Company, Labour Corps. He was discharged in 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Lance Corporal Wilfred Charles Long*, (T3/027584), 130 Horse Transport Reserve Park Company, 14th Reserve Park, Army Service Corps. Wilfred Long lived in Stoke Gabriel and worked as a Coachman and Groom. He had served pre-war in the Devonshire, Royal Garrison Artillery (Volunteers). He enlisted on 13 Nov 1914. He was appointed Lance Corporal and embarked on the ‘City of Dunkirk’ at Southampton and landed in Havre, France on 3 Aug 1915. He then proceeded to the 14th Reserve Park. He was awarded a Good Conduct Badge on 13 Nov 1916. He was wounded during an air raid by bomb explosion on 3 Dec 1917 aged 32 and died of wounds at the no.3 Casualty Clearing Station at Grevillers. He is buried at Grevillers British Cemetery. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Boy 1st Class, Alec John Richard Luscombe, (J75798), Royal Navy. Alec Luscombe was born on 28 Oct 1901 in Stoke Gabriel and worked as an Under Groom. He enlisted on 7 Aug 1917 aged 15, and served on HMS Renown. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued to him on HMS Lucia a Submarine Depot ship.
Private Sydney Walter Luscombe*, (27181), 15th (Service) Battalion (2nd Portsmouth) Hampshire Regiment. Sydney Luscombe was born in 1884 in Stoke Gabriel. He initially enlisted in 1916 into the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, and later was transferred to the Hampshire Regiment. He served in France. At some point he was invalided home and died of illness at the Headingdon Hospital, Oxford on 11 Feb 1917 aged 33. His widow, Alice Louisa Collings, lived at 2, Berkeley Square. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal. The Medals were returned on 22 June 1923 for some reason and re issued on 2 Jan 1925. (Usually the medals were returned due to the Medals being returned from an old address or for correction to the inscription).
Sapper William Howard Luscombe, (42265), 12th Divisional Signal Company, Royal Engineers. William Luscombe was born in 1894 and lived in Stoke Gabriel and worked as a Farmer. He was living at Poole Farm, Slapton when he enlisted. He was reported to have been the first man from Stoke Gabriel to enlist. He served with the 12th Divisional Signals Company, Royal Engineers which provided communications for 12th (Eastern) Division, which landed at Boulogne, France on 30 May 1915. He was reported to have been gassed 3 times. Events involving gas are mentioned in various Company records: a gas shelling of the Signal Company’s camp on 8 April1918 near Amiens. He had 2 periods of service overseas. He was transferred to the Class Z Reserve on 28 March 1919. He died aged 28 at Torbay Hospital on 17 June 1922 after a long illness contracted while serving in France. He had been in Torbay Hospital for 2 years and Barnabas House for 10 months. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Lance Corporal E Marchant, (P6047), Military Foot Police Corps. He enlisted into the 3rd Battalion Devonshire Regiment as 3/7355 Private E Marchant. He landed in France on 27 July 1915 and joined the 9th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. In Jan 1917 he transferred to the Military Foot Police and continued to serve in France until 11 Nov 1918. He was transferred to the Class Z Reserve on 1 July 1919. After the war he Joined or re-joined the Police. As Police Constable Marchant he transferred from Stoke Gabriel to Newton Abbot on 5 Feb 1921. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Richard George Matthews, (155899),’ A’ Company, Depot, 3rd Training Battalion, Royal Army Medical Corps. Richard Matthews was born in 1894 at Stoke House, Stoke Gabriel, and worked as a Pharmacist. He enlisted aged 24 in 1918, and served as a Military Pharmacist in Blackpool from 1918 to 1919. No Medal Entitlement due to Home Service.
Private Alfred Morey, (150138), Inland Waterways Transport Section Royal Engineers. Alfred Morey was born in 1891 in Stoke Gabriel. He worked as a Fisherman and lived at 3 Cecil Road, Paignton. On 12 April 1914 he married Eliza Bessie Salter. He enlisted on 16 Feb 1916 at Newton Abbott, and was discharged on 22 Feb 1916 as ‘Not being likely to become an efficient soldier’. He had previously served before war in the Royal Navy from 27 April 1908 to 5 April 1909 and was invalided out with Tubercular Peritonitis which might explain his discharge from the Army in 1916. No Medal Entitlement due to Home Service.
Driver Ernest Morey, (T4/040401), Army Service Corps. Ernest Morey was born on 30 Sept 1895 in Stoke Gabriel, and worked as a Farm labourer. He enlisted in Jan 1915 and the T4 prefix in his regimental number would indicate serving in a Horse Transport Company in the 4th Army. The 4th Army was formed in France on 5 Feb 1916. So he would have arrived in France sometime early 1916. On 13 July 1916 he was transferred as 72811 Private Ernest Morey, to the 2nd Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment), 71st Brigade, 6th Division. He was wounded and appeared on a Wounded List on 29 Oct 1918 which would most likely have him being wounded during the Battles of the Hindenburg Line, during the pursuit to the Selle from 9 to the 12 October 1918. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private James John Morey*, (19179), 9th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. The son of Mr L L Morey, Redrock Cottages, Paignton and uncle to both Queenie Baker and Gordon Hayman, James John Morey was born in Stoke Gabriel in 1889 and enlisted in Aug 1915 Exeter. He initially served with 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, and was then posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. He was killed in action at the Battle of Guillemont 4-6 Sept 1916 aged 27. He is memorialized on the Thiepval Memorial. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private William Henry Morey, (22380), 6th (Service) Battalion, Dorset Regiment. William Morey was born in Stoke Gabriel in 1888, and worked as a Horse Driver. He enlisted on 30 Oct 1915 aged 27 into the 3rd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment at Exeter. He later transferred to 6th (Service) Battalion, Dorset Regiment and served in France from 6 July 1916 to 9 Nov 1916 when he was invalided home with Trench foot. On recovery he was send back to France on 5 March 1917, and was wounded in action when he was shot, and lost his index finger on his left hand on 23 April 1917 at the Second Battle of the Scarpe. He was invalided home on 29 April 1917. On 12 Jan 1918 he was transferred to 654 Agricultural Company, Labour Corps at the Higher Barracks, Exeter, and was discharged on 22 March 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Driver Richard Hingston Mortimore, (T4/088274), Army Service Corps, Horse Transport, 4th Army. Richard Mortimore was born on 29 Sept 1885 in Stoke Gabriel. He served as Ordinary Seaman Richard Hingston Mortimore (213387), in the Royal Navy from 1901 to 1904 when he purchased himself out. He then departed for Canada on 16 June 1904 aged 19, and returned to UK and married in Totnes in 1907. In 1911 he was living at Berry Pomeroy, and working as a Farm Bailiff. On 24 Sept 1913 he again left for Canada arriving on 1 Oct 1913. After the war started he returned to the UK arriving in Liverpool on 14 Dec 1915 with reason for travel stated on documents that he wishes to enlist in HM Forces. He enlisted on 11 on Jan 1916. After the war he returned to Canada 16 Oct 1920, and died in 1942 in Canada. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Pioneer George Arthur Narracott, (43634), 85th Field Company, Royal Engineers. George Narracott was born in Paignton, lived at Hoyle, Stoke Gabriel, working as a Carpenter. He enlisted on 3 Sept 1914 at Exeter aged 26. On 17 Sept 1915 arrived at Gallipoli. On 24 Oct 1915 he was wounded in action when he was shot in the left thigh, and was sent to Hospital in Malta. On 4 Jan 1916 he was sent to Egypt, and then on to Macedonia, where he contracted malaria in Oct 1916 in Macedonia. On 26 Sept 1917 he embarked at Salonica, and disembarked in Alexandria on 1 Oct 1917, and served in Palestine and Egypt. He embarked for UK from Port Said on 20 April 1919. He was transferred to the Class Z reserve on 5 May 1919. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Frederick John Narracott*, (15576), 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. The son of James Narracott, sexton of the parish church, Frederick Narracott was born in Stoke Gabriel in 1884. He enlisted in Feb 1915, and landed in France on 1 June 1915 and served with the 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. He died of wounds at No 34 Casualty Clearing Station near Meaulte on 31 Oct 1916 aged 32. The battalion was in the trenches in the Somme area at this time. His widow, Elizabeth, lived in Crediton. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Corporal Robert Edward Narracott, (WR25397 (240899)), 337th Road Construction Company, Royal Engineers. Robert Narracott was born on 7 March 1872 in Stoke Gabriel. He lived in Torquay working as a builder and was married with six children. He enlisted on 6 March 1917 aged 44, and initially served in the 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment and was transferred to Aldershot to join a Road Construction Company, Royal Engineers. The Road Construction Companies were used to construct roads in France. He first landed in France on 27 March 1917 having been promoted to Corporal. He was admitted to Hospital on 5 Aug 1917 and returned to his unit on 8 Oct 1917. He returned to the UK on 12 Feb 1919 and transferred to the Class Z reserve on 13 March 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Air Mechanic 3rd Class William Henry Narracott, (303100), Royal Air Force. William Narracott was born in Stoke Gabriel on 18 June 1875. He worked as a Painter, and lived at Myrtle Villa, Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted on 2 Oct 1918 aged 43, and served with the Airfield Construction Squadron at West Drayton. He was transferred to the RAF ‘G’ Reserve on 25 Feb 1919, and discharged on 30 April 1920. Medal Entitlement: The British War Medal.
Private Cecil William Nevill, (30457), Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry. Cecil Nevill was born 1892 in Stoke Gabriel. He was an Actor, and the son of the Reverend John Henry Napper Nevill, Vicar of Stoke Gabriel who died on 26 Aug 1915. He served overseas post 1915 with the Devonshire Regiment, Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Gunner Wilfred Henry Nicholls, (152275), 4th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Wilfred Nicholls was born in Stoke Gabriel in 1895. He worked as a Farmer at Berry Farm, Berry Pomeroy. He enlisted aged 22 on 2 April 1917 and qualified as a Signaller and landed France 16 Feb 1918. He was discharged on 3 March 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private William John Nicholls, (345317), 16th Battalion (Royal 1st Devon and North Devon Yeomanry) Devonshire Regiment. William Nicholls was born 1891 in Stoke Gabriel and worked as a Farm Labourer. He enlisted at Exeter in May 1915. He was killed in action at the Battle of Jerusalem during the recapture of the village of Beit Ur el Foqa, in Palestine on 3 Dec 1917 aged 26. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Lance Corporal James William Douglas Noon, (241143), 5th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. James Noon was born 1893 in Devonport. He lived in Stoke Gabriel, his Stepfather was Frederick Adams and his Mother was Margaret Adams. He worked as an Errand Boy in a Boot shop. He enlisted into the Devonshire Regiment and was appointed Lance Corporal and served overseas post 1915. He was wounded and invalided back Home on 27 Aug 1918. He was probably wounded in the Bois de Reims during the Battle of Tardenois from 20 to 31 July 1918. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Leading Seaman John Norsworthy, (168104), Royal Navy. John Norsworthy was born on 16 May 1876 in Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted in 1892 and later enrolled in May 1906 into the Royal Fleet Reserve. During the war he served on HMS Isis from 2 Aug 1914 to 20 June 1917 and then at HMS Vivid III from 20 June 1917 to 30 Sept 1917. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private William John Northam, (M2/130917), 595 Motor Transport Company, attached 17th Motor Ambulance Convoy, Army Service Corps (Motor Transport). William Northam was born 1876 in Stoke Gabriel. He was married and working as a Chauffeur when he enlisted on 6 Oct 1915 aged 39. He served as a Motor Ambulance Car ‘Studebaker’ Driver. On 24 Oct 1915 he disembarked in Egypt, and later served in Salonika. He was invalided Home from Hospital in Malta on 26 Nov 1918, and discharged due to sickness on 4 Feb 1919. His address on discharge was the Mazonet, Stoke Gabriel. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, British War Medal and the Silver War Badge.
Corporal George Henry Northcott, (289555), Labour Corps. George Northcott was from Torquay, and worked as a builder. He enlisted as a Pioneer into the Royal Engineers, landed in France on 21 Aug 1915 with the rank of Corporal. In 1917 he was transferred to the Labour Corps. On 16 Feb 1919 he was transferred to Class Z reserve. He built a butcher’s shop in Stoke Gabriel in 1924. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Corporal Ernest George Papworth, (1403096 (22770)), 3rd Mountain Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Ernest Papworth was born 1889 in Stoke Gabriel, and worked as a Clerk. He enlisted on 1 May 1905 aged 20 and served on the North West Frontier with rank of Bombardier in 1908. In 1909 he was serving in Rawalpindi. Later in 1911 he returned to UK on HM Transport ‘Rewa’. During the war he served as a Corporal in India from Jan 1916 again at Rawalpindi until Jan 1919. He was transferred as a Corporal Clerk to Royal Army Pay Corps on 23 April 1920. Medal Entitlement: Indian General Service Medal (Clasp North West Frontier 1908), Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Chief Writer Frank Newland Papworth, (346776), Royal Navy. Frank Papworth was born on 25 Oct 1889 in Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted on 5 May 1904. He later worked as a School Teacher. He served at HMS Vivid I & III during the war. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal was awarded on the Battle Cruiser HMS Tiger in 1921.
Gunner Ernest James Pook, (159440), Royal Garrison Artillery. Ernest Pook was born in 1882 and married Emma Amelia Preston on 20 Oct 1913 at the Parish Church of Stoke Gabriel. They lived at Fairfox Place, Dartmouth, and he worked as an Outfitter. He enlisted in 1915 aged 33 and was placed in the Army Reserve. He was mobilized on 14 May 1917, and landed in France on 1 Jan 1918 where he joined 38th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. The Heavy Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines. He was wounded by a gas shell on 14 Aug 1918 while serving with 120thHeavy Battery. He was invalided home and arrived at a Hospital in Lincoln on 28 Aug 1918. He was discharged as unfit on 15 Jan 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued on 19 Dec 1921, also the Silver War Badge.
Ordinary Seaman Edwin Frank Potham, ((Bristol) BZ/916), 4th (Collingwood) Battalion, Royal Naval Division, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. His service record states he was born in Stoke Gabriel on 17 Oct 1896 when he was actually born on 17 Oct 1897, showing he lied about age so he could enlist. He lived at Berkeley Square, Stoke Gabriel, and worked as a Groom. He enlisted first on 14 June 1915 and was attached to 4th Battalion, Royal Naval Division which was training the sailors to be infantrymen at Blandford Camp in Dorset. He was discharged as under age on 30 July 1915. He re-joined when he reached legal age as Stoker 1st Class Edwin Frank Potham (K36456) on 14 Sept 1916 and listed his occupation as Motor Engineer. He served on HMS Resolution from 17 Dec 1916 to 17 July 1919, which was part of the 1st Battle Squadron (United Kingdom) of the Grand Fleet. On 19 July 1919 he was demobilized. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Leading Stoker Sydney Ernest Potham, (SS111639), Royal Navy. Brother of Edwin Frank Potham and living at the same house, Sydney Potham was born on 1 Jan 1894 and was working as a Fisherman, when he enlisted on 17 Jan 1912. He was at HMS Vivid on 12 Nov 1915 when he was awarded the Naval General Service Medal Clasp for service in the Persian Gulf 1909-1914 on HMS Pelorus. He was demobilised on 17 Feb 1920 and joined Royal Naval Reserve and, with his brother, entered the London Fire Service. On retirement, he became the landlord of the Church House Inn. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal awarded while at HMS Vivid. He was awarded the Royal Navy Long Service and Good conduct Medal on 22 Nov 1927.
Stoker Petty Officer William John Potham, (K18425), Royal Navy. Brother of Edwin Frank and Sydney Ernest Potham, William Potham was born on 8 March 1892, and enlisted on 10 March 1913. He was serving on HMS Ormonde when he was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal awarded on 12 May 1928. He was discharged on 10 Feb 1929. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal awarded while he was on HMS Southampton.
Gunner Stanley Heath Preston, (212101), C/149 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Stanley Preston was born 1898 in Stoke Gabriel and worked as a Farm Labourer. He was aged 19 when he enlisted on 19 Jan 1917 as a Gunner with 57th Reserve Battery Royal Field Artillery and served in France from 6 Sept 1917 to 29 Dec 1917 with 32/33 Brigade. On 27 Dec 1917 he was admitted to Hospital with a wound in the heel, and invalided to England on 5 Jan 1918. He then returned to France and joined C/149 Brigade and returned to the UK on 28 Jan 1919, and was discharged on 25 Feb 1919 with his address given as Home Farm, Waddeton. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Driver Wilfred Frank Preston, (86862), Royal Garrison Artillery. Wilfred Preston was born 1894 in Stoke Gabriel, and lived in Churston Ferrers, working as a farm labourer He enlisted on 25 Nov 1915 at Exeter and was placed in Army Reserve. He was mobilized at Newton Abbott on 26 May 1916 and joined No 3 Depot (Heavy and Siege) at Plymouth. On 5 June 1916 he was posted to No. 36 Company, Eastern Section (Plymouth) part of the South Western Coast Defences. On 3 July 1916 he was posted to 188 Heavy Battery. This Battery arrived at Salonika on 1 April 1917, and he arrived on 18 April 1917 as part of the Salonika Expeditionary Force. On 23 April 1919 he was posted to 20 Heavy Battery, which on 13 May was sent to Chanak in Turkey. On 16 May 1919 it was sent to Constantinople, and on 5 Oct 1919 it returned to the Chanak. On 17 Oct he departed for home, and on 2 Nov 1919 arrived back in the UK. On 25 Feb 1919 posted to 20 Heavy Battery. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Surgeon Rear-Admiral Sir William Wenmoth Pryn, K.B.E., C.B., Royal Navy. William Pryn was born at Saltash on 21 Oct 1859. He entered the Royal Navy as surgeon in 1886, and was In charge of the naval hospital at Gibraltar from 1912 to 1916. Later he was the surgeon general in charge of the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth. He received the C.B. in 1918 and the K.B.E. in 1919. He died in Stoke Gabriel in 1942. Medal Entitlement: British War Medal.
Acting Corporal Frank Ridgeway, (20698), 8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Frank Ridgeway was born 1892 in Berry Pomeroy and worked as a Farm Labourer. He enlisted into the Devonshire Regiment. He was posted to France as an Acting Corporal. German records state he was captured at Loos, and held at the Lager II Munster which was originally a racecourse. By the 15 July 1916 he had been moved to the Friedrichsfeld-bei Wesel Camp holding 35,000 men. He returned from Germany on 29 Nov 1918. He was transferred to the Labour Corps while waiting for his discharge. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Edmund Philip Rowewas born on 10 Nov 1891 in Stoke Gabriel. He moved to the USA and was living in New York working as a Chauffeur in 1917 when he completed a Draft Registration Card for the American Military.
Sapper Ernest George Rowe, (WR/502005), Inland Water Transport Corps, Royal Engineers. Ernest Rowe was born 1888 in Stoke Gabriel and worked as a Deckhand. He enlisted aged 27 in 1916 and served in France from 1917 with the Inland Water Transport Corps, Royal Engineers. He was discharged in 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Acting Lance Sergeant John Rowe, (16105), 10th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. John Rowe was born in 1894. He was single when he enlisted. He served in Salonika and arrived with the rank of Corporal and is on a list of wounded and sick suffering from Malaria (Slight) with the rank of Corporal. He is later appointed Acting Lance Sergeant. On 1 Jun 1919 he was discharged to the Class Z Reserve suffering from Malaria. He received a Medical pension from 2 June 1919 and his address for this pension was Stoke Gabriel, Totnes, Devon. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Able Seaman, Sydney Charles Rowe, (J41994), Royal Navy. Sydney Rowe was born on 4 June 1896 in Stoke Gabriel and worked as a Fisherman. He enlisted on 12 July 1915 for duration of hostilities, and was wounded in action at Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 while serving on HMS Princess Royal. The HMS Princess Royal was moderately damaged during the Battle of Jutland and required a month and a half of repairs. He later served on HMS Concord which upon being commissioned into the Royal Navy in December 1916 was assigned to the 5th Light Cruiser Squadron, which operated as part of Harwich Force in the North Sea to defend the eastern approaches to the Strait of Dover and English Channel. It remained in the squadron through to the end of the war in Nov 1918 and on until March 1919. He was demobilised on 27 Feb 1919. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Thomas Henry Salter, (2306), Royal Army Medical Corps. Thomas Salter was born 1876 in Paignton and his wife was from Stoke Gabriel. He worked as a Journeyman Baker. In Aug 1915 he was in uniform in Stoke Gabriel attending the Reverend Nevill’s funeral as noted in a Newspaper local item. He served overseas post 1915. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private Samuel Scadding, (18941), 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. The son of Samuel Matthews and Lydia Petherbridge Scadding, Samuel Scadding was born on 2 Oct 1886 in Stoke Gabriel. Early July 1915 he enlisted aged 29 into the Devonshire Regiment. He completed his basic training with the 3rd Reserve Battalion, Devonshire Regiment at Devonport. Post 1915 he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, 23rd Brigade, 8th Division in France. The Battalion took part in The Battle of Albert (the first phase of the Battles of the Somme in 1916). Post March 1917 he was posted to the 1/4th Territorial Battalion, Devonshire Regiment in India. In Feb 1917 the Battalion was at Amara, Mesopotamia under orders of the Tigris Lines of Communication. The Base Depots and Hospitals/rest camps for The Mesopotamia Campaign were in India. It looks like he served at the 1/4th Battalion, Devonshire Base Depot at Secunderabad at Hyderabad, located in the Indian state of Telangana. Garrison duties in India were carried on in much the same way as they were both before and after the war, the main difference being the personnel posted to India during the war were medical category B1. In the Garrison Battalions some men had previously served in France, while others were in less than A1 fitness. On 24 April 1919 1/4th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment arrived in Plymouth from India. They were reported as very fed up at arriving at Plymouth after almost five years away only to have to travel though Devon to Fovant in Wiltshire before being demobilised. The 1/4th Devonshire Regiment had left for India very early in the war, having been raised locally and so comprising mostly of Devonshire men before regiments’ local associations became diluted. On 18 July 1919 he was discharged to the Class ‘Z’ Reserve at Fovant, Wiltshire. On the 1939 Register he is married living at Meadow Leigh, Long Rydon, Devon and working as a Builder. It also shows he served as a Special Constable, in F Division.
Private Shadrach John Scadding*, 16596 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment. Brother of Samuel Scadding, Shadrach Scadding was born in Stoke Gabriel and worked as a Farm Labourer. In Feb 1916 he enlisted into the Devonshire Regiment at Paignton aged 20 and was posted to the Battalion Depot at Exeter for training at the Wyvern Barracks, Exeter, or the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Located at Devonport a training unit used as the garrison for the defences of Plymouth. In June 1916 he was sent out to France to join the 8th (Service) Battalion Devonshire Regiment, 20th Brigade of the 7th Division as part of a reinforcement draft. In Sept 1916 he was wounded probably at the Battle of Guillemont. On 22 Sept 1916 he is listed as wounded in the Western Times newspaper. Once discharged from hospital he would most likely have been sent back to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment at Devonport. On recovery from his wounds he was posted at some point to 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, 95th Brigade of the 5th Division in France. On 4 Oct 1917 he was killed in action by shrapnel piercing his heart at the Third Battle of Ypres or Passchendaele. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, the British War Medal.
Private William Albert Scadding, (91301), 13th (Service) Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment. William Scadding was born 24 Dec 1898 in Stoke Gabriel.His regimental number would have him enlisting in Oct 1917. The 13th Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment served in France with 9th Brigade, 3rd Division. After the war he sailed from Plymouthfor America 7 Sep 1920 aged 21. He listed his occupation as Farmer. He died on 27 Feb 1958 at Lane, Oregon, USA. Medal entitlement: British War Medal and the Victory Medal
Driver Walter John Sellek, (1764 (565)), 2/1st Devon Battery, Wessex, Royal Field Artillery (Territorial). Walter Sellek was born in Waddeton, near Brixham, and worked as a gardener at Waddeton Court. He was embodied as a Territorial on 16 Sept 1914 aged 24, and he was transferred later to the Regular Royal Field Artillery, with regimental no.565. He was posted to the 1105th Battery on 1 Jan 1917 and served in India and Aden. On 29 March 1919 he was disembodied. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Air Mechanic 1st Class (Store Man, Grade Clerk 2), Alfred Charles Sellwood, (222331), Royal Air Force. Alfred Sellwood lived in Stoke Gabriel with his wife who was from Stoke Gabriel. He worked as a Pattern Card Mounter. He enlisted on 3 Aug 1917 into the Royal Naval Air Service and was later re mustered into the Royal Air Force. He died in Lincoln Hospital while serving at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire on 20 Dec 1918 aged 40. Medal Entitlement: British War Medal.
Private William Henry James Seymour, (17130), 2nd Battalion Scots Guards. William Seymour was born in 1899, and worked as a Steam Wagon Driver. His Father lived at Coombe Shoot, Stoke Gabriel when he enlisted on 19 May 1917 at Newton Abbot aged 17 and was placed in the Army Reserve. He was mobilized on 13 Dec 1917 into 3rd (Reserve) Battalion Scots Guards at Chelsea Barracks. From Feb to March 1918 he was serving at Caterham. He was in Warlingham Military Hospital from 29 May 1918 to 12 July 1918, and was then posted to 2nd Battalion Scots Guards, 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division on 2 Aug 1918 in France. This Battalion was involved in 2nd Battle of the Somme 1918, Battle of the Hindenburg Line, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, and The Battle of the Sambre. He returned to England on 11 Feb 1919, and was attached to 3rd Combined Guards Garrison. He was discharged on 10 March 1919, with his address on discharge was Beechdawn, Collaton, Paignton. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Sergeant William Ernest Shuttlewood, (521168 (3686)), Canadian Army Medical Corps. William Shuttlewood was born in 1871, and married Miss S F Northmore of South Down Farm, Stoke Gabriel. He trained as a Chemist at Brixham. They left for Canada on14 May 1910. He enlisted on 14 June 1915 into the Canadian Army Medical Corps as a Chemist. He departed Canada on 21 Aug 1915 with the rank of Corporal to join No. 5 Canadian General Hospital located at Shorncliffe, and served there from 5 Sept to 16 Nov 1915. He served at Salonika from 14 Dec 1915 to 16 Aug 1917, and at Liverpool from 13 Oct 1917 to 16 March 1918. He arrived back in Halifax, Canada on board the Ongar for discharge. He joined the staff of the Shaughnessy Convalescent Military Hospital in Vancouver, Canada in 1918 and retired in 1934. Medal Entitlement: 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Stoker Petty Officer George Skedgel, (287153), Royal Navy. George Skedgel was born on 5 Jan 1879 in Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted in 1898. In 1901 he was based at the Royal Naval Barracks at Devonport serving as a Stoker aged 22. He also served as a Stoker in Boer War on HMS Pelouis from 8 Dec 1899 to 26 June 1900 and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal on 29 April 1902 on HMS Implacable. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Petty Officer Henry Prince (Thomas Henry) Skedgel, (213825), DSM, Royal Navy. Henry Skedgel was born on 27 June 1883 in Stoke Gabriel. He was working as a Labourer when he enlisted in 1901, aged 17. He was serving on the 1st Class Cruiser Armoured, HMS Northampton out of Portsmouth Harbour. In 1911 he was married and serving as a Leading Seaman on the 2nd Class Cruiser, HMS Cambrian near Australia. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal on 12 Oct 1915 while serving with 6th Light Cruiser Squadron on HMS Eskimo. A Good Conduct Medal was awarded on 13 Sept 1916 while on HMS Foresight, with the East Mediterranean Squadron. In May 1915 HMS Foresight was temporarily moved to the 6th Light Cruiser Squadron on the Humber, guarding against Zeppelin raids on the east coast. Later In 1915 HMS Foresight served in the Mediterranean. On 7 Aug 1915 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. The Citation read: Admiralty, 7th August, 1915. The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Distinguished Service Order and for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross to the undermentioned Officers in recognition of their services in the Patrol Cruisers since the outbreak of war: —To receive the Distinguished Service Medal. Petty Officer Henry Prince Skedgel, O.N. 213825. In July 1916 HMS Foresight was in the Aegean with her sister ship HMS Forward until the end of the war. In November 1916, HMS Foresight assisted the wounded survivors from HMHS Britannic. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal awarded on HMS Sandhurst a Destroyer Depot Ship and Fleet repair ship, on 26 June 1923 and he was pensioned.
Acting Chief Petty Officer Frederick James Soper, (180104). Frederick Soper was born on 1 April 1879 in Stoke Gabriel. He served during the war on the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Marmora, which was sunk by UB.64 south of Ireland on 23 July 1918. He then served on the Battleship HMS Duncan and at HMS Pembroke I at Chatham. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal on 6 April 1918. The citation: HONOURS FOR SERVICE IN VESSELS EMPLOYED ON PATROL AND ESCORT DUTY 6 APRIL, 1918. The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the following honours, decorations and medals to the undermentioned Officers and Men for services in Vessels of the Royal Navy employed on Patrol and Escort duty during the period 1st January to 31st December, 1917: — To receive the Distinguished Service Medal, C.P.O. Frederick James Soper, O.N. 180104 (Ch.). He was demobilised in May 1919. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal (His Identity Certificate Number was 498475 in the Merchant Navy).
Private William Henry Speare, (420228), 43rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry. William Speare was born 1888 in Torquay. His Mother Elizabeth Margaret Collings was from Stoke Gabriel, and he moved to Canada in 1911. He enlisted on 18 Dec 1915 at Winnipeg. He embarked on 1 June 1915 on the SS Grampian at Montreal, and disembarked at Liverpool on 9 June 1915. He landed in France in Feb 1916. On 1 Feb 1918 he was discharged. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Private William John Squires, (9095), 3rd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. William Squires was born 1894 in Stoke Gabriel. He enlisted on 18 April 1910 aged 17 and in April 1911 was serving at Exeter Barracks. During the war he served with the 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment and disembarked on 6 Nov 1914 in France. He was discharged on 1 Feb 1917 having been wounded. Medal Entitlement: Silver War Badge, 1914 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal.
Lieutenant Francis Robert Beckton Studdy, H.M.S. “Victory”, Royal Navy. Francis Studdy was born 1897 in Stoke Gabriel. During the war he served on HMS Juno (Light Cruiser) 11th Cruiser Squadron, then on HMS Collingwood (Battleship) with the fleet at Scapa Flow. He was on HMS Temeraire (Battleship) during the Battle of Jutland 31 May – 1 June 1916. He then served on HMS Speedwell a mine sweeping torpedo-gunboat with the Home Fleet, and HMS Proserpine part of the 7th Cruiser Squadron supporting the British intervention in Mesopotamia. Then he served on HMS Danae which was attached to the Harwich based 5th Light Cruiser Squadron, followed by service on HMS Colombo with 5th Light Cruiser Squadron on the China Station. He finally served on HMS Vulcan at Portland, and at the Special Torpedo Vessel (Depot Ship). He died at the South Eden Nursing Home Paignton on 24 Feb 1921 due to an illness resulting from war service aged 24. Medal Entitlement: 1914-15 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued to his Father. See: https://skipperswar.com/2021/03/02/march-2nd-1921/
2nd Lieutenant Robert Frank Barton Studdy, 5th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. The son of Thomas Edward Studdy, Robert Studdy was born in 1887 and had lived for a while at the Mazonet, Stoke Gabriel. He was in Canada when the war started and returned with his occupation listed as ‘Rancher’ and enlisted as no. 835 Trooper Robert Frank Robert Barton Studdy, in the 2nd King Edwards Horse. This regiment was raised by private subscription and consisted of Britons who had arrived home from overseas to enlist. It was part of the 12th (Eastern) Division, Divisional Mounted Troops. He landed on 14 Nov 1915 in France and then returned to the UK where he was commissioned into the 11th (Reserve) Battalion Devonshire Regiment on 1 Feb 1915. He landed again in France on 23 Nov 1915, and was later transferred to the 5th Service Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment (Pioneers), 12th (Eastern) Division, working as Divisional Troops in Feb 1916. He was wounded while serving in the Arras sector, and then relinquished his commission on 9 March 1917 due to ill health. Medal Entitlement: Silver War Badge, 1914 Star, Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued on 18 Nov 1920.
Private Frank Tully, (485087), 816 Employment Company, Labour Corps. Frank Tully was born 1882 in Stoke Gabriel, and lived in Dawlish working as a Gardener. He enlisted on 9 May 1915 aged 33 into 3rd Battalion Devonshire Regiment (regimental no.17800), and was posted to Salonika on 3 Jan 1916 to join the 10th (Service) Battalion Devonshire Regiment. He contracted malaria in Sept 1917, and after recovery was transferred to the Labour Corps on 14 Dec 1917. On 13 May 1919 he was discharged. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued Aug 1921.
Captain F D Walker, MB, Royal Army Medical Corps. He was born in 1882. During war he was commissioned into the Royal Army Medical Corps. On 23 May 1915 he disembarked in Egypt. Here he joined No 19 General Hospital in Alexandria. On 16 June 1915 he was admitted to the Hospital sick and the record notes he had 6 months service with 1 month served in the field. On 29 June 1915 he is discharged back to work at the Deaconesses Hospital in Alexandria. He is then promoted to Captain on 31 Dec 1915. Back in the UK his wife was living in Stoke Gabriel and it is noted in a local Newspaper that on 30 Aug 1915 she sent flowers on their behalf to the Reverend Nevill’s funeral in Stoke Gabriel. On 17 Feb 1919 he was still serving at Alexandria.
Captain Frederick Dearden Walker, M. B., Ch. B, Royal Army Medical Corps. Frederick Walker was born in 1882 in St Marys Carlisle Cumberland. He graduated from Manchester University 1908 and married Beatrice Evelyn Lines in January 1914. They lived at The Castle, Stoke Gabriel. When the war broke out he was in the West Indies and returned via New York arriving at the Port of London 25 Oct 1914. He was then commissioned as a Surgeon into the Royal Army Medical Corps. On 23 May 1915 he disembarked in Egypt. Here he joined No 19 General Hospital in Alexandria. On 16 June 1915 he is admitted into his own Hospital sick with tonsillitis and the Hospital record notes he had 6 months service with 1 month served in the field. On 29 June 1915 he is discharged back to work at the Deaconesses Hospital in Alexandria. He is then promoted to Captain on 31 Dec 1915. Back in the UK his wife was living in Stoke Gabriel and it is noted in a local Newspaper that on 30 Aug 1915 she sent flowers on their behalf to the Reverends Nevill’s funeral in Stoke Gabriel. On 17 Feb 1919 he was still serving at Alexandria. By 1920 he was in private practice and living in Bournemouth. During WW2 he served with a First Aid Unit in North Bournemouth with his wife while their son Billy served with 72nd (Middlesex) Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery. Frederick Walker died in Bournemouth in 1954.
2nd Lieutenant (Acting Captain) Francis George Stuart Watson, (130718) 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. Francis Watson was born in Stoke Gabriel in 1897, and lived at the Villa Languard, Torquay. He entered Sandhurst in Aug 1915, and was commissioned on 26 Jan 1916. He completed a 3 months course flying with Royal Flying Corps. He landed in France and joined 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers on 15 June 1916 and was killed in action on 23 Oct 1916 aged 19. Medal Entitlement: Victory Medal, and the British War Medal issued on 16 Feb 1922
2. General Observations
The list of Stoke Gabriel servicemen comprises 140 men and is not limited to those who were resident in the parish at the time of enlistment but includes those who were resident at any time. As a result, men who were borne, attended school, or were married in the parish are included. This approach, which was generally but not universally followed by many parishes, results in some men being associated with more than one parish or country. In contrast to Sir Alfred’s figure of 110, the list also includes men whose association with the parish dates from after the war.
Of the 140 men, 96 served with the army (65 serving on the Western front), 34 with the navy and 8 with the air force (comprising the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service). One other was a chaplain to the army and the last was a member of the church army. The main army regiments to which the men belonged were the Devonshires, the Army Service Corps and the Royal Engineers. Some six emigrants from the parish to Canada came back to fight as Canadian Infantry. The list identifies 30 men who died while serving their country at home or abroad during the war years, the 18 men included on the parish memorial being identified by an asterisk.
The minimum age at which a man could enlist into the armed services in 1914 (without parental consent) was 18 although he could not be sent abroad until he was 19. With the written consent of his parents, a man below the age of 18 and above the age of 16 could also enlist. Before the outbreak of war, some men were already serving in the armed forces while others were army or navy reservists and had already undergone training. Of the 140 men listed, there are 107 who were not already in active service or who were not reservists at the outbreak of war and whose age at enlistment is known. The breakdown of these men according to their age is as follows:
- Less than 18 years old = 12
- Less than 21 years old = 37
- Less than 30 years old = 76
- Less than 40 years old = 97
- Less than 50 years old = 105
- Less than 60 years old = 107
Part 4: Sources and Acknowledgements
British Newspaper Archive: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
Red Cross VAD Archives: https://vad.redcross.org.uk
Commonwealth War Graves: https://www.cwgc.org/
Totnes Times Archive, Totnes
Paignton Observer and Herald Express, Torquay Library
Stoke Gabriel Book of Remembrance
Minutes of the Meetings of Stoke Gabriel Parish Council and Stoke Gabriel Parochial Church Council and the Register of Services
Kelly’s Directory of Devonshire, 1914 & 1919, High Holborn, London
Stoke Gabriel Council School Log Book, Devon Heritage Centre,2009C/EFL/3
Tony Rea, South Devon in the Great War, Pen and Sword Books Ltd, Barnsley, Yorkshire, 2016
David Parker, The People of Devon in the First World War, The History Press, Stroud Gloucestershire, 2013
General Jack Seely, Warrior, The Amazing Story of a Real War Horse, Racing Post Books, Newbury, Berkshire, 2014
David Lusty, Ringing the School Bell – the Story of Schooling in Stoke Gabriel
Caroline Dakers, The Countryside at War 1914-18, Constable and Company, Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, 1987
DEVON During the First World War, South West Heritage Trust, Short Run Press, 2018
Richard John Batten, Thesis “Devon and the First World War”, 2013, University of Exeter, https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10871/14600/BattenR.pdf?sequence=1
Acknowledgements are due to “Therebutnotthere”, the 2018 Armistice project for the charity Remembered, for their permission to use the Tommy image.
Mark Hifle and Mike Stott