This page is dedicated to all in our extended family who served their country, and particularly those who gave their
lives in that service.

Fallen in the Great War

Oswald Bere, Private, 'B 'Coy 2nd/8th Bn. Worcestershire Regiment. Died 28 August 1917, age 23. Remembered at Tyne Cot.

Stanley Bere, Private, 26th Bn. Royal Fusiliers. Died 11 June 1916, age 26. Remembered at the Etaples Military Cemetery.

Francis Blackler, Rifleman, 4th Bn. 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade. Died 16 June 1917, age 24. Buried at Trois Arbres Cemetery.

James Blaen, Sergeant , 7th/8th Bn. Kings Own Scottish Borderers. Died 12 April 1917, age 34. Remembered on the Arras Memorial.

Albert Bubear, Private, 12th Bn. Middlesex Regiment. Died 15 July 1916, age 24. Remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

Albert G. Bubear, Private, 13th (Princess Louise's Kensington) (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment,attd. 170th Tunneling Coy. Royal Engineers. Died 27 July 1917, age 28. Buried in Bethune Town Cemetery.

George Bubear, Private, 1st/7th (City of London) Bn. London Regiment. Died 7 October 1916, age 23. Remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

Walter G. Bubear, Private, 1st Bn. Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). Died 29 August 1918, age 24. Remembered on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial.

William J. Bubear, Private, 15th Bn. Hampshire Regiment. Died 20 September 1918, age 29. Commemorated at Tyne Cot.

Ernest W. Burridge, Private, 6th Bn. Welsh Regiment. Died 27 October 1917, age 29. Buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery.

Fred Burridge, Serjeant (Master Tailor), 1st Garrison Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 2 June 1916, age 43. Buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.

Walter R. Burridge, Private, 2nd Bn. Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Died 21 March 1918, age 30. Remembered at the Pozieres Memorial.

Frederick Cann, Private, 2nd Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 1 July 1916, age 23. Remembered on the Thiepval Monument.

Robert Colbourne, Midshipman, HMS Vanguard. Died at Scapa Flow 9 July 1917, age 20. Commemorated at Chatham Naval Memorial.

Ernest S. Cook, Rifleman, 8th Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps. Died 30 July 1915, age 23. Buried at Sanctuary Wood.

William A. Copeman, Private, 7th Bn. East Surrey Regiment. Died 5 March, 1916, age 19. Remembered at the Loos Memorial.

Arthur W.P.Daw, Artificer Engineer, HMS Bulwark. Died 26 November 1914, age 37. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Reginald Daw, Private, 49th Bn. Australian Infantry. Died 7 June 1917, age 23. Commemorated at the Menin Gate.

Victor S. Dixon, Lance Corporal, 41st Bn. Australian Infantry. Died 27 June 1917, age 27. Commemorated at Kandahar Farm.

Frederick Drew, Private, 2nd Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 1 July 1916, age 28. Remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

John Drew, Private, 8th Bn. Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment). Died 28 April 1917, age 24. Buried at Orchard Dump Cemetery.

William Drew, Private, 1st/6th Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died in Iraq 8 March 1916, age 19. Commemorated at the Basra Memorial.

Charles Fey, Private, Depot, Gloucestershire Regiment. Died 17 October 1918, age 21. Buried at Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol.

Frederick Fey, Private, 2nd/4th Bn. Gloucestershire Regiment. Died 27 August 1917, age 21. Buried at New Irish Farm Cemetery.

Luke Fey, Lance Corporal, Machine Gun Corps. Died 9 November 1916, aged 40. Buried in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L´Abbe .

Fred Frost, Private, Royal Army Service Corps. Died 24 March 1919, age 42. Buried in Stockleigh English Parish Churchyard, Devon.

James Frost, MM, Corporal, 10th Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps. Died 9 May 1917, age 21. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Arthur Fursdon Gallin, Private, "B" Coy, 8th Bn., Devonshire Regiment. Died 25 September 1915 age 24. Remembered on the Loos Memorial.

Wilfred Garnsworthy, Private, 1st/23rd Bn. London Regiment. Died 5 April 1918, age 29.Commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

Arthur Grubb, Private, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 14th Bn. Died 21 March 1918, age 27. Remembered at the Pozieres Memorial.

Harold Heard, Private, 12th Bn. Royal Scots. Died on the Somme, 16 April 1918, age 19. Commemorated at Tyne Cot.

Henry Heard, Gunner, "A" Bty 154th Bde. Royal Field Artillery. Died 4 July 1916, age 36. Buried in Acheux British Cemetery.

Horace Heard , Private, 7th Bn. Seaforth Highlanders. Died 6 October 1915, age 21. Buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

Paul Lenton Heath, Guardsman, 1st Bn. Grenadier Guards. Killed in action, 30 March 1918, age 31. Buried in Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux.

William Hitchcock, Private, 8th Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 25 September 1915, age 20. Commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

Cecil Huxtable, Lance Corporal, 28th Bn. Australian Infantry. Died 4 October 1917, age 28. Remembered at Tyne Cot.

Herbert Joy, Drummer, 1st Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 16 September 1914, age 30. Remembered at La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre.

Jonas Kelly, Private, 16th Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 2 September 1918, age 26. Commemorated at Vis-en-Artois Memorial.

William Leach, Private, 17th Bn. Royal Fusiliers. Died 4 December 1917, age 20. Buried in Grevillers British Cemetery.

William Lee, Petty Officer Stoker, HMS Hampshire. Died 5 June 1916 age 33. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Albert Loye, Private, 4th Bn. Royal Fusiliers. Died at Ypres, 24 August 1915, age 42. Commemorated at the Menin Gate.

Frederick Loye, Gunner, 351st Siege Bty. Royal Garrison Artillery. Died on the Somme, 6 November 1917, age 40. Buried at Tyne Cot.

Reginald P. Loye, Private, 12th Bn. Royal Fusiliers. Died 31 January 1917, age 40. Buried in Lillers Communal Cemetery.

Arthur Meecham, Private, 11th Bn. Worcestershire Regiment. Died 24 April 1917, age 20. Remembered at the Doiran Memorial.

Archie Mortimore, Private , 1st/6th Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 14 August 1916 in Mesopotamia, age 23. Buried in Amara War Cemetery.

Reginald Newcombe, Gunner, "X" 9th T.M. Bty, Royal Field Artillery. Died 22 March 1918, age 21. Remembered at Pozieres.

George Northcott, Private, 1st Bn. Dorsetshire Regiment. Died 19 April 1918, age 35. Buried in the Bienvillers Military Cemetery.

Charles Osborne, Able Seaman, HMS Defence, Royal Navy. Died 31 May 1916, age 21. Remembered at the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

William Osborne, Private, 2nd Bn. Hampshire Regiment. Died 13 August 1914, age 41. Remembered on the Helles Memorial.

John H.W.Parkyn, Sergeant, 2nd Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 28 June 1918, age 25. Buried in the Church of the Holy Cross, Crediton .

Daniel Passmore, Private, 2nd Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 18 December 1914, age 21. Commemorated on Le Touret Memorial.

John Pickett, Private, 3rd Bn. Royal Fusiliers. Died 24 May 1915, age 35. Commemorated at the Menin Gate.

Frederick Pyman, Sergeant, 12th Bn. Gloucestershire Regiment. Died 23 March 1916, age 36. Buried at Habarcq Cemetery.

Bertie Strong, Private, 50th Bn. Alberta Regiment, Canadian Infantry. Died 20 November 1916, age 31. Remembered on the Vimy Memorial.

Frederick Strong, Stoker First Class, HMS Good Hope. Killed in the Battle of Coronel 1st November 1914, age 25. Remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

Albert Tucker, Private ,1st Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 12 December 1915, age 27. Buried at Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery.

Hubert J. Venn, Private, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (E.Ontario Reg.) Died 10 April 1918, age 43. Buried at La Chaudiere Military Cemetery

Merlyn Waller, Private, 9th Bn. Devonshire Regiment, Died between 4 and 6 September 1916, age 20. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

William Wensley, Private, 3rd Bn. Grenadier Guards. Died 29 September 1917, age 20. Commemorated at Bleuet Farm.

Alfred Willing, Private, 9th Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 30 September 1915, age 29. Commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

Robert Willing, Private 9th Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died 1 July 1916, age 23 . Buried in the Devonshire Cemetery, Mametz.

In the Baptismal Register for St Swithun's Parish Church, in Sandford, after the Great War, an incumbent or parish clerk has revisited the register for parishioners baptised there in the 1880s and 1890s. He has added to their register entries inscriptions such as "Killed in Flanders 1917", " Lost both arms in France in 1916" " Died in France, 1915". These poignant additions are to be found below far too many baptisms for a tiny village of some 1200 souls.

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon, For the Fallen


7th Hussars and Waterloo


Seventh Hussars at Waterloo
Four x great uncle John Wright was born in Sandford on 7 May 1787, to g-g-g- great grandparents William and Elizabeth Wright. He was the middle son of the family. They moved around Sandford frequently, living at Canns, then near the Rose and Crown and in 1800 they were at Pale. In 1797, aged 10, John was apprenticed to a farmer, like his elder brothers. He went on to work as a labourer but by 1811 it seems that he was tired of life on the farm and in 4 May of that year, aged 24, in Bath, Somerset, he enlisted in The Queen's Own Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars) for unlimited service.

At that time the regiment was on home service in England and Ireland. Then from 1813 to 14 John saw active service in Spain and France in the Peninsular War. The 7th were engaged in the Battle of Orthez (27 February 1814) when Wellington's army defeated an Imperial French army led by Marshal Nicolas Soult in southern France. Soult then retreated with his forces to Toulouse, the regional capital, and he defended the city stoutly. The Battle of Toulouse was one of the final battles of the Napoleonic Wars, four days after Napoleon's surrender of the French Empire to the nations of the Sixth Coalition. One British and two Spanish divisions were badly mauled in bloody fighting on 10 April, with Allied losses exceeding French casualties by 1,400. As Wellington pulled back to reorganize his shattered units, Soult held the city for an additional day before organising an escape from the town with his entire army. Wellington's entry into Toulouse on the morning of 12 April was acclaimed by a great number of French Royalists, validating Soult's earlier fears of potential fifth column elements within the city. That afternoon, word of Napoleon's abdication and the end of the war reached Wellington. Soult agreed to an armistice on 17 April. The 7th were part of the 1st Hussar brigade in Beresford's cavalry, under Maj Gen Edward Somerset.

John would have then served in England until the regiment was sent to Belgium in 1815 for the Waterloo campaign. On the eve of the Battle of Waterloo the 7th were honoured by General Henry Paget, Lord Uxbridge, by being given the charge on the advancing French 2nd regiment of lancers, Colonel Sourd's, in the action at Genappe. After a spirited and fearless succession of charges only nineteen of the 120 men of the 7th Hussar squadron were left in the saddle. For the Battle of Waterloo itself on 18th June, the 7th were on the extreme right of the allied line, 300 yards north of the Chateau of Hougoumont. Until 5pm they were not used, but then they charged more than twelve times. The 2nd Viscount Guillamore, then a lieutenant in the 7th Hussars, mentions in a letter to his father: "We charged twelve or fourteen times, and once cut off a squadron of cuirassiers, every man of whom we killed on the spot except the two officers and one Marshal de Logis, whom I sent to the rear". Of the 7th Hussars, 196 all ranks out of 376 were killed or wounded in the two days. After Waterloo, the regiment served as part of the Army of Occupation in France. Then in 1818 the regiment returned to England for Home Service.

John Wright was awarded the Waterloo medal. He was discharged with a pension on 4th July 1820, suffering from an ulcerated leg that he had contracted in Spain. As far as is known he never married, and retired to Sandford. He died there in 1832 and was buried in the churchyard on 13 July 1832. No record survives of how the parish welcomed this Waterloo veteran.

An example of a Waterloo medal


John Fursdon, husband of Maria Drew, Private in the 20th East Devon Regiment of Foot was killed in action storming the mutineers at the Siege of Lucknow, India on 14th March 1858

The Siege of Lucknow was the prolonged defence of the Residency within the city of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny. After two successive relief attempts had reached the city, the defenders and civilians were evacuated from the Residency, which was abandoned.

John seems to have been in one of the columns attempting the relief of the Residency.

British soldiers at Lucknow

Charles Carter

Father of great-aunt Charlotte, Charles Carter served for over 24 years in the 10th (Prince of Wales' Own) Royal Hussars, joining in 1846 aged 17 and retiring in 1870. He rose through the ranks from
Royal HussarPrivate to Corporal, then Sergeant and Troop Sergeant Major and finally holding the rank of Squadron Quarter Master Sergeant, when he retired. He served for eight years in the East Indies, then fought in the Crimea and was at the fall of Sebastopol. The regiment took him all over England, and he was stationed in London, Yorkshire, Norfolk and Aldershot. The regiment moved to Ireland for 5 years in 1863, dealing with the 'Fenian' troubles. It was there in Dundalk that his daughter Charlotte was born, wife of great uncle John Prettejohn Pitts. Charles' wife Annie Brown was the daughter of a barracks sergeant George Brown, also a Chelsea Pensioner. He was awarded a Medal for service in the Crimea with a clasp for the fall of Sebastopol, the Turkish Crimean medal and a medal for good conduct and long service. He settled in Yorkshire, but had only 7 years to enjoy his retirement, dying there in 1877.
10th Royal Hussar Officer 1845

The Willing Brothers

War memorials throughout the country bear testament to the losses suffered within families, the same names re-occurring. Robert and Alice Willing lost two of their four sons. Robert was a successful architect, living in Dartmouth at the start of the war. All their sons signed up. Both eldest son Alfred and youngest son Robert enlisted in the 9th battalion of the Devonshire Regiment.

In September 1915, 29 year-old Alfred was killed in the Battle of Loos - a massive offensive by the Allies that saw the first use of gas by the British. Lack of wind meant the gas lingered across the Devonshire Regiment's front. Initially successful, the attack petered out, with no effective reserves in support. The fighting had subsided by 29th September. Alfred's medal card reads "Death regarded 30.9.15" - perhaps the date when his body or personal effects were found. He is commemorated on the Loos memorial.

In the following year Alfred's 23 year-old brother Robert was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, at Mametz, in the action described below.

Arthur Joseph Grub

Arthur Grubb married in 1911, aged 21, and joined up in 1914, serving first in training camps in England. His daughter Annie was born in May 1915. She was 6 months old before he saw her. He was soon posted to France. Arthur served in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, then the Machine Gun Company. Whilst surrounded by death and destruction in the trenches he found time to embroider this handkerchief as a gift for his daughter. The Germans launched their last great offensive in Spring 1918. Arthur went missing on the first day,21st March 1918, the battle of Saint-Quentin. His daughter was to treasure the gift made for her by the father she never knew.

Handkerchief stitched by private

British soldiers at Lucknow

Hussar badge






Willing brothers
Privates Robert Willing (seated) and Alfred Willing








Arthur Grubb
Pte Arthur Grub

Reginald Loye

Reginald Loye Pte Reginald Loye


Fred Frost

Fred FrostRecovering at a military hospital, Fred Frost,
front row, third from right

Vic Annett

Albert Victor Annett
Vic Annett

Not all deaths in France were from enemy action. Second cousin Reginald Loye, like his father before him, qualified as a solicitor. After the death of his father he joined Lloyds Bank, and in 1914 was working at their Cheltenham Road, Bristol branch. With a history of military service in his mother's family that stretched back to the early years of the 17th century, unsurprisingly Reginald volunteered for foreign service on the outbreak of war in August 1914. He failed the medical. Undeterred he managed to join the Bankers’ or Stockbrokers' Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers in March 1916, aged 39. He arrived in France in August of that year and joined the 12th Battalion at Dernancourt on the Somme. Within days he was plunged into battle, the battalion suffering daily from artillery and gas attacks. Reginald was constantly employed on special duty and patrol work during the autumn and winter of 1916-17. The Battalion War Diary tells us that the weather was exceptionally bitter in January 1917, freezing, with considerable snow falls. Whilst undergoing a course of machine-gun instruction under canvas in those wretched conditions, Reginald contracted pneumonia. His death was recorded at the 2/1st West Riding Casualty Clearing Station on 31 Jan 1917. He is buried at Lillers.

Another cousin in our Loye family, Fred Frost, joined the Territorials just a day or two before his sixteenth birthday in 1912. When war broke out he transferred into the Royal Field Artillery and was sent to France on 15th March 1915. Gunner Frost was serving with his battery on about 22nd May 1916 when it came under heavy fire. Fred was severely burned in an explosion and was evacuated to a casualty clearing station. He had suffered burns to his face, arms, hands, back and legs. It was clear from the letters written to his mother by the Sister-in-Charge at the Clearing Station that his survival was in doubt. "He has been burnt in an explosion and I am afraid is very bad. You may be sure we shall do everything we can for him."

Fred was moved to the base hospital at Rouen. He made some progress, and the Sister there was able to write that his face had already healed. But on 18 June 1916 "it was found necessary to amputate his left arm. It was burnt too badly to save." Fred was moved back to the UK where he continued to receive care. He was discharged from the Army on 21st August 1917, as being "no longer fit for War Service".

He married my cousin Doris Rouse in 1921, and they had 10 children. For many years Fred and Doris lived in an Earl Haig home. Fred died of TB in 1986.

Albert Victor Annett (Vic) was born in Heywood, Victoria Australia in 1890. When war broke out he was a farmer. He enlisted in 1915, and almost a year later he embarked for England, a member of the 10th Field Ambulance.

The Field Ambulance was a mobile front line medical unit (not a vehicle).The Ambulance was responsible for establishing and operating a number of points along the casualty evacuation chain, including relay posts and dressing stations. It also provided a Walking Wounded Collecting Station.

Vic disembarked at Plymouth in July 1916 and in November 1916 he was sent to France. He suffered synovitis (inflammation of joints) and had two spells in hospital in 1917. Then in October 1917 he received a gun shot wound. But he was soon back with his unit and back in action. In May 1918 he was wounded a second time by a gunshot. On this occasion his scapula was broken, and he was invalided back to England.

Before he had left Australia, his brother-in-law George Saffin had asked him to look up his family in Cheriton Bishop, Devon, if he had a chance. Whilst he was convalescing he took the opportunity to visit the Saffins. He fell in love at first sight one imagines, as during that period he actually married one of the Saffin daughters, Bertha, in Cheriton Bishop. He sailed back to Australia in January 1919, and she followed.

Gunner Henry Heard

Henry Heard is buried at Acheux British Cemetery. He was killed in the Battle of the Somme. Fought by the armies of the British and French against the armies of the German Empire, it took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front. The casualties of the 141 day battle were on an industrial scale.

Gunner Heard almost certainly enlisted into the 172nd Brigade (West Ham) Royal Field Artillery. He was in D Battery which was a 4.5" howitzer battery in the 36th (Ulster) Division. The 36th (Ulster) Division's artillery embarked for France on 27 November 1915. Gunner Heard was with them. At the end of May 1916, D Battery of the 172nd became A Battery of the 154th Brigade (Croydon) RFA, with howitzers grouped into a specialised Brigade in the Division's artillery complement. The 154 Brigade RFA diary records that on 1 July 1916, 'A' Bty at Mesnil supported the general attack by the 36th (Ulster) Division. From 2 to 6 July 'A', 'B' and 'C' Btys covered the Thiepval Wood sector of the British front during the 4th Army's operations and advance.

Acheux British Cemetery in the 1920s

henry heard

Grave of Gunner Henry Heard
at Acheux

henry heard

Gunner Henry Heard, with wife
Britannia and son William

Harry may even have contributed to the Ulsters being the only division to achieve their objectives in the northern sector on the first day of the Somme due to some very lucky direct hits by the gunners knocking out the German machine gun posts. But at some point between 1 and 4 July, Gunner Heard was wounded. He was taken to the VIII Corps Casualty Collection Station, which had been sited at Acheux in readiness for the Battle of the Somme, but he did not survive his wounds and died on 4 July 1916. He was buried there and in time this became the Acheux British cemetery. He lies in Plot 1. Row A. Grave 6. The graves of July, August and September 1916, in Row A are the earliest in the cemetery.

Henry Heard was typical of many of the 420,000 casualties of the Battle of the Somme. He was born in Devon, and lost his mother when he was 8. His widowed father took Henry and his sister to London , looking for work, which he found in the docks. Henry remained there, marrying gypsy Britannia Hoadley. When he enlisted he was living in Canning Town with his wife and four surviving children. He was a dock labourer, aged only 36, not the age of 44 recorded on his grave. He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 1915 Star. The photo of his grave (left) was taken by his great grandson, also a Gunner Heard.

 Midshipman Robert Colbourne

Robert Colbourne joined the Royal Navy on 1st February 1916. He seems to have been posted immediately to the St Vincent-class dreadnought battleship HMS Vanguard. She saw all her service with the Home Fleet, initially part of the 1st Battle Squadron at Scapa Flow. She was in the Battle of Jutland, as part of the 4th Battle Squadron, taking part from beginning to end, though she did not suffer damage or casualties.

Shortly before midnight on 9 July 1917 at her anchorage in Scapa Flow, Vanguard suffered a series of magazine explosions. She sank almost instantly, killing 843 of the 845 men aboard. Midshipman Robert Colbourne was one of the crew lost. He was aged only 20. Although sabotage was suspected at the time, subsequent investigation indicates that it is more probable that a smouldering and undetected fire ignited cordite which led to the explosion in a magazine. The vessel had been dispersed by the explosion, many large and heavy fittings (notably gun barrels and turrets) being blown a considerable distance away and, in some cases, driven vertically into the seabed. The propeller shafts were 'bent' and the side armour 'gaped out like a peeled orange'. The wreck was not declared a war grave until 1984.










HMS Vanguard

Sergeant Fred Burridge

A Queen's South Africa medal with clasps for
Transvaal, Driefontein, Paardeberg and
Relief of Kimberley


Fred Burridge had an extraordinary military career. The eldest son of Frank Burridge, shoemaker, and Elizabeth Inch, of variously Stanbury Court, Landscore and High Street, Crediton, he was working as a tailor when he enlisted in the Oxford Light Infantry in 1893, aged 20. He served in the UK , and by 1899 he was promoted to Corporal. In December 1899 he shipped out to South Africa, to play his part in the second Boer War. In February 1902 with eight Mounted Infantry he set off from Bloemfontein towards Buffou when they were cut off by a large party of Boers. He was stripped of everything he was wearing and left to do the best he could. It took him eight days to get back to his unit. He was promoted to sergeant for his good service in the field. When he returned to England in 1902 he had been awarded the Queen's South Africa medal with clasps for Transvaal, Driefontein, Paardeberg and Relief of Kimberley, and the King's South Africa medal with clasps South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902. His home postings thereafter included the Curragh in County Kildare, where his son was born, and Chatham, Kent. In 1905 he qualified as a master tailor and having extended his service and transferred to the 1st Bn., Royal Berkshire Regiment in 1908, he was promoted to Sergeant Tailor in the following year. He was discharged on 14 September 1911, and returned to Crediton. Then in 1914, despite his 18 years of service, and his age of 41, on the outbreak of the World War he enlisted again . This time he joined the Royal West Kent Regiment, and was made an acting sergeant immediately. However this did not last long, for after 19 days he was medically discharged with oedema in the right ankle, and enteric legs. The MO wrote on his discharge papers, " This man is quite unable to march because of weakness in his legs". Despite this, somehow Fred managed to go on to enlist in the Devonshire Regiment. He joined the 1st Garrison Battalion. Formed in August 1915, this comprised men who, although unfit for battle, were capable of discharging garrison duties. He was appointed Sergeant (Master) Tailor. On 15 October 1915 Fred sailed with the battalion to Cairo. This was his last posting, for on 2 June 1916 Fred died. He was buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery. In 1920 Fred was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War medal. His effects were left to his son.

Private Harold Heard

harold heard
Private Harold Heard,
12th Bn Royal Scots

death penny
Harold Heard's Memorial Plaque. Also known as the Dead Man's Penny or Death Penny, they were issued after the War to the next-of-kin of those who were killed.

Private No 331075 Harold Edward Heard, of the 12th (Service) Bn The Royal Scots (Lothian Regt.) was the eldest son of Harry and Lucy Heard of 149 Princess Street, Burton-on-Trent. Harry had been born in Devon, and moved to Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, with his family, where he found work with the Midland Railway Company, first as a porter and then a carriage shunter. He married servant Lucy Nicks in 1897 and the following year their first child was born in Burton-on-Trent where the family had moved.

Harold was born on 13 August 1898. He went to the local school, and then like his father, he found employment with the railways, working for the Railway Clearing House, Burton-on-Trent, as did his younger brother Edgar. He enlisted on 3 August 1915, 10 days short of his 17th birthday. He first joined the 6th Bn. North Staffordshire Regiment, which was a Territorial regiment, and later transferred to the 12th Bn Royal Scots. He served with the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 19 November 1915.

He would have participated in the Battle of the Somme with the Royal Scots in 1916, when his battalion lost 104 killed and 403 wounded or missing. The 12th Bn was in action at Arras in April-May 1917 and at Passchendaele in September and October 1917.

April 1918 saw a major German offensive in Flanders intended to break through the British First Army, push the Second Army aside to the north, and drive west to the English Channel, cutting off British forces in France from their supply line. This Lys Offensive around the town of Armentières, the offensive straddling the Franco-Belgian border, saw several battles between 7 and 29 April as the Germans advanced. The Royal Scots were engaged in The Battle of Messines, 10-11 April, The Battle of Bailleul, 13-15 April, The First Battle of Kemmel, 17-19 April and The Second Battle of Kemmel, 25-26 April. From 13–15 April, the Germans drove forward in the centre, taking Bailleul, 7.5 miles west of Armentières, despite increasing British resistance. Harold was killed in action on 16 April 1918 in the Armentières sector. It seems probable that his death was a result of this German push.

His Commanding Officer wrote, "He was a good soldier, and was a great favourite with his platoon, who miss him very much."

On his death, Harold had savings of £13.19s and was awarded a further £12.10s war gratuity. He left it to his father and mother as joint legatees.

He was awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1914-1915 Star.

He is commemorated on the memorial at Tyne Cot, West Flanders, Belgium.

In World War II Harold's younger sister Lucy was to lose her husband Harold Parker on HMS Harvester in 1943, and younger sister Marjorie was to lose her husband Reginald Adkins in a Japanese POW camp in 1945.


 Stoker PO Walter Labbett

HMS RussellHMS Russell

Walter Labbett was born in Paddington in 1888, the son of Metropolitan Policeman John, and my great-great aunt Maria Fey. He was working as a barman when he enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1909, shortly after he had married. He served as a Stoker, and in his early years was posted to a number of ships and shore bases including 2 years on the battleship HMS Lord Nelson, and several months on  the cruiser HMS Falmouth. At the outbreak of World War I he was a Leading Stoker on the battleship HMS Russell.  In the early part of the war she was with the Grand Fleet on Northern Patrol, and in November 1914 bombarded German occupied Zeebrugge.  In November 1915 she was sent to the Mediterranean to support the Dardanelles Campaign. Tragedy struck on 27 April 1916 when she was sailing off Malta and struck two mines laid by a German U-boat, and sank.  Most of her crew survived the sinking, though 125 men were killed. Walter  was "reported to have been saved following the sinking of HMS Russell" on the Casualty List issued by the Admiralty on 4th May 1916. But after a period ashore Walter was soon back at sea serving on the cruiser HMS St George, where he was made Stoker Petty Officer. He served at Salonika and his war ended on the cruiser HMS Latona. Walter was to serve another 12 years in the Navy, spending several years on the Mediterranean station where he was part of the fleet supporting the Greeks in the Greco-Turkish war in 1922. He was discharged in 1931, but re-enlisted at the outbreak of World War II in 1939. He served then at Chatham Naval Base, but was admitted to the Naval Hospital in 1941, which brought an end to his service.  The father of six, he died in Edgware in 1980.


Doing Their Bit

In common with most families, our parents', grandparents' and great-grandparents' generations served their country when needed. Some were called up, many volunteered, or were serving in the reserves, militias or territorials. A few were regulars. Our earliest certain Heard ancestor, John Heard, was in the Royal Cornwall Militia, stationed at Crediton, when he met his wife Susannah Crossman in the 1790s. His daughter Susannah married John Southcott, a private in the Devonshire Regiment of Militia. Great (x3) grandfather John Berry was a private in No 1 Coy. on the nominal roll of the 1st Crediton Volunteers, January 1st, 1805. Three years earlier he and his father-in-law John Prawl had attended the muster in Exeter when the threat from Napoleon had seemed great. In 1887 the nominal roll of G Coy. (Crediton) of the 1st Rifle Volunteers, the Devonshire Regiment, included the names of several of our family. Devonshire being a seafaring county, we have had our share of sailors, including John Bate who joined in 1866, and served for 20 years, James Heard who enlisted in 1894 and Walter Bubear who joined the Royal Navy at 18 in 1896, and served until 1919. William Lee, descended from our Smallridges, was a Petty Officer Stoker who perished with Lord Kitchener in the mysterious sinking of HMS Hampshire in 1916. Moses Farthing served as a Stoker on HMS Renown and HMS Attentive between 1916 and 1919. Our women too did their bit, including several Wright sisters and cousins who were nurses during WWII, two of whom appear below, alongside men of the family photographed during their service.
Cecil Huxtable
Cecil Huxtable1889-1917
George Roden
George Roden 1886-1951
Will Madge
Will Madge 1892-1983
Thomas Chisholm
Thomas Chisholm 1921-1957

Stan and Fred Heard
Stan Heard 1924-2009 and brother Fred Heard 1922-2007

William Willing
William Willing 1891-1950
Ernest Pickett
Ernest Pickett 1883-1959
James Farthing
James Farthing 1891-1959
Betty Wright
Betty Wright 1920-2005

Bill Heard
Bill Heard 1914-1993

Fred Heard
Frederick Heard 1922-2007
Nurse Peggy Wright
Peggy Wright 1921-1979

Albert Fey
Albert Fey 1884-1958
Private Jack Turner
Jack Turner 1894-1935
Private John Heard
John Heard 1934-1996
Fred Wright
Fred Wright (1880-1946) in Ireland (seated right)


Ken Pollard
Sgt Ken Pollard (1918-1995)

Corporal John Crofton Sadleir enlisted in Australia on 17th Jan 1916, aged barely 16 but giving his age as 21. He was wounded twice in action in France (1917). He then re-enlisted in 1940, understating his age by three years and without mentioning his previous service. He was killed in action at Sidon, Lebanon, during the operation against the Vichy French. He was mentioned in dispatches (London Gazette 30th Dec 1941).
William Park (1883-1970) had only been in Australia a few years when the First World War broke out. He enlisted in the 11th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force in September 1914, one of the first infantry units raised at the beginning of the war. He took a couple years off his age when he enlisted. He served with the 11th Bn in Egypt, Gallipoli and France. Bill was wounded, and sent to convalesce in England, where he married. With the coming of WWII Bill enlisted again. Aged 57, he gave his age as 50 so that he could join up. He served from 1941 to 1949 as a member of the 10th Garrison. Bill had 6 sons, and all served. Two were prisoners of war - Happy escaped from the Germans and fought with Italian guerrillas for three years. Lance was a prisoner of the Japanese for five years. Stanley was a Desert Rat, and fought at Tobruk. Edgar served with the air force in the Pacific islands. One of his younger sons served in Korea, and another in Vietnam, and the tradition continued, with Bill's grandsons also serving in Vietnam. Bill Park
John B Wright John Berry Wright (Jack) (1887-1959) enlisted officially on 13 October 1905. The family story is that he ran away to join the army. According to a family diary entry, "John Berry Wright entered the army October 24th 1905. Fought in the first battle in Flanders, August 1914, returned home again with a fractured leg 1918."  John initially served for a few years only, and it seems likely that he transferred to the Reserve, for at the time of his marriage in 1911 his occupation was carpenter. He was called back to the Colours before the Great War started, for by 16 August 1914 he was in France with the BEF. He was an ambulance driver with the Army Service Corps. His horse was Kitty, for whom he made the name badge below. Although he survived the War he suffered a fractured leg, which left him with a permanent limp. He was issued with the Silver War badge. By the time he was demobbed he was Acting Sergeant. He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. After the war he returned to Sandford and worked as a carpenter on the Creedy Estate.

John Berry Wright with horse Kitty

Left. This badge was made by Jack for his horse Kitty. It reveals his optimism regarding the duration of the war, as it reads " Kitty. The Great European War. 1914-15 " Then as the war dragged on, each year was added. "-16 ", "-17 ", "-18". Fred PickettFred Pickett enlisted in the Devonshire Regiment in 1915. The following year he joined the 2/6 Bn. Devonshire Regiment in India, and in 1917 went with the Battalion to Mesopotamia until the end of the war. Fred's war was not one of mud and trenches: for these Devons it was a war of fever, disease and consequent death.

pdf iconHe kept a brief diary of his experiences, which can be downloaded.
L/Cpl Jack Heard
Jack Heard 1916-1989
Lawrie Pitts
Laurie Pitts 1912-1999
Den Heard
Sgt. Den Heard1918-2001

William Heard
William Heard 1915-2003

Margaret Pickett
Margaret Pickett 1927-2003
Albert Pickett
Albert Pickett 1921-1988
Charles Pickett
POW Charles Pickett 1918-1975 in Stalag XXA where he was a prisoner for most of the war

George Blackler
George Blackler 1839--1923
Paul Sirgey
Paul Sirgey 1929-1984
Dorothy Wright
Dorothy Wright 1906-1935
Jack Pollard
"Jack" Pollard 1916-2000
Thomas Comins Pollard
Thomas Comins Pollard 1890-1949

Albert Tonkin

Albert Tonkin 1919-2007

Alfred Frayling
Alfred Sydney Frayling 1893-1941

Donald Fraser

Donald Fraser 1892-1971

Ray Heard
POW Ray Heard 1917-2009
Les Ashplant
Les Ashplant (1923-2005) had always wanted to be in the RAF, and joined up as soon as he was old enough. Unable to be a pilot, he volunteered for the dangerous role of Air Gunner with Bomber Command.

On a mission over Germany to bomb Mannheim in 1943, his plane was shot down, and he earned the distinction of qualifying for the Caterpillar Club, by parachuting from the doomed plane to save his life. Captured by the Germans as he tried to escape to Switzerland, he was eventually taken to Stalag 4b, where he was imprisoned until the arrival of the advancing Russians. He got back to England in 1945.
Ashplant POW picture
Les was photographed by the Germans when he was shot down
Devonshire recruits on railway station
Volunteers at Crediton Station, off to join the 6th Bn Devonshire Regiment. Maybe Fred Pickett's departure was like this. Probably taken some time between 1914 and 1916 the postcard proudly proclaims Crediton's total of over 300 volunteers thus far. Over 170 men of Crediton and its surrounding parishes, villages and hamlets did not return.
Sentimental WW1 postcard

Leading Fireman Cyril Lidstone GM 

On the evening of 13 January 1941 the German Luftwaffe launched an intense raid on the City of Plymouth, with incendiary, and later, HE bombs. It was the City's 256th alert. The raid lasted for three hours from 6.30pm and killed 24 people, seriously injured 55 and slightly injured 62. The Prince Rock and Cattedown areas particularly suffered during the raid, and large fires were started. One was in the Petroleum Board's Depot in Cattedown.  A 5,000 ton petrol tank was seen to be alight there. Two members of the Auxiliary Fire Service, 29-year-old Patrol Officer George Henry Wright, and our Sharland cousin Leading Fireman Cyril George Lidstone, aged 28, were detailed by Divisional Officer R M Easton to deal with it. If it had exploded it would have burned for days and provided a target for the German raiders. The roof of the tank was quite low in the frame that surrounded it and the fire was in the sealing ring between the roof and the tank itself. To get at it, the two men had to haul their apparatus up the external stairway and then clamber down 32 feet to the top of the tank. Patrol Officer Wright went down first but a fouled hose blocked the water supply to the foam pipes and he had to climb back out again because of the heat. Leading Fireman Lidstone freed the hose obstruction. All this time there was a strong likelihood of the partially full tank with its volatile mixture of air and petroleum fumes producing a massive explosion. With the water supply restored, Wright again climbed down and started to play foam on the fire. Leading Fireman Lidstone then followed to assist him. High explosive bombs were falling all around them as the air raid was at its height. The two men were ringed by a wall of fire from the the seal but they did eventually manage to extinguish it. Adjoining the blazing tank was another full one, containing over one million gallons of petrol. Half-blinded, they then were able to clamber out again, a very serious disaster having been averted. As Mr Wright put it afterwards: 'I simply took the job in my stride.' In fact their deliberate actions showed outstanding gallantry.

Cyril George Lidstone, 1912-1978,  a plasterer by trade, was the great grandson of 3xgreat aunt Grace Heard's father. In 1939 he and his wife Annie were living at 54 Durham Avenue, Lipson, with his cousin Edward and his wife. Edward was also an auxiliary fireman. Lipson was an affluent ward of Plymouth, and Cyril lived there throughout his life. He seemed to have prospered with his business, his estate in 1978 being worth almost £32K, which is about £½million in 2020. He had joined the Auxiliary Fire Service on the outbreak of war, and was paid £3 per week for his services. But his contribution as an auxiliary firefighter was highly valued, for in April 1941 Leading Fireman Cyril Lidstone and Patrol Officer George Henry Wright, who had been a house decorator before the War, were awarded the George Medal for gallantry.
George medal   after the GM investiture

A George medal, awarded for gallantry
"not in the face of the enemy"

  Left, Patrol Officer George Wright and right, Leading
Fireman Cyril Lidstone, with their wives, after being
awarded the George Medal by the King at
Buckingham Palace on 10 July 1941.

Ashplant medals
Medal Display
Top left: Private Fred Ashplant, RAMC. The British War Medal and the World War I Victory Medal.

Top right: Pioneer John Ashplant, RE. The Mons Star, The British War Medal and the World War I Victory Medal.  (Pip, Squeak and Wilfred)

Bottom: Sgt. Albert Hatten, Coldstream Guards. The Mons Star, The British War Medal, the World War I Victory Medal, the 39-45 Defence Medal, and the Special Constable Good Conduct and Long Service Medal.


Pilot Sergeant Kenneth Heard

Sgt Kenneth Heard was posted to 49 Sqdn in January 1942, based at Scampton in Leicestershire, flying Hampden bombers. He flew as Navigator on Operation Fuller - the Channel Dash - the operation to prevent the breakout of the German warships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen from Brest. His first mission in January was against the ships in Brest. He then attacked the ships in the Channel on 10th February, without success, and on his third mission on 12th February 1942 the aircraft and its crew, Pilot Sgt Phillips, W/OP Sgt Jackson, Sgt Toghill, Air Gunner and Sgt Kenneth Heard failed to return.

Kenneth heard and crew
Kenneth Heard - back row, 3rd from left, and right

memorialin exeter cathedralBronze memorial in Exeter Cathedral to the officers and men of the Devonshire Regiment who lost their lives in the Great War

Kenneth Heard

John Blackborough

Sam Rowe

Stoker 1st Class John Blackborough 1907-1939

Naval war memorial
"Jack" was a stoker on the battleship  HMS Royal Oak. She was the first large war ship to be sunk in WWII. On the night of 14th October 1939, U-boat U47 evaded the block ships at the RN anchorage at Scapa Flow and launched two torpedoes. The second hit the Royal Oak and she sank within fifteen minutes. Of the crew of 1200, 833 died. Today the wreck is a war grave and no diving is allowed on it.

Naval War Memorial on Plymouth Hoe

Private Sam Rowe 1902-1943

Sam rowes grave at salerno
Sam Rowe died during the allied invasion of Italy in September 1943. The main allied landings were at Salerno, beginning on 9th September. Sam was a Private in the Pioneer Corps.
During 12th - 14th September the Germans counterattacked the Allied beachhead at Salerno, hoping to throw them back into the sea.  Sam died on 13th September. Supported by Airborne reinforcements the Allies repulsed the counterattack, and consolidated the beachhead by 16th September. Sam is buried at the War Cemetery at Salerno.
Joseph Smith
AB Joseph C W Smith

AB Joseph Cecil Wentworth Smith DSM

Born in Sheffield in 1904, by 1918 Joseph was a cook's boy in the Merchant Navy. In 1921 he joined the Royal Navy, as Boy, II Class, at the shore based training establishment, HMS Ganges. In 1922 after a period on the training ship HMS Thunderer, he was made Ordinary Seaman. He served at several shore bases, in Devonport and the Firth of Forth. He was promoted to AB whilst serving on the Town-class cruiser HMS Southampton in 1923-24. He served on the cruiser HMS Chatham, and for many years at the Anti-Submarine School on Portland, at HMS Osprey. In the Mediterranean he was on the destroyer HMS Venetia, and on the minesweeper, sloop HMS Heather. He married Nancy Trembath, granddaughter of Lydia Ann Heard of Sandford, in Horrabridge, in 1932. He transferred to the Reserve in June 1934.   He was awarded the RFR Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. When war broke out he was mobilised on 28 Sep 1938, and by August 1939 was serving on HMS Broke, escorting merchant ships on the north- and south-bound Gibraltar and South Atlantic routes, and for this service in January 1940 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. In April 1940 he was posted to HM Yacht Sappho. An armed steam yacht, requisitioned in 1939, she served as a guard ship off Falmouth. She was lost with all hands (33) including Joseph, in the area south of Falmouth on 29 September 1940, torpedoed, or sunk by a mine. Joseph is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

The Devonshire Cemetery

The first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916, saw the 9th Bn. Devonshire Regiment holding trenches at Mansell Copse, near the village ofThe Devonshire Cemetery Mametz. They were to attack towards the nearby village of Fricourt. Lt. Duncan Martin of A Coy. had identified the threat from German machine gunners in what had become known as Shrine Alley - the field of fire from machine guns established in a shrine in the village cemetery. As the 9th Bn. emerged from their trenches they were cut down by machine guns as predicted. The 9th continued to advance, along with the 2nd Gordons, and supported by the 8th Bn. Devonshire Regiment. By 6.00pm the Division had achieved its objective and was being consolidated. But at a heavy price. The 8th had lost 3 officers killed, 47 men killed or missing and 7 officers and 151 men wounded. The 9th had lost 8 officers (including Lt. Martin) and 196 men killed or missing, 9 officers and 267 men wounded - 463 casualties of the 775 in action. Rather unusually the dead were buried in the trench they had left, by a working party led by the padre. Comrades erected a wooden plaque to mark the burial. Its legend read:

"The Devonshires held this trench.
The Devonshires hold it still."

The site became a war cemetery and is now known as the Devonshire Cemetery. 153 men of all ranks are commemorated in the cemetery, all but two being members of the 8th and 9th battalions of the Devonshires. 65 Devon-born men are believed to be buried there. Amongst them is family member Pte. Robert Phillips Willing, aged 23. The cemetery is on the Albert-Peronne Road south of Mametz.

Fallen in World War II

Reginald Adkins, Fusilier, 1st Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Died 19 Jan 1945 in a Japanese POW Camp, age 32.

Basil Bray, Surgeon Lt. RNVR, HMS Greyhound. Died 22 May 1941 age 27. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

John Blackborough, Stoker 1st Class, RN, HMS Royal Oak. Died 13 October 1939. Remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Leslie Stewart Norrish Conbeer, Gunner, Royal Artillery,195 Bty., 61 (11th Bn. The London Regt.) H.A.A. Regt. Died 30 November 1943, age 22
Buried in Catania War Cemetery, Sicily, Italy.

William Hansen, Lieutenant (Junior Grade), US Naval Reserve, USS Helena. Died 6 July 1943, age 22. Remembered in the Manila American Cemetery

Kenneth Heard, Sergeant, RAFVR, 49 Squadron. Died 12 February 1942, age 20. Commemorated at the RAF Memorial, Runnymede.

William Henry Jackman, Private, 5th Bn Dorsetshire Regt. Died 11 July 1944, age 28. Buried in Secqueville-en-Bessin War Cemetery, France.

Ronald Mallett, Corporal, Royal Corps of Signals, 201st Bde.Sig.Sec. Died 2 April 1943, age 24. Buried in Taukkyan Cemetery, Burma.

Harold Parker, Leading Signalman, RN , HMS Harvester. Died 11 March 1943. Remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

Arthur Pickett, Sick Berth Attendant, RN, HMS Shrapnel. Died 21 July 1942, age 31. Remembered at the Wandsworth Crematorium.

Clifford Pickett, Major, the Kings Regt. , attd 2nd Bn Worcestershire Regt. Died 9 April 1945, age 33. Buried in Taukkyan Cemetery.

Samuel Rowe, Private ,242 Coy., Pioneer Corps. Died 13 September 1943, age 41. Buried in Salerno War Cemetery.

John Sadleir, Corporal, D Coy., 2/16 Bn Australian Infantry. Died 13 June 1941, age 41. Buried in Lebanon War Cemetery.

Joseph Cecil Wentworth Smith, Able Seaman, HMY Sappho. Lost at sea 30 September 1940, age 36. Remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

Henry "Joe" Whidden , Private, 2nd Bn The Welch Regiment. Died 28 July 1945, age 21. Buried in Rangoon War Cemetery.

Maurice Willing, Flt Lt, Royal Australian Air Force. Missing 19 Jan 1942, age 23. Remembered at Ambon Memorial .

Olivia Willing, Student Nurse, City Hospital, Plymouth. Died 20 March 1941, age 19. Buried at Efford Cemetery, Plymouth.