CWG: Captain John Trayler

Captain John Trayler

John Nelson Trayler was born on 2nd December 1876, the oldest of seven siblings. His father, Jonas Trayler, was born in London, but moved to South Wales to become a farmer. He married Elizabeth Green, who was from Haverfordwest, and John was their eldest child, born in Pembrokeshire.

In December 1895, having just turned 19, John joined the 1st Devonshire Volunteer Corps. He seemed eager for a life of action; given that the 1901 census lists his profession simply as ‘farmer’s son’, it’s easy to see why. By this time, the family had moved to a farm in Broadclyst, to the north east of Exeter in Devon.

There was a change of direction for the family, however. By 1908, both father and son were working as tanners; John had moved back to Wales, while Jonas had set up work in Bridgwater, Somerset.

John, by this time, had met Eunice Sully; she was the daughter of a gentleman, and her family lived in Wembdon, near Bridgwater. They married in July 1908, and lived in the village of Lamphey in Pembroke.

John was, by now, the managing director of a tannery and obviously had the business acumen to run a company. He joined the local freemason’s – the Lodge of Perpetual Friendship – but, in January 1914, it was reported in the local newspaper that the business was to be voluntarily wound up.

John’s father Jonas was also forging ahead with his ambitions, and was a councillor for the Bridgwater area.

When the Great War broke out, John’s time with the Devonshire Volunteer Corps was such that he had attained the rank of Captain. Assigned to the 11th (Reserve) Battalion, John was based out of Exeter and it is unlikely that he saw any active service in France.

In August 1915, the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette reported that Captain Trayler had relinquished his commission on account of poor health, and this seems to have been an ongoing issue. In fact, when he was staying with Eunice’s parents in Clevedon later that year, he fell seriously ill. While his medical condition is lost to time, sadly it was one he succumbed to. He died at his in-laws’ house on 27th November 1915, at the age of 39 years old.

John Nelson Trayler was laid to rest in the picturesque graveyard of St Mary’s Church in Clevedon, Somerset.


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