William John Hicks was born in the village of Northlew, Devon, in the spring of 1886 and one of seven children to John and Sophia Hicks. Both of his parents were born in the village, and that was where John found employment as a farm labourer.
By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved to the southern side of Dartmoor, and were living in Wolborough, near Newton Abbot. William had left school, and was also employed, working as a grocer’s porter in the town.
In December 1908, William married Maud Alice Wotton, and the couple set up home near the town’s station. They went on to have a son, also called William, who was born the following year. By this point, William had found more secure employment, and was working as a wagoner for a flour mill.
War was approaching Europe, and when the time came, William joined up to play his part. He enlisted in the Army Veterinary Corps, and there is no doubt that his pre-war employment stood him in good stead for the role. There is little information about Private Hicks’ military service, but it is clear that he had joined up by March 1916, and, for some part at least, was based in Hampshire.
Sadly, the other other available information relating to Private Hicks is that confirming his passing. He died, of causes unknown, on 19th September 1916, in Aldershot, where he was billeted. He was 30 years old.
William John Hicks’ body was brought back to Devon for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church in Woborough.
John Tucker Ive was born on 30th January 1882, one of eleven children to George and Emily Ive. George was a stone dresser from Harefield, Middlesex, and this is where the family were born and raised.
John was evidently after a life of adventure and, on leaving school, he enlisted in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. There is little documented about his military career, but he was based in Devonport and spent a couple of years in South Africa during the Second Boer War.
When he returned to England, John met Amy Ethel Staunton, from Stonehouse in Devon. The couple married in 1905 and went on to have a son, also called John, the following year.
When his military service came to an end, John found work as a butler, and he and Amy were employed by the same household. John Jr, meanwhile, was brought up by his maternal grandmother in Plymouth.
Global conflict was on the horizon, by now, and John soon felt the need to play his part once again. He rejoined the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, and was given the rank of Serjeant. He was shipped to France in August 1914, where his battalion fought at Ypres and at Mons, and he was injured during both battles.
By the time the conflict ended, Serjeant Ive had transferred to the regiment’s Labour Corps; at the start of 1919, he was preparing to be discharged from the army, but contracted pneumonia. Admitted to the Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Hampshire, the lung condition sadly got the better of him: he passed away on 24th February 1919, at the age of 37 years old.
John Tucker Ive was brought back to Devon for burial; he was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church in Wolborough, Newton Abbot.
Two of John’s brothers also died in the conflict.
Private George Robert Ive served with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. He died at Gallipoli on 28th June 1915, at the age of 34 years old.
Gunner Edward Ive served with the Royal Garrison Artillery. He died in the Persian Gulf on 1st May 1916, aged just 30 years old.
James Edwin Warne was born on 4th August 1884, in Portsmouth, Hampshire. He was one of four children to shipwright Edwin Warne and his wife Elizabeth.
The naval life was all around him and, straight out of school, James sought out a career in the service and, on 28th December 1899, aged just 15 years old, he enlisted. His service records show that he was just 5ft 2.5ins (1.59m) tall, had dark brown hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion. Initially taken on in the role of Boy Writer, he was sent to HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent, for training.
Over the next couple of years he learned his trade, serving on a couple of ships, but also at HMS Pembroke and the nearby base in Sheerness, HMS Wildfire. When he came of age in 1902, he was formally inducted into the Royal Navy. His records show that his time in the navy were standing him in good stead – he had grown 5ins (13cm) in the previous couple of years.
James was afforded the rank of 3rd Class Writer. This was a mainly clerical role, James would have been involved in the day-to-day welfare concerns for the crew. Over the next twelve years, he honed his trade, serving on a handful of vessels, but being mainly based in Chatham and Sheerness.
By the time James’ initial period of service came to an end in August 1914, he had risen through the ranks to 2nd Class Writer (in 1906) and 1st Class Writer (four years later).
It was while James was based in Sheerness that he met Emily Jane Hayes. She was the daughter of a naval boilermaker; the couple married in 1906, and went on to have four children: Leonard, Jenny, Edwin and Phyllis.
When war broke out, James’ contract with the Royal Navy was renewed, and he was promoted to Chief Writer. He became permanently based at HMS Pembroke, and the family set up home in Nelson Road, Gillingham, not far from the Dockyard.
In the summer of 1917, HMS Pembroke was an overcrowded place. This was compounded by two events: men who had been earmarked to join the HMS Vanguard had been forced to remain at the barracks after the ship had been sunk at Scapa Flow, while an outbreak of ‘spotted fever’ in the barracks meant that the sleeping accommodation had to be increased in an effort to avoid further infection.
This would have increased Chief Writer Warne’s workload and hours, and he slept on site, in temporary accommodation set up in the barracks’ Drill Hall.
On the night of the 3rd September, the German Air Force conducted the first night time raid on England. Chatham came in the firing line, and the Drill Hall received a direct hit.
Given the proximity of the dockyard to the family home, Emily must have known something was wrong, and could only have hoped that her husband was not involved. Sadly, Chief Writer Warne was among those to be killed. He was 33 years of age.
James Edwin Warne was laid to rest in Gillingham’s Woodlands Cemetery – again, walking distance from the family home – along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid.
Lionel Shearn was born in April 1895, one of twelve children to, and the youngest son of, Joseph and Emily Shearn. There were two main industries in Paulton, Somerset, where the Shearn family lived, and, over time, Joseph was employed in both. He began in the boot-making industry – this was his trade when Lionel was born – but, by the time of the 1911 census, he had found work as a coal miner. Lionel, who was sixteen by the time of that document, was also working at the colliery as a carter.
War came to Europe in the summer of 1914, and Lionel was one of the first in the town to enlist. Little documentation remains about his military service, but he joined the Royal Field Artillery as a Driver and, by October was in Portsmouth, Hampshire.
Sadly, this is all the information that’s available, as Driver Shearn passed away in a hospital in Portsmouth on 27th October 1914. The cause of his passing is unknown, but there is nothing into the contemporary newspapers to suggest is was anything untoward. He was just 19 years of age.
Lionel Shearn was brought back to Somerset for burial. He was laid to rest in the picturesque Paulton Cemetery.
Frederick Charles Flint was born in the summer of 1872 in Bath, Somerset. He was the oldest of seven children to tailor Frederick Flint and his wife, Mary Ann.
Tailoring, however, was not a career that Frederick Jr wanted to follow and, in November 1890, he enlisted in the 7th Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry. Over his twelve years’ service, he was posted to India and South Africa, gaining clasps for the Punjab Frontier 1897-1898, Relief of Ladysmith, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Cape Colony, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 and 1902 and the King’s South Africa Medal.
He returned to England in 1902, when he found employment as a postman back in Bath. He met Florence Novena Fishlock and the couple married at St Michael’s Church in Bath on 5th February 1905, before moving to nearby Radstock.
Frederick remained with the Post Office until the outbreak of war, when he again listed for duty, re-joining the Somerset Light Infantry. While he did not serve overseas, Serjeant Flint took on a training a mentoring role on Salisbury Plain. Suffering from tuberculosis, he was formally discharged from the army on medical ground in August 1915, and returned home.
The next few years proved challenging for Frederick, as his illness left him incapacitated. He was nursed through by Florence, but eventually his body could take no more. He succumbed to the condition on 28th March 1918, at the age of 45 years old.
Frederick Charles Flint was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Nicholas’ Church in Radstock. Florence passed away ten years after her husband; she was laid to rest in the same plot in the summer of 1928.
Arthur George Baguley was born in the autumn of 1897 in Warwick, and was one of six children to George and Rosa Baguley. George was a journeyman butcher who had moved his family to Frome, Somerset, by the time Arthur was three years old. George died in 1908, leaving Rosa to raise the younger members of her family alone.
Little information about Arthur’s life remains, and the only other documents that can be directly connected to him relate to his passing towards the end of the war. These confirm that he enlisted as a Guardsman in the Coldstream Guards at some point after April 1918.
Based in barracks in Hampshire, Guardsman Baguley was admitted to the Connaught Hospital in Aldershot, suffering from infective endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the heart. Sadly, he succumbed to the illness, passing away on 13th September 1918, aged just 20 years old.
Arthur George Baguley’s body was brought back to Somerset for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of St John the Baptist Church, Midsomer Norton, where his mother was living by that point.
Thomas George Taylor was born in the summer of 1886, and was the youngest of five children to George and Sarah Taylor. George was a gamekeeper in Clutton, Somerset, and he and Sarah raised their family in Rudges Cottage opposite the village church.
Thomas’ older brother John found a variety of jobs, from boot finisher to coal miner, but Thomas followed in his father’s footsteps, and, by the 1911 census, was recorded as a butcher’s apprentice.
Storm clouds were brewing across Europe by this point and, when war broke out, Thomas was one of the first to enlist. Sadly, there is little information on his military service, but it is clear that he joined the 7th Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry and was quickly promoted from Private to Lance Corporal.
The only other documentary evidence for Thomas is his entry in the Army Register of Personal Effects. This confirms that he was admitted to the Isolation Hospital in Aldershot, suffering from meningitis. Lance Corporal Taylor passed away from the condition on 16th April 1915, aged just 29 years old.
Brought back to Somerset for burial, Thomas George Taylor was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Augustine’s Church, across the road from his family home in Clutton.
Edward Short Mudford was born on 29th March 1898 in the Somerset village of Stratton-on-the-Fosse. He was one of nine children to Joseph and Mary Mudford.
Information about his early life is confusing: the 1901 census gives his name as Edwin, rather than Edward; his father appears to have died by this point, leaving Mary to raise the family alone. The 1911 census records Edward and a younger sister living the Union Workhouse in Shepton Mallet, while Mary has apparently remarried and living in Radstock with two of Edward’s siblings and a daughter from her second marriage, although her new husband is noticeable in his absence from the document.
From this shaky start, however, Edward sought a new life for himself. On 21st August 1913 he enlists in the Royal Navy. His service records show that he stood just 5ft 1ins (1.55m) tall, had fair hair, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion. Being under age at the time, he was given the rank of Boy 2nd Class.
Edward was initially sent to HMS Ganges, the naval training establishment outside Ipswich, Suffolk. Promoted to Boy 1st Class in February 1914, he was soon given his first posting, on the cruiser HMS Crescent.
After another short spell at HMS Vivid, the Naval Dockyard in Plymouth, Boy Mudford found himself on board HMS Thunderer. Edward spend nearly four years aboard the battleship, coming of age and gaining the rank of Ordinary Seaman, while also being promoted to Able Seaman in March 1916.
Edward returned to Plymouth in February 1918, and spent the next couple of years between there, Portsmouth and Woolwich Dockyards. He was again promoted, given the rank of Leading Seaman in September 1918.
Life at sea and in barracks took its toll, however, and, in in the spring of 1920, Leading Seaman Mudford contracted influenza and pneumonia. Sadly the conditions proved too much to bear: he passed away on 20th March 1920, a week shy of his 22nd birthday.
Brought back to Somerset, where, presumably some of his family still lived, Edward Short Mudford was laid to rest in the graveyard of St John the Baptist Church in Chilcompton.
Frederick George Partridge was born on 26th May 1890 in Kingsteignton, Devon. He was one of ten children to clay cutter George Partridge and his wife, Anna. George passed away in 1903, but Frederick left school, and also found work as a cutter, helping to pay his way at home.
When was came to Europe, Frederick was keen to play his part. He enlisted on 18th November 1915, and was assigned to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps as a Rifleman. His service records show that he stood 5ft 9ins (1.75m) tall and weighed 145lbs (66kg). He was of good physical development, but had slightly flat feet.
After his initial training, Rifleman Partridge was sent to France, arriving in April 1916. His regiment soon found itself on the front line and, that summer, was firmly ensconced at the Somme. Sadly, Frederick was not to escape injury – he received a gun shot wound to his left thigh on 2nd September.
The wound was serious enough for him to be medically evacuated back to England for treatment. He was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley, near Southampton, but died of his injuries on 12th September 1916. He was just 26 years of age.
Frederick George Partridge was brought back to Devon for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Michael’s Church in Kingsteignton.
William Norrish Warren was born in Ashburton, Devon, on 24th April 1882, one of eight children to William and Irena Warren. William Sr worked as a woodsman and a farm labourer, and agriculture was a trade into which his son also went. There is a record that he found work as a railway porter, but this seems to have been only for a short while, and he soon resigned.
In the spring of 1915, William Jr married Olive Emmett, a carter’s daughter from the town. The couple went on to have a son, Alfred, who was born the following year.
War was on the horizon, however, and William enlisted, joining the 9th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment by October 1915. He was given the role of Private, and, while full service details are not available, he definitely spent time abroad.
Private Warren was fighting on the Front in the spring of 1916, when, on 10th March, he was badly injured. He was medically evacuated to England and admitted to the Netley Hospital near Southampton for treatment. Sadly, his internal wounds proved too severe and he passed away from his injuries on 1st April 1916. He was just 33 years old.
William Norrish Warren’s body was brought back to Ashburton for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of the town’s St Andrew’s Church.