Category Archives: Devonshire Regiment

CWG: Lieutenant Frederick Liardet

Lieutenant Frederick Liardet

Frederick Charles Evelyn Liardet was born in Brighton, now a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, in 1888, and the eldest son of Wilbraham and Eleanor Liardet.

There is little further information about Frederick’s early life, but, when war broke out, he wanted to play his part for King and Country, and enlisted in the Devonshire Regiment.

He had an adventurous career… Having been twice wounded while on active service in France, he was appointed an instructor in the Balloon Section of the Royal Flying Corps.

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette: Tuesday 18th December 1917

On 23rd October 1915, Frederick married Kathleen Norah Liardet in Highweek, Newton Abbot, Devon. She was the daughter of a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, and may have been a cousin (while their surname is unusual enough for there to be a connection, I have been unable to identify a specific connection). The couple went on to have a daughter, Barbara, who was born in 1917.

In 1916, while on a night flight with the Royal Flying Corps, the now Lieutenant Liardet was involved in an accident and badly injured. He returned to England to recover, he and Kathleen living with her family. While his health initially improved, he relapsed and passed away on 13th December 1917, aged just 29 years old.

Frederick Charles Evelyn Liardet was laid to rest in the graveyard of All Saints Church in his adopted home of Highweek, Devon.

CWG: Private Arthur King

Private Arthur King

Arthur Thomas Rendell King was born early in 1896, the oldest of six children to Thomas and Bessie King. Engine driver Thomas had been born in London, but, after marrying his wife the year before Arthur was born, he settled in Highweek near Newton Abbot, Devon.

When he left school, Arthur followed his father in working for Great Western Railways, working as a carriage cleaner at the town’s depot. War was on the horizon, however, and he enlisted in the Devonshire Regiment shortly after conflict was declared.

Private King was assigned to the 1st/5th Battalion and sailed for India in October 1914, arriving in Karachi a month later. After nearly three years, his regiment moved again, this time to Egypt, in advance of action in the Middle East.

Involved in the Battle of Nebi Samwil in November 1917, Arthur was badly wounded – and initially recorded as missing, presumed dead. However, he was found, and evacuated to England. Tragically, within hours of being admitted to a hospital on home soil on 31st January 1918, Private King died of his injuries. He had just turned 22 years of age.

Arthur Thomas Rendell King’s body was brought back to Devon for burial. He was laid to rest in the family grave in the graveyard of All Saints Church, Highweek.

Private Arthur King

CWG: Private William Warren

Private William Warren

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.

CWG: Private Alfred Northway

Private Alfred Northway

Alfred William Winsor Northway was born on 3rd December 1870 in Barnstaple, Devon. He was the only child to farm labourer John Northway and his wife Susan. By the time Alfred was a few months old, John had moved the young family to Ashburton.

On 2nd March 1890, Alfred married Susanna Raddon in Newton Abbot. The couple went on to have eleven children – Susanna already had two children when they married; there is no indication as to whether they were also Alfred’s.

By the time they married, Alfred was working as a farm labourer. This was a job he continued to do to support his rapidly growing family. War was coming to Europe, however, and the stability of life in Ashburton was soon to change. During this time, he volunteered for the 3rd Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment and this stood him in good stead moving forward.

At least two of Alfred and Susanna’s sons enlisted when the First World War broke out; not to be outdone, Alfred also joined up on 11th September 1914. Assigned to the 11th (Reserve) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment as a Private, there is no indication that he saw any time abroad. Instead it seems that he served at the regiment’s depot in Wareham, Dorset, supporting the Training Reserve.

By the end of 1916, Private Northway had fallen ill. Admitted to the Sidney Hall Hospital in Weymouth with pneumonia, sadly the condition got the better of him. He passed away on 3rd February 1917, at the age of 46 years old.

Alfred William Winsor Northway was brought back to Ashburton for burial. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Andrew’s Church in the town.

CWG: Private Hubert Hext

Private Hubert Hext

Hubert Hext was born in Ashburton, Devon, in September 1898. He was the youngest of three children to painter and decorator William Hext and his wife, Susan.

Little information is available on Hubert’s early life, and there is also scant detail about his military career. All that can be confirmed is that he enlisted on 6th May 1914, and joined the Devonshire Regiment as a Private.

He was initially assigned to the 5th Battalion – they ailed to India in October 1914 – but at some point transferred to the 14th (Labour) Battalion – which was in France by October 1916. Sadly, it’s not possible to identify exactly where Private Hext served.

The military documents available confirm that Hubert contracted tuberculosis and was discharged from the army on medical grounds. However, one records suggests this was on 25th October 1916, while another gives the date of 25th October 1917. Either way, Private Hext’s army career was over by the middle of the conflict.

Hubert returned home, and, for a while, his trail goes cold. Sadly, the next record for him is the confirmation of his passing. He died on 11th November 1918 – Armistice Day – at the tender age of just 20 years old.

Hubert Hext was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Andrew’s Church in Ashburton, Devon.

CWG: Private George Franklin

Private George Franklin

George Franklin was born in the autumn of 1887, one of eleven children to James and Eliza. James was a farm labourer from North Newton, Somerset, and this is where the young family were raised. Given the rural location, it is no surprise that, when he left school, George followed his father and became an agricultural labourer.

When war came to Europe, George was keen to play his part. Full details of his military service are not available, but he enlisted in the Devonshire Regiment as a Private. Little information is available about his role or where he was posted, and, sadly, the next set of documents relate to his passing.

Private George Franklin died on 10th April 1916, having been suffering from cerebro-spinal fever – meningitis. He was just 28 years of age. He was laid to rest in the graveyard of his village church, St Peter’s in North Newton.

CWG: Private Cuthbert Collard

Private Cuthbert Collard

Cuthbert William George Collard was born in the spring of 1899, one of nine children to William and Eliza Collard. William was an agricultural labourer from North Newton in Somerset, and this is where he and Eliza raised their family. While probably helping his father out as a child, Cuthbert found work at the local blacksmith’s when he left school.

Cuthbert was barely fifteen when war broke out in Europe, and so had to wait until April 1917 before he was of age to enlist. He joined the Devonshire Regiment, and his service records show that he was 5ft 2ins (1.57m) tall, had black hair, brown eyes and a pale complexion.

Assigned to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, Private Collard served his time on home soil. While full details are not available, it appears that he contracted tuberculosis during his training. This was serious enough for treatment in a sanatorium to be recommended, and he was medically discharged from military service because of the lung condition on 9th January 1918. He had been in the army for just 280 days.

At this point, Cuthbert’s trail goes cold. Whether he was admitted for medical treatment is unclear, but it appears that he returned to North Newton. He passed away on 19th June 1919 at the family home, aged just 20 years old.

Cuthbert William George Collard was laid to rest in the graveyard of the village church, St Peter’s.

CWG: Private Gilbert Metters

Private Gilbert Metters

Gilbert Metters was born in Linkinhorne, Cornwall in March 1885, one of four children to William and Emma Metters. William was a farmer and haulier who moved his family to Chudleigh in Devon not long after Gilbert was born.

When Gilbert left school, he found work as a domestic gardener. By the time of the 1911 census, he was living with his parents, younger sister and Emma’s sister in Old Way, not far from the village centre. On 17th April 1914, William passed away, leaving Emma widowed.

When war broke out, Gilbert was one of the first from the town to sign up. He enlisted in the 8th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, and was soon off to Hampshire for training. Tragically, within weeks of arriving, Private Metters contracted tuberculosis, and passed away in the camp hospital. He was 29 years of age.

Gilbert Metters’ body was brought back to Chudleigh for burial, and was laid to rest alongside his father in the family grave.

The local newspaper reported on Gilbert’s funeral. It suggested that when enlisting “although not one of the strongest, he managed to pass the medical test.” It went on to say that:

He always assisted in every good cause in the town, and was very highly respected. He endeared himself with the officers and men of C Company.

Western Times: Friday 13th November 1914

CWG: Private Frederick Cleave

Private Frederick Cleave

Frederick Cleave was born in Chudleigh, Devon, early in 1899, and was one of nine children to Charles and Eva Cleave. Charles worked as a waggoner – for a grocer, according to the 1901 census, and for a stonemason in the 1911 one.

There is little specific information about Frederick’s early life, and even details of his military service are only evident from a contemporary newspaper report of his funeral:

The funeral took place at the cemetery on Tuesday afternoon of Private F Cleave of the 1st Devon Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs C Cleave of Woodway Street, who died at Fermoy Hospital, Ireland… from disease contracted on foreign service… He joined the Army in 1915, and served through the war in France, and afterwards in the Russian Expedition.

Western Times: Friday 14th January 1921

The report suggests a couple of things. Firstly, Frederick was underage when he enlisted – he would have been 16 years old. He would also have been involved in some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict: the 1st Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment fought at the Somme in 1916, Arras and Ypres in 1917, and Lys, the Somme and the Hindenburg Line in 1918.

The Russian Expedition mentioned was part of the Allied attempt to intervene after the country’s civil war – actions that were to prove unsuccessful.

Fermoy Military Hospital was part of the British Army’s barracks in the County Cork town; it is likely that Private Cleave had contracted one of the lung conditions running rampant across Europe in the immediate aftermath of the First World War – influenza, tuberculosis or pneumonia. He passed away on 4th January 1921 at the age of 21 years old.

Brought back home, Frederick Cleave lies at rest in the cemetery of his home town, Chudleigh, Devon.

CWG: Private William Hammacott

Private William Hammacott

William Henry Hammacott was born on 11th January 1892 and was the oldest of four children. His parents were labourer George Hammacott and his wife Ellen; both were born in Chudleigh, Devon, and this is where they raised their family.

When William left school he too found work as a labourer, but war was coming to Europe, and he was keen to play his part. Full details of his service haven’t survived, but he had enlisted in the 5th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment by 1915, and served on home soil.

Private Hammacott survived the war and earned the Victory, British and Territorial Force Medals for his service. During his time, he contracted malaria and was discharged from the army on medical grounds on 29th March 1919.

William returned home, and his trail goes cold for the next year. It is likely that his bout of malaria left him particularly vulnerable: he passed away on 4th May 1920, having contracted pneumonia. He was just 28 years old.

William Henry Hammacott was laid to rest in Chudleigh Cemetery.