Preserving your Past for the Future

 

AVETON GIFFORD – THE FIRST WORLD WAR.

 

ROLL OF HONOUR.

 

THOSE WHO DIED and THOSE WHO SERVED 

 

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them".

 

 In Aveton Gifford we have two memorials; the granite war memorial in the churchyard, and the marble Roll of Honour plaque in the church porch.

Rolls of Honour and War Memorials for the service men and women of the First World War were of necessity individual for each town or village; it seems that there was no standard circumstances for a person to be commemorated in any one parish,  and that different parishes had differing criteria for the people on their rolls of honour. In some circumstances where there were other family connections, birthplaces or attendance at the village school, a few of them can be found on memorials in more than one parish. Some memorials also included women and also those who had played an important non-Service role.

Also there was no government money from a central fund to put up these memorials, and therefore no official rules or guidelines. They were set up individually and locally by committees which were later disbanded once the memorials were in place, and money came from local public collections. In the case of Aveton Gifford, a committee was set up chaired by W.J. Edgecombe to organise the Peace Celebrations in 1919. After that was over it was agreed that the residue of the money should be put towards the war memorials in the village, and it was probably added to an existing fund of contibutions. Once all these memorials had been set up ownership was transferred to the local council to ensure that they would be properly maintained, and although the memorial here is in the grounds of St Andrew's graveyard, ownership was transferred to Aveton Gifford Parish Council.

  

THE MARBLE PLAQUE

 

96 names are inscribed on the plaque. 14 names in the central panel commemorate those who gave their lives during the war, and the surrounding columns list the remaining 72 parishioners who served. The Roll of Honour for this parish gives the names of those who were associated with the parish either by birth, school, family, marriage or residence, and covers the years of the war from August 4th 1914 until the Peace Treaty was signed in Versailles on June 28th 1919. It is thought that at least one of our names commemorates a woman - she was a nurse.The list on the central panel of those who died commemorates those servicemen who lost their lives from wounds or disease as well as those directly killed in action.

Both the plaque  and the war memorial were put up soon after the war, and in spite of the above criteria, there appear to be some anomalies. Certainly three other servicemen from the parish died from their injuries during the war, and although their names were engraved on the plaque, for some reason they weren't included on the central panel. Recent research to identify the names on the plaque has also come across other men who have parish connections, and they have been added to our list of servicemen - Also Served.

The population of the parish in 1914 was 668. Devon County Council conducted a poll in the early months of the year, and by September published their figures for Aveton Gifford; 54 members of the parish were serving by then. This included those regular sailors and soldiers already in the armed services, and the new conscripts who had enlisted on the outbreak of war. By the time the war was over 40 more had also joined up  - this would have been a large proportion of the menfolk from a comparatively small parish.

 

THE WAR MEMORIAL

 

Aveton Gifford War Memorial was unveiled by Col. F B Mildmay on June 5th, 1921, and photographed by James Ruth, a well-known local photographer who lived in the village.

The service that preceded the unveiling was conducted by both the Church of England Rector of St Andrew’s and the Methodist Minister from Kingsbridge; many of the parishioners at that time were from Methodist families. The service was so well attended that the congregation couldn’t all fit inside the church.

 

      

Fourteen names were inscribed on the plinth at the bottom at the time. Why only those fourteen we are not sure, as records of these decisions don't seem to have survived, but there were certainly at least three other servicemen who would have been known to have lost their lives as a direct consequence of their involvement in the war, and whose surviving families continued to live in the village after the war was over. In 2009 the grandson of one of these servicemen - John Thomas Taylor - visited the church to find the graves of his relatives, and discovered that his grandfather's death had not been included on either memorial. After negotiations with the church, the parish council who now owned the churchyard memorial, the War Memorial's Trust and the British Legion, the names of John Thomas Taylor and Walter John Taylor were added to the plinth. A service of re-dedication of the memorial was subsequently held in 2009 where relatives and parishioners could finally pay tribute to the two men. The third name of Reginald Weekes was only discovered in 2014 during research to identify the names on the marble plaque.

 

THE NAMES

This is the full updated list drawn up following research into records available in 2014.

THOSE WHO SERVED 

G Adams

T E Adams

E Andrews

F Beer

W E Brown

P Browse

C Burgoyne

F J Burgoyne

E Clarke

F Copp

R M V Denton

J Dobell

A Edgcombe

F Edgecombe

H Edgcombe 

R Edgcombe

R G Edgecombe

S R Edgecombe

W Edgecombe

A Elliott

F Elliott

J Elliott

J Elliott

R Elliott

W Elliott

H Federick

J T Fitness

R H Frith

E S Hallett

F Hallett

J Hallett

S Hannaford.

A Harris

H Harris

P Harris

A Hart

M Harvey

H Horton

W Hurrell

S Jones

J Lakeman

S Lakeman

B Lethbridge

J Light

W Light

F Lugger

J Martin

E Moore

G Moore

S Moore

C Patey

W Perring

E Prowse

R Putt

T J Putt

W Rogers

A D Rowbottom

F Sanders

P Sandover

W J Sandover

R Saunders

S Saunders

J Sibley

E Steere

F Steere

W H Steere

H S Stephens

E Stevens

G R M Taylor

J Taylor         

W Taylor      

A Toms

J Toms

C Weekes

J Willcocks

S Willcocks

J H Wyatt

J Yabsley.

W R Yabsley

 

THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES

J Burgoyne

W Copp

J W Dobell

R Edgcombe

L Elliott

J Elson

W H Hallett

H Hurrell

W Lethbridge

S Luscombe

G Randle

R B Rogers

H C Sandercock

J T Taylor

W J Taylor

R Weekes

G Willcocks

 

SERVICEMEN ALSO FROM THIS PARISH WHO ARE NOT ON OUR MEMORIALS.

R D Bone

H Willcocks

D Toms

H T Pengelly

S J M Pengelly

C H Pengelly

W J L Randle

S Randle

Also

F Wilson