Preserving your Past for the Future





 Reginald Deliah Bone – Although not included on the memorials at Aveton Gifford, he also served in WW1. Reg, (brought up in St Budeaux), is thought to have enlisted under age, serving as a private in the Machine Gun Corps, and was involved in fighting at Passchendaele. In 1922 he married Dorothy Willcocks from an Aveton Gifford family, niece of George, John and Sam Willcocks  and Jim Elliott (all also served, and listed on these pages), and they moved to live in the village. Their children were Joy, Harry and Rod.

Harry Willcocks - (Born in 1872 in Aveton Gifford. He was the older brother of George, Jack and Sam, all listed on our memorials, and his daughter Dorothy had married Reg Bone - above.) He had gone through a full period of service in the Royal Navy, and had reached the rank of Chief Stoker before his discharge, returning to Aveton Gifford again with wife Emma and the family. On the outbreak of hostilities, daughter Dorothy recalled that he was amongst the first batch of ex-servicemen and volunteers from the parish to go straight to Plymouth to enlist. His name is not included on the Roll of Honour here, and records for his service have not come to light, so no further details can be given. He died in 1937, and is buried at St Andrew’s.

Charles Edwin Edgecombe - On 31st May 1916 the Gazette reported the death of Richard Edgcombe as follows; Dick Edgcombe, ..... at Jutland, on HMS Defence... the son of T Edgcombe, and brother of Charlie... The Charlie in question was the oldest son of Tom and Irena Edgcombe, born in Aveton Gifford in 1870. He enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1890, initially for 12 years, but served until 1912 when he joined the Naval Reserve. On 2nd August 1914 on the outbreak of war he re-enlisted, and served as a Stoker Petty Officer on HMS Donegal on convoy protection duties firstly on the Arctic patrol, then in the mid- Atlantic and later in North America and West Indies patrols. He was finally demobilised in 1919. In 1986 he had married Sarah Elliott from West Buckland, and after the war he returned to Bantham, where he died in 1947 at the age of 77.

George Edgcombe - George was born in 1888 in Aveton Gifford, and was the second son of Thomas and Irena.  He moved away from the village marrying Martha Harris in Brixton in 1906, and by the time he enlisted in December 1915 he had been living in Torquay, and working as a scaffolder.  He served as a Private with the Coldstream Guards. Unlike two of his 6 serving brothers he did survive the war, but not completely unscathed -  his records show that in 1917 he was injured by a gun shot wound to the face, and in 1918 he was admitted to hospital with pneumonia, after which he was transferred to the Army Z Reserve.

David Harry Toms - known as Harry, also served in WW1, although he was not included on these parish memorials. Born in 1876 in Aveton Gifford, he was the son of William and Fanny Toms, and his brother John Samuel Toms was the J Toms remembered on our Roll of Honour. He joined the Royal Navy as a young man, and in 1904 he married Hannah Ann Harris in Chelmsford. He was then based in Plymouth, and family photographs show him on board ship in naval uniform, and wounded in hospital in 1917. After the war he and Hannah remained in Plymouth and brought up their 4 children – the youngest, Nellie, married Ernest Weeks, and during the Second World War she brought her daughter Sonia back to the village for safety. In 1943, they were staying in the Rectory when it had a direct hit from a German bomber; Nellie was badly injured and Sonia lost her life.

The Pengelly brothers are included on the Churchstow Roll of Honour rather than this one, as at the time of the war, Bridge End where the family lived was recorded as either Churchstow or Thurlestone until 1986 when the parish boundaries were changed. However all three of them were born in Aveton Gifford, and two returned after the war to live and work in this parish. Their parents were Thomas and Sarah; Thomas had been the Aveton Gifford rural postman since the 1870s, but by the early 1900s was farming at Bridge End.

Harold Thomas Pengelly - The oldest of the 3 brothers, he was born in Aveton Gifford in 1890. Records for him are sparse, but he served in the Devonshire Regiment, attaining the rank of Corporal by his discharge. He latterly farmed for many years at North Efford, but died in an accident in 1950, slipping on the stepping stones crossing the creek at night when returning home. He wasn't discovered until too late when early the next morning a young boy going to work along the tidal road found his body. He is buried at St Andrew’s.

Sidney James Maddick Pengelly - Born in 1891. He enlisted initially with the Devonshire Yeomanry Corps of Hussars. Records indicate that he may have been wounded whilst serving with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in 1917. He was discharged as a sergeant in the 8th Royal Hussars. Then in July 1919 he enlisted at the age of 28 with the Royal Tank Corps. He moved away from the village, marrying and living in York, and went on to serve again in WW2.

Cecil Herbert Pengelly - Born in 1894. He was a carpenter, employed by Mr Lakeman, until at the age of 19 he enlisted in the army in February 1914 before the outbreak of war. He served in the army for 4 years, until in 1917 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, which became the new Royal Air Force in 1918. He was discharged at the end of the war as a Private in the RAF, and in 1824 married Ellen Lakeman. They ran the village post office for many years. He died here in 1950 and they are both buried at St Andrew’s.

The Randle brothers were all born in Aveton Gifford, the son of George Hurrell Randle, a mason, also born in the village. They had a particularly hard childhood; they spent much of their early lives here, but Sam and George’s mother died soon after the latter’s birth, so the family was split up to live with various relatives, still in AG. Their father remarried and William was born – but when he was 5 their father also died, followed by the death of his mother 18 months later in 1912. As was the case with so many boys in similar situations, the Services offered a way of earning a living and surrogate family security, and all 3 of the Randles joined the Services young.

William John Lewis Randle – the younger half-brother of George Taylor Randle (listed on both parish memorials), also born in Aveton Gifford in 1895. He joined the Navy just after the death of his mother, several months under-age at the age of 15 as a Boy Servant, and served for 2 years, until in June 1914 he was discharged because of acute rheumatism. He enlisted in Plymouth in January 1915, at the age of 19 having been working at some point as a sanatorium attendant. He passed his medical examination, and was posted to the 14th Reserve Battalion, Royal Horse and Field Artillery as a driver. However it became obvious after several months that he was not well – unfortunately he must have contracted TB from his patients in his pre-war job, and he was discharged at the end of May the same year, in the category “not likely to become an efficient soldier”. His brother George had died as a result of his wounds just 3 weeks earlier. His parents had both died some years before, so on discharge he went to his eldest brother’s family in Totnes, but died a few months later in early 1916.

Samuel Randle – the oldest Randle brother, born in Aveton Gifford in 1880. He was serving in the Royal Navy as a signalman by 1911, and in 1915 he was serving as a Petty Officer 1st Class on HMS Oak. He married Elsie May Clark in 1915, and it was to the Clark household in Totnes that his brother William went on discharge. Samuel died in 1943 in Totnes.



Frank Wilson.

Lieut Frank Wilson, born 1887 in Dover, had married Mary Ann Steere, and was the brother-in-law of Edwin and Jack from The Kings Arms (above). He had trained as a Marconi wireless telegraphy operator, and had been employed before the war by the Post Office to run the new radio telegraph station at Bolt Head. His service records have not been found, but he continued to work as a Marconi telegraphist throughout the war, presumably still at Bolt Head, which became one of the pivotal stations for ship to shore and submarine communications. He was involved in the Peace celebrations in the village in 1919.