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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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War Memorials



Sergeant Major Charles Stone Lane 

of the 2nd Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment

Sergeant Major Lane wrote this letter to Fred Percy of Cullompton in December 1914 and published in a local newspaper early in 1915.  He was born in Honiton in the March Quarter of 1872 and married a local girl in Cullompton in the December Quarter of 1901. Fred Percy came from Cullompton and was a bricklayer. Charles Lane may have met Fred through the local Territorials of which he had been the Sergeant.

In the letter he mentions "Mr. Peters". The Peters family had a grocery business in Cullompton and their son Frank would have been around 19 at the time the letter was written. There was no conscription in 1914 - everyone who went to the Front was a volunteer.


"Many thanks for your parcel, received on December 24th while I was in the trenches. I was pleased to read in your letter that you are still keeping well. I was in the trenches all through the Christmas with the Devons, coming out on December 29th, so I shall always remember Christmas 1914, especially the 28th.


On that day we had a terrible thunderstorm, but the Devons stuck it well. It must have been painful for the Germans because the wind and the rain were right in their faces. It was fairly cold here during the Christmas, but our men got plenty of warm clothing with a skin jacket. In fact we fare better than the Germans in this respect.


I was glad to see on your letter how well the Cullompton Cyclists have come out during the war. I was surprised to hear that Mr. Peters* had finished up with business and had offered his services. His action is a great example to the young men of Cullompton. Mr. Peters had his whole heart and soul in the Territorials.


I am keeping well and have not yet had a scratch."


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