THE DEATH OF A NORTH TAWTON VOLUNTEER
News of the death of Private Samuel Long at Standerton was published in the Western Times on 19 October 1900, when the letter from Captain Speke which is quoted below, had been received.
From The Western Times
19 July 1901
A MEMORIAL TABLET
"On Sunday afternoon, an impressive ceremony took place at North Tawton, when, through the kind thoughtfulness of his comrades and friends in the town, a permanent memorial in the form of a brass tablet, set in marble, was unveiled in the Parish Church, to the memory of Samuel Long, the only Volunteer to go to the front from this town and who fell a victim to enteric*.
Deceased was a steady young fellow and was held in high esteem. That he was also popular with his comrades was shown by a letter received by his father from Captain Speke, who commanded the Company. In the course of his letter, Captain Speke said:
"Deceased was taken ill at Standerton with enteric and pneumonia and was sent to the hospital there, where he received every care and comfort that was possible. On the 26th we received orders to march but returned to Standerton on the 29th. Here I was told of the sad news that he had died early that morning. Notwithstanding the long march we had had that day, and not liking to order the men to march again some way to the hospital where he lay, I asked as many as would like to go to the funeral to fall in, and almost the whole Company came, which shows how popular he was with all his comrades.
We buried him in the cemetery, south of the town, that very evening. The Rev. Mackworth Drake of Bideford, and our Chaplain out here, performed the service. The next day we had to march again, so were unable ourselves to put up a cross over the grave, but the officer commanding the Engineers promised to do so immediately. I always considered your poor son one of the nicest young fellows of the Company, and I had great respect for him. He is a great loss to us."
About 200 Volunteers from the district fell in at the Bridge near the factory, and headed by the Company Band, proceeded to the Parish Church, which was crowded by sympathetic friends. The service commenced with the "Dead March" from "Saul", during which the congregation stood. The venerable Rector then read some prayers of the Burial Service. The choir then chanted Psalm 39 which was followed by a portion of the first chapter of the 1st Book of Corinthians. The choir then gave a beautiful rendering of Sphor's "Blest are the departed".
Major Biddell read the following inscription on the tablet and formally handed it over to the care of the Rector and the Churchwardens:
"To the Glory of God and in memory of Private Samuel Long, of the North Tawton Section D Company, 4th V.B.D.R, who volunteered for active service in South Africa, and died at Standerton, September 29th 1900, aged 19 years. This tablet was erected by his comrades and friends, A. D. 1901. Semper Fidelis**."
The inscription was surmounted with the crest of the Devon Regiment. The tablet, which was set in white marble with a black edging, was supplied by Messrs. Wippell and Co. of Exeter and London. At the conclusion of the service, Bugler A. Taylor, a schoolfellow of the deceased, and who was at his comrade's funeral at Standerton and sounded the Last Post there, did a similar service now. A muffled peal was rung after the service".