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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

Directory Listings





Parish Records




War Memorials




205160 Sergeant Walter Hampton Bridgman of the 2nd Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment. Son of George and Elizabeth Bridgman. Born in Broadwoodwidger in 1872. Died 27 May 1918 aged  46.
8578 Lance Corporal Francis Burnett of the Scots Guards. Son of John and Sarah Ann Burnett of Ashwater. Born in Ashwater in 1893. Died 18 December 18 1914 aged 21.
13651 Private Leonard Melsome of the 8th Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment. Son of Bertha Rundle(formerly Melsome) and the late William Melsome. Born in Hendon, Middlesex in 1896. Died 7 July 1916 aged 20.
345219 Private Wilfred Edwin Nelder of the 16th Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment. Son of William and Sarah Ann Nelder of Bodmin Cornwall. Born in Plympton in 1893.  Died 2 September 1918 aged 25.
7701 Private Thomas Sleeman of the  2nd Battalion, the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Son of Samuel and Mary Ann Sleeman. Born in Broadwoodwidger in 1882. Died 13 January 1915 aged 33.
5036 Private William James Tubb of the 1st Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment. . Son of William and Mary Ann Tubb. Born in 1882 in Safron Walden, Essex.  Died 30 October 1914 aged 31.
291526 Aircraftman 2nd Class George Basil Cowell, of the 6th Balloon Section the Royal Air Force. Son of Arthur and Emily Cowell.  Born in Dunmow, Essex in 1891, Died 22 February 1919 in France aged 28.

We cannot say for certain that this is the right man but among the naval records for August 8 1915 there is a record for a man who looks very likely. His name is recorded as (Henry) John Joseph Mathews and his wife's name as (Edith) Mary. The navy has compiled lists of WW1 casualties who are did not survive the last journey of HMS India.

An armed merchantman, India was on guard duty patrolling the coast of Norway when torpedos were fired at her from a German submarine causing the ship to split in two. There were survivors from this incident and some men were rescued from the sea, taken to Norway and interned for the duration of the war, but John Mathews (the name he used) was on the  drowned list.  The names of many men on this  list are not followed by a military number (though John's has an indication that his number places him in Devon at the time of enlistment) through which John could have been traced but on the list supplied by www.devonhonour.org, On this list, John is described as being a private who drowned. At the time of his death, John was fulfilling the function of Chief Steward and no naval rank is given for him.

This John Mathews can be linked to Broadwoodwidger through census returns and to his parents John and Grace Mathews through their address in Broadwoodwidger. We have traced his birth to 1875  and his death to 1915 (aged 40) and are presuming that this was a re-enlistment in which he kept his final rank as given on his previous service record. One day we may find documents by which all of this can be proved without doubt.

3961 Private John Thomas Palmer of the 6th Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment. Son of John and Emma Palmer. Born in Broadwoodwidger in 1891. Died 12 April 1916 aged 25.


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