Memorial to the Fallen Heroes of St Giles in the Wood
North Devon Journal, 20th November 1919
Transcribed by Debbie Kennett
With additional notes by William Cooke
The handsome bronze tablet erected to the memory of the fallen heroes of the parish, was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday evening last. The donor, Mrs. Clemson, could scarcely have chosen a more fitting memorial, and it constitutes the completion of a handsome permanent reminder of twelve gallant fellows. The tablet bears the following inscription in raised letters of polished metal: "To the memory of those who counted not their lives dear unto themselves - 1914-1918 - John Oliver Clemson, Herbert Victor Couch, Lawrence Couch, Philip Friend, John Hoyle, Ernest William Johns, Thomas James Kelly, Arthur James Row, Charles Edward Row, Charles Enos Sanders, Fred Sussex, Frank Withecombe. God proved them and found them worthy for Himself." Following the unveiling by Mrs. Clemson, and the dedication by the Vicar (Rev. C. Walker), the "Last Post" and Reveille were sounded on cornets, and the effect was grand in its solemnity. Special hymns and psalms were sung by the choir, and the Vicar based his address on the significance of the memorial.
Transcriber's, and additional, notes:
John Oliver CLEMSON of Stevenstone House, St Giles in the Wood was the elder son of John Henry CLEMSON of Parkside, Altrincham, Cheshire. He was born in 1882 in Manchester. He was Master of the Stevenstone Foxhounds and was a Captain with the North Devon Hussars in World War I. He died on 9th December 1915 at Gallipoli and was survived by his wife Mary. His name is commemorated at the Lala Baba Cemetery in Turkey.
Herbert Victor COUCH was born in 1887 in St Giles in the Wood. He was the son of Thomas COUCH, a boot and shoemaker, by his second wife Lucy TOUT, a glove pointer. He was a private in the 1/6th Battalion (Territorials) of the Devonshire Regiment serving in Mesopotamia in World War I. He died of malaria at sea on passage to India on 17th November 1916 at the age of 29 years. His name is commemorated on the Basra Memorial in Iraq.
Laurence COUCH was born in 1894 and was the youngest son of Charles COUCH and Lucy SUSSEX of Peagham Barton, St Giles in the Wood. His father worked as a farm bailiff on the Stevenstone estate. He was a first cousin to Herbert Victor COUCH. Laurence was a private serving with the 1st Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment in Flanders and France in World War I. He was killed in action at the Battle of Arras on 23rd April 1917 at the age of 23 years. He was survived by his wife Ellen of 36 Calf Street, Torrington. His name is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in Pas de Calais, France.
Philip FRIEND was born in 1893 and was the son of Thomas FRIEND (1863 - 1932) and Elizabeth Ann WARE (1864 - 1931) of Kingscott, St Giles in the Wood. Philip was a private serving with the 4th Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders in World War I. He died on 11 Mar 1915 at the age of 21. His name is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial in Richebourg-l'Avoue, France.
John HOYLE was born in 1885 in Great Torrington and was the son of George HOYLE (abt 1848 - ?) and Eliza SUSSEX (abt 1848 - ?).
Ernest William JOHNS was born in 1881 in Great Torrington and was the son of Hugh JOHNS (1845 - 1902) and Fanny GOULD (1850 - ?) of Huntshaw, Great Torrington. Ernest was a sergeant serving with the 8th Battalion of the Manitoba Regiment of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He died on 22 Jul 1916. His name is commemorated on the Railway Dugouts Burial Ground in Belgium.
Thomas James KELLY, the son of James KELLY (1864 - ?) and Mary MOORE (abt 1861 - ?), was born about 1890 in St Giles in the Wood. Thomas was a private serving with the 16th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. He died on 19 Apr 1917. His name is commemorated at the Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery in Alexandria, Egypt.
Arthur James ROW was born in 1899 in St Giles in the Wood and was the son of Charles Edward ROW (1861 - 1931) and Ann Down JEWELL (1868 - 1951) of Higher House, St Giles in the Wood. Arthur was a private serving with the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxford and Buck Light Infantry. He died on 14 Apr 1918 at the age of 18. His name is commemorated at the Aire Communal Cemetery.
Charles Edward ROW was the older brother of Arthur James ROW and was born about 1897 in St Giles in the Wood. Charles was a private with the 15th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was killed in action on 5 May 1917 during the Battle of Arras. His name is commemorated at the Arras Memorial.
Charles Enos SANDERS was born in 1894 and was the son of John and Rosa SANDERS of St Giles in the Wood. Arthur was a private serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. He died on 15 Sep 1916 at the age of 21. His name is commemorated at the Vermelles British Cemetery.
Fred SUSSEX, the son of Joseph SUSSEX (1858 - 1941) and Mary Jane KELLY (abt 1860 - 1931), was born in 1891 in St Giles in the Wood.
Frank WITHECOMBE was born in 1895 in Buckland Brewer and was the son of Charles WITHECOMBE (1868 - ?) and Mary BLIGHT (1871 - ?) of Great Huish, St Giles in the Wood. Frank was a private with the 10th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was killed in action on 4 Oct 1917 during the Second Battle of Passchendaele at the age of 21. His name is commemorated at the Tyne Cot Memorial.