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Remembered Today:

4th battalion Devonshire regiment


princessrakiya

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Hi All

This is my first post! Please can anyone help me with information about the Devonshire regiment? My relative William Henry Caryl was a member of the 4th battalion Devonshire regiment. He was killed on 21/4/1915 aged 19 years. He is buried in his local churchyard at Brampford Speke Devon.

I assumed that he had been killed in France but when I looked on the long long trail site it looked like his battalion had been sent to India. Would this be right or have I misread it? If he was in India would there have been any battles in the region (Mesopotamia) that he could have been involved (and killed) in? How usual is it for a soldier to actually be buried in his local churchyard? Most seemed to have been buried abroad where they were killed.

He has got a medal card and got the British medal. There are the following letters and numbers at the bottom but I don't know if they mean anything

E/70698/4

EF/9/4500

Also on the back of the card it says

...Devon R. Rees requests auth for disposal of medals 27.7.22.

Does anyone have any idea what this means?

I would be very grateful for any info/help/advice/sites/where to look further. I couldn't find any other service records.

Thanks so much

Helen

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Helen

Welcome to the forum

There is a data base of soldiers who did during the first war called Soldiers Died in the Great War. This shows that he died in England

The battalion had departed for India in the previous October.

It also says that he enlisted in Exeter and lived at Bramford Speke which you may already know. His death certificate might hold a clue but it would seem that he did not see overseas service and died in the UK possibly in an accident or from illness

Some help I hope

Best regards John

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Helen,

Welcome to the Forum. Neither the Devonshire Regiment nor MICs are my field of expertise (I have no fields of expertise) but I was sufficiently interested by this to dig around. Unfortunately my first reply at 2115 seems to have disappeared into thin air so here is a second go fuelled by midnight oil.

As John says, 'Soldiers Died' states that he died at 'Home' meaning in the UK. If he had died in some distant military hospital in the UK, his body has been brought back to Devon although I am not sure at whose expense (I suspect that the family might have to pay - someone will know the answer to that). The Commonwealth War Graves site www.cwgc.org is clear that he is actually buried in his home churchyard; sometimes what appears at first sight to be a gravestone is in fact a memorial to a soldier buried or missing elsewhere. In any case it would be very unusual for a body to be repatriated from abroad; this happened only in very rare cases at the very start of the war, generally in cases in which the family had considerable influence.

My reading of his medal index card is that he was entitled to only the British War Medal. As a sole award, this is unusual. The fact that he was entitled to the BWM but not entitled either to the 1914/1914-15 Star or the Allied Victory Medal indicates (I think) that he served abroad but not on the strength of a unit in an operational theatre of war. If he had the Star he would have the AVM. Thus it is highly unlikely (= nearly impossible) that he has been wounded in action and subsequently died from wounds at home. The profile for the 1/4th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment in leaving the UK in mid October 1914 and arriving in Karachi on 11 November 1914 but not being deployed to Basra (what goes round, comes round!) until March 1916 would indicate that it is very unlikely that he has been involved in any sort of fighting.

My feeling is that he has become unfit for service either on the way to (British) India or when there and has been returned to the UK where he has subsequently died (either of whatever illness or accidental injury he may have incurred or perhaps from some quite separate cause). I think that the time scales would be quite tight to have him returned from India as I would imagine that some determined attempt would be made to treat him there before going to the lengths of sending him back to the UK (probably at least four weeks journey) unless he was afflicted with something that rendered him immediately and obviously unfit for service. He could perhaps have been taken ill on the outward voyage and returned from an intermediate port such as Gibraltar, Suez (is that a port as well as a canal?) or Aden. Had he died on en route, I think he would either have been buried at sea or at the port in which the troopship lay at the time rather than being brought home.

The entry on the back of the MIC, I suspect, is saying that the Devonshire Regiment Records Office is seeking authorisation to dispose of the medals in 1922 as they have been unable to deliver them to the next of kin (probably through change of address or no NOK being given although that seems unlikely for a 19 year old from what seems to be a small town and enlisting locally in Exeter). There is no next-of-kin information on the CWGC site so maybe communication failed after the war.

The 1/4th Battalion of the Devonshires was a battalion of the Territorial Force and given its early departure abroad (mid October 1914) only two months after the outbreak of war I would have thought it likely (although not certain) that he was already a Territorial at the beginning of the war. Eight or nine weeks training seems too short time for even the most determined CO, anxious to bring his battalion up to establishment strength, to justify takling a half-trained territorial. Perhaps thay thought they would train on the ship and again in India.

You have been given a Devonshire link by gwan-dai which shows that he is on the local war memorial and indicates (presumably as a result of the patient research of those constructing the site) that he was

Private William Henry Caryl of the 4th Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment. Son of William and Fanny Caryl. Born in Brampford Speke in the December Quarter of 1895. Died 21 April 1915 aged 19. Buried in St. Peter's Churchyard, Brampford Speke.

but I suspect that you already know that.

I can not find a museum link for the Devonshire Regiment (the modern successor to which is now the 1st Battalion of The Rifles www.thewardrobe.org.uk ) using the Army Museums Ogilby Trust Site http://www.armymuseums.org.uk/index.htm You may have more luck but the Wardrobe in Salisbury might point you in the right direction though it is possible that a museum will not be able to add too much to this story.

I apologise that much of this is supposition and hope that a medal black belt comes along to (verify or otherwise) my comments on the award of the BWM only.

Ian

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Thank you so much gwan-dai,John and Ian for your replies and I appreciate the time and effort spent on my behalf, especially Ian! :)

It has given me something to think about and I think I will see if I can locate his death certificate which may hold a few clues. The Caryl family originated in Devon but our side went on to Hertfordshire, so I don't know if they couldn't find the family to give the medal too. My husband's great uncle and the said uncle's cousin also died in WWI, both descended from the Caryl family.

I will plough on! Thanks again.

Helen

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Helen

The History of the Devonshire Regiment by C. T. Atkinson shows William Henry Caryl as dieing at home on the 21st April 1915. Both the 1/4th and 2/4th Bn's were overseas by this time which shows he was either serving with the 3/4th Bn at Exeter or as Ian states had been repatriated sick from overseas. The 3rd Bn was formed in late March 1915 some two months after the 2/4th Bn reached India so he would probably have been at the regimental depot before this. Another consideration is that he was not ellegible for overseas service until his 19th birthday until this point he would have been held in the UK. The 3/4th Bn supplied drafts to the 1st and 2nd line Bn's serving overseas so I would suggest he was serving at Exeter untl becoming ill.

Pure guesswork but I hope it helps.

Reegards

Dave

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Thank you Dave, I've located his birth certificate through freebmd and ordered it. His death was registered S.Stoneham district Hampshire (which is close to Southampton) so I guess that fits with Ian's guess that he was sent home ill/injured from India,and maybe they sailed into Southampton....I'll just have to wait for it to come now and solve the mystery!

Helen

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His death was registered S.Stoneham district Hampshire (which is close to Southampton) so I guess that fits with Ian's guess that he was sent home ill/injured from India,and maybe they sailed into Southampton....I'll just have to wait for it to come now and solve the mystery!

Helen

Is South Stoneham near enough to Netley Hospital (the place that I understand gave rise to the expression 'up the creek') to be the place of registration for deaths at the hospital? It is four and a bit miles from Netley to South Stoneham Cemetery. They both seem to be on the same side of Southapton and Netley Military Hospital (with 138 wards, 1000 beds and a direct railway line from the docks according to the god Wiki) dealt with tropical diseases amongst other things.

Ian

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Is South Stoneham near enough to Netley Hospital (the place that I understand gave rise to the expression 'up the creek') to be the place of registration for deaths at the hospital? It is four and a bit miles from Netley to South Stoneham Cemetery. They both seem to be on the same side of Southapton and Netley Military Hospital (with 138 wards, 1000 beds and a direct railway line from the docks according to the god Wiki) dealt with tropical diseases amongst other things.

Ian

S Stoneham includes the following

Bitterne

HAM

1837

1924

transferred to Southampton district on 1.4.1924

Botley

HAM

1837

1927

Bursledon

HAM

1837

1927

Chilworth

HAM

1837

1927

Eastleigh

HAM

1837

1927

Hamble

HAM

1837

1927

Hedge End

HAM

1894

1927

before 1894 see South Stoneham; Botley

Hound

HAM

1837

1927

Itchen

HAM

1903

1924

before 1903 see St. Mary Extra; Sholing / transferred to Southampton district on 1.4.1924

Millbrook

HAM

1837

1927

North Stoneham

HAM

1837

1927

Portswood

HAM

1837

1909

transferred to Southampton district on 1.7.1909

Shirley

HAM

1837

1909

transferred to Southampton district on 1.7.1909

Sholling

HAM

1894

1903

before 1894 see Hound / after 1903 see Itchen

Southampton St. Nicholas

HAM

1920

1924

before 1920 see North Stoneham; South Stoneham / transferred to Southampton district on 1.4.1924

South Stoneham

HAM

1837

1920

after 1920 see Southampton St. Nicholas; West End

St. Mary Extra

HAM

1837

1903

after 1903 see Itchen

West End

Don't know if any of these are near Netley???

Helen

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Helen,

That's a scary looking list and from here in Warrington my Hampshire geography is not quite what it should be. Google Earth could not even find South Stoneham; I ended up with 'Stoneham Cemetery Road'.

I would not be surprised if it turns out that he died in the massive Netley Hospital although I suppose other hospitals were springing up in the area as the war progressed. I would wait for the death certificate, see if it gives a place of death and, if not, enquire again on the forum about military hospitals established in the area under a suitable title that attracts the medical experts such as 'Hospitals in Southampton Area'.

Ian

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have just received certificate and William Caryl did die at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley. It was a combination of pulmonary tuberculosis, emphysema (4 months) and exhaustion. Not quite what I was expecting but at least I now know!

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Helen

I have other ref's for Devons dieing at the Royal Victoria from illnesses contracted in Msopotamia so would like to chase this further.

PM me and I will give you the details.

Regards

Dave

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  • 9 years later...

Hello Helen - I just joined this forum purely to contact you.  I have walked past William Henry Caryls grave hundreds (probably thousands) of times as I have lived in Brampford Speke for well over 30 years.  The old church yard is on one of our regular dog walks.  I always pause briefly to think of young William and we always place a poppy cross on his grave on Remembrance Sunday.  I always feel so sad that he died so tragically young in such terrible circumstances and have often wondered about him.  It actually says on his grave stone that he died at the RVH (Royal Victoria Hospital) at Netley.   His grave had a cross placed on top of a plinth - the cross has fallen off but is left leaning on the plinth.  I have often wondered about his family and sometimes wondered if we could get some funding from somewhere to replace the cross back into position on his grave. Anyway, I thought you might like to know that he is still 'visited' and not forgotten in Brampford Speke.  The reason I came across your post is that there is a Victory  medal on eBay -  it belonged to a John Caryl of Brampford Speke and is also from WW1.  My cousin (in Australia) collects medals and has said he will buy it - but would be very happy to give it to a family member if any can be found - might that be you?  (it is still on eBay if you want to take a look).  By the way, there are people in Brampford Speke who remember a Mr and Mrs Caryl who lived in Pynes Cottage (was the Post Office) and who died there long ago.   I see there are several Caryls in Brampford Speke churchyard - I am happy to send you photo's if you'd like me to.  Very best wishes,  Elaine

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  • Admin

Elaine 

welcome to the forum. Helen hasn’t visited the forum since 2008. Once you have made 2 posts you can try personal message to try and contact her, providing she has the same email address that she registered with, you should be able to contact her.

Michelle 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Helen - my cousin has just noticed that William Henry Caryls medal/s are on eBay right now!  I will try to work out how to contact you direct by email - any help from other members of this forum very welcome!  (I'm not terribly familiar with techy stuff but I'll try!)  If the family can't be contacted or don't want the medal/s, my cousin will bid for them so that it/they will be 'safe'.  

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  • Admin

Excellent news, well done! 

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