First of many who went ‘over the top’

14:00 18 May 2014

"First of the Volunteers", dated August 1914

"First of the Volunteers", dated August 1914

Archant

As the centenary of the start of World War One approaches, Nostalgia looks back at the men from Sidmouth who served King and Country on the battlefields of Europe.

The picture, entitled first of the Volunteers, was supplied to the Herald by a Sidmouth resident, and apparently shows the first group from the town to volunteer for military service in August 1914.

They would have likely gone on to become part of the Devonshire Regiment, as was the practice at the time - and could have shipped out to France as early as November 1914.

Lieutenant-Colonel Geoff Nicholls, of the Regimental Association of the Devonshire Regiment, explained that if the men in the picture had no special skills, they would have probably been trained as infantry and assigned to either of the regiment’s regular army battalions – the 1st and 2nd.

“Although if they had any special skills they would have been assigned to specialist units,” he said. “For example a mechanic, in those early days of motor vehicles, would have been rare, so they would send him off to a different unit.”

“The 1st battalion set off for Le Havre in August, so it was probably too soon for the men in that picture to head out with them. It’s more likely they would have joined the 2nd.”

“At that stage they would have gone through two or three months worth of training, but of course later on in the war it became much less.”

The 2nd battalion, which returned to England from Egypt in October, 1914, would ship out to France on November 6.

Both regular battalions of the Devonshire Regiment would spend the majority of the war in France, and take part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

On the first day of the battle, the 2nd went ‘over the top’ at Ovillers, suffering 221 casualties, with a further 431 wounded.

The battalion was withdrawn from the front line later the same day, after failing to make a dent on the German positions, but were sent back in mid-October.

Do you recognise any of the faces in the picture? Please email harvey.gavin@archant.co.uk or call 01392 888503.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sidmouth Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sidmouth Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sidmouth Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 12:59
The Ottery 10K run took place at the weekend. Ref sho 6997-21-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A popular 10-kilometre run through Ottery St Mary made a successful return after a three-year break - with hundreds of fleet-footed fundraisers taking part in aid of a cancer charity.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:31
The cut out card

This small item is just one of the objects featured in a new exhibition at Sidmouth Museum.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00
Dan Lavery of the Devon Freewheelers. Ref exe 1231-13-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Dan Lavery is determined Devon Freewheelers will help save lives – as a Belfast ‘hidden hero’ undoubtedly helped saved wife Shelley’s life in 2005.

Read more
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Afternoon tea for Nancy Bowstead an RBL member for 70 years. Ref shs 6853-21-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

A registered blind Royal British Legion (RBL) stalwart of seven decades is saying goodbye to Sidmouth - but will continue to raise money for the cause at the age of 93.

Read more
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Sam Bader

Dad-of-one Sam Bader, 28, who grew up in Ottery St Mary, supports Devon Freewheelers by sponsoring one of the motorbikes, Bravo One.

Read more
Friday, May 22, 2015
EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

Independent councillors call for extraordinary meeting to debate the office relocation

Read more
Friday, May 22, 2015
Dan Lavery of the Devon Freewheelers. Ref exe 1256-13-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Devon Freewheelers founder Daniel Lavery will do whatever it takes to keep his lifeline service on the road so other families can receive the same help and care that saved his wife’s life.

Read more
Friday, May 22, 2015
Tanya Trevena with girl guides from Honiton and Sidmouth at the weekend collecting for her sailing challenge.

Guides from Sidmouth and Honiton did their best to help one of their own - as she prepares for a five-day sailing challenge.

Read more
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Devon County Show 2012. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 9931-20-12AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Myphotos24

Organisers of the Devon County Show are putting the final touches to the county’s largest annual event, which opens today (Thursday) and runs until May 23 at Westpoint, Exeter.

Read more
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Admiral Nurse campaign launches at St Francis Hall. Ref shs 6123-20-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A ‘phenomenally important appeal for Sidmouth’ – to help people living with dementia and their carers by bringing a crucial, specialist service to the valley – was launched this week.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 10°C

Great British Life


Great British Life
Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition



Devon's trusted business finder