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The battalion was withdrawn from the front line later the same day, after failing to make a dent on the German positions, but were sent back in mid-October.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

59 minutes ago
NHS logo

Campaigners fighting to ‘save the NHS’ from cuts and privatisation will take to the streets in Sidmouth tomorrow (Saturday).

Read more
Patients, Hospiscare staff and volunteers relaxing in the comfy, homely lounge.

A warm welcome greeted patients arriving at East Devon’s new £1.2million Hospiscare Kings House Day Hospice in Honiton, after it opened last week.

Read more
06:20
Shams Uddin from the Star of India on Mill Street. Ref sho 8286-09-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

‘Less spice and more taste’ proved a winning formula for an Ottery curry chef, who has gained recognition as East Devon’s finest.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:18

East Devon’s share of residents’ annual council tax will not increase in the next year, after district leaders announced a freeze this week.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 3°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

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