Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

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


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The battalion was withdrawn from the front line later the same day, after failing to make a dent on the German positions, but were sent back in mid-October.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 or call 01392 888503.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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, 19:37
An ariel view of the PegasusLife plans for Knowle.

A developer lined up to buy the East Devon District Council (EDDC) offices at Knowle has unveiled its vision for a retirement community on the site.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:59
The Sidmouth Friends of the Samaritans held their AGM this week. Pictured are chairman Sue Kensdale with from left Ron Harbour (treasurer), vice chairman Gerald Hayne and Denis Jones (sec). Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 3446-08-14SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to

The loss of Sidmouth’s Samaritans support group will have a ‘major impact’ on the running of the service, says the leader of the charity’s Exeter, Mid and East Devon branch.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:59
MP Hugo Swire visit the King's School this week where he is pictured meeting students in the Teen Health Group. Ref sho 7123-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Hugo Swire praised students for their ‘passionate determination’ to address important issues

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30
Sally Neal has become Sidmouth's first female Crew Manager. Ref shs 7512-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A firefighter has made history after becoming the first woman in Sidmouth to reach the rank of crew manager.

Read more
Thu, 19:30
Plans have been lodged for Hillside House

A former hotel and restaurant in Newton Poppleford could be converted into a 13-bed care home.

Read more
Thu, 14:30

A temporary tariff of £2 per day will be introduced at Sidmouth’s town centre car parks next week.

Read more
Wed, 18:30
Natasha Koshti.

The Budleigh Salterton Committee for Cancer Research UK is holding an Evening In India on Saturday, November 28, at 7pm in the Public Hall.

Read more
Wed, 17:41
The dip in Temple Street, Sidmouth. Ref shs 7614-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Devon County Council has announced drainage works will take place along Temple Street for five weeks from Monday, January 18.

Read more
Wed, 17:28
Cranbrook Railway Station. Ref mhc 3523-37-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

AFTER many postponements, Cranbrook railway station will finally open on Sunday, December 13.

Read more
Wed, 16:12
Police are appealing for help in finding the culprit responsible for recent graffiti tags

One man has been questioned in connection with a recent bout of vandalism and officers are asking for more information or witnesses

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Find a job in Sidmouth

Find planning applications