The idea for this tribute to the
fallen of Newton Ferrers came from a suggestion by the Royal British
Legion. To mark the 60th
anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day, it proposed that all communities with war
memorials should compile a biographical record in memory of the names inscribed
there. This is the result.
It may seem strange to describe such
a work as a “living” record, but I am very conscious that there are many gaps
in the biographical details. This is
especially so for those killed in the Second World War – there is far more
information available on those who died in The Great War. The book has therefore been prepared in loose
leaf form so that it can be regularly updated as and when more details come to
If you can contribute anything in
this respect please let me know. Contact
details are shown below. I am especially
keen to include any photographs of the soldiers and sailors concerned.
It may be helpful to describe the
main avenues of research used to compile this book:
- The starting point has to be the website of the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission www.cwgc.net
, with its huge database and comprehensive search facilities. From just a name, initials and year of
death you should be able to obtain full name, rank, number, unit, date of
death and place of burial. Many
entries also have details of parents and/or wives.
National Census is taken every 10 years, but is not released to the public
for 100 years. Thus the latest available
is for 1901, and this can be viewed on line at Plymouth City Library – an
excellent source for the First World War soldiers and sailors.
- Locally, the Plymouth and
West Devon Records Office at Clare
Place, Coxside, has microfiche
records of church baptism and marriage registers. The school has the register of
attendance covering all the relevant years. A notice in the Parish Magazine can
prompt those vital recollections from the older members of the community.
- A visit to the National Archives at Kew is
highly recommended. Records of
sailors’ services from 1863 to 1923 have just been released in the ADM 188
series, and some have been included in this book. Records on soldiers are not easy to
obtain. Many of them were lost in
the London Blitz in 1940, and what remains (WO 363 series “The Burnt
Records”) did not contain any names from Newton Ferrers or Noss Mayo. However, the CD-ROM “Soldiers Died in
the Great War” is the only source which will give the important detail as
to whether the soldier was Killed in Action or Died of Wounds. Regimental War Diaries (WO 95 series)
were particularly useful for obtaining details of what was happening on
the day the soldier was killed or wounded.
- Regimental museums can be a useful source, but
their research facilities are usually very limited. They will not hold records of individual
soldiers, but will augment the details from War Diaries. The Keep Museum at
Dorchester was particularly helpful for the Devon’s and Dorset’s.
- Finally, there is the World Wide Web and
Google! There is an enormous amount
of information available out there, including many sites devoted to both
wars. “The Long, Long Trail” at www.1914-1918.net has a lot of useful
information about all aspects of the First World War.
Road, Newton Ferrers PL8