It’s been a while in the making but we’re very pleased to now publish what we’ve learned about the Bratton Clovelly soldiers who gave their lives in World War I. The more we looked at the records, the more we realised just how huge an impact the War had on this parish. Soon we’ll also be publishing a list of all the soldiers and sailors we’ve found who served in the War, including those who thankfully returned. It’s a long list probably accounting for at least half of the men of the parish born between 1880 and 1900. No family seems to have been left untouched.
The information we’ve assembled is from the historic records, sources like the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, WWI Medal Cards and Voter Lists. One of the most helpful sources has been the local newspapers where you can find mention of people home on leave, those being promoted, soldiers reported missing or injured or prisoners of war and, of course, the notifications of those who had fallen. But the stories could be so much better with family memories and photos that really help to describe all these young people who sacrificed everything. If anyone has information that they are willing to make public, please contact us so that we can share it with others.
The work on the soldiers and sailors of the parish is a labour of love for us, especially as both Mark and I come from military traditions. My grandfather, Colonel Roy F Blackmon (1909-1988), US Army, served in Europe in World War II, the husband of Marion Elizabeth Eastlack (1910-1999) of Bratton Clovelly descent. He left his WWII memoirs which we hope to share in the future. My father, Donald T. Kirwan (1928-1993), was a Company Commander in the US Army Reserves during the Korean conflict. My own career started when my grandfather commissioned me as a Computer Technology Officer in the US Air Force. Mark’s stepdad, Chief Petty Officer Leslie A Smith (1934-2013), MSM, spent 40 years in the Royal Navy, 35 in submarines. We are committed to keeping the memory of those who gave so much.