Some three years ago my cousin, Derek Rowe and I were talking about the names on our W.W.1 memorial and we realised that we knew nothing about the casualties or their families, this despite the fact that William Sweet is probably a distant relation of mine.
At that time we had no W.W.2 memorial, and we decided that we should not similarly forget our W.W.2 casualties, and we also realised that Derek and I, both around eighty years of age, were almost the only ones left in our village who could actually remember those lost in W.W.2.
Accordingly we started to fund raise for a W.W.2 memorial, and I undertook a sponsored canoe paddle across St Austell Bay in a canoe I built for my self when I was seventy-eight, and we raised enough for our memorial with a handsome surplus which went to Help for Heroes. We also collected the stories behind all the W.W.2 losses, with quite a few photographs.
1914 – 1919
To the Glory of God and in Honour of
the Men of this Locality Who Served
in The Great War
Son of Alfred and Elizabeth Ann of 1 Bodelva.
Rank Private, service number 22270, in the 6th Battalion D.C.L.I.
Died aged 24 on 18th August 1916 in Flanders, France.
Son of Robert Samuel and Jane of Boscoppa Downs.
Rank Able Seaman, service number J/7908 (Dev).
Killed as a result of enemy action, aged 23, on H.M.S. Indefatigable.
His body was not recovered.
William Edward Holdsworth
Son of Annie Holdsworth of Boscoppa Downs, formerly of Tregrehan. Rank Able Seaman, service number J/11470(Dev).
Killed as a result of enemy action, aged 22, on H.M.S. Defence.
His body was not recovered.
Rank Private, service number S.S.14111, Royal Army Service Corps. Died at sea on 13th. August 1915.
Born in Aldershot, but shown on the 1911 census as lodging with the Fiddick family at Boldventure, Bethel. Killed in action, but no other details known.
William John Sweet
Rank Able Seaman, service number J/27077(Dev). Born 16th. September 1897.
Killed as a result of enemy action on H.M.S. Princess Alberta on 21st. February 1917. Body not recovered.
Son of John and Edith of Boscoppa Downs.
Rank Private, service number 6114, Machine Gun Corps Infantry, formerly number 22267 D.C.L.I.
Died 24th. November 1916 aged 19 in Flanders, France.
William Cuddeford and William Edward Holdsworth were probably killed at the Battle of Jutland, which took place on 31st. May 1916, the date of their recorded loss.
1939 – 1945
Flying Officer A.J. [Jack] Ash was the only child of Arthur George and Edith Ash of 4, Trevlyn Terrace, Holmbush. While Jack was still at the County School, Arthur George had won the Military Medal at Dunkirk for gallantry in continuing to drive his ambulance through enemy fire to rescue wounded men with complete disregard for his own safety, during the withdrawal from Dunkirk in 1941. After Jack left the old St. Austell County School he was employed by the Great Western Railway. He was accepted by the RAF for a university short course at Cambridge in 1942, and trained for his air force duties in Canada and the USA. Jack lost his life on December 6th 1944 at the age of 20, when the Mosquito aircraft in which he was the navigator failed to return from a mission. His resting place is unknown.
Able Seaman Frank Hamilton Bawden was the son of Pamela Louisa Hamilton Kissel Bawden of Rose Cottage, Holmbush. He attended Mountcharles School where he became head boy, and went on to study art in London. He was a gunner on the merchant vessel “S.S. Fintra” which was sunk in the Mediterranean at 13.50 hours on February 23rd 1943. Twenty two of his shipmates were picked up from life rafts, but, sadly, Frank Hamilton was not among them. It is not known whether the Fintra struck a mine, or was torpedoed, or, indeed, if she may have suffered an internal explosion. She was returning in convoy with two other ships, the”Empire Dace” and the “Empire Butler”, to Algiers from North Africa, having delivered war supplies. The captains of the two other ships would have been under orders not to stop to pick up survivors if one of their number was sunk, as they would have been easy prey for U-boats. They risked being disciplined for hazarding their commands, but they stopped out of humanity and the rules of chivalry at sea, and saved the lives of twenty two men.
Private F.L. Bishop [Fred] was a son of Eli Josiah and Annie Bishop, of Guernsey. Before the German occupation of the Channel Islands, Fred’s fiancée, Hilda, came to England as a refugee, and lodged with the Sweet family at “Fernleigh” Bethel. After the German occupation, Fred and some friends escaped from Guernsey in a small open boat, quite unsuited for a channel crossing, but chosen to make the Germans believe that they were simply going on a short fishing trip. On his arrival in Cornwall, Fred was reunited with Hilda, and Fred joined the DCLI. Fred and Hilda were married in Bethel Chapel, and for as long as they were able, with Fred based in Bodmin, they took an active part in the social activities and Chapel services of Bethel. Later in the war, Fred had been seconded to a highland regiment, and was engaged in the clearance of land mines on the German/Dutch border when a mine was accidentally detonated on January 22nd 1945, injuring Fred in the head. He died the following day. Hilda took a job as housekeeper with a family in Shipley, Yorkshire, until the end of the war, when she returned to Guernsey. Fred is buried in the war cemetery at Brunssum in Germany. As his home, albeit only temporarily, was in Bethel at the time of his death, it is felt appropriate that his name should be included on our memorial.
Private Frederick Gerald Bone was the son of Arthur Fred and Clara Georgina Bone of Holmbush, and was serving with the 2nd. Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment. He was killed on the 30th April 1944 aged 20, and is buried in the Kohima War Cemetery in north east India. The Japanese advance into India was halted at Kohima, where a small Commonwealth force held out against repeated attacks by a very large Japanese force until reinforcements arrived and the Japanese were forced to retreat. The fiercest fighting at Kohima occurred around the deputy commissioner’s bungalow, in the garden and tennis court. The bungalow was destroyed in the battle, but the white lines of the tennis court have been concreted to preserve the scene. A total of 1,275 Commonwealth troops are buried at Kohima, and on the plinth of the memorial cross there is inscribed, “When you get home, tell them of us, and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today”.
Lance Sergeant A.T. Chapman was the son of R.A.A. and Annie Chapman, and the husband of Rose Mary. He was serving with 571 Army Field Coy of the Royal Engineers in Italy, and was killed there, aged 31 on September 4th 1944, and is buried at the Arezzo War Cemetery in Tuscany, Italy. The circumstances of his death are not known at this time.
Gunner E. Endean was the son of S.H. and Laura Endean who lived in Sandy Lane and he was married to Avis. He was one of a family of ten children. He was involved in the withdrawal from Dunkirk, where the “little ships” rescued so many of our troops from the beaches. He had been picked up by one of the ships, and had been advised to remain below decks, but nevertheless went up on deck. He paid a heavy price for his curiosity, for he was badly wounded in the leg. He was brought back to Folkestone where his leg was amputated. His family were able to visit him in the hospital, but he died there, aged 35, on June 7th 1940, and is buried in St. Austell cemetery.
Flight Sergeant John Henry Hibbert was the son of Albert John and Betty Mary Louise Hibbert. Albert John was the landlord of the Carlyon Arms in Sandy. Flight Sergeant Hibbert lost his life on March 30th 1942. His name is recorded on the Alamein Memorial which is dedicated to the memory of the eight thousand five hundred members of the Commonwealth Armed Forces who died in the Egyptian and Libyan campaigns and who have no known grave. He was in the crew of Blenheim Z7627 of 14 Squadron with an Australian, Flight Lieutenant Keck, as pilot and Flight Sergeant G P Rylands as the third crew member, which took off from it’s base in North Africa. Over the Mediterranean the Blenheim was mistaken for an enemy aircraft by a group of Hurricane pilots, who shot it down, crashing into the sea near Ras Alam el Rumb. Flight Sergeant Hibbert’s parents may not have known the circumstances of their son’s death.
Gunner P.F. Mills was the son of Henry Thomas and Gladys Myrtle Mills, and he was killed on July 26th 1944, in Normandy, in intense fighting following the D-Day landings. He was 20, and is buried in the War Cemetery of La Delivrande, in Douvres, in Normandy. This cemetery, in common with all the others in this area, is beautifully kept, and to visit is a very moving experience. La Delivrande is unusual in that German soldiers and British are buried in the same cemetery.
Able Seaman Arthur Phillips was the son of Richard Henry and Edith Phillips, and he was serving on H.M. trawler “Red Gauntlet” at the time of his death, aged 37. Many trawlers were pressed into service during the war to act as patrol vessels and minesweepers, and the dangers of such operations are not difficult to imagine. Red Gauntlet was sunk by a German E-boat, number S86, off Felixtowe, on August 5th 1943.
Stoker B.A. Ready was the husband of Edith, and father of Marion. He, too, was serving on a trawler which was acting as a minesweeper. His ship was the “River Clyde” which was blown up by a mine on August 5th 1940, and he was killed, aged 34, when his daughter Marion was just seven years of age. The River Clyde struck the mine which destroyed it off Aldeburgh, Suffolk.
Private W.T. Treloar was involved in the initial landings by the Allies on the mainland of Italy, which took place on the 2nd and 9th. of September 1943. Private Treloar was killed on the 8th. of September 1943 during the battle to establish the beach head. He is buried in the Monte Casino Military Cemetery, and was just 24 years of age at the time of his death.
Sergeant E.A.E. Tucker [Evan], was the son of Edgar Evan and Dorothy Tucker of Boldventure, Bethel, and he had a sister, Enid Margaret. He attended Mountcharles Primary School and West Hill Central School, before starting work as a telegram delivery boy for the Post Office. He was serving as rear gunner in Halifax bomber M2342 which was returning from a raid on Stettin in Poland on the night of February 8th /9th 1945 when his aircraft collided with Lancaster PD 376 of 625 Squadron. The Lancaster was not seriously damaged and returned to base at RAF Foulsham, in Norfolk, but Evan’s Halifax crashed into the Norwegian Sea with the loss of all the crew, of whom Evan was the youngest at 19, the oldest being 29. In all there were eight members of the crew, but only two bodies were recovered, and Evan’s was not one of them. His sacrifice is recorded on the Runnymede Memorial.
Private S.C. Tucker [Stan] was the son of Phillip Ernest and Mabel Tucker, who lived at Boldventure, and he was married to Beatrice. He was an uncle to Evan, whose story appears above. Before enlisting with the DCLI he had been employed with Messrs. J. A. Bragg and Son of Mountcharles as a traveller, and he was well known and respected in the St. Austell and Mevagissey districts He was serving as a driver with D Company MT of the 5th DCLI during the Normandy landings. He suffered a shrapnel wound but appeared to be recovering well, until he developed meningitis as a direct result of his injury and died aged 29, in Barnley Hall Emergency Hospital on August 24th 1944. His funeral service was held here at Bethel in the company of a large gathering of family and friends, and he is buried at Campdowns Cemetery.
Stoker F.P.Welch was a son of Richard James and Gladys Priscilla Welch. He and his brother Tommy were both in the Royal Navy, and F.P. [Percy] was serving on the mine laying cruiser H.M.S. “Welshman” when she was sunk by a torpedo from a U-boat off Libya on February 2nd 1943. Percy and fifty three of his shipmates were lost. Percy was 21 years old when he lost his life.