Few people can have missed the articles in the press and on the TV, reminding us that this year is the centenary of the start of the Great War, the war to end all wars. The young men of South Hill and Golberdon also went to fight for King and Country one hundred years ago.
We know a little about those young men who never came back; their names are recorded on the war memorial outside the parish hall – the Victory Hall, as it was originally going to be called:
- Private John Garfield Doney of the 7th City of London Battalion, the London Regiment. He was the son of William & Martha Doney and came from Mornick. He was 21 when he died.
- Private Thomas Drew who served in The Somerset Light Infantry, and was the son of Mr and Mrs W H Drew from Pensilva. He died aged 29.
- 2nd Lieutenant Herbert Gloyne Forster-Morris of The South Wales Borderers. He was the only son of the Rector of South Hill, the Rev Herbert Forster-Morris, and lived at the Rectory at South Hill. He was killed when he was just 19 years old.
- Private Percy Jenkin, who served in the 7th Battalion, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He was born in South Hill and lived in Kelly Bray.
- Private William Gordon Landry, of the 1st Battalion, the Essex Regiment. He was the son of William and Elizabeth Landry of Trevigro. He died aged 24.
- Private William Nicholas Stephens, who served in the 10th Battalion, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He was the son of Stephen and Harriet Stephens, of Pear Tree Row, Callington. He died aged 28.
These are the bare facts, but behind every name lies a story, and a tragedy. These young men lived and worked in the same place we call home but never returned. Then there are the others, who we have forgotten altogether, the young men who suffered the terrors and horrors of trench warfare, but somehow survived and came home to South Hill, some wounded or crippled in mind or body.
We would like, before it is too late, to put together a book of remembrance which tells the stories of the men of South Hill in the first world war. There are very few official records, but many families must still have memories, perhaps even photographs or letters, of these brave men. If you have any such information, please do get in touch with me, Geoff Clemerson, as soon as possible. My telephone number is 01579 362623.