Brentor and the First World War

The Brentor Archive Group are marking the centenary of the First World War by studying Brentor’s contribution to the war effort and how the experience changed life in the area.

The themes include :

1. The social and economic makeup of  Brentor in 1914:
i) Village Economy
• Railways and transport
• Shops and businesses
• Farming

ii) Village Institutions
• Schools
• Church and Chapel
• Families

2. The parish’s contribution to the war effort
• Brentor’s civic response.
• Personal stories and contributions

3. The impact of the war on the community
• Biographies on those who went away to fight (those who died and those who returned)
• Biographies on those who stayed in the parish,
• The effects on local politics, crime, sport and recreation
• The effects on social structure and mobility

The names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and are recorded on the War Memorial are:

Private James Batten (51327) of the 9th Battalion (Service), Devonshire Regiment. Died of his wounds in France on 13 October 1918, aged 29.

Acting Corporal John Batten (5002) of the 1st/4th Battalion (Territorials), Devonshire Regiment. Died in Mesopotamia on 17 September 1916, aged 20.

Private Albert Bickle (M/274278) of the 1015th Motor Transport Company of the Army Service Corps. Died in Mesopotamia on 20 July 1918, aged 31.

William Brewer

Private Stanley Brook (203488) of D Company, 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Died 27 October 1916, aged 17.

Bombardier John Henry Cowling (75452) of the 117th Siege Battery, 3rd Siege Battalion, Royal Garrison Artillery. Died on 5 October 1918, aged 21.

Stoker First Class George Doidge (K12459) served on HMS Recruit, an R class destroyer. Died on 9 August 1917, aged 23.

Private John Doidge (10134) of the 8th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Died on 10 May 1916, aged 24.

Private Ernest Percy Goad(241113) of the 1st Garrison Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, later transferred to the Labour Corps, 801st Area Employment Company. Died on 15 November 1918, aged 27.

CSM Walter Holwill

Acting Corporal Samuel Higgins(20914) of the 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Died on 23 April 1917, aged 22.

Company Sergeant Major Walter Holwill MC (10261) of the 8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Died on 22 July 1916, aged 43.

Cook’s Mate Herbert William Jeffery (M/5049) of HMS Indefatigable. Died at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, aged 23.

Private Fred Medland (30335) of the 4th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, transferred to the 444th Agricultural Company, Labour Corps. Died on 20 October 1919, aged 29.

Lieutenant Christopher Joyce Postlethwaite of the 12th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died of his wounds on 9 January 1918, aged 23.

Trooper John Joyce Postlethwaite of the 5th Australian Light Horse. Died on 2 November 1915, aged 22.

Private William Short (29108) of the 14th Welsh Regiment. Killed in action on 19 March 1916.

Gunner Robert Arthur French Smith (85429) of the 3rd Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. Died in France on 8 June 1917, aged 32.

Colour Sergeant Ernest Wheeler (2008042) of the 25th (Res) Garrison, Rifle Brigade. Died on 26 February 1918, aged 41.

Some of the families who were living in the parish at the time include :

Batten, Doidge, Walters, Brimacombe, Rice, Ward, Cook, Parken, Gerry, Minhinnick, Squire, Guscott, Allen, Apps, Lashbrook, Jenkins, Bickle, Cowling, Postlethwaite, Rundle, Nicholls, Maunder, Greening, Prouse

If you have any information or photographs on any of these families or others living in the Brentor area between 1900 and 1930 please contact:

Philip Whitcomb, tel 01258 452773 or email

Irene Cradick, e-mail


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