The history of Devon’s war memorials, including most of our local memorials, is excellently covered in Todd Gray’s book: ‘Lest Devon Forgets‘ (The Mint Press, 2010). Fortunately, all those in Tiverton appear to be well-cared for and in good or excellent condition. After public consultation the design has been approved for a proposed new War Memorial Garden in Phoenix Lane, which will mean relocation of the Burma Star Memorial from it’s present site. The latest news is that plans for this will go ahead, but the memorial slab for Thomas Henry Sage VC will be located on the wall of the War Memorial Hall on Angel Hill, and it will be unveiled on October 4th 2017, the centenary of the action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
To mark the centenary of the start of the First World War Civic Voice , together with Historic England, The War Memorials Trust and The Imperial War Museum, launched a major campaign to identify, protect and conserve the nation’s war memorials. All Civic Societies have been asked to become involved in this and Tiverton Civic Society have agreed to do so, having in 2016 and 2017, already recorded most of the war memorials in the parish of Tiverton on War Memorials Online, part of the War Memorials Trust. Tiverton’s main War Memorials are:
The War Memorial Hall on Angel Hill, which used an existing building, the Angel Hotel, and was opened in 1929.Inside the hall the inscription on a wooden board is worded: ‘War Memorial. In Thanksgiving to God for Victory and in honour of the officers and men of Tiverton who served nobly and suffered willingly during the Great War for the deathless cause of right and liberty, 1914-1919’. In the War Memorial Room are displayed the names of 281 Tiverton men and women who gave their lives during the First World War; 80 during the Second World War and 4 in subsequent conflicts . Fuller details can be read online about those killed in Mesopotamia in February, 1917.
- The First World War oak screen to the dedicated north chancel chapel in St Peter’s Church, was designed by Sydney Greenslade (architect of the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth), and executed by Herbert Read of Exeter in 1920 On it are listed the names of 68 parishioners who lost their lives in the Great War and 33 in the Second World War: Names on Screen, St Peter’s Church. Above the altar in this chapel there is a fine reredos by Herbert Read in this chapel which shows a soldier, a sailor, an airman and a nurse standing by a cross. Within this chapel is a plaque erected by the Burma Star Association ‘in memory of those who served in the Burma Star Campaign 1941-45’.There is also a plaque erected by the Trustees of the Tiverton War Memorial in 1995 stating that
the floodlighting of the church was given by them to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Elsewhere in the church there is a brass plaque dedicated to Cecil Awdry Campbell, killed in action in 1917, and a stone memorial to Gerald Fewings who was killed in action in India in 1946.
- Two Victoria Cross holders were brought up, and spent much of their lives, in Tiverton: William Oxenham, who won his medal at the Siege of Lucknow in 1857, and is buried in the Higher Cemetery, Exeter; and Thomas Henry Sage, who was awarded the medal in 1917, and is buried in the Tiverton Cemetery. A third holder, Alfred Maurice Toye, who moved to Tiverton late in life,
is also buried in the Tiverton Cemetery: he was awarded the medal in 1918, and a fourth,
Gustavus Hamilton Blenkinsopp Coulson lived at Lythecourt, Bolham, there being a memorial to him in St Peter’s Church; he was posthumously awarded the medal in 1902. His father was manager of the Knightshayes Estate Office in Leat Street. Edward Donald Bellew was educated at Blundell’s School from 1895-1897 and he was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1915. He died at Kamloops, British Columbia, and he is commemorated by a plaque at the Canadian War Memorial, St Julien, Belgium.
- The 1920 War Memorial Cross at Blundell’s School is largely a copy of the famous cross in the churchyard at Eyam in Derbyshire. It was designed by Frederic Wykeham Chancellor, and it was carved in Corsehill sandstone by Harry Hems & Sons of Exeter.
- A memorial, on the northern side of the main school building close to the War Memorial Cross, which comprises several stone tablets, names the 195 former pupils of Blundell’s, many from Tiverton, who lost their lives in the First World War. Full details can be read online.
- A memorial to the 172 Old Blundellians who lost their lives in the Second World War is located on the north side of the nave in the school chapel, and in front of this is a Toc H lamp. Many of the brass plaques in the chapel commemorate former pupils who died
in the two world wars and other conflicts. The former school library, now the staff common room,
was also dedicated as a First World War Memorial. The memorial for former Blundellian French Resistance hero Gerald Keun, who was executed at Buchenwald in 1944, is at Brooklands Military Cemetery in Surrey. He posthumously received France’s highest military award, Légion d’Honneur, as well as the Croix de Guerre, and the Medaille de la Résistance Française.
- The Blundell’s clock tower contains a 1938 statue of Christ in Blessing by Alain John (1920-1943), a pupil of the School and aspiring sculptor, who joined the RAF as a navigator and was killed during the Second World War.
When it was carved Eric Gill, then teaching at the School, said that “No finer piece of work has been done by anyone in this country this year”. The statue was subsequently re-cast at the commission of Neville Gorton, former Headmaster of Blundell’s, who was then Bishop of Coventry, and it stands in the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the war.
- In June 2014 a Roll of Honour of those Blundellians who gave their lives in the Great War and other major conflicts during the past one hundred and fifty years was presented and blessed by the School Chaplain. The Roll of Honour was a gift from Mrs Jacqueline Clough, in memory of her late husband Tom Clough.
In addition, a memorial oak tree was planted in the School grounds, to commemorate the many Blundellians who fell in the First World War. This tree was grown from an acorn gathered in Delville Wood, the site of a series of engagements in the Battle of the Somme.
- There is a memorial on the wall of the north aisle of St Paul’s Church on which the names of 58 parishioners who lost their lives in the First World War are recorded. A brass plate inset also lists the names of 24 parishioners who lost their lives in the Second World War.
- On the south wall of an alcove in the west wall of St George’s Church a large brass plaque includes the names of 52 parishioners and worshippers at the church who died in the Great War. War Memorials, Tiverton.
- Two bronze plaques in the National Westminster Bank at 11 Fore Street which record the names of employees who lost their lives in both World Wars.
The Burma Star Association War Memorial in Phoenix Lane ‘in memory of those who fought and died in the Burma campaign 1944 – 1945′.
- The stone American War Memorial in the Peoples’ Park, Park Road ‘In memory of our Comrades in Arms D Day June 6th 1944. Presented by the Arizona Chapter 4 IDA June 6th 2011’. Tiverton became the Headquarters of the 4th Infantry Division in 1943, many of whom lost their lives during the D Day landings. The War Memorial was given by the Division’s Veterans’ Association and the dedication ceremony on June 6th 2011 can be viewed online. In front of this memorial is an earlier 1999 plaque. See the Archives Page for information about J.D.Salinger, who was a member of the 4th Infantry Division, and was posted in Tiverton in 1944.
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission provides details for thirteen servicemen who lost their lives in 1914-1918, and twenty one who lost their lives in 1939-1945, who are buried in the Tiverton Cemetery.
Also in the parish of Tiverton, the stone cross at Cove commemorates the deaths of ten combatants in the Great War who lost their lives. In the porch of St Catherine’s Church, Withleigh, is a wooden cross dedicated to the memory of Henry Jepson Paddison MC, killed in action in 1917. The War Memorial Cross at Chevithorne includes the names of twenty parishioners who lost their lives in the Great War, including Captain Ludovic Heathcoat-Amory of Chevithorne Barton, and three who lost their lives in the 1939-1945 War, including Captain Patrick Heathcoat-Amory and Major Edgar Heathcoat-Amory of Chevithorne Barton.
- A ‘Cold War’ Memorial. In 1961 a RAF Canberra bomber on a training flight from Germany crashed into the Grand Western Canal at Manley Bridge, both crew members losing their lives. A memorial tablet and information board has been erected.