This was the blackest day at war in the history of the Roberts and Arscott families, with four men connected to my parents’ families dying in the Battle of Loos.
James Sharland (1877-1915), a lance-corporal in the 8th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, who was 38 when he lost his life. He was officially reported as missing more than a year later, in October 1916. His body was never found. James, who first went to France in July 1915, is remembered on the Loos Memorial and is also commemorated on the war memorial at Holy Cross Church, Cruwys Morchard.
William Henry Hitchcock (1894-1915), aged 20, who was a nephew of James Sharland, William, a private in the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, enlisted in 1914 and went to France on July 25, 1915. He was listed as ‘missing’ in a Roll of Honour in The Western Times and The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette on November 3, 1915. His death was first reported in The Western Times and The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette on November 27, 1915. William, whose body was never recovered, is remembered on the Loos Memorial and on the war memorial at Thelbridge Parish Church.
Henry Roberts Earl (1892-1915), who was a lance-corporal in the 9th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. He died between September 25 – the opening day of the battle – and September 30, 1915. Henry, who went to France just three months earlier – on July 27, 1915 – is remembered on the Loos Memorial and on Cove (Tiverton) War Memorial.
Philip Gard (1884-1915), who was 31 and a private in D Company of the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment when he lost his life. He went to war on July 27, 1915 – just over two months after he married Henrietta Eva Lewis in Exeter. On August 26, 1915, just a month before his death, The Western Times published a letter Philip sent to Mr W C Carter, of Witheridge. ‘We have got a good regiment and they are nearly all Devon boys in it,’ wrote Philip. ‘We are the real old stuff, and are going to help to keep up the name of the Devons, and to keep also the old flag flying. We are the boys to do it! If those young chaps of Witheridge only knew what it was like out here, they would soon join. It is out here they are wanted to help us to finish this war. We are (General) Buller’s bull dogs, and not down-hearted yet.’ He is remembered on Loos War Memorial and on Witheridge War Memorial.
James Sharland was the son of James Sharland (1839-1907) and Eliza Crook (1843-1923). Eliza was the daughter of Richard Crook (1810- 1883) and Charity Roberts (1818-1883). Charity was the daughter of William Roberts (1779-1848) and Sarah Treble (1784-1861). William was the son of William Roberts (1738-), my great-great-great-great-great grandfather.
William Henry Hitchcock was the son of Mary Jane Sharland (1867-1923) and William Henry Hitchcock (1867-1922). Mary Jane was the daughter of James Sharland (1839-1907) and Eliza Crook (1843-1923). Eliza was the daughter of Richard Crook (1810-1883) and Charity Roberts (1818- 1883). Charity was the daughter of William Roberts (1779-1848) and Sarah Treble (1784-1861). William was the son of William Roberts (1738-), my great-great-great-great-great grandfather.
Henry Roberts Earl was the son of coachman John Earl (1862-1957) and Elizabeth Ann Roberts (1863-1915), who for many years lived at Court Place Farm Cove, Tiverton. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Roberts (1822-1896) and Elizabeth Hawkins (1832-1912). John was the son of William Roberts (1791-1875) and Frances Hodge (1796-1873). William was the son of John Roberts (1766-1834) and Elizabeth James (1767-1861). John was the son of William Roberts (1738-), my great-great-great-great-great grandfather.
Philip Gard married Henrietta Lewis (1893-1934) in May 1915 in Exeter. Henrietta’s sister, Laura Mary Lewis (1888-1940) married William Henry Bristow (1889-1978) in South Molton in 1913. William was the brother of Ethel Bristow (1886-1967) who married John Burnett (1878- 1954) in 1906 in South Molton. John was the son of George Burnett (1826-1910) and Amelia Arscott (1836-1908). Amelia was the daughter of John Arscott (1807-1879), my great-great grandfather.
James Sharland – killed in the Battle of Loos on September 25, 1915.