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Devotion To Duty Book Launched

A book that, for the first time, brings together all of the surviving citations for gallantry awards won by soldiers in the Devonshire Regiment and the Dorset Regiment between 1919 and 1958 has been officially launched in Dorchester. The launch took place at the 20th annual reunion of the Hong Kong, Korean and Minden Dorsets - the people who served in the Dorsets in the 1950s - and the event included a drumhead service and parade. The book entitled Devotion to Duty is written by Nick Speakman and Christopher Jary. 

Devotion to Duty tells the story of the 308 soldiers of the Devonshire Regiment and the Dorset Regiment who won 321 gallantry awards during the forty years between the end of the First World War and 1958, when the Regiments joined to become the Devon & Dorsets. Speaking at the launch co-author Major Nick Speakman said: "The book has been very well received. It's the third book in three years and what's important about it is that whilst citations are available, you have to go digging for them, and this book brings them all together for what we believe is the very first time. It's really important that their acts of gallantry are remembered. There are some amazing stories of what people did and it is actually quite humbling. When we do the exhortation and say 'We Will Remember Them' I think now specifically of the people mentioned in this book."

PICTURE: Brenda and Barry Down

Structured chronologically as a history, the book describes the campaign in which each award was won and provides a brief biography and, where possible, a photograph of the winner. The story begins in the North Russia Campaign of 1919, continues through Iraq, Ireland, India and Palestine and ends with the post-war campaigns in Malaya, Korea and Kenya. But the bulk of the book describes the 273 awards won during the various campaigns of the Second World War. Among many other stories, it tells of the five Dorset soldiers (including their brave Doctor) who won George Crosses, the very brave Devon officer (code named Xavier) who won the DSO leading the Resistance in Occupied France, the gallant Dorset company commander recommended for the VC in Normandy and the story of the Devon heroes of Nippon Hill and the Dorset heroes of Kohima.

Over 300 pages long and with 150 photographs and 20 maps,Devotion to Duty was written by Major Nick Speakman and Christopher Jary of the Keep Military Museum with help from Peter Helmore and Rex Lovell. Their book brings together for the first time the story of the gallantry of the soldiers of our two county regiments. It makes sad but inspiring reading.

Attending the launch was Barry Down the son of Clifford Down who won the Military Medal and is featured in the book. (Pictured above with his wife Brenda)

Clifford was born in Sherborne and served with the 1st Dorsets in India, Malta, Sicily, Italy and North West Europe. After the war he returned to Sherborne and started a tree-felling business that is still operating today. He died in July 1992, aged 71, and is buried in Sherborne Town Cemetery beside his wife Winifred and very near another distinguished Dorset, Clive Chettle MC.

The citation reads:

“On 28th July 1943 near AGIRA Private Down was a stretcher bearer attached to a rifle company. During an attack, his company came under heavy and accurate fire and casualties were sustained. Private Down with great coolness and utter disregard to his own personal safety went forward and, although his fellow stretcher bearer was killed, carried on by himself collecting and removing casualties to position behind cover. By continually seeking out and asking where more casualties could be found he set a very fine example to all ranks.

On 29th July near AGIRA Private Down again went forward during an action to collect casualties. Machine gun and mortar fire was directed on to him but he carried on dressing and removing casualties and by his action he saved several lives. Once again he showed absolute disregard to his own personal safety and his coolness and exemplary conduct whilst under heavy fire was a fine example to all ranks."

Clifford's son Barry said: "He said very little about it. My Dad did mention his mate who was killed, the fellow stretcher bearer. He didn't like to talk about what happened in the war. The book is a good memorial and I feel very proud. It's an excellent book, I've read previous books on the subject but this really stands out. It really sinks in what these men did and the bravery these people showed, it was exceptional."

The book (ISBN 978-0-9929033-2-9) is available from Waterstones in Dorchester and also from the Keep Military Museum (£12.50), Barrack Road, Dorchester, DT1 1RN Tel: 01305 264066 Email:

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The Devonshire Regiment 1919-1958

Bar to Distinguished Service Order

40705 Lt Col R G Pine-Coffin DSO MC

Distinguished Service Order

35959 Brig H A Borradaile

23796 Lt Col Sir John Carew-Pole

47571 Lt Col P Gleadell

69115 Maj M C Hastings

217728 Lt Col R H Heslop

375579 Capt A F E Lucas

38525 Lt Col C A R Nevill

9355 Maj A F S Northcote

49638 Maj C G Percy-Hardman

40705 Lt Col R G Pine-Coffin MC

20808 Lt Col R M V Ponsonby

13002 Maj AW Valentine OBE

58099 Maj E J Warren

Bar to Military Cross

66098 Maj P B Clarke MC

85611 Capt H V Duke MC

65193 Maj M W Howard MC

Military Cross

71108 Maj P F Anderson

66109 Capt D J H Bannister

243050 Capt T D Bowman

121629 Lt J D Campbell

129895 Maj B D Carey

66098 Maj P B Clarke

293293 Lt R C J Davey

17829 Capt I A Daw

85611 Capt H V Duke

148196 Capt A D Eteson

15503 Lt H Gibbons

47572 Maj A F Hanks

77612 Capt M Holdsworth

65193 Maj M W Howard

295436 Lt B F Horwood

50890 Maj W R A Kettle

143860 Capt C D C Lang

412614 Capt P F Legg

262297 Lt K L G Mock

330738 Lt D S Molock

65231 Maj P V Nepean

138465 Capt C G Osmond

262146 Lt F H Pease

26010 Lt M H C Perry

39016 Capt J F Phillips

40705 Capt R G Pine-Coffin

129892 Capt R G Porter

259079 Lt G G Reaks

CDN 59 Capt R A Reid

106917 Capt K Rhodes

71109 Maj J Rogers

197125 Lt J A H Rose

113578 Maj F G Sadleir MBE

53698 Capt V W Street

73519 Capt K Tolchard

338185 2/Lt G E A Townsend DCM

121424 Maj L T Valentine

96725 Maj H D Walker

181389 Capt R J Wallser

189231 Lt O H Waring

95589 Maj P T Willcocks

162095 Capt W G Wood

138624 Lt A C Worrall

130815 Capt M Woyevodsky

17500 Lt J Windsor

Distinguished Conduct Medal

5614925 CSM R J Bollam MBE

5627682 Cpl J McElhatton

6403538 Cpl W A Rudman

5619215 Sgt C H Russell

George Medal

5619651 Cpl AJ Richardson

73113 Capt J Weston

Bar to Military Medal

8439 Pte H Hocking MM

Military Medal

5621727 L/Cpl P Aplin

5620098 L/Cpl H J C Ash

14477311 Cpl P W Beer

5342402 Cpl W K A Bellenger

5616813 Sgt F S Bond

5625090 Pte V E Britton

5619452 Sgt S W J Bulley

5625304 Cpl C E Butler

5628819 Pte S E Cann

842515 Sgt W E Coleman

5620666 Sgt G G Corrick

5627606 Sgt W E Crane

5616672 Sgt F C J Dawe

5618466 L/Cpl E L J Dennis

2821318 Pte J M Drew

5616958 CSM R Dunkley

14445070 L/Cpl J Gallagher

3532888 Pte H Geard

5618339 Cpl R W Gibson

2051389 Cpl S E Gizzi

5620148 Pte D Griffin

5618816 Cpl T W Gubb

4922568 Sgt A S Hallett

4545335 L/Cpl A S Hopper

024 Pte T P Ingram

5628483 Cpl I H Jeffery

5618505 L/Cpl J K Jewell

14656048 Pte A Keenor

5627666 Sgt M King

290849 Pte F H Mason

14689960 Pte L O W Meeks

5619873 Cpl G N Murray

5616975 Pte S W Murrin

14656022 Pte C J E Oldridge

22222164 Pte K Osborne

3852702 L/Cpl A J Perkins

14557274 L/Cpl J W Potter

4126801 Pte T J Pountley

5616405 Pte W Prout

5626319 Cpl J Rabjohns

5615522 Sgt F Rotherham

5618591 L/Cpl B Russell

6206751 Cpl E J Sigall

7087 Pte W Sparks

5615069 L/Cpl L F Talbot

5625718 Cpl M Turner

14435953 Pte W C Walker

5620176 L/Cpl W H A R White

5623172 Sgt S V Williams

6480279 L/Cpl W D I Willmott

5614474 Sgt T A Woodcock

Medal of the Order of the British Empire

5609857 Cpl E C Cooper

British Empire Medal

14188456 Cpl A Barker

22001798 Pte H A Gower

5617071 Pte H F Hancock

5624272 Sgt F W Mott

5619662 Pte R J Pierce

14824556 Sgt R V Sandford

5616603 Cpl F J Stapleton

5616845 Cpl W F Tannatt

5614396 Cpl H B Trehane

King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct

Cpl A H Hopkins 1

Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct 2

22721593 Pte E G Reynolds

22703672 Pte R R Sarahs

5616617 WO II S G Scott


The Dorset Regiment 1919-1958

George Cross

5718784 Pte F Chant

5718234 Sgt W G Hand MM

5718907 Pte T Miller

5719290 Pte F H Troake

Asst Surg 3 rd Class G D Rodriques IMS

Bar to Distinguished Service Order

56230 Lt-Col W Q Roberts DSO

Distinguished Service Order

52571 Lt-Col J M K Bradford

49794 Lt-Col A E C Bredin MC

50942 Lt-Col P H W Brind OBE

34667 Lt-Col B A Coad

42983 Capt C R A Forsyth (A/S/Ldr RAFVR)

30854 Lt-Col J Gifford

176902 Capt V A J Heald MC

95626 Lt-Col A D Lewis

75140 Capt R V Macnamara

26073 Lt Col R S McNaught

69156 Capt A C W Martin

52027 Lt-Col E A M Norie

15834 Lt-Col W H B Ray

5486 Lt-Col E L Stephenson MC

14720 Maj B G Symes OBE

90922 Lt-Col G Tilly

32188 Lt-Col W A Venour

66144 Lt-Col R H Wheatley

47671 Lt-Col O G W White

13820 Maj-Gen G N Wood OBE MC

Bar to Military Cross

95488 Maj W N Hayes MC

78201 Maj G Symonds MC

Military Cross

172272 Capt R J Adams

124567 Maj H C Allen

CDN 60 Capt E G Andrews

198226 Capt J L Betts

71164 Capt H A A Bray

49794 Maj A E C Bredin

138725 Capt L G Browne

219867 Capt G W Campion

104576 Capt Dr J A Chamberlin RAMC

138067 Capt C Chettle

71165 Maj P Chilton

95799 Capt The Rev L E M Claxton RAChD

278356 Maj H R A Dartnall

96425 Capt L E Dawes

137354 Lt D Evans

105574 Capt R F Hall

93937 Maj G R Hartwell

95488 Maj W N Hayes

176902 Lt V A J Heald

55815 Capt J G Heron

189393 Capt L T Highett

78964 Maj G D Hodgson

117629 Maj J Jordan

170473 Capt J F Kirkwood

47616 Maj F F Laugher

162009 Capt P P Lawrance

278550 Capt D E McDermott

126424 Maj K Mead

331203 Lt M M Monfort

57147 Maj N J Newton

62624 Maj R M Nicoll

74660 Capt J A L Peebles

281805 Lt P L Penn

276405 Lt A F B Richards

126426 Lt A D Shirreff

117886 Capt J B Smith

143742 Lt S Stoy

78201 Maj G Symonds

58149 Maj R M Tarrant

149671 Capt J F Thom RA

295877 Lt P I Thorpe

247784 Lt R Tilling

126928 Lt P N Tregoning

121129 Capt R W Tucker

50940 Capt T G Tucker

63606 Maj D V W Wakely

299401 Lt H H Wetherbee

41527 Capt C R Whittington

13820 Capt G N Wood OBE

235367 Lt J M Woodhouse

53030 Maj D H C Worrall

Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross

45333 Capt C T P Stephenson DFC (A/S/Ldr RAFVR)

Distinguished Flying Cross

45333 Capt C T P Stephenson (F/Lt RAFVR)

Distinguished Conduct Medal

2978067 CSM R S Blain

5725602 Bdsmn D A D Bounsall

5718503 PSM R A S Brown

5720440 PSM S Brown

5384577 C/Sgt J F Collins

5724708 Sgt W J H Cooper

5725947 Sgt C T Edwards

5721994 PSM E H Giles

5722194 Sgt W F Seale

5882195 Sgt A T Skingley

5724115 Cpl S Thompson MM

George Medal

5725595 Pte V J Bagge

5719780 WO I E J Legg

2847 Maj G B Matthews MC

5724374 Pte R Munday

5723470 Pte E D W Read

Bar to Military Medal

3907199 Sgt W J Evans MM

Military Medal

5719280 Pte G Alexander

5734953 Pte H Apps

5725371 Cpl H G Barnes

5721834 Cpl A W Bishop

5726862 Sgt J W Blandamer

5725038 Sgt G W Blundell

5500455 L/Cpl L F Boyce

5726406 Cpl J E Brandon

5106720 Sgt E Brown

5728866 L/Cpl L W Bunning

5724986 Cpl B E Butel

6087919 CpI V E Carter

5718697 Pte L Churchill

6025436 CpI R W Churchill

14417029 Pte F J Clarke

5723430 WO II W Coker

5719133 Cpl R Collins

14551906 Pte E Dawes

5725458 Bdsmn C W Down

14706830 Pte L Driver

5725697 WO II N Elgie

14291504 Sgt W Else

5725288 L/Cpl S D Ennis

7887185 Pte L Evans

3907199 Sgt W J Evans

5728617 Pte F W Exley

5718387 Sgt H Fairman

14436023 L/Cpl F G Foreman

5342506 WO II H A Foster

1782717 Pte E Furey

5728400 Sgt R Given

5727062 Pte R Goddard

14218027 Cpl G J Golder

6023331 WO II E J Harris

5728237 Cpl W E Hawkins

5735228 Pte H T Hill

5730229 L/Cpl G C Hockley

14694874 Cpl S Hodge

5728746 Cpl A Holt

3908149 Sgt A Hopkins

5726203 Sgt P B G Hopkins

6146660 Pte P A Hyans

5725676 Sgt R F James

5723746 L/Cpl H C Jesty

5726653 Cpl E G Jones

1117965 L/Cpl L S Jones

5724166 Sgt E T Kenny

14406109 Pte V S Lawson

5725792 Pte K J Leach

4922918 Cpl A E Lewis

5723957 Cpl W Mansfield

5724315 Sgt R Mattock

4643615 Cpl L Metcalfe

6092620 L/Cpl J M Miller

5724619 Sgt A V Mockridge

5729363 Sgt F W Murray

5728242 WO II L W D Northam

5623175 Pte E A Parker

14646360 Pte L W Penn

5725321 Cpl J Redpath

7962298 Sgn J Rimmer R Sigs

5727763 Sgt W E Ring

5734319 Cpl G Rudd

5776788 Sgt C F Scott

5735051 CpI A C Smith

5726930 Sgt F Stretch

5726158 Pte T Tabb

5722842 Sgt A W Talbot

T/172544 Sgt W J Tams RASC

14572801 L/Cpl R E Thompson

5724115 Cpl S Thompson

806456 Pte W J Townsend

5719354 Pte C Trueman

5617955 Pte S J Vigg

5730366 Cpl F H Warren

5350609 Cpl G Watkins

5725357 Pte H West

5735508 Cpl K J Willis

5726774 Sgt E J Worth

5340777 Cpl H F V Wright

British Empire Medal

14209709 Cpl J Gibson

3906748 Cpl I Hathaway

5724926 Sgt F E Norman

5732134 Sgt L C Purdy

Meritorious Service Medal for Gallantry

5718378 Pte A W W Biddlecombe

5719524 Pte F W G Gollop

Mention in Despatches

5726146 Pte J J Sinnott 3

King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct 4

5728898 L/Cpl W I Illiff

5730511 Pte J E Madle

13023400 WO II C Makin 5


claire: 21st Jul 2016 16:00:00