Archibald MORTIMORE  (1893 - 1916)

Historic photograph of a man

Archibald Mortimore

Researched by Lee Barnes & Keith Parsons

Background

Archibald Mortimore was my mother's uncle on her father's side. According to the 1901 census Archie, aged seven, was born in Crediton.  His father Samuel may also have been born in Crediton or possibly Sandford and mother Elizabeth (Luxton) was born in Winkleigh.  At that time Samuel was a grocer waggoner although had been a shoe maker and Elizabeth was not working although I understand she worked in the local sweet factory at one time where she sustained an injury which lead to the loss of an arm.

Archie was one of seven children.  He had two sisters, of the four brothers the eldest, Reginald Harwood, was my grandfather.  Dating from before 1891 the family home was 5 Queen's Place, off East Street.  Queen's Place was comprised of small, two-up two-down, cottages.  Life must have been extremely difficult with nine squeezed into those houses.  At that time the neighbouring family was named Payne.  Later my grandfather married Beatrice (Dyer), also of a Crediton family, whose mother was Payne before marriage.  So I believe there was a close connection between the three families. 

Elizabeth died in 1910 leaving Samuel to raise seven children then between the ages of four and twenty-four. 

The 1911 census records the employment of elder daughter Florence, then twenty, as "house keeper".  I have it from her daughter that Florence had taken on the household duties of her late mother in addition to being in paid employment. Before enlisting Archie had been an apprentice carpenter with Messrs Dart and Francis.  There was a number of examples of his work, which included hand carving, kept by family members; but I do not know if any still exist. 

The CWGC memorial records Archie's death as 14 August 1916 at the age of 23.  This is slightly different to the article in the Parish Magazine and the memorial card made out by his brother.  I wonder if Archie's twenty-fourth birthday was 16 August and that has caused the confusion.  Archie was laid to rest in the Amara War Cemetery in the area then known as Mesopotamia, now Iraq.  Amara is a small town on the left bank of the Tigris.  The cemetery is a little east of the town and can still be visited.

To the rear of Crediton Parish Church is a headstone marking the grave of Elizabeth and Samuel.  Also on the stone is a memorial address to Archie.  I have just arranged for the stone to be re-set and spruced up and would be happy for anyone to visit the grave if they wish.  Archie is also remembered on the WW1 memorial in the High Street.

Lee Barnes

Service Record

1/6th Battalion Devonshire Regiment

4th August 1914 Barnstaple: Army Troops attached Wessex Div. 5 to 9 Aug. Plymouth then to Salisbury Plain wih Wessex Div.
16th September 1914 To Devon & Cornwall Bde.
9th October 1914 Embarked at Southampton for India
11th November 1914 Arrived Karachi
30th December 1915 Embarked at Karachi in 36th Indian Bde.
5th January 1916 Landed at Basra.
12th May 1916 Bde. to 14th Indian Div. Sept.
1916 To Tigris Defences and L. of C.
31st October 1918 Mesopotamia; Basra.

Death

The Western Times Thursday August 31st 1916: Pte A Mortimore (Devons) of Crediton has died of wounds

The Westen Times Thursday September 21st 1916: ROLL OF HONOUR: Died A Mortimore Crediton

In Memorium

Archibald Mortimore - In MemoryIn Loving Memory of Pte Archie Mortimore 1/6th Devonshire Regiment (T) who died at Amara August 16th 1916 aged 24 years whilst serving with the BEF Mesopotamia. "He died for his King and Country"

The following appreciation was written by his Colonel of Private Archie Mortimore, the son of Mr S Mortimore, of Quenn's Place, Crediton:-

"He looked after me for a long time and we made many long trips together, and it was of real regret that I learn't of his death at Amara. He was a good lad and did not want to leave the Battalion until we made him go down . Everyone liked him and he was always ready to do a good turn to a comrade. he possessed the old fighting spirit of Devon, and never would give in."

Up to the War , Archie Mortimore was employed by Messrs. Dart and Francis, and only a few years ago, with his brothers Fred and Stanley, was a boy in our Parish Church Choir. As he was always exceptionally well-liked, we can understand and sympatize with the great loss to his father and family.