In the early part of the First World War, several charities were set up to send scarves, socks and small gifts to soldiers and sailors serving under battle conditions. Mrs Frances Pope and her three daughters, Mary, Elizabeth and Frances, who lived at Coplestone House, did such work. A batch of letters sent from the front by grateful recipients of the good work of the Popes has survived, and was recently deposited with CAHMS by Hilary Shove, a member of the Pope family.
It's clear that the content of the letters was limited by the censors and the need for secrecy, but they still make fascinating reading. A poignant optimism shines through, as well as the men's gratitude to the Popes. The correspondence appears to be largely, if not exclusively, from local men. We look forward to studying the letters in greater detail, as resources allow.
Mrs Shove has expressed an interest in the outcome of family history research into the men concerned; in particular whether any of their descendants still live locally. To this end, we publish the following list of the correspondents. We would be grateful if anyone with information about any of them contacts CAHMS.
2nd Corporal R. H. L. Allen , 1904, 5 Field Survey Company, Reserve Army HQ
Driver James A. Arme, horse groom, 57916, 29th Battery, RFA, 42 Brigade
A. L. Bond, HMS Marlborough
William Henry Braund, Stoker 1st class No K. 6748, HMS Tiger (address 3 Georges Street, Stonehouse, Plymouth)
Dennis Cann, 7214, B Company, 1st Devonshire Regiment
W. H. C. Chilcott, HMS Exmouth
Corporal J. B. Discombe, 5625, Farrier, No 13 Veterinary Hospital
George Ewings, 8103, 2nd Devonshire Regiment, C Company
Private Robert Gregory, 7629, HMS Argonaut
Sergeant W. Gregory
John Hammett, 15470 or 15478, 1st Devonshire Regiment, no 2 Company, no 6 Platoon
Private F. Harris, 66427, RAMC, B Section, 99th Field Ambulance
W. J. Jarvis, 11481, G Company, 1st Devon Regiment
Colour Sergeant S. Lewis, Royal Marines Light Infantry, HMS Leander
G. H. Olding, Chief Stoker, HMS Ajax, 2nd Battle Squadron, Grand Fleet (believed to be a Bow family)
Corporal W Parker, 3.4547, Saddler
Gunner Percy Pike, 70705, 72 Battery, 5th Brigade, Indian Expeditionary Force
G. P. Reddaway, 20425, Royal Engineers, Army Signals, 1st Corp
Arthur Steer, HMS Orian
Frank Stentiford, 15494 (worked for Mr Sparkes, knew the Popes and Copplestone)
W.H. Vanstone, Stoker, HMS London