Private John Sparkes Mafeking Gilpin


Service Army Service No. 8/38683
Rank Private
Regiment:Devonshire Regiment, 52nd Graduation Battalion
Date of Birth: 1900
Born Dawlish
Date of Death: 13/07/1918
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription GILPIN J.S. PTE. DEVON REGT.

Service History

It appears that John Gilpin may have just passed his 18th birthday when he was conscripted or volunteered for the Devonshire Regiment. The 52nd (Graduated) Battalion was one of a number that were formed in late 1917 and early 1918. These battalions concentrated on training young recruits and preparing them for active service. They remained in England throughout the war, supplying many reinforcements to France – especially after the German onslaught in March 1918. Initial training in this case was at Sherringham on the north Norfolk coast. It was here that John Gilpin was taken ill and quite quickly declined. He was brought home and buried in Dawlish Cemetery where there is a family headstone as well as a CWGC headstone.

Association with Dawlish

John Gilpin (1791- ) was recorded as a mariner in the 1841 census, and married to Elizabeth of a similar age, with a daughter Martha (1824-1895) working as a laundress. It appears that Martha never married, as far as the census returns show. She had an older sister, Elizabeth (1822- ) who appears in the 1861 census with her father, now a widower, and her sister Martha, shown as a dressmaker. There were also four grandchildren of John Gilpin but no mention of their fathers.

Elizabeth was head of household in 1871, in Holmans Court off Brook Street, and her younger sister, Martha, would appear to have two children of her own, Minnie V (1861- ) and John S (1863- 1930).

In 1881 the census shows Martha, 56, as dressmaker and head of household, on Town Tree Hill, with Elizabeth, 58, John S, 17 and an agricultural labourer, and George S, 13.

John Sparkes Gilpin married Eliza Jane Hart (1866-1939) in 1899 at the age of 36 and John Sparkes Mafeking Gilpin was born in the following year (GRO ref 1900, Apr-Jun, Newton Abbot, vol 5b, p 88). They were living in Golden Terrace, Dawlish, and the father was a porter. In the last available census, 1911, they had moved to the other end of Golden Terrace and Eliza’s father, William Hart, 67, was living with them. John S M Gilpin was still at school, aged 11.

On a family tree in Ancestry another child is indicated but the 1911 census return shows that John and Eliza Gilpin had only one child and he was still alive, John S M Gilpin.

Devon Roll of Honour Gilpin, John Sparkes, Pte, Devon Regt, 3rd July 1918, Sheringham
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site


Next of Kin: father, John Sparkes Gilpin
Last Known Address: 9 Golden Terrace, Dawlish


Headstones in Dawlish Cemetery for Gilpin

Free BMD refs

The Keep Military Museum website

Dawlish Gazette (see extracts in Documents)

refs from susbscription websites:

Census records

Cole family tree – Ancestry.co.uk