Private Tom Pook

Service Army Service No. 26714
Rank Private
Regiment:Devonshire Regt 8th Battn
Date of Birth: 1880
Born Tedburn St Mary
Date of Death: 26/10/1917
Memorial: Cofton Memorial Inscription Thomas Pook 8th Devon Regt. Oct 26th 1917

Service History

Tom Pook enlisted at Newton Abbot and was given the Service Number 26714 in the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. The 8th Devons were the first service battalion formed by the Regiment in the First World War. Raised in August 1914 from a nucleus of officers and NCOs from the 1st Battalion, they quickly spawned a second battalion – the 9th – who became their twin and with whom they would serve very closely until 1918.

In early August 1915 the 8th and then the 9th joined 20 Brigade in the 7th Division in France. After the briefest experience in the line, both Battalions were hurled into the Battle of Loos on 25th September. The survivors of the two Battalions held the position until the evening of 26th September, when they were withdrawn. In this single battle the 8th suffered 639 casualties and the 9th 476.

After a spell near Givenchy both Battalions moved to the Somme area. The Somme remained a relatively quiet sector until the offensive began on 1st July 1916. On the 4th July the Padre of the 8th Devons, Capt Crosse, buried 160 officers and men of both Battalions at Mansel Copse, erecting a plaque: “The Devonshires held this trench. The Devonshires hold it still.”

In April 1917 during the Battle of Arras both Battalions attacked Ecoust with great success and light casualties but, a month later, capturing part of Bullecourt cost them 382 killed and wounded. It is likely that Tom Pook was injured in this battle for he wrote to his former employer, Mr Partridge of Eastdon House, from Endell Street Military Hospital on 24th May 1917. In due course he rejoined his regiment in Flanders.

Early October found both Battalions near Passchendaele enduring the worst of the Third Battle of Ypres. On the 26th in an unsuccessful attack on Gheluvelt both lost heavily – especially among their officers, only three of whom from the two Battalions emerged unscathed.

See 'Documents' below for a more detailed account.

Association with Dawlish

Tom Pook was the son of George and Mary Ann Pook and was born in Tedburn St Mary in the last quarter of 1880 (GRO ref St Thomas, 1880, Oct-Dec, vol 5b, page 65). George Pook (1844-1923) and Mary Ann (nee Soper 1846-1931) were from families rooted in Tedburn.

The 1911 census reveals that 10 children were born and still living as were the parents.
Tom appears again in the 1911 census, aged 30, living as a single man and gardener/caretaker at Eastdon House, Starcross. At that time Eastdon House was the home of John George Denman Partridge.
In all of the references Tom is shown as ‘Tom’ and not Thomas.

Tom married Emily Philpot at Dawlish Parish Church on 5th October, 1912.

They both gave their address as 10, The Strand, Dawlish. Emily was the daughter of Henry Philpot, a labourer, shown as deceased although her mother had died but her father lived until 1916.

The Philpot family came from Kent. Henry (1845-1916 GRO ref Maidstone Dec 1916, vol 2a, p 1148) was born in Hunton, between Tonbridge and Maidstone and his wife, Mary Ann (Chilton 1845-1882) was born nearby in Peckham, Kent. They went to live in Barming, also close by, where Henry was an agricultural labourer and they had most of their nine children, although four had died by 1911 when Henry was living with a widower and her son in Maidstone.

Devon Roll of Honour Not recorded on the Dawlish Roll of Honour
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Emily Pook, wife. It is not known if there were children of the marriage.
Last Known Address: 10 The Strand, Dawlish.

Cofton St Mary's war memorial

Devonshire Regiment badge

Free Birth, marriage, death refs

Marriage certificate (GRO)

Kelly’s Directory, Devon 1902

Refs via subscription website (ancestry)

Census data

Army enlistment forms for William Pook

Devonshire Regiment war diaries

Family trees:




Charles Herbert Philpot

Kingman Ford & Wilson