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Private William Darch 2546, 1st/6th Battalion Devonshire Regiment and Private Walter Charles Darch 345918, 16th Battalion Devons


Two Darch brothers were killed in the Great War, the sons of Thomas and Jane Darch of Pilton Street, Pilton. The first was Private William Darch who was employed at the Barnstaple Cabinet Works in Newport. He was married in Pilton Church on 30th May 1914 to Ethel Mary Gratton and lived at 26 Pilton Street. A pupil of Pilton Church School, he was known locally as a clever whist player and a member of a local football team. He enlisted in the 1st/6th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment early in the war and served first in India and then in Mesopotamia. Sadly he died from malaria coupled with yellow fever on 17th December 1916 at the age of 29 and was buried in the Basra War Cemetery in Iraq. William Darch is remembered on the Devons’ memorial in Barnstaple Guildhall and the family gravestone in the small Pilton Churchyard (left).

The second brother was Private Walter Charles Darch of 16th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment who was married and lived with his wife Annie at 58 Littabourne, Pilton. He joined up in May 1916 and shortly afterwards went to Egypt with his regiment before being transferred to France in about July 1918. He died of wounds received in action in Rouen, France, on 7th September 1918 at the age of 28 years and is buried in the St Sever Cemetery near Rouen.

Thomas and Jane Darch had six sons all of whom served at some time - Albert, William, Walter Charles, John, Reginald, and James.

Many thanks for the work of the Local Studies Centre, the North Devon Journal and the comprehensive research of Brian Barrow and his many helpers.

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