William Henry Stevens was born in Winkleigh late in1897. He was born into a family that had lived in Winkleigh for many years as land owners and farmers. William Henry’s father was Francis Stevens who eventually moved into Hollacombe Barton. Aound the start of 1891 he married Sarah Evelyn Elworthy from East Ansty and at the 1891 census on 5th April 1891, Francis and his new wife Sarah were staying at 1 Park Place with Sarah’s brother John T Elworthy; both John and Sarah were described as living on their own means. William Henry was the fifth child but unfortunately his mother died about the same time, most probably as a result of th birth. Thus William Henry is another of our Winkleigh Heroes who did not know or who had little recollection of their mother. William Henry’s grandmother, Louisa Stevens came to stay with the family to help bring up the children and act as a replacement mother. By 1911, William Henry had dropped his first name William.
No war time history has been found. The 'Western Times' for 31st May 1918 reported that Henry (Harry) Stevens had joined up with Harry Davey. Henry Stevens was 21 years old, presumably conscripted. There is no medal card, indicating that Harry probably didn't leave the UK. The attached record of the Devonshire Regiment shows the many Home Service battalions to which he might have been attached.
Harry Davey's name is not on the Winkleigh Roll of Honour. This is because at the time of the 1911 census, Harry, aged 14, was living, with his elder sister with their grandparents at Bilworthy Farm, Bucks Cross, Woolfardisworthy. Their mother who had been born in Wembworthy had died and the children were cared for by their father's parents, William Davey, a mason and farmer, and his wife Eliza. Harry Davey had enlisted with Henry Stevens. They were of the same age, and were clearly good friends.
12th October 2017