Private Harry Garland Vanstone of the 2/4th Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment was the son of Thomas and Amelia Vanstone, of 2, Fore St, Bishopsteignton. He was born in Bishopsteignton in the December Quarter of 1893.
According to the 1901 census Harry was living in Fore St, Bishopsteignton, with his father Thomas (born in Okehampton ) who was an agricultural labourer and his mother Amelia ( born in Ashburton) along with his sister Elsie Maud G. It seems that sadly his sister died in 1902 aged five years.
He was still living with his parents at 2, Fore Street in 1911 aged 17 years and was recorded as a boot shop assistant.
Harry joined the 2/4th Battalion Devonshire Regiment as a private with the Service No 202127.
According to the Regiment diaries these were the movements of this territorial section during the first world war.
“This battalion was formed at Exeter in September 1914 as a Second Line battalion where it became part of 2nd Devon and Cornwall Brigade, 2nd Wessex Division.
The 2/4th Devons followed the 1/4th to India and remained in Madras, training and dispatching drafts to the 1/4th in Mesopotamia until October 1917, when they were sent to Palestine. In December they arrived at the front near Ramleh, where they joined 234 Brigade.
On 14th March 1918 the 2/4th took over and extended the line near Deir Ballut, holding the position until the end of the month. Their losses from sickness far exceeded their casualties from shell, machine gun and sniper fire. In July 1918 they were withdrawn from the line and a month later the 2/4th Devons were disbanded. Although their war experience had been limited, two officers and 26 men had lost their lives in action.”
Death and Burial
Harry died on the 7th January 1917 and is buried at the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt, Plot D117 details of which can be found here at the Commonwealth War Graves commission. The cause of his death is currently unknown but it could have been from sickness rather than military action as it was an area of a military hospital.
The location and history of the Kantara War Memorial cemetery is described by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
“The Kantara War Memorial Cemetery is situated at Kantara East on the eastern side of the Suez Canal, 160 kilometres north-east of Cairo and 50 kilometres south of Port Said.”
Harry Vanstone’s inscription reads
Son of Thomas Vanstone of 2, Fore St, Bishopsteignton.
“FOREVER WITH THE LORD”
Are you a descendant of the Vanstone family or know of anyone who is? If so please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you.
References and credits
- “Four times a year all the registers for England & Wales were collated into a single countrywide index, arranged alphabetically by surname.The indexes to the registers are quarterly rather than annual in scope – the four quarters being known as March, June, September and December. Each of these covers the month itself and the two preceding months, as follows:•January, February, March registrations in the March quarter
•April, May, June registrations in the June quarter
•July, August, September registrations in the September quarter
•October, November, December registrations in the December quarter” https://www.findmypast.co.uk/content/expert-bmd