Open day in Exminster to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War

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Authored by News Desk
Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 10:04pm

On Saturday 10th November Exminster Victory Hall is holding an open day to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

A free cream tea is being offered and there'll be an exhibition commemorating the lives of 39 men - and now one woman - whose names are on the Roll of Honour.

Sally Parfitt writes:

Last year when I was researching the 39 men named on Exminster War Memorial I found that there was an individual missing. Violet Irene Nellie Crago.

Known as Irene, she was born in Fremington, North Devon, in 1902, the youngest of three children of Edward John Crago and Mary Louisa Eleanor Sawfoot.

Her father Edward was a Police Constable, and the family movedĀ  to Exminster in 1904. The Crago family lived at Wesley Cottages before moving to 3 Rose Villas (next to the Post Office).

The Crago family played an active role in village life, helping to organise the village fete, and were members of the Wesleyan Chapel, where Irene's elder sister Eleanor played the organ. Irene attended Exminster Council School.

Irene's brother (also named) Edward John Crago served with the Royal Navy during the First World War. He died on 17th July 1917 when his ship, HMS Newmarket, was torpedoed by a German submarine in the Aegean Sea. His body was not recovered for burial, and he is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial and Exminster War Memorials.

Irene's mother Mary died suddenly in 1921, leaving Irene to care for her father. Following his retirement in the 1930s the pair moved from Exminster to Exmouth where they shared a property near the sea.

During the Second World War, Irene served as Serjeant W/14399 with the Auxilliary Territorial Service, a branch of the British Army for women. The ATS members fulfilled various roles in the UK and abroad including emergency services, intelligence operations, wireless/telephone operators etc.

Irene died on 12th August 1945 at the Hospital of St Cross, Rugby, Warwickshire. She is buried with her parents in St Martins, Exminster. Irene is commemorated by the CWGC but is not yet named on Exminster War Memorial.

On Saturday 10th November we will unveil a new plaque, provided by Exminster WI to include Irene's name for the first time.

Lest We Forget.