Martin James Body was born on 29 December 1947 and has had a lifelong career in the film industry. Among many projects, he worked most recently on “Skyfall” as rotoscope artist with Peerless Camera Co Ltd. His other interests include motorcycling, hill walking and collecting World War I memorabilia. He is married to Gillian Russell and step-dad to her two sons.
The 2nd Devons War Diary
The 2nd Devons War Diary presents a day-by-day account of an infantry battalion’s activity throughout the Great War, written by the men who were there on the day it happened. It also includes details of every member of the 2nd Devons who died.
Author Martin Body writes: “I grew up with stories of my great-uncle, Private Charles Hulbert Yates, who inspired the book. Uncle Charlie volunteered for action together with his pals from the Ranelagh Rovers football club when the Devonshire Regiment was recruiting in Marylebone in September 1914. He was killed in action at Ovillers in Picardy on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1916.”
Here we have added the extra stories, photos, facts and figures that were uncovered during the book's research but did not fit within its remit. We hope this will be of interest to those who, like Martin, “always want more”.
Can you help?
Martin is working on his next book:
THE 2ND ROYAL FUSILIERS WAR DIARY AND ITS LOST MEN 1915-1919
(coming next Spring 2014)
Do you have any information about the individuals from that Battalion or their families?
Do you have any personal memories of the Battalion or its men?
If so please contact Martin Body by email.
11187 Private Charles Hulbert Yates was the author’s great uncle. This is what is known about him (web page).
Uncle Charlie played football for the Ranelagh Rovers, in Paddington, London before the war. This is the author’s research into the identities of the lads in the team who volunteered on 6 September 1914 at Marylebone (web page).
The family tree of the 2nd Devons from its earliest roots to the present day (pdf 191KB).
The return of the 2nd Devons from Egypt to England, the formation of the 23rd Brigade and the 8th Division and their deployment to the Western Front (pdf 412KB).
The fortunes of the Battalion in the build-up to the Battle of the Somme and the debacle of the first day, 1 July 1916 (pdf 1.51MB).
The 2nd Devons made a heroic stand at the Bois des Buttes on 27 May 1918 (pdf 1.66MB).
Details of the numbers of men and officers who made up a typical Infantry Battalion on the eve of the Battle of the Somme (pdf 202MB).
The chain of command from the War Cabinet in Downing Street to the soldier in the trench (pdf 276KB).
The history of the SMLE: the standard rifle used by British forces in the Great War (pdf 525KB).
The evolution from the ‘Jam Tin Bomb’ to the Mills hand grenade (pdf 377MB).
A brief description of the fearsome German trench mortar (pdf 342MB).
The evolution of the French ‘Adrian’ helmet and the British ‘Brodie’ or ‘Shrapnel helmet’ (pdf 102KB).
The planning and execution of a typical Great War trench raid. This example was carried out by the 2nd Middlesex – a sister battalion of the Devons in the 23rd Brigade (pdf 240KB).
A short series of Christmas Cards sent by Corporal Ernest Comer to his wife Lil (pdf 696KB).
The only man of the 2nd Devons to be executed in the Great War (pdf 181KB).
During the desperate struggle to repel the German Spring Offensive in 1918, Field Marshal Haig issued what is known as his ’Backs to the Wall Order’. This is what it said (pdf 230KB).
A brief explanation of the numbers of fatalities in the battalions of the 23rd Brigade (pdf 100KB).