This month we continue our North Devon men in the Somme feature with the story of Francis Albert Paskey, the first of three brothers to be killed during the First World War. Francis (Bertie), Reginald and Leonard Paskey were the sons of Frederick, who worked for the Post Office, and Emma, who lived in Summerland Street, Barnstaple.
FRANCIS ALBERT PASKEY Private 34976 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment)
FRANCIS ALBERT PASKEY
Private 34976 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment)
1888 – 6th August 1916
Francis Albert Paskey was born in Barnstaple and his birth was registered during the period October – December in 1888.
By the time the 1911 census was taken Francis had moved to Wandsworth and was working as a Grocer’s assistant, although he later became an electrician. His service record, as stated on the Soldiers Who Died in the Great War database, shows that he enlisted in Wandsworth.
Francis died in August 1916 after being in the Army for about 6 months according to the report in the North Devon Journal of his death (see below).
Information about the 8th Battalion’s engagements during 1916 until Francis’ death obtained from the ‘Wartime Memories Project – The Great War’ online resource is as follows:-
‘On the 19th of January they began a period of training in Open Warfare at Busnes and then moved back into the front line at Loos on the 12th of February 1916. In June they moved to Flesselles and carried out a training exercise. They moved to Baizieux on the 30th June and went into the reserve at Hencourt and Millencourt by mid-morning on the 1st of July (the first day of the Battle of the Somme). They relieved the 8th Division at Ovillers-la-Boisselle that night and attacked at 3.15 the following morning with mixed success. On the 7th they attacked again and despite suffering heavy casualties in the area of Mash Valley, they succeeded in capturing and holding the first and second lines close to Ovillers. They were withdrawn to Contay on the 9th July. They were in action in The Battle of Pozieres on the 3rd of August with a successful attack capturing 4th Avenue Trench and were engaged in heavy fighting until they were withdrawn on the 9th. ‘
The next news of Francis is in an article in the North Devon Journal on the 24th August 1916 which reads as follows:
BARNSTAPLE SOLDIERS KILLED IN ACTION
Another Barumite to give his life for his country is Pte. Francis Albert Paskey (Royal Fusiliers), third son of Mr. and Mrs. F K Paskey, of Summerland Street, Barnstaple. The official notification, received by the parents on Monday morning, stated with regret that Pte. Paskey was killed in action on August 6th. Pte. Paskey who was 28 years of age had only been in the Army about six months, being an exceptionally smart soldier. The deceased received his education at Barnstaple Grammar School, and in turn was engaged in grocery businesses in Barnstaple and Exmouth.
Afterwards he went to London where he became an electrician, and was in a successful partnership business when he decided to join the Army. Pte. Paskey was a great favourite with all who
knew him, and the deepest sympathy is expressed with Mr. Paskey (who for many years was an esteemed overseer at Barnstaple Post Office), Mrs. Paskey, and other members of the family in their bereavement. Two other sons of Mr. and Mrs. Paskey serving in the forces are Gunner Reginald J Paskey (who is in an Artillery Regt) and Trooper Leonard M Paskey (Royal North Devon Hussars).
Francis Albert Paskey is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, in the Somme region of France. The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme is a major war memorial to 72,195 missing British and South African men who died in the Battles of the Somme between 1915 and 1918 who have no known grave.
The record of soldiers’ effects shows that Francis’ outstanding monies were paid to his sole legatee Mrs Lilian Mundy, who appears in the 1918 Electoral Roll as living at an address in Wandsworth.
Ancestry Library Edition – Census records; WW1 Service Medal and Award Rolls; Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects (available free online in the Local Studies Centre and in any Devon library)
British Newspaper Archive – North Devon Journal (available free online in the Local Studies Centre)
findmypast – Soldiers Who Died in the Great War; England and Wales Electoral Registers (available free online in the Local Studies Centre)