Monday, 11 July 2011

T E Grindon

Thomas Edward Grindon
Born c 1889 Penzance  Killed in Action 26 October 1917
Pte 30893 8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment

Thomas was the eldest son of William and Mary Grindon.  William was born in Bristol around 1831.  He travelled a great deal, at one time describing himself as a "Clerk to a West India Merchant".  Generally he gave his occupation as a variant of "living on own means".  He remained single until quite late in life, taking a wife 30 years his junior and settling with her in Newquay.  Thomas was born around 8 years into his parents marriage, his brother William following a year later.  A daughter, Mary Elizabeth, had been born in 1885 but died a year later. William Senior died in 1893 at the age of 63, leaving is wife £3,896.  

Thomas enlisted in the Army on 15 September 1914 at Westminster, joining the Royal Fusiliers as Private 417.  His attestation appears to give his occupation as a Rubber and Sulphur Dealer.  Thomas was 5' 6 1/2" tall and weighed 140 lb.  His complexion was considered medium, his eyes brown and his hair dark.  Thomas' career with the Royal Fusiliers lasted 147 days, at which point he was discharged under King's Regulation Paragraph 392 (iii) cc.  This regulation applied to recruits with between three and six months' service who were considered unfit for further military service.

Following his stint with the Royal Fusiliers Thomas returned to Newquay.  He married Dora Eastlake in 1916 and around this time bought a house, Corisande, overlooking the River Gannel.  (He would have been a neighbour to Duncan O'Callaghan at Minto House).  Corisande is a unique house, being inspired by a Gothic castle.  It had been built by an Austrian who allegedly quit the house in 1914 due to anti-German feeling.  Unfortunately, buying Corisande proved disastrous for Thomas.  He paid £1,000 for the property with the intention of converting in to a hotel.  He spent a further £900 refurbishing the property but was apparently overcharged by a builder for the construction of the tennis courts.  Shortly afterwards Thomas joined the Devonshires, either through choice or conscription, his previous discharge seemingly overlooked.

The 8th Devonshires were attached to 20th Brigade in 7th Division.  On 26 October 1917 the Battalion was part of the final phase of the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele.  I have been unable to find an account of the 8th Devonshires' role in the battle.  It would appear that the Devonshires lost a great many men that day.  Thomas is buried in the Hooge Crater Cemetery.

Just weeks before Thomas' death Dora had given birth to a son, John Evelyn Grindon. Dora was now a penniless widow, forced to sell Corisande at a loss.  (The new owner achieved Thomas' plan of turning it into a hotel.)  Dora did not remarry and lived until 1954.

John Grindon, Dora and Thomas' son, became a pilot in the RAF.  He had a distinguished career, earning the DSO and went on to command the King's, and later Queen's, flight.  He died in 2002 - his obituary can be found here.

The Corisande Manor hit the local headlines in the last few years due to a redevelopment scheme; many local residents were vehemently opposed to the scheme, which appears to gone away for the moment.  There is more information about the Corisande here, which is where I found the information about Thomas' ownership of the property.


No comments:

Post a Comment