Kathy’s book to remember fallen heroes of Porthpean


Kathy Still, who lives in Higher Porthpean, is writing a book – Lost Voice from a Cornish Village – about the seven men from Porthpean who died in two world wars

14th April 2021

By Natasha Swift

The “forgotten” men of Porthpean who lost their lives during the two world wars are being remembered in a new book.

Just before the centenary of the end of the First World War in 2018, Kathy Still, who lives in Higher Porthpean, saw a TV programme about the life of a soldier who was killed in action. This inspired her to start researching the history of the men of Porthpean who fought and died in the two world wars.

Kathy, 72, hopes to commission a plaque with the men’s names, which will be hung in the village.

To accompany the plaque she is also writing a book – Lost Voice from a Cornish Village – about the seven men from Porthpean who died in the two wars.

“I saw a programme, a documentary, which was about the village where Emmerdale is filmed,” Kathy told the Voice. “Some of the cast were researching an individual soldier that had lived in the village. It got me thinking.

“The Penrice Estate, which Porthpean was part of, used to be a private and much bigger. The people who owned it had a son who was killed in the First World War. The church has a stain glass window in memory of him. I thought maybe there were other men from the estate who went off to war and were killed. All I’d ever heard of was the Graves-Sawle’s son.

“This was in 2018 before the centenary of the end of the First World War and that’s where it all started.”

Richard Charles Graves-Sawle was the son of Lady Constance Mary and Rear Admiral Sir Charles John Graves-Sawle, a baronet. Richard was raised in Penrice House in Porthpean and trained at Sandhurst. In 1908 enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards.

On August 6, 1914 he married Muriel Heaton-Ellis, but six days later left for France.
He was killed near Ypres, Belgium, on November 2, 1914, at the age of 26, by a sniper’s bullet to the head.

Through her research Kathy found that at least six other men from Porthpean had died during the First and Second World Wars.

So far she has photos of four of the men, but is missing three of the others – George Roberts, Thomas Moore and George Harry Beever.

She said: “One of the men, George Roberts, I found out was brought back to a war hospital and died there. I tried to find his grave in St Austell cemetery three years ago, and found war memorials, but couldn’t find his.”

Kathy got in touch with Cornwall Council, who sent her a map marking George’s grave, but when Kathy went back to the church yard she still couldn’t find it.

“Four times I went there and honestly the third time I was getting quite emotional,” recalls Kathy. “I felt almost like it was a relative because I was getting so into it.

“The fourth time I went back and found it. The reason I couldn’t find it is because it wasn’t a war grave. His wife had been buried with him and it had a different head stone.”

Kathy is hoping someone will be able to help her complete her book by providing the information and photos she needs.

She said: “They all fought and died for their country and they deserve to be recognised. I feel they are being forgotten about.”

Anyone with information can contact the Voice at natasha.swift@indyonline.co.uk

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