24/07/2017
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War memorial name furore

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Kitty, full name Armorel K Trevelyan, was just 17 when she signed up for the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) and left Meavy, near Yelverton, in Devon, for the muddy battlefields of France.

Kitty came from a well off family but worked in the canteens, feeding the troops on the front line, even though the minimum age requirement for the VAD was supposed to be 21. She arrived in France in 1916 and served for 13 months before contracting measles and then pneumonia. She died, aged 19, and was buried in the Commonwealth War  Grave at Wimereaux in the Pas de Calais, France.

While she was listed on the British Legion website for her service, in her home village of Meavy she was largely forgotten for 100 years until the charity, Wenches in Trenches, uncovered her story. The charity has provided support to ex-service personnel since 2007 and actually owns a genuine Field Hospital from WWI which features hundreds of instruments from the time. It’s intended to serve as an exhibit and tribute to the women who tended the troops in France and Belgium.

The charity was responsible for finally getting her name etched on a war memorial in her home village in February of this year, 100 years after her death, complete with dedication service. However, as the memorial has statutory protection, permission should have been sought first. Dartmoor National Park Authority told The Armourer, “This has arisen from the addition of the name ‘Kitty Trevelyan’ to the Meavy War Memorial by the parish council. The memorial is a Grade II listed building and as such has statutory protection.

 Dartmoor National Park Authority has no objections to the principle of her name being added to the war memorial or commemorated in another suitable and appropriate way, but as the memorial has statutory protection permission should have been sought before this was done. As it was, the parish council went ahead and added the name in February this year without letting us or the War Memorials Trust know of their intention, or it would appear consulting the local residents or family members.

The parish council subsequently made a retrospective listed building consent application to add the name. This was due to be decided at the Dartmoor National Park planning committee on 28th July. The parish council has, however, now decided to withdraw their application, although it can still be viewed on the National Park website (the application number is 0244/17).

The National Park Authority is currently trying to work towards a mutually agreeable solution with the interested parties and is not currently insisting it is removed until a solution has been found.”

The Authority added that its stonemason was looking at how the lettering could be treated.

Meanwhile, the War Memorials Trust made this statement: ‘War Memorials Trust does not object to the principle of adding Kitty Trevelyan’s name to Meavy war memorial, nor has it asked for her name to be removed. However, we do believe that any addition or correction of a name on a war memorial should be undertaken legally, with due consideration to the style of the existing names on the war memorial (to ensure all are remembered equally) and in consultation with the local community. In May 2017 the Trust received comments from members of the public about the way in which Kitty Trevelyan’s name had been added to Meavy war memorial. In response the Trust commented on Listed Building Consent application 0244/17 which had been retrospectively submitted to Dartmoor National Park Authority. At the time the Trust noted the following about the application based on the information available to the charity:

  • The local community had not been widely consulted on the proposals to add Kitty Trevelyan’s name to the war memorial. This had upset members of the local community as Kitty Trevelyan’s family had asked for her to be recorded as Armorel K Trevelyan on her Commonwealth War Grave.
  • Kitty Trevelyan had not been given the right to be recorded in the same way as the others on the war memorial - her regiment had not been included.
  • Kitty Trevelyan’s name had been placed directly underneath the date the war memorial was erected which made it appear that was when she lost her life.

In response to the above issues the Trust suggested consultation with the local community to decide how Kitty Trevelyan’s name should be commemorated and consideration of alternative ways of adding the name. For example, a new stone being added to the base of the war memorial to ensure Kitty Trevelyan’s name can be commemorated respectfully in the same way as the other names on the war memorial. The addition/amendment of names on war memorials is a regular issue dealt with by the charity. Help sheets and advice from our Conservation Officers is available to the public free of charge.’

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