As an interesting by-product of all this work we have been doing on the war graves we have come across a number of other graves of people who have died in service but who are not in official Commonwealth War Grave Commission sites. There are also others, non-military, who died during particularly the Second World War as a result of enemy action.
We are clearing those graves as well and affording them the same respect of attention that has been given to the official graves.
One of those graves is that of Maurice Louis Charles Mortimore.
Maurice was a fireman during WW2 and was killed during a bombing raid on the town. Little is known about the exact circumstances of his death other than that the building he was in suffered a direct hit; he apparently made it out alive but died subsequently in hospital.
After this year’s remembrance service I had the privilege to meet with his daughter, Vivien Roworth, who was 9 months old when he died. Vivien had discovered his unmarked grave some years ago in the wilderness that was the cemetery and had erected a headstone in his memory.
I had received an earlier email from Vivien from which I would like to quote:
“I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am to know that the Teignmouth War Graves are now in such enthusiastic and caring hands. A few years ago I contacted Teignbridge and the Teignmouth Post, as it was so distressing to see the unkempt graves of the war dead. I had to search for them in thigh-height grass. Since I retired, I have been visiting Teignmouth (from the Isle of Man) annually to see my father’s grave and place a poppy wreath for him, around the 11th of November. I also visit other family graves at the same time.
My father was the only fireman to be killed, in Teignmouth, in WW2 and he has a headstone which I think he deserved for his efforts in the Plymouth and Exeter Blitzes in 1941 and 1942, and in memoriam, of course. His name was Maurice Louis Charles Mortimore. Also, I have an uncle who is on your list of war dead. He was Edward Palmer and I always place flowers on his grave and that of my aunt and grandmother who are buried in the same grave with him.”
Although Maurice was originally buried in an unmarked grave he has been commemorated elsewhere as well:
He is also listed on Devonheritage.org amongst the casualties of the bombings of Teignmouth:
“RAID OF 13 AUGUST 1942 (Albion Place, Park St. and Barnpark) – Fourteen killed, ten severely injured and thirty two injured.
MAURICE LOUIS CHARLES MORTIMORE: Civilian Fireman, N.F.S. Husband of Marion Eleanor Mortimore, of Sunny Crest, Bitton Hill, Teignmouth. Injured 13 August 1942, at Market Place; died at Teignmouth Hospital 14 Aug 1942 aged 26”
“Bell from the last Pump Escape
owned by the Teignmouth Urban District Council
before the creation of the National Fire Service.
Presented by the Devon County Council in 1960
Dedicated to the memory of
Fireman Maurice Louis Charles Mortimore
who lost his life by enemy action
when the Town Hall and Fire Station were destroyed on 13th August, 1942”