Once war was declared in August 1914 work on the Castle began to slow down. During 1914 men volunteered for the Army and workers at the Castle, the single men, were encouraged to volunteer and some were paid a bounty for volunteering by Julius Drewe. This money covered the cost of their kit, which at that time they had to pay for themselves. There are several letters in the Walker Letters to this effect.
Research identified G Arscott from the wages list of the Castle as William George Arscott of Drewsteignton.
In the 1911 Census there is a Thomas Arscott, a farm labourer, aged 47 living at Netherton, Drewsteignton. He has a son George aged 18, also a farm labourer. The census does not always give full names so it may be that William George was known as George.
G Arscott makes no further appearance on the lists after 14th August 1914.
Walker letters (#891 dated 19th September 1914)
Pt. W. G. Anscott (sic)
Thank you for your letter re kit money.
I have now pleasure in enclosing you £3. 0. 6. also receipt for same, kindly sign this across the stamp and return to me.
This is two weeks wages plus 10/- for expenses incurred.
I hope you will have a good time, do your duty to the King and Country, and come back at the end of the War, unless you find that you like the Army & finish your 21 years, coming out as Colour Sergeant with various medals.
J C Walker
Commonwealth War Graves Commission – there is a William George Arscott of the Devonshire regiment who died age 24 on 29/01/1918 in Greece. He is buried at SARIGOL MILITARY CEMETERY, KRISTON. His father was a Thomas Arscott of Netherton, Drewsteignton.
There appears to have been a long drawn out campaign in Greece in the Salonika area (now Thessaloniki) and he was involved in this for about two years.
It is worth quoting in full the piece form the Western Times about William George’s death as it is very poignant to read about what else was happening and what the Home Front was doing for the war effort and of course the piece about William George working at the Mansion.
Western Times –15th February 1918.
Article in the Drewsteignton news section, on the death of W.G. Arscott.
As showing the mildness of the season, bunches of primroses were picked in this parish during last week.
During the winter months the members of the Ladies Patriotic Working Party have knitted and sent to the Mayoress of Exeter’s Depot, 141 pairs of socks, 30 pairs of mittens and 16 mufflers. Since the formation of the working party one old lady. Mrs Harriett Lackey, who is close on 80 years of age, has knitted no less that 50 pairs of socks for our brave boys.
Mr Thomas Arscott of Netherton Cottage has received sad news that his youngest son, Pte. W.G. Arscott (Devons) has been killed in action. Pte. Arscott had been serving with the Salonica forces for over two years, and a few months ago was slightly wounded. Prior to joining up soon after the commencement of the war, Pte. Arscott was for a considerable time employed at the Mansion, where his quiet, unassuming manner won for him the esteem of all his fellow employees. He was also one of a band of five young ringers, all of whom gave their services to their country. The deepest sympathy is felt for Mr Arscott who, just over two years ago, lost his wife, it being while in the act of preparing a parcel to send to her son that she became ill and suddenly expired. ”
William George is commemorated on the Drewsteignton war memorial.