Orchard Cottage | Kingsbury Episcopi

John Collins

The forgotten soldier Orchard Cottage | Kingsbury Episcopi

Rank, service number and regiment

Private 13964 10th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment


Enlisted Taunton 1914

Home address

Harris’ Corner, Lower Burrow. Possibly first house on the left, now called Orchard Corner.

Date of death

29 August 1916

Age of death

39 years

Circumstances of death

The 10th Battalion Devonshire Regiment was initially sent to France and Private John Collins embarked there on 22 September 1915 but they were suddenly diverted via Marseilles to Salonika, Greece. This move had been precipitated in mid – October 1915 by Bulgaria making an alliance with Germany & Austria. At the request of Greece, Britain and France therefore sent troops to Macedonia to counter Bulgarian aggression. In July and August 1916, after some months of garrison duties, the 10th Battalion were in the front line repulsing Bulgarian attacks successfully. By the end of September 1916 nearly a third of the 10th Battalion had been admitted to hospital suffering from malaria or dysentery with fatal outcomes. John Collins was such a casualty. He died in No.4 General Hospital Salonika, Greece.

Where buried

Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetary, Salonika, Greece.

Date of birth & full name

1877 at High Ham, Langport, Somerset.


Agricultural Labourer


Robert and Mary Collins of Fountain Cottage, High Ham, Langport, Somerset. Robert was a farm labourer.

Spouse & children

John married Bessie Melena (nee Male) at St Martin’s Church K.E. on 20 September 1911. Bessie Melena Male was the daughter of George Male, farm labourer, of Lower Burrow, K.E.
John and Bessie had one child Hilda Irene Collins born 12 October 1912 and baptized at St. Martin’s Church on 8 December 1912.
Bessie Melina Collins (nee Male) as a widow married John Tett, a farm labourer of Church Street, K.E. in 1920


Silver War Medal, Victory Medal, 1914/1915 Star.

Other information

According to the 1911 census, John was working on a dairy farm in Lydlinch, Dorset, where he lodged. His designation on the census was ‘servant’ and his occupation carter.
His home with Bessie at Harris’s Corner, Lower Burrow is shown on the map. Notice the number of orchards then in existence in Lower Burrow and Stembridge.

Old map of Kingsbury Episcopi