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Truronians suffered the effects of many wars. Loyalties were divided during the English Civil Wars (1642–1648) some being on the side of parliament while others melted their silver to help pay for the King’s armies.

A popular and famous Naval son was Admiral Edward ‘Old Dreadnought’ Boscawen. His nickname was’ Old Dreadnought’ known as a man of outstanding courage, he had a distinguished career during the Seven Year War.

Truro’s heroes included Admiral Sir Edward Pellew and General Sir Richard Hussey Vivian, both educated at Truro Grammar School. Both men played important roles in defeating Napoleon (1793–1815) along with Truronians who, with other troops, were housed in Barracks, near today’s Barrack Lane.

The image opposite is of Admiral Boscawen.
Admiral Edward Boscawen

The Boer War

The Boer War (1899–1902) was a source of controversy in Truro. Truro men who volunteered to fight were promised the ‘Freedom of the City’ on their return.

However, at the end of the war, the City Fathers only gave the honour to Major General Reginald Carew Pole. A plaque listing the other men can be seen on the stairway of Truro City Hall and in the Memorial Chapel in Truro Cathedral.

The Memorial on Boscawen Street was originally a testimony to Truronians killed in the First World War (1914–1918).

The image opposite shows men in the uniform of the Boer War.
Boer War Soldiers

Women in World War 1

At home, women worked on the land, fund raising and in other charitable work supporting the war effort.

The images opposite depict ladies fundraising for the First World War and Women of the Land army leading a horse and cart through the city.

Fundraising for war

Female Land Army 

Cora Bell

Cora Ball is the only woman named on the Truro and Kenwyn war memorials.

Cora was born in Truro in 1896 to Mark and Elizabeth Jane Dunstan Ball. Cora had 11 brothers and sisters, unfortunately only 6 survived. Gertrude, Cora’s twin sister, did not survive infancy. It is maybe due to the early death of so many of her siblings that Cora was baptised twice.

From census records we can see that Cora lived in many places around the city centre. From this we can tell that she was from a working class family. Her father, Mark, had many jobs. His jobs included an inn keeper, newspaper collector, baker and accountant. Cora did attend school past the age of 14 which was unusual at the time.

Many records to do with the women’s army were destroyed in the Blitz during World War Two. As such we only know that Cora must have joined in 1917 after the women’s units were created. It is known that she held the rank of Forewoman, this is an equivalent rank to a sergeant. Holding a higher rank could have been due to Cora’s good education and academic abilities. As a Forewoman her jobs would have been more important.

Cora served overseas in France, around the Calais region. Tragically she died shortly after the armistice on the 22nd November 1918. Cora was 22 years old. It is unknown how she died. She may have caught the flu which was common in the army bases or died of wounds sustained before the declaration of peace. She is buried in the military cemetery near Calais.

The image opposite shows Cora Bell, Cora received 2 medals. The Victory Medal, which was given to all those on active duty, and also the British medal which was awarded to those who had served abroad.
Cora Bell

The Truro Union workhouse

During WW1 The Truro Union workhouse became the Royal Naval Auxiliary Hospital, run by volunteers and the Red Cross.

The image opposite depicts the Royal Navy Auxiliary Hospital after its transformation from the Union Workhouse.
Auxilliary Hospital

Truro in World War 2

The Second World War saw many children evacuated to Truro. Also, aircraft parts were being made and repaired in the HTP workshops on Lemon Quay (now the Pannier Market).

The image opposite depicts Women and Men working on Spitfires.
Working on Spitfires

U.S. Troops in Truro

“we used to have the American comics ... and swap comics, three or four English ones for one American”.

Many American troops training for the invasion enjoyed films, shows and dances in their PX (NAAFI) in the old Regent Cinema. As a gesture of good will, following a fight outside the Globe Public House between black and white soldiers, the US army put on a New Year’s children’s show and distributed treats to the children of Truro.

The image opposite depicts a platoon of volunteers known as the River Patrol Home Guard who protected the river from enemy invasion and during preparations for D-Day whilst on parade in Truro.

Please click below to hear Stanley Coombes on U.S troops.

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Home Guard on Parade

Later conflicts

Later conflicts have included Korea, the Falklands and the Gulf Wars, with Truro’s brave citizens still giving their lives for their country.

Olaf Sean George Schmid

Born on 11th June 1979 at Treliske Hospital, Truro, Olaf Schmid spent his early years at The Peacock Cottage Hotel & Restaurant with his Swedish father Hans-Joerg, German mother Barbara, and younger brother Torben. He attended Polwhele House School from the age of ½ to 13 and then moved onto Penair School, Truro.

Whilst at Polwhele House School, he was a chorister, then Head Chorister for his final year. He was a keen rugby player and enjoyed any outdoor pursuit. He left school at the age of 16, and joined the army where he began his career in the RLC Catering Corp. He soon realised that this was not challenging enough for him and whilst on tour in Northern Ireland, he made his decision to apply for Bomb Disposal.

He was accepted and began his training as an Ammunition Technician, and later as a High Threat Ammunition Technician. During his 2nd tour inAfghanistan, he made safe 64 IEDs, and was killed on 31st October 2009 dealing with the 65th.

He was recently awarded the Posthumous George Cross for his countless acts of selfless bravery whilst in Afghanistan. During other tours in his career, he gained medals for his work in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Former Yugoslavia and Kosovo.

The pictures to the right show him on duty.

Olaf Schmid

Olaf on Duty