The Kelly Family circa 1914


maitlandMaitland Kelly

Born 21st August 1842, Maitland Kelly was 71 at the start of the War.

He was the third son of Arthur & Sophia Maitland Kelly. Like most second or third sons of the landed gentry, Maitland joined the clergy after university. He Married Agnes Elizabeth Leigh Clare – a rector’s daughter – on 23rd April 1873 at Christ Church, East Sheen. A year later they had their first child, Arthur.

Maitland and Agnes had a happy marriage with Agnes bearing six children before her untimely death from cancer on 11th February 1883. After Agnes’ Death, Maitland was left with six children, the youngest of them just one year old.

He met Elfreda Blanch Carey, the daughter of Rev Charles Carey, rector of Kingweston, Somerset. She used to stay with her cousin, Sir Harold Hewett who lived in Portlemouth while Maitland was the rector of Salcombe just across the river.

Maitland and Elfreda were married on October 7th 1885 at Kingweston. Elfreda was a very good stepmother and loved by all the children. Maitland and Elfreda had a further four children. Soon after the birth of her last child Reginald she developed scarlet fever died on 17th July 1891.

Following Elfreda’s death, Maitland’s sister-in-law Ella Carey looked after the children. In 1899 Maitland inherited Kelly House from his oldest bother Reginald. He moved to Kelly with his ten children and took on the role of Squire.
Margaret, as the oldest daughter at 22 years of age, took over the running of the household.

During the war Maitland took over the duties of the Rector as the vicar, Mr Smith, went off to help with the war effort.

aurthurArthur Maitland Kelly

Born 1st March 1874.

We do not know much about what Arthur did during the war. There are few mentions of him in the diary, but it is thought that he was abroad.

franciesFrancis Leigh Kelly

Born 29th April 1875.

AKA Frank.

Married Frances Mary Burman on 27th December 1906. When war broke out he worked for the Forestry Department in East Africa.

They had four children: Nicholas, Elizabeth, Philippa and Michael. The Children lived with their aunts and grandfather at Kelly during the War. We don’t know much about Frank’s activity during the War, but it is possible he was fighting in Africa.

Frank was the grandfather of the current squire at Kelly House.

margaretMargaret Clare Kelly

Born Eighteenth July 1877.

Please see the Introduction page to find out more about Margaret, the author of this diary.


Born 2nd February 1879.

Looked after Maitland and Kelly House when Margaret joined the Red Cross.

agnesAgnes Maitland

Born 12 Oct 1880.

Married Howard Elliott Cardwell on the 1st of June 1911. They went to Cape Town in South Africa together.

In 1917 they returned to England. Howard volunteered and joined the ranks. He was sent to France, became ill and died in hospital in Brighton.
Agnes had four children: Ruth, Una, Hugh, Howard.

robertRobert Maitland

Born 16 June 1882.
AKA Bobby,Bob
He was in Ceylon when war broke out. He immediately returned to England in December 1914 and joined the Devon Yeomanry, which soon became The Royal North Devon Hussars.

Robert fought on the front line with 5th Battalion The Dorset Regt, and was killed in action near Beaumont Hamel on the 11th January 1917. His body was never recovered. He is remembered on the memorial to the missing at Thiepval.

evelynEvelyn Maitland

Born on the 4th of Feb 1887.

He was curate at Long Eaton before being ordained in May 1915. He then joined the YMCA and went to France and helped at the canteen for a Chinese Labour Corps

maryMary Elfreda

Born 25th March 1888.

Mary Joined the Red Cross with Margaret, and features heavily in the diary.

ursula Wilmot Ursula

Born 19th Jan 1890.

Known as Ursula.

Married Frank Swinburne Drewe in 1913. Frank was curate at Wimbledon. Ursula & Frank had a daughter, Dorothea Juliana, on 21st March 1914.

Frank trained as a Medical Missionary, and is remembered as a founder of the Holy Cross Hospital, South Africa.

reginaldReginald Majendie

Born 17 July 1891.

Reginald had a glass eye & was partially deaf. Reginald tried to join the War Effort but couldn’t due to these disabilities. He instead volunteered on the Home Front. He was ordained in 1916.

joeUncle Joe

Lived in Plymouth.


Date First Mentioned
Their Role
Mr Smith
Vicar of Kelly Church
Mrs Smith
Vicar’s Wife
Stella Donville
Mrs Boggis
Head of the Red Cross detachment in Tavistock
Mrs Horlock
Lived in Launceston
Mr Frank Rodgers
Mrs Acland
Mrs Cole
Mrs Yole
Lived at Kelly Mill
Phyllis Morsehead
Relation and daughter of Henry Morsehead lived at Hurlditch. Joined the Red Cross with Mary & Margaret
Ela Wingfield
Friend of the Family, lived in Hain Sheen
Phyllis’ Niece, lived at Terrators
Mr W Britton
Dentist in Plymouth
Mrs Tremayne
Lived at Sydenham
Mrs H Thompson
Mentioned in convisation with Mrs Tremayne
Local Family
Lilian Wingfield
Ela’s Sisiter
Miss Walkers
Lived in Whichurch
Fred Yole
Gerald Ashton
Joined the Hon Artillery Company
Eli Guscott
Lived in the village
Tom Yole
Lived at Kelly Mill
Dr Musgrove
Local Doctor. Had an accident on his motor bicycle
Mrs Sears
Her son came to tea
Hugh Smith
Vicar’s Son
Alex Smith
Vicar’s Son
Able Johns
Lived at Cleave, helped to teach the rifle club
Roger Wollocombe
Mr Samson