Urban was a cousin of Percy, Archie and Hadland Molland, like them living in Hollocombe, part of the parish of Winkleigh. In the 1891 census he is recoded as 3 years old, the third child of John, aged 41, a farm labourer and his wife Elizabeth aged 34. The other children at this time were Mary Ann, 9, Emily Grace,4, and Elizabeth, 8months old. There were various branches of the Molland family living in the Hollocombe area : Urban’s cousins did well at the local school and no doubt John Molland’s family were equally encouraging. However, John remained a labourer all his life and in the 1901 census Urban is recorded now aged 13 living near Smithen farm in a cottage at ‘Lenkerse Park’ but it is difficult to say where as the name may have been misspellt. A further two daughters and son had been born (Jesse, Oliver and Pansy) and a grand-daughter, Ivy Lucia, had joined the family. Her mother was surely Mary-Ann, now aged 19 and working as a glover. Still living at home, now Lane End (beyond Park Place) in Winkleigh, Urban, now aged 23 was himself described as a labourer. A mis-entry on the census return indicates that Urban was working for Mr. Nott, a farmer in Chumleigh.
Urban was thus aged about 26 when the war began. Sadly, no medal card has survived and his military documents were destroyed, like so many others, in the London blitz. The absence of a medal card could indicate that he might have avoided service as a reserved occupation until very late in the war, and never going overseas. We can only hope that a descendent of the Molland family might be able to pass us further information.
A summary of the Devonshire Regiment in the war can be found on the Home page of the site.