We extend a very hearty welcome to the patients at Stowford Lodge, and wish to assure them that we intend to do everything in our power to make their time here happy. Owing to the pressing need for accommodation, the Hospital had to be opened several days earlier than had been originally intended, and this involved very strenuous labour on the part of Mr W.B.Craig (Assistant County Director of the Red Cross), Mrs Hawker (Commandant), and Miss Matthews (Quartermaster). However, assisted by a most energetic band of local workers, and with the help of some of the patients from Salisbury Road, a miraculous feat of preparation was accomplished in about five days, and everything necessary was ready for the coming of the first batch of men on Wednesday, Dec. 19. We are glad to have Sister Stephenson in charge, as many of us have pleasant memories of her when she was in charge at Delamore. By Christmas Day everything had shaken down into good working order, and a very happy day was spent; presents were given from the Devon County Fund for those in hospital, and also from the Red Cross, and the usual good fare was provided; after tea staff and workers and many friends were present, and a very jolly time was spent. Songs were sung by Mrs Carr and Mrs Tatham, Nurse Wood, Mr G.Stone, and Private Clayton; fancy dances were given by Misses Joan and Ruth Cooper; Private Webster was responsible for a well rendered monologue; and Private Sexton for an excellent stepdance, most pluckily performed in spite of physical weakness. This impromptu entertainment was followed by a dance, and the festivities wound up with a series of round games – by universal consent a most enjoyable evening.
In 1909, the Red Cross in Devon started working on plans to create hospital and convalescent homes to help relieve pressure on military hospitals in preparation for war. By August 1914 many V.A. Hospitals were ready to take in patients. The first convoy of patients arrived in the UK in October 1914.
Stowford Lodge was used as a second line Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital from December 1917 to January 1919. During that time, the 50-bed hospital had 154 Neurasthenics and 113 ordinary patients. ‘Neurasthenic’ patients were men suffering from what is termed today as post-traumatic stress disorders but at the time ‘shell shock’ – basically a severe reaction to the intense warfare and enemy bombardment endured.
Stowford Lodge was kindly lent by the owners of Stowford Paper Mill for the duration of the war or as long as required. The hospital was equipped and liberally supported by the residents of Ivybridge and the surrounding area.
The first year of the working of this scheme will have concluded ere the issue of this magazine. The promises made at the beginning of the year have been faithfully fulfilled and the Secretary (Mr Elcock) and the Treasurer (Mr Moysey) hope that the offerings will total about £30. We earnestly appeal to all members to continue their contributions in this coming year, and hope that others will see their way to supporting the Fund. The Committee has made grants of £5 to the Deaconess Fund and £8 to Diocesan Finance, and the balance will be available for payment for the cleaning of the organ, for meeting the almost certain deficit on the Church Expenses account, and other needs. The Diocesan Finance Fund is for the purpose of helping forward the efforts of the Church in the Diocese; it falls under three heads – (1) the Ministry, (2) the Children, (3) the Buildings. Under (1) grants are made to poor Benefices, to assistant curates in poor parishes, and to widows and orphans of poor clergy. Under (2) assistance is given to Teachers’ Training Colleges, grants are made to schools, bursaries are given, and Inspectors of Religious Education are principal. Under (3) assistance is given to maintain the fabric of churches where little money can be expected to be forthcoming from the parishes themselves. (We are indebted to the Paignton Parish Magazine for this terse description of the general application of the Fund). The Diocese was asked to raise £8,000 during this current year towards these objects, and our allotted share of that sum is something over£18. Including the above grant from the Free-will Offering Fund we shall have raised about £11 of this amount; a great improvement on any previous effort, but a good deal below what we ought to do. For full particulars of the F.W.O. scheme apply to Mr Elcock, Hon. Sec
Freewill Offering – ‘a voluntary religious contribution made in addition to what may be expected or required’.
Churches used these schemes to raise funds although older records seem to indicate it was also used to raise money to help people in difficulties.
Isn’t it about time we had a War Shrine? Twenty-five of those whose names are on the Roll of Honour have died for King and country.
A public meeting held in January 1919 discussed the issue of a permanent memorial for all the servicemen who had lost their lives in the war. Mr H.J.F. Lee, Chairman of the Urban Council presided over the meeting where it was agreed that the unused monies of the Coronation Fund, Fire Relief Fund and Belgian Refugees Fund should be used for a public memorial. It was stated that the total amount was about £44.