News from 1918 Jul to Aug

Excerpts taken from the Ivybridge Parish Magazine from 1918 give an insight to life in Ivybridge exactly 100 years ago

News from 1918 Jul to Aug

Excerpts taken from the Ivybridge Parish Magazine from 1918 give an insight to life in Ivybridge exactly 100 years ago



The Sunday School Treat

This will be held at Torr Hill, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs W.B. Craig, on Wednesday, July 10th. Members of the congregation are cordially invited to Torr Hill. There will be, as usual, a short service in the Church at 2.45 p.m.; tea will be provided for the children. At the time of writing the question of food has not been considered by the teachers; may be, as last year, each child will be asked to provide its own eatables, a plan which proved most successful.
Torr Hill

Torr Hill

Woolmer’s Exeter and Plymouth Gazette of 1856 carried an article regarding the sale of Torr Hill, describing the property as ” … consisting of a good house with coach house, stables and other offices, an excellent walled garden, flower gardens, greenhouse and shrubbery; detached and a convenient distance from the house is a farm house with barn and outbuildings; …This desirable residence fitted for the comfort of a respectable family is situated adjoining the turnpike road, a quarter of a mile from Ivybridge, ten minutes walk from the railway station and eleven miles from Plymouth. It commands extensive and delightful views in a neighbourhood famed for the salubrity of the air and the beauty of the scenery. Fox Hounds and Harriers hunt the neighbourhood and there is first rate trout fishing in the rivers Erme and Avon nearby. To a gentleman fond of a healthy and retired situation of sporting or of agricultural pursuits, the above offers an opportunity which seldom occurs.”
Torr Hill is now demolished but the original entrance is marked by two granite pillars on Exeter Road, close to the pedestrian crossing. 

Golden Roll

Again we have to express our very deep sympathy, this time with Mr and Mrs Walke, Green Street, whose son Bertram has died in hospital in France as the result of a bullet wound in the head. Bertram was wounded some time ago, and had but recently returned to the fighting line. R.I.P.


Bertram Walke, serving with a Devonshire regiment, the 1st Devons, died in hospital on 11 June 1918. He is buried in the Aire Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais. He was 21 years old.

War Weapons Week

July 1st to 6th – Will Ivybridge do it? If during the first week in July £4,500 are invested in National War Bonds and War Savings Certificates, the Authorities have promised to name an aeroplane after our village. We have made many good efforts in the past; we did well for the Victory Loan; we subscribed nearly £4,000 in Business Men’s Week. Let us do still better in War Weapons Week and lend our country £4,500 to buy the “Ivybridge” aeroplane. Our men are still fighting for us; for nearly four years they have fought. They are weary of it all, yet they keep on. Our boys as they reach the age of 18 join up and carry on. These men and boys are doing for us more than we can ever repay. If we were asked to give, it would be our privilege to give gladly. As it is, we are only asked to lend, and to lend on profitable terms. Let us all be in this; all take a share – as big a share as we can – in naming our aeroplane. Then we shall be able to meet the eyes of our men when they come home, and feel what while they fought we rendered them all possible support, and that we and they worked together to bring about an abiding peace. Ivybridge can to it!


War Savings Associations were set up locally following the establishment of a National War Savings Committee in 1916 to encourage people to save and lend their money to the government.


The associations worked tirelessly to sell war savings certificates, war loan stock and war bonds. One-off campaigns targeting particular communities or professions proved to be successful tactic. ‘Business Men’s Week’ in March 1918 was targeted at business owners, (both male and female); As part of the campaign, bank managers wrote to their business customers, urging them to take part.


‘War Weapons Week’ involved each city, town and village endeavouring to subscribe to sufficient War Bonds and Savings Certificates to buy a chosen weapon, with villages such as Ivybridge targeting aircraft whilst larger cities looking to fund ‘super-dreadnought’ battleships.

Roll of Honour

The prayers of parishioners are asked for the following, who have recently joined up: –  William Hands, George Williams, William Pippin, John Jones, Alfred Mattacott, William Varcoe, and the Rev. A.G. Curnow. We much regret the removal of Mr Curnow from our midst; he was one who had our greatest respect as a man and as a minister. He volunteered for services as a Chaplain to the Forces, was accepted, and has as appointment as Wesleyan Chaplain at Salonika. We wish him and all the above God-speed.
Ernest Hockin (gassed) and John Brooks are in hospital; we wish them a speedy recovery. There is still no news of Albert Hannaford, reported missing; and now another of our younger soldiers is posted as missing, Alfred Hart; we share the anxiety of his parents, and pray that we may hear that he has been taken prisoner, the best possible news under the circumstances. Thomas John Higman, son of our worthy stationmaster is also “missing”; we can but repeat, of him and his, the above.


Albert Hannaford served in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. During the second Spring Offensive in April 1918 Albert’s battalion was attacked at Merville. Albert was mortally wounded and had to be left; one of the 487 casualties of the 1/5th DCLI. He was just 19 years old.
Albert Hannaford has no known grave but is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the Missing at Loos-en-Gohelle in France. His name also appears on the Ivybridge War Memorial.


Private Thomas Higman served with the 13th Gloucester Regiment and died aged 41, reminding everyone that the war did not exclusively claim the lives of the young volunteers. Thomas is buried in the Harlebeke New British Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen in Belgium.


News arrived later that Alfred Hart had become a prisoner in Germany. He had been wounded and was suffering from a broken arm.


In the melee of battle, it was frequently many months after the event before the fate of servicemen would be known for certain. In the worst cases no trace could be found whilst others were taken prisoner and transported to Germany. In due course their families would learn that they were safe, though not necessarily free from injury and would eventually be repatriated.

Ivybridge War Saving Association

The Hon. Secretary reports as follows: – From April 1st to June 22nd, 1918, 93 certificates have been purchased through the Association at a cost of £72 1s 6d. Since the formation of the Association the total number of certificates purchased is 1,214 at the cost of £940 17s. We have at present no news of the comparatively recently formed Association at the Paper Mill; all certificates purchased by this Association are additional to the above.

V.A. Hospital

Grateful thanks to donor of ‘Thank-offering,’ £2 2s; Council School children for eggs; other small gifts (the donors of which are assured they are all consumed by patients); to all who from time to time entertain patients; to Mrs MacAndrew for a tree for a flag-staff. It was not possible to have an opening ceremony owing to the sudden arrival of patients just before Christmas; it has now been decided to invite all subscribers to a Garden Fete on Wednesday, July 3. If any subscriber has not received a card will he or she kindly let Miss Matthews, The Quartermaster, know at once. A ‘ration’ tea will be provided, and as many have expressed a wish to assist in defraying expenses, a collection will be made during the proceedings. The open-air Concert and Theatricals given by patients on Whit-Monday (attended by Mrs Mildmay, among others) was most enjoyable and much talent was exhibited. The sketch, ‘A Travelling Medical Board,’ composed by one or two patients, showed much care in preparation as well as artistic merit. Thanks are tendered to the tenant of the London Hotel, Mr Rutherford, Col. Orlebar, and Miss Matthews, for loan of effects.


James and Barbara MacAndrew lived at Lukesland, an extensive estate with woodland gardens, so supplying a tree for a flag-staff was not a hardship!


Mrs Mildmay was the wife of a Member of Parliament and lived at Mothecombe House.



The Catechism Treat

This took place on July 10th. Much rain in the morning caused much worry as to whether our original plans could be carried out. However, we were determined to “carry on” with our preparations at Torr Hill, while making arrangements for tea in the Church Room if necessary. Fortunately, the weather cleared, and after service in the church at 2.45 we proceeded to Torr Hill, and, except for a very slight shower in the early afternoon, had excellent weather; Laus Deo. The children were provided with tea, buns, and cake, and brought some food to supplement the ration. After tea, sports were held under the able management of Mr Elcock, assisted by Messrs Hannaford, Moon, Moysey, and Baber, and several of the patients from Stowford Lodge Hospital. The children seemed thoroughly to enjoy themselves. Our most sincere thanks to Mr and Mrs Craig for putting their beautiful grounds at our disposal; hearty cheers were given for them at the close of the day, and also for the Teachers and for those who made such a success of the sports. Thanks, too, to Mr Craig for carting forms, etc., for the loan of various necessaries. In addition to the collection on June 30th, we received the following kind donations: – Mr and Mrs Edwards 5/-, Mrs Wyatt 2/-, Mr Wright 2/6, Anon. 2/6, Mrs Hart 1/-
Ivybridge Aeroplane

Ivybridge did do it! – The “Ivybridge Aeroplane”

As anticipated in the last issue, Ivybridge succeeded in raising the desired amount to entitle the village to have an aeroplane named after it. The subscriptions in War Bonds and Certificates for the War Weapons Week totalled £4,600, or £250 over the required quota. The members of the local War Savings Association are very much indebted to the ladies who undertook so willingly to canvass the neighbourhood, and also to the Boy Scouts who distributed War Saving leaflets. We are glad to be able to congratulate the parish of Ermington on its very successful week, the sum realised there amounting to £3,945. Since the formation of the Stowford Mill War Savings Association, the members have bought by instalments and single payments a total of 150 Certificates, a very creditable result for the number of subscribers. The Secretary of the Association would be glad to enrol new members.


The RAF was founded just a few months earlier on 1 April, with the merging of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. The use of aeroplanes played an important role during WW1. As ground offensives slowed to become trench warfare, it would mean the pilots were required to provide a breakthrough. Many aircraft emerged, from out and out fighters, to reconnaissance, night bombers and ground attack. By the end of the war some 22,000 aircraft were in service.
Current research has been unable to trace a record of the Ivybridge aeroplane, suggesting that it never went into service, or perhaps was never even built with the end of the war only months away. However, the naming of an aeroplane provided some welcome cheer for the local community, amongst the steady stream of heart-breaking news and loss of young lives.

Roll of Honour

Prayers are asked for the following, who have recently joined up: – Frederick Beer, William Arthur Boulden, and Joseph Fedrick. We are glad to hear that Harry Fortune, who was reported “missing” has now written to say that he is a prisoner of war. Our very hearty congratulations to Private Ernest Stockman, Devon Regt., on winning the D.C.M. for gallantry and devotion to duty in France from May 27th to June 2nd. Only in April last he received a parchment certificate “for gallant conduct and devotion to duty.” We are very proud of him. Our Ivybridge distinctions are now 5 D.S.M.’s, 1 Croix de Guerre ave Palme, 1 D.C.M., and an M.C.


Frederick Beer survived the War and subsequently taught at the Methodist Sunday School. Regarding Private Ernest Stockman, it was known that he ventured out into “No Man’s Land” as a stretcher bearer to rescue wounded soldiers, often at night. This very dangerous but extremely courageous work, was recognised with the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal D.C.M.


Joseph Fedrick joined the navy and survived the Great War. He was the youngest of 4 brothers, all of which joined the services during World War One. Joseph remained in the navy but died in 1941 whilst aboard HMS Gloucester. His name appears on the Ivybridge war memorial for WW2 but is wrongly named as Frederick.

V.A. Hospital

A garden Fete was held on Wednesday, July 3rd, to which subscribers to the Hospital were invited; the event was favoured with glorious weather. The proceedings opened with an “al fresco” concert by the patients, who, as on previous occasions, delighted their audience with a high-class selection which presaged an enjoyable afternoon. Visitors then had the opportunity to inspect the Hospital and see for themselves what has been provided through their instrumentality for the comfort and welfare of the patients. General approval was heard. A strictly ration tea was provided, and in order not to encroach on Hospital funds contributions were solicited to defray the cost, a collecting box being placed in a prominent position for the purpose; a gratifying response was made, £11 12s. 6d. resulting, relieving the Officers of all anxiety. The expenses were £9 12s. 6d., thus leaving a balance of £2 to be paid to the “Comforts Fund.” The string band from Crownhill Military Convalescent Hospital, by kind permission of Col. Baker, and through the good services of Lt.-Col. Fox and Lt. Kalthinsop, played during tea and sports, considerably adding to the pleasure and highly appreciated. Much credit is due to the Committee of patients for the provision of an excellent programme of sports, carried out with zest. An accident to one patient in the three-legged race caused some concern; he has made a good recovery. The Vicar acted as judge for all events excepting the hat-trimming competition, when Mrs Mildmay’s invaluable aid was invited; her task proved by no means easy, all competitors showing nearly equal skill as amateur milliners. A special feature was the whistling competition, in which the ladies joined, causing much merriment. At the conclusion of the sports Mrs Mildmay presented the prizes, and expressed her thanks to all who had helped to establish and maintain the Hospital, as well as to those who contributed to the success of the Fete, special mention being made of the generosity of the owners of Stowford Lodge for placing the house and grounds at the disposal, rent free, of the British Red Cross Society; and to Mr R.P. Clapperton for the use of the lawn field for the sports. Mrs Mildmay was suitably thanked for her kind attendance and unflagging interest. A party of six patients were permitted by Lt.-Col. Fox to give a concert at Totnes V.A. Hospital, July 11th; their services were greatly appreciated by a large audience. The following donations are gratefully acknowledged: – Mr Bacon, £1/1/-; Mrs Bridgett, 5/-; Miss Bryant, 2/6; Mrs Roberts, 2/-; Mrs Williams, 2/-. The flagstaff has been erected, the Union Jack and Red Cross flags showing well from the railway. Information has come to hand at the moment of going to press that orders have been issued by the Southern Command that the Hospital is no longer to be used for the reception of neurasthenic cases; the Hospital may be closed for a short time, and re-opened to received general cases of sick and wounded. Nothing more can be said at present.


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.


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.


Following the instruction from the Southern Command the last neurasthenic cases left on August 3rd, “to the great regret of officers, staff, and patients”. Neurasthenic patients were men suffering from what is termed today as post-traumatic stress disorders but at the time ‘shell shock’, severe reaction to the intense warfare and enemy bombardment endured.  Following a brief closure of the hospital, ‘general cases’ began to arrive from 9 Sept, when 35 patients were admitted from various sections of the 4th Southern General Hospital, Plymouth. The number of beds had been reduced from 50 to 45, in accordance with the wishes of the Surgeon-General Inspector of Hospitals.