News from Nov and Dec 1918
Excerpts taken from the Ivybridge Parish Magazine from 1918 give an insight to life in Ivybridge exactly 100 years ago.
News from Nov and Dec 1918
Excerpts taken from the Ivybridge Parish Magazine from 1918 give an insight to life in Ivybridge exactly 100 years ago.

November

November

Coal and Clothing Clubs

All cards must be returned at paying-in time on Tuesday, Nov. 26th. New cards will be issued on the following Tuesday, Dec. 3rd. Coal may be had from Mr A.J. Varcoe, or Messrs Lee and Son; members should write on their cards which of the two it is wished to deal with. All clothing cards will be made out to Messrs Yeo and Son; except in the case of boots or tailoring, which can be obtained locally. The orders on the various tradesmen will be issued as early as possible in December.

 

Clothing clubs were set up to help poorer members of the parish buy warm clothing for the winter. Each member was typically allowed to pay in a small amount of money from 3d to 1s each week to the scheme with a bonus added at the end. Members were only allowed to buy goods from shops that were approved.
Outing in the Varcoe coal lorry.

Roll of Honour

Cecil Holman, Samuel Fowler, Victor Clark, and Arthur French have been wounded; Fred Bird has been “gassed”, and is in hospital; and C. Horton is in hospital suffering from malaria; John A.F. Smerdon, who was “gassed”, is now well again. Our sincere congratulations to Private W.B. Hoare, A.R.M.C., who has been presented with a Certificate for his “gallant conduct and devotion to duty in the field on Aug. 27th, 1918, near Trones Wood.”

 

Having distinguished himself on the battlefield W.B. Hoare returned to teach at the Station Road primary school in Ivybridge.  He taught the senior class up to 14 year olds before they left to take up employment. There was no secondary school in Ivybridge at that time. Those who passed the 11+ exam would continue their studies at Plympton Grammar School. A few went to King Edward VI School at Totnes.
Trones Wood was a tear shaped wood located mid-way between the village of Guillemont and Montauban in France. It was a site which first saw action during the Battle of the Somme between the British Fourth Army and the German 2nd Army in 1916. The wood had dense undergrowth which restricted advance. During the battle, the trees were destroyed by shellfire and became a renowned image of total desolation.

Golden Roll

Ivybridge has been hard hit during the fighting of the past few weeks, and there are many sad hearts mourning the loss of their dear ones. We mourn with them over the cutting short of so many splendid young lives, yet, could those lives have been better laid down than in fighting for God on the side of right, for their fellowmen, for “those that come after”? Truly for them and all who have so died, not only we praise God, but also “a people which shall be born shall praise the Lord,” Ernest Lang, Stoker P.O., lost his life at sea; William Roskilly, Private, the Devon Regiment, was killed in France on Sept. 27th; Eric Russell, Sergt., Waikat’s Co., Auckland Batt., was killed in action in France on Sept. 30th; Fred Clarke, Regt., R.M.L.I., in action in France on Sept. 3rd; Alfred Norman Couch, Private, Devons, died of pneumonia in hospital at Basra on Oct. 16th; William Barter, Private, A.S.C., also died of pneumonia in hospital at Salonika; and William P. Thompson lost his life in a submarine.
“Lord, all pitying, Jesu Blest,
Grant them Thine eternal rest.”

 

The names on the Golden Roll were all subsequently recorded on the Ivybridge War Memorial.

Wedding

On Oct. 1st Miss C. Lee was married to Lieut. W.F. Smallbone, R.N.R., in the parish church. We trust that they will have a long and happy life together. Miss Lee was a valued teacher in “The Catechism.” We shall much miss her help.

``Johnnie``

At the moment of going to press, word has come that John Bidgood, our much valued organ-blower and bell-ringer, has, after a week’s illness, entered into his rest. “Johnnie”, as we affectionately called him, was an institution of the church, a most loyal and faithful servant. For over thirty years, we believe, he has rung for every service weekday and Sunday, and blown whenever the organ was in use, and as far as it can be remembered has been “never absent, never late.” Afflicted all his life, so that he has never been able to work for his living, God gave him this work to do for His Church, and right well he fulfilled his task. Since the early days of the war, he has “done his bit” by ringing the daily call to Prayer at noon. Always willing, always good-tempered, always anxious to do what he had to do to the very best of his ability, we shall miss him sorely. We leave him in God’s hands, with every hope that at the last day he will hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,” – R.I.P.

 

In 1918 the air supply for the church organ would have been provided manually by Johnnie, somewhere at the back of the organ pipes, working a handle to activate the bellows.  Most organs today are electrically blown. 

V.A. Hospital

Gifts of fruit and vegetables from the Harvest Festival at the Parish Church, the Wesleyan (Ivybridge and Bittaford) and Congregational Churches, as well as from private sources are gratefully acknowledged. A depot in the village is much needed where gifts for the Hospital can be left, and where “wants” can be made known. Will the owner of any shop premises temporarily unoccupied kindly allow the use of same for this purpose? Communications should be addressed to the Assistant County Director. In all Hospitals Christmastide is celebrated in old time fashion – presents are given to the patients, special fare provided, entertainments held, decorations hung. Everyone is invited to help accordingly to their power to make this, it is hoped the last, as cheerful as possible for the men compelled to be away from their families, and no less festive than at other Hospitals. From those unable to contribute in any other way, donations will be gratefully received for this object. All offerings should be sent to the Quartermaster. “Our Day.” – the sale of flags organised by Mrs W.B. Craig, and assisted by the following willing collectors – Mrs C. Hoare, the Misses Blight, Brailey, Eastley, Hoare, Hancock, and Love, amounted to £9 5s. 7d. An entertainment, arranged by Mrs Mann (who generously bore all the expenses), and given by the Officers’ Cadet Battalion from Membland Hall, produced £13 4s. 6d. The Assembly Rooms were kindly lent by the Proprietors free of charge. £22 10s. 1d. had been forwarded through the County Director to the “Our Day” Fund for the Red Cross Work Overseas.

 

“Our Day”
Our Day was a Red Cross fundraising event organised for the first time in 1915, which then took place annually throughout the war. The origin of the collection was considered to be “Queen Alexandra’s Day”, when people showed support for the Queen by buying flowers. During “Our Day”, street collectors sold flags, which were ordered and supplied centrally. Flags for motor vehicles were also available. Small flags were sold for a penny and silk ones were sold for six pence. Gifts for “Our Day” were also received from overseas.
Source : redcross.org.uk
Membland Hall
Membland is an historic estate in the parish of Newton and Noss. The estate was purchased around 1877 by Edward Baring, senior partner of Barings Bank, who rebuilt the mansion house known as Membland Hall. Baring Brothers bank collapsed in November 1890 and was saved by the Bank of England. During World War 1 it was one of several training locations for the Officers’ Cadet Battalion. The house was offered for sale in 1915 but the estate was eventually broken up and great Membland Hall itself became derelict and was razed for its materials in 1928. One survivor of that era, of many in the area, was the Bull & Bear Lodge gate, dating from 1889 and located on the road to Mothecombe, near Holbeton.  The Bull represents the Bulteel family, who married into the Baring family represented by the Bear. 
Reference: The Rise and Fall of the Barings of Membland Hall by Arthur L. Clamp 2001.
Officer Cadet Battalion
To address the loss of officers during the war and to provide a continual supply of men who could lead and command, a new system of training officers was introduced in February 1916. The Officer Cadet unit accepted entrants who were aged 18 and over and the training course lasted four and a half months.

December

December

flag bunting

Victory

Full of thanksgiving, full of joy, full of wonderment, a bit bewildered, and a little doubtful, were we when the glorious news came through on Monday morning, Nov. 11th, that the Armistice had been signed. Peace again! Why, we had almost forgotten what it meant; peace! won by those to whom men will be for all time grateful, by those who on land and sea and in the air have dared and suffered and died to win freedom for the world. The memory of those who have made the supreme sacrifice filled all our hearts, and our keenest sympathy went out to those whose joy in the glorious news was mingled with a great sorrow for those “loved long since and last awhile.” Nov. 11th, 1918, will be a day to be remembered for all time as the greatest day in our history; a day which we trust will annually be commemorated with rejoicing and thanksgiving. Difficult paths lie yet before us, but, by the grace of God, may they be trodden with the same steadfastness and devotion as those we have passed along during the years of war, and may God so lead those who take counsel for the nations of the earth as to make it impossible that war shall again devastate the world or any part of it, and enable them so to rebuild and reconstruct that religion and civilisation may advance together hand in hand. “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.” So we all felt, so the civilised world felt. What greater contrast has the world ever seen than that presented by the state of affairs in the spring and that in the autumn. Truly God has worked a great miracle in these days, using the allied forces as His instruments. The realisation of this, that God had vindicated Himself, that He had all the time been on the side of right and justice, that in His very chastisements He was working out His own Eternal Purpose, turned all our hearts first and foremost in thanksgiving to Him; and, in union with all other places within the realm, Ivybridge folk crowded to their places of worship to give thanks to Him for the great victory. The Parish Church was filled to the full, with a congregation which included all the patients and staff from the V.A.D. Hospital and the Boy Scouts. The Wesleyans and Congregationalists held a united service, at which we hear there was also a crowded congregation. The Parish Church service opened with the National Anthem and a Hymn of Praise; the Vicar then gave an address, the keynote of which was “Thanks be to Thee, O God,” and under Him to all who had fought so magnificently, and above all to those who had given their lives; with a special word of thanks to the wounded men present, for themselves, and as representing all the wounded. The lesson was read by Mr Rutherford, the Magnificat chanted, our strong faith expressed in the words of the Apostles’ Creed, hymns of praise sung and prayers of thanksgiving said, including the General Thanksgiving said by the whole congregation, and the service concluded with a solemn Te Deum sung before the Altar, and the Blessing. A memorable service and one which in conjunction with all the similar services held in every town and village in our land, seemed to show that England’s faith in God is stronger than it has ever been.

 

An Armistice was concluded between the Allies and Germany in a railway carriage at Compiegne. On the 11th November 1918 at 11 a.m. the guns fell silent.  It wasn’t until 28 June 1919 before the Great War formally ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
The price of the peace was huge. Few families and fewer parishes in Britain could claim not to have mourned the loss of family members. Thus, any rejoicing at the War’s conclusion was more than tinged by thoughts of those who would never return.

Roll of Honour

Our hearty congratulations to the following, who have won the Military Medal :- Corporal Ernest John Littlejohn, D.C.L.I., 20th Div., for “gallant conduct in leading an attack on an enemy machine gun post and killing the teams. He later helped to beat off an enemy counter attack”, Sept. 26th & 27th. Private Arthur Blight,1/5 Devons, “for distinguished gallantry on the field at the Battle of the Marne,” July 20th – 30th. Private Edwin Blight (brother of above), R.A.M.C., “for distinguished gallantry and devotion to duty in bringing in wounded soldiers under a continuous and very severe shell fire.” (These brothers won their medals in the same week. We are proud of you, men.) Harold Littlejohn, brother of the Corporal, during the war has been detained in the railway doing Government work. During the recent strike of some of the railway men, he alone, of his lot, refused to come out in war time. He had to stand much bullying and worse, but stood firm; his action is as worthy of decoration as that of a man who does great deeds in the excitement of battle, and we gladly accord him a place here in the Roll of Honour.

Golden Roll

We regret to have to record one more death in action, we trust the last, that of Frederick Gosling, Sergt. We sympathise much with his widow and mother, and the more so in that, after surviving over four years of active service, he fell just when the end of the fighting was near.

 

Frederick Gosling died of wounds on 9 Oct 1918.

Christmas Day

A very happy Christmas to all parishioners, “Peace on earth” not only that inward peace of God which can be attained amidst even the worst of troubles, but peace outwardly, or virtually so, among the nations; after four Christmases of war, this Christmas ought to be indeed a happy season for all, even though for many tinged with sadness.
100 years ago, the Christmas meal might well have been freshly-shot wild game, like rabbit or pheasants, particularly in rural South Devon.  Since refrigeration was exceptionally rare in households 100 years ago customers had to receive their fresh food as close to Christmas as possible. To ensure you had a turkey for Christmas dinner you would have had to place an order in advance. Turkeys would be collected or delivered on 23rd or 24th December to ensure freshness.
Perhaps this would be followed by War Cake which was a very thrifty boiled fruit cake made with a small quantity of margarine and no eggs
Reference:  museumoflondon.org.uk

``Johnnie``

We laid his body to rest in the Cemetery on Oct.29th. The greater part of the Burial Service was said in the Church; the choir attended and sang the Psalm and two hymns. Towards some of his funeral expenses and for a permanent memorial, members of the congregation have subscribed £7 1s. 6d. The memorial is to be a “Brass” on the north wall, near the Vestry; Messrs Wippell & Co. have it in hand. The following subscribed :-
Mr J.Cole, Mr and Mrs Bowden, Miss Cox, Miss Porter, Dr Cooper, Mrs Powell, Mrs A.G. Harris, Mr and Mrs Hart, Miss Greenaway, Mr and Mrs Winskill, Mr and Mrs Luscombe, Mr White, Mr Hill, Mrs Wyatt, Mrs Rice, Mrs Burk, Miss Witheridge, Mrs Harvey, Mr W Tozer, Mr E Tozer, Mr and Mrs Russell, Mr and Mrs Moysey, Mr Moon, Mr and Miss Chubb, Mrs Love, Deaconess, Miss I. Mugridge, Mrs, Miss and Fred Goff, Mrs Jenkins, Mr Rutherford, Mr Crocker, Mr Elcock, Miss C. Stone, Mrs Bridgett, Miss Bryant, Mr and Mrs Ward, Mr and Mrs W.B. Craig, Mrs Bayly, Miss Mumford, Mrs Wroth, Miss Toms, Miss Nicholls, Mrs Smerdon and Mrs Barton, Berté, Mr Higman, Mrs Ward (Park Street), The Indoor-Staff at Highlands, Mrs Carr, Miss F.Bradford, Mr W.H. Blight, The Vicar and Mrs Bampfield, Mr Stone, Mrs Hands and Mr Hands, jun., Mrs Wyte.

V.A. Hospital

On the morning of the 11th November the ringing of the large bell apprised the Village that the Armistice with Germany had been singed; the news was received, as might be expected, with great jubilation and relief, flags were soon decorating the rooms and general rejoicing evident. All the patients and staff paraded to the Parish Church to attend the Thanksgiving Service in the evening, and later an impromptu Concert was held in Hospital. To commemorate the occasion each patient received a souvenir cigarette case with a card, suitably inscribed, the gift of Subscribers to the Totnes Division V.A. Hospitals Fund. In making the presentation, Mrs E.W. Hawker, Assist. Commandant, addressed the patients in a felicitous and telling manner on the duties and responsibilities awaiting each in the reconstruction of the nation’s affairs; enthusiastic cheers were raised for Mrs Hawker, the donors and others. Whist Drives, Billiard Tournaments, and Entertainments followed at intervals, assisted by the Misses Cooper and Gibbs, Mesdames Carr and Tatham, some members of the Constitutional Club, and Mr Baker with his gramophone. A real musical treat was provided on the 25th by the “Music in War Time Concert Party” under the direction of Mr F.W. Taylor, baritone, of the Royal Choral Society; the party included Miss Florence Chambers, Contralto, Queen’s Hall Concerts; Miss Florence Hood, the celebrated Australian violinist; Miss Una Bourne, the famous Australian pianist; and Mr Harry Moreton, a humourist well-known to London concert-goers. The concert was greatly appreciated; hearty applause and grateful thanks were accorded to the artistes, who are continually touring the country to entertain the sick and wounded in hospitals.

 

After a little over a year of caring for injured servicemen the hospital finally closed in January 1919.