One hundred years ago – November 1918.

In the Gazette of 9th November we learn that President Wilson has transmitted to Germany the Terms of Surrender required by the Allies as reached at the Versailles meeting. There are reports of a German Naval mutiny; the Naval Commandant of Keil has been shot by his own sailors and in Hamburg and Cuxhaven the red Communist flag replaces the naval pennant.

On 12th November the Gazette proclaims “The Doom of Autocracy”. The Kaiser abdicates and there is revolution inside Germany. The Armistice has been signed and Hostilities ceased yesterday.

At the end of the month the German Fleet surrenders and 9 battleships, 5 battle cruisers, 7 light cruisers, 50 destroyers and numerous submarines are escorted across the North Sea to the mouth of the Firth of Forth where they will be taken to Scarpa Flow. The newspaper also reports that the local Regiment, 2nd Devons, are to take part in the triumphal march to the Rhine.

Nationally, a General Election has been called for 14th December. The Prime Minister Lloyd George and Mr Bonar Law publish a joint manifesto and election meetings are advertised in the Market Hall in Bideford on November 29th at 8pm, when Mr C S Parker will address the meeting. (Charles Sandbach Parker, Conservative, failed to be elected in the Barnstaple Constituency, losing by 602 votes). Women electors are holding a meeting in the Town Hall at Bideford at 3pm, moving to Northam at 7.30pm and Appledore at 8.30pm. These meetings will be chaired by Mrs C S Parker and the speaker will be Miss Taylor from Exeter.

(With the hindsight that 100 years affords, we know that the War has ended but on the Home Front little has changed; locally more mundane matters make the headlines in the paper).

Bideford Fuel & Lighting Committee state that under the terms of the 1918 Fuel Wood Order licences will be needed to sell a maximum of 2 tons per year to domestic homes. Industry is not subject to this restriction. These licences can be obtained from Mr E J Labbett, Local Fuel Overseer.

Readers are urged to register their ration of jam, marmalade and sugar at Tattersall’s and Farleigh’s Stores.

The Western Express and Torrington Gazette report that the yield of potatoes is far larger than anticipated and in many districts the yield is “extraordinary”.

Alfred Perrin of Barnstaple Auctions offered the Barley Mow Inn for sale. “The property has for some time since reported for compensation and was recently dealt with by the Compensation Committee at Exeter”. Mr John Curtis who owns the adjoining property was the purchaser at £430. (We have tried to research what this Committee did. Can any of our readers help?)

The influenza epidemic is diminishing; 9 deaths were reported this week in Bideford, which is less than half the previous week.

Bideford Fire Brigade, captained by Mr S Lee, was called to a business premises in Mill Street. The fire originated in a gas cooker in the kitchen at Mrs Wilson’s house but the fire was contained and the reported damage amounted to £200.

Thanksgiving Week services are held across North Devon. An open air meeting was held at Bone Hill, led by Rev. G Payne-Cook and W Charlewood, Leader of Northam UDC.

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These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings or visit our website www.bidefordarchive.org.uk.

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