One hundred years ago : February 1915.

2nd February 1915. The Union of London and Smiths Bank, who have an agency here in Bideford, have appointed girl clerks in one of their offices for the first time. This is seen as a radical step, as banking has always been regarded as a male prerogative.

On 9th February 1915 Messrs Stewart & Co., who have a shop at 52 Mill Street, were holding a 1/- (one shilling) sale. On offer amongst other things, were:

2 Large Brown Towels.

2 Large White Towels.

Large Rush Mats, 2½ feet x 5 feet.

4 yards of Check pattern Glass cloth.

Lots of complete sets of Ladies and gents underwear and many more items all at 1/-

Farleigh’s Stores, High Street, are advertising Pancake Flour, which – they say – makes delicious pancakes without the need for eggs or sugar.

At the annual meeting of the Bideford and District Tradesman’s Association, Mr H. Brain reviewed the progress of his earlier proposal that all business should close for lunch between 1pm and 2pm except on Tuesdays. He reported that the majority of local business owners are now in favour.

Bideford section of the Volunteer Training Corps held a training route march from Bideford to Westward Ho! and back. Played out of Bideford by the Wesleyan Brass Band and accompanied throughout by The Bugle Band. It rained all day, but the men were in good spirits and consider it their duty to train this way. All men who cannot join the Regular or Territorial Armies are asked to volunteer and should contact Mr W. E. Jenkinson at the Town Hall.

On the 16th February Bideford Town Council Refugee committee have acquired the lower room in the School rooms at Silver Street. These rooms were recently used as the Scout HQ. There are over 200 refugees from Belgium in and around the town and this will be a social club for them. (A week later the Gazette reports that the club is now open and 126 refugees attend the opening).

The Government are advertising for Shoeing Smiths to look after the horses being used in this country and abroad in the war effort. Pay will be 5/- per day and those who are qualified and under the age of 45 can apply at the local recruiting office. Service could be in England or overseas.


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‘Connections’ – Sir Michael Ansell.

This is the first in a series of articles called ‘Connections’ – people who have links with North Devon. We start at ‘A’, for Sir Michael Ansell.

Sir Michael Ansell (1905 – 1994), legendary equestrian

Michael Ansell was born at The Curragh, Co. Kildare in Ireland in 1905, into a military family. He trained as an army officer at Sandhurst, where he showed no aptitude as a scholar but considerable aptitude as a horseman, and spent the pre-war years travelling the world in equestrian pursuits, courtesy of the Army.

At the start of the war, however, he was involved in an an incident of ‘friendly fire’ where he lost four fingers on one hand, and the virtual loss of his eyesight.

He then spent some time in a prisoner-of-war camp, where the highlights were painful visits to doctors in attempts to save his sight, and discussion with other horse-loving officers on how they would improve equestrian standards , when they got back home. Here he developed some skill at knitting, both as a form of occupational therapy for his injured hands, and partly to bemuse and annoy his German captors. After several frustrating delays, he managed to get repatriated as an injured officer in a mutual exchange with injured German officers, via Sweden under the auspices of the Swedish government.

This was in 1943, and he decided to retire to a quieter part of the world, Pillhead House, on what is now the Old Barnstaple Road, just outside Bideford. He lived there until his death in 1994.

Unable to remain inactive for very long, , he decided to set up a horticultural business based at Pillhead, selling snowdrops, polyanthus, and later South African gerberas to Covent Garden, winning a silver medal with this at the Royal Horticultural Society show.

It was not long before his equestrian friends in London contacted him about improving the standard of equestrian competition in Great Britain, which had somewhat lapsed in the inter-war years, and he found himself away from home quite frequently. His main advice, personally implemented by him, was that the course and height of fences should be brought up to international standards,so that equestrian events were run efficiently, and on a sound commercial basis,considering the audience at all times, and insisting that show-jumpers be admitted from all walks of life rather than just the elite few.

As an ex-military man, he turned out to be a brilliant organiser, and was responsibe for the Victory Championships at White City in1945, re-started the International Horse Show in 1947, designed the show-jumping course for the 1948 London Olympics, and instituted the Horse of the Year Show in 1949. He was the manager of the British Olympic equestrian team at the Helsinki Olympics in1952, where Britain won a gold medal. He was awarded the CBE in 1961, and knighted in 1968.

He dominated the show-jumping world for the next twenty years, becoming chairman of the BritishShow-jumping Society between 1945 and 1965, and became a national celebrity. He appeared on one of the early editions of ‘This Is Your Life’, somewhat reluctantly until he and is wife discovered that at the end of the programme, they would meet their son, whom they had not seen for some time, as he was serving as a soldier in Cyprus. He was also a castaway on Desert Island Discs with Roy Plomley, and chose as his luxury item a pair of knitting needles and some wool.

Show-jumping and horticulture were not his only interests. He was an expert salmon fisherman, and could often be found on the river Torridge at Beam, near Torrington, using his unique casting method, which he had perfected with much practice on the lawn at home, depending on sound rather than sight for its effectiveness. On one occasion, he was just about to give up on the day’s fishing, when he decided to try one last cast of the rod, and caught a huge 19lb salmon, with which he struggled for more than half an hour before landing it, to be followed a little later by another almost as big.

He wrote three books, including his autobiography, Soldier On (1974).

In the meantime, in 1970, his first wife Victoria died after a long and painful illness. He married again soon afterwards, but his second wife, Eileen, after only six months of marriage,was killed when a lorry knocked her down when she was out walking.

He was a keen supporter of St. Dunstan’s, the home for blinded ex-servicemen in Brighton,where he died of pneumonia in 1994, having previously suffered from Alzheimer’s.

He had elevated British equestrianism to new heights, and Britain now hosts some of the world’s top equestrian events, as well as producing a number of medal -winning athletes of the highest calibre, as demonstrated at the recent London Olympics.

Perhaps one of his greatest legacies, though, was that he showed that having a handicap, being blind, need not be an obstacle to success, and can, in fact, provide an inspiration to all.

Chris Trigger (c.)


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Training the Army Horse.

(Whilst turning out old cassette tapes recently, I came across a recording in Devonshire dialect, made by my father, Percy Reed (1907 – 2001) of Northam, in 1985.

It told the tale of a childhood incident in which he was involved when his father was training a WW1 army horse.

I have since produced a 4-minute YouTube video which includes his recording, together with the script, for anyone who is interested! I have printed the script below.)

For the YouTube Video see:

I’d like to take ee back a vew years jist arter the first world war and tell ee bout Varmer Tom and the army horse. Now Tom was a master hand wi horses, what ee didn knaw bout em wadn worth the tellin. If anybody in the village had ort wrung wi their horse they’d come rinning to Tom and you may depain if ee couldn put en right twas a waste of time zending ver the Vet. Aye, ee knawed all bout horses sure nuff.

Wull twas like this yer. Arder the war the army had to zell off a lot of horses wot theyd vinished wi and zo they had these horse zales up to Exeter and anybody that knawed Tom would ax en to go up and buy one for em. This zeemed to work out purty well, they could trist Tom to git the right horse for em and nort plaized Tom better than to hav a day off to Exeter.

Now the one I want to tell ee about was one ee bought for eself an Ive yerd tell ee had a vine ole caper gitting en on the train up to St Davids til Tom thought about whipping off es best jacket and put en awver the horses haid and backed en in the truck.

Ive erd zay that zome of these horse traders when they wanted to zell a broken down ole horse theyd given a veed of Vuz chaff avore the zale to liven en up. Wull this one didn need ort like that, more likely ee needed something to quieten en down, zo Varmer Tom thought e’d try en out in the chaffcutter. Zo ee hitched en up and led en round a vew times to git en in the way au’t. Now me en me brither (jist boy-like) stood watching this gwain on, zo Tom axed us to leyd the horse round whilst ee went up to the tallet to git a vew wads of straw.

I dont knaw what thatole horse hed done in the war but whativer twas it didn include gwain roun-in-roun in little circles and no zooner hed Tom turned ees back he reared up and bevore us knawed what hed appened the horse was flat on the ground all tangled up with the tackle. Zo Varmer told us two boys to kneel on es neck while ee tried to git en free.

Wull us was only a couple of tackers and ver all the good us done us mayht jist as well ev told us to kneel on a vuz bush. The ole horse wadn gwain to let a couple of whipper snappers like us keep en down and twadn very long avore hes haid come up vollowed by the rest awn, and us two boys landed in the … wull I wont tell ee what us landed in but us didn smell very sweet, jist about as sweet as Varmer Tom when ee hollered “why didn ee keep ees haid down like I told ee”. Howiver there wadn no damage done but I can tell ee twas the last time thicky horse went in the chaffcutter.

Cynthia Snowden.

For the YouTube Video see:


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Shipping news No. 119 (November 2014/ January 2015).

In port – Yelland Quay.

Sormovskiy 3058 - built 1987; flag St. Petersburg; owners Russian; crew Russian; from St.Malo to Wismar; arrived 27.11, sailed 28.11.14; loaded 2,600 tons timber.

Fri Lake - (ex- Nassau 1999, Helena ’06); built 1999; flag Bahamas; owners Norwegian; crew Russian; from Glensanda to Sharpness; arrived 3.1, sailed 4.1.15 ; loaded 3,360 tons chippings. (This vessel is the longest, at 119.2 metres, to berth at Yelland jetty – normal length is around 90 metres – but not the largest in deadweight terms. She is not the longest recorded in the Taw/ Torridge estuary ; this was the Tankerman, built at Appledore in 1983, at 141 metres, and closely followed by HMS Scott at 131 metres).

Welsh Piper : 26.11.14.

Arco Dart : 21.11.14, 22.11.14, 6.12.14, 5.1.15.

Oldenburg returned to Bideford on the 4.12.14 after drydocking at Sharpness and will perform cargo runs to Lundy during the winter prior to resuming passenger service in late March.

The Second patrol vessel for the Irish Navy the LE James Joyce was launched from the shipyard on 23.11.14 (approx 17.45) and is now fitting out at Middle yard, Appledore. She is due for trials end of February 2015.

Bristol Channel Observations.

15.11.14 at 13.20 cargo vessel Vine 1, 8,200 tons d.w., owners Vine Shipping Inc Hong Kong China, inward bound for Newport.

16.11.14 at 10.28 cargo vessel Flinterzee, 6,075 tons d.w, owners Flinter Group Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth.

19.11.14 at 08.20 vehicle carrier Grande Italia, 12,594 tons d.w, owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. At 08.32 Ro-Ro vessel Ciudad de Cadiz, 3,500 tons d.w, owners Anita 2 Inc France, inward bound for Portbury. At 08.40 container vessel John Rickmers, 24,083 tons d.w, owners Einundvierzigste Alsterrufer 26 Hamburg Germany, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 04.11.

22.11.14 at 09.42 cargo vessel Scot Trader, 4,500 tons d.w, owners Scotline Ltd UK, inward bound for Newport .

23.11.14 at 0832 cargo vessel Eva Marie Mueller, 3,722 tons d.w, owners Otto A Muller Schiffahrts Germany, inward bound for Sharpness . At 0944 cargo vessel Peak Bergen, 2,376 tons d.w, owners Lothe Invest AS Norway, inward bound for Sharpness. At 09.33 cargo vessel Beaumotion, 3,836 tons d.w, owners Beaumotion Netherlands, outward bound from Swansea, having sailed at 06.02. At 13.17 cargo vessel Ammon, 3,800 tons d.w, owners Ammon Beheer BV Netherlands, inward bound for Birdport. At 13.17 Chemical Tanker Orakate, 8,933 tons d.w, owners Kate Shipping Ltd Dordrecht Netherlands, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 07.13 (having discharge a cargo of molasses) . At 13,43 vehicle carrier Grande Scandinavia, 18,440 tons d.w, owners Grimadi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

24.11.14 at 08.45 bulk carrier Anangel Innovation, 171,681 tons d.w, owners Anangel Maritime Service Inc Greece, outward bound from Port Talbot, having sailed at 05.05. At 13.00 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w, owners United European Car Carriers Norway, inward bound for Portbury. At 13.02 Arklow Raider, 4,505 tons d.w, owners Arklow Shipping Eire, inward bound for Avonmouth.

25.11.14 at 11.51 vehicle carrier Opal Leader, 12,000 tons d.w, in the colours of Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 07.27. At 12.42 container vessel Endeavour, 9,167 d.w, owners J.R. Shipping Netherlands ; it now appears she is committed to the new rotation Bilbao/Liverpool./Avonmouth/Bilbao . At 13.02 chemical tanker Stolt Shearwater, 5,300 tons d.w., owners Stolt Nielsen Rotterdam, inward bound for Cardiff.

30.11.14 at 1533 cargo vessel Aasli, 6,630 tons d.w, owners Hans Martin Torkelsen Norway, outward bound from Port Talbot having sailed at 12.03.

1.12.14 at 0825 the vehicle carrier Coral Leader, 12,164 tons d.w, in the colours of Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 0828 the bulk carrier Nakhchivan, 6,693 tons d.w., owners Palmali Voyagers Two Shipping Istanbul Turkey, inward bound for Portbury.

2.12.14 at 0837 container vessel MSC Eyra, 22,500 tons d.w, owners Eyra Naviera SA Hong Kong China, inward bound for Portbury. At 0812 cargo vessel Warnow, 6,050 tons d.w, owners Rolands Ship Administration Germany, outward bound from Cardiff having sailed at 02.55.

8.12.14 at 15.03 self-discharging bulk carrier CSL Thames, 29,827 tons d.w, owners Pelican Water Investments Bergen Norway, inward bound for Portbury (she is a similar vessel to the Yeoman Bank, with a large self-discharge boom from forward to aft to discharge the cargo).

9.12.14 at 12.04 container vessel Endeavour, 9,167 tons d.w., owners J.R. Shipping Netherlands, outward bound from Avonmouth, having sailed at 07.22 ; at 09.43 container vessel Shasta, 22,420 tons d.w, owners Almond Shipping Investments Greece, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 18.26.

15.12.14 at 09.18 bulk carrier Marina R, 37,785 tons d.w, owners Sea Satin Oceanway SA Greece, inward bound for Avonmouth . At 14.00 cargo vessel Hav Pike, 37,18 tons d.w, owners Hav Kattegat AS Norway, inward for Newport. At 14.26 vehicle carrier Jupiter Leader, 12,889 tons d.w., in colours of Nippon Yusem Kaisha Japan, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 09.31.

16.12.14 at 08.18 cargo vessel Atlantic, 3,500 tons d.w, owners Hartman Beheer BV Netherlands, outward bound from Avonmouth, having sailed at 03.32.

17.12.14 at 12.14 cargo vessel Scot Trader, 4,500 tons d.w, owners Scotline Ltd UK, inward bound for Newport.

24.12.14 at 10.30 cargo vessel Aasli, 6,630 tons d.w., owners Hans Martin Torkelsen Norway, outward bound from Port Talbot, having sailed at 07.20. At 10.34 cargo vessel Harma, 9,455 tons d.w., owners Chrismar Corp Liberia, inward bound for Newport. At 10.35 cargo vessel Fluvius Axe, 3,193 tons d.w., owners Fluvius Ltd Crediton UK, outward bound from Neath, having sailed at 06.34. At 13.34 Fri Brevik, 3,771 tons d.w, owners Kopervik Shipping AS Norway, outward bound from Cardiff, having sailed at 08.23.

25.12.14 at 07.25 vehicle carrier Emerald Leader, 10,819 tons d.w., in the colours of Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, inward bound for Portbury. At 14.37 vehicle carrier Autosun, 6,670 tons d.w owners European Car Carriers Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

28.12.14 at 09.34 container vessel Shasta, 22,240 tons d.w., owners Almond Shipping Investments Greece inward bound for Avonmouth. At same time cargo vessel Aller 2910 tons d.w, owners Roland Ship Administration Germany, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 01.48.

31.12.14 at 10.50 cargo vessel Calypso, 3,758 tons d.w, owners Alecto Chartering and Trading B.V Netherlands, outward bound fron Newport, having sailed at 02.12. At 11.10 cargo vessel Solymar, 4,106 tons d.w, owners Zillertal H & H Schiffahrts UG Germany , inward bound for Swansea .

3.1.15 at 16.54 chemical tanker Stolt Redshank, 4,449 tons d.w., owners Brovig Stainless AS care off Stolt Nielsen, inward bound for Barry. (Seen again 5.1.15 outward bound having sailed at 06.52).

14.1.15 at 16.00. vehicle carrier Jupiter Leader, 12,889 tons d.w., in the colours of Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, inward bound for Portbury.




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December’s Youth Page.

State of the art.

As well as their futuristic pot-assembly emulator, tucked away behind antique spoons and pieces of local history salvaged from the jaws of time, The Burton Art Gallery and Museum has an amazing amount of well known artists’ work streaming through their doors on a regular basis. Last year’s selection of Andy Warhol, Dali and Picasso prints set a pretty high precedent , and this year it’s the turn of Turner prize winning installation and land artist, Richard Long, to take the baton.

Running until 10th January (2015) there’s still time to witness his vistas drawn from soil and pebble, and vast orbs of rock arranged on the floor- which on closer inspection aren’t what they seem at all ( the doughnut arrangement in room 2 also responds eerily to photography- like a spectre suddenly appearing in the window of a Premier Inn, it’s lemon tart centre only reveals itself on film. How? Nobody’s quite sure, but it’s well worth a look all the same.) As part of the Artist Rooms tour, these same images have been on show throughout the UK, but dismantled and re-arranged from location to location, it’s more than likely no one gallery has exactly the same view.

A site of pilgrimage for art students, the display is greatly influenced by Long’s surroundings in the South West, drawing inspiration from the moors and the sea and, in many cases, incorporating materials from this into his work. A-level pupils from Bideford College visited earlier this month as part of an ongoing project into sense/perception, and managed to spend two hours sitting on the floor sketching the little vistas. (The gallery was very nice, they didn’t chuck us out, even if we were little Bohemian gnomes..)

It’s long been a mystery how the Burton manages to entice such high profile road shows down to Bideford, but it always seems to pull it off, so if you fancy seeing some unusual pieces of landscape made from that same landscape for free it comes highly recommended!

Are we there yet?

In times past people knew that Christmas was nearly upon them when the decorations and festive fare arrived for sale in shops. Now that the major retailers begin to deck their halls with a great deal more than holly as early as August it’s quite difficult to tell when the season really is approaching.

In our technological age the tried and tested method is to spot Christmas adverts on T.V. We enjoy looking for the new delights; Ant and Dec about to devour a terpsichorean gingerbread man or a snowman’s trek to buy a scarf set for his snowwoman, but those are just teasers.

No, it is the first sighting of THAT train- with its red livery and twinkling lights against a snowy night sky which tells us that the holidays-are-really-coming!

Merry Christmas and a peaceful new year everyone-

see you in February.

Millie Sutherland O’Gara.


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One hundred years ago – December 1914/ January 1915.

In early December the well-known local song “The Lads that are away” is published by Vernon Boyle and Keal Parkhouse as a tribute to all who have volunteered for the war effort and are now spread as far as India and around the world. Copies were available at 7d from Mr Parkhouse at his home in Lime Grove and the newspaper suggests that it will make a “timely and seasonal gift”.

We had been warned last month to expect shortages of goods that have to be imported and the traditional plum puddings and Christmas cakes might have been in jeopardy. However, Farleigh’s Stores in Old Town are now advertising fresh stocks of: Stoneless Raisins 6½d per pound; Currants from 3½ to 5d per pound; Sultanas from 6d to 7d depending on quality; Candied Peel, orange, lemon and citron from 3d per pound; Barbados sugar at 3d per pound. If you are unable to make your own cake Mr J Madge of 40 High Street Bideford (29 years in business) will make and decorate it for you at his new Hygienic Machine Bakery.

The latest Bideford recruits to have taken the King’s shilling and volunteered for the New Army are Frederick George Colwill, John Baker, Alfred Lewis, Ernest Violet and John Harris. In addition, volunteering for the 6th Devon Territorials are Herbert F. Fulford, Hedley James, Howard Cameron Hart and Jason Giddy.

Messrs. Toller, Oerton & Balsdon have written to the newspaper to refute the rumour circulating that a nursing sister, Miss Constance M Schmidt, is a German. Miss Schmidt’s father was a naturalised Englishman for 30 years before his death. Her mother is Scottish, she herself was born here in Bideford and her brothers are now serving in His Majesty’s Navy.

The first edition in January 1915 has a banner advert on the front page for Bideford Motor Works. The all-British ‘Swift 10′ motor car has all modern accessories and a spare wheel and costs £200 on the road.

Heywood & Heywood, 1-2 Grenville Street will be closed on Friday 8th January to prepare for their Sale the next day prompt at 9.00 am . They promise that no article will be taken from the window display until 9.30am on Saturday.

A.H. Butler Esq will be giving a lecture entitled “The Great War to Date” with lantern slides, including the latest photographs from the seat of war, in the Church Institute. It will be chaired by the Mayor, S. R. Chope. No start time is advertised but tickets for the front row will be 2/-, the 2nd row 1/- and a limited number of 6d tickets will be available on the door. Profits will go to the War Fund.

Several inches of snow fell overnight on Bideford on the 22nd January but, as usual, it had melted quickly during the following morning.

Dairymen and milk sellers in Bideford give notice that on the 1st February the price of milk will increase to 4d per quart.


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Shipping news No. 118 (October/ November 2014).

In port – Yelland Quay.

Welsh Piper - arrived 4/11, sailed 5/11.

Vessel could not discharge due to cargo being very wet from sea conditions on passage ; she sailed from Yelland, having only discharged approx. one third of her cargo due to problems with the discharge conveyor. She sailed for Avonmouth for repairs.

In port – Bideford Quay.

Fehn Courage - built 2009 ; flag Madeira, Portugal ; owners German ; crew Russian & Ukrainian ; from Avonmouth to Castellon ; arrived 6/11, sailed 7/11 ; loaded 2,375 tons ball clay.

Arco Dart 24/10, 27/10, 5.11.

On Saturday 31.10.14 the Jersey Coast Guard Tug Duke of Normandy, 200 tons d.w, was at the RNLI Buoy Appledore to undertake welding work; she sailed on Sunday 2.11.14 for her home port of St Hellier.

By the time of publication the second Irish patrol vessel LE James Joyce should have been launched from the shipyard at Appledore with delivery to the Irish Navy March/April 2015; further details in next issue.

Bristol Channel Observations.

17/10 at 13.00 vehicle carrier Emerald Leader, 10,819 d.w., owners in the colours of Nippon Yusen Kaisha Japan, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed 00.56, 16th.

20/10 at 09.08 cargo vessel Vectis Progess, 10,260 tons d.w, owners Carisbrooke Shipping Cowes IOW, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 03.26.

22/10 at 07.27 cargo vessel Fluvius Taw, 5,050 tons d.w, owners Quay Marine Services BV Netherlands, outward bound from Swansea, having sailed at 02.24. At 09.27 cargo vessel Fri Wave, 3,280 tons d.w., owners Fri Wave Shipping Co Norway, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 09.31 chemical tanker Stolt Sanderling, 4,453 tons d.w, owners Outward Bound Brovig Stainless AS Netherlands, departed from Barry, having sailed at 03.19.

25/10 at 13.09 container ship Endeavour, 9,167 tons, owner J.R Shipping Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth. At same time cargo vessel Hathor, 3,850 tons d.w, owners Hathor Beheer BV Netherlands, outward bound from Newport, having sailed at 07.22.

27/10 at 15.55 vehicle carrier Grande Europe, 18,461 tons d.w, owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury.

1/11 at 08.02 cargo vessel Aquarius, 1,500 tons d.w, owners Baltnautic Shipping Ltd Lithuania, outward bound from Avonmouth, having sailed at 22.47 31.10.

3/11 at 11.16 cargo vessel Eems Dollard, 3,850 tons d.w, owners Amasus Shipping BV Netherlands, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 03.12.

4/11 at 10.50 container vessel Endeavour, 9,167 tons d.w, owners J.R. Shipping Netherlands, outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 05.50. (It is unusual to see this vessel outward bound for Spain; it appears the owners have changed her rotation. She went to Liverpool first, then to Avonmouth. The following week she maintained the new rotation) .

6/11 at 09.45 cargo vessel Ingunn, 5,004 tons d.w, owners Vaagebulk 111 KS Norway, outward bound from Avonmouth, having sailed at 03.20.

9/11 at 08.23 vehicle carrier Grande Ellade, 18,440 n tons d.w, owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. At 15.25 Grande Detroit 12,353 tons d.w, owners ACL Shipmanagement AB Sweden (which is part of the Grimaldi Line of Italy), outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 10.59.

11/11 at 10.07 cargo vessel Pernille, 3,450 tons d.w, owners Pernille Interscan GMBH Germany, inward bound for Newport.

14/11 at 13.34 cargo vessel Bekau, 3,701 tons d.w, owners Roland Ship Administration Germany, outward bound from Newport (sailing unknown.) At 15.30 cargo vessel Antwerp, 3,600 tons d.w, owners Sibet Attena Germany, outward bound from Briton Ferry, having sailed at 10.59.

As this is the last edition of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the readers of the Shipping News a Happy Christmas and Great New Year and many thanks for all the wonderful comments.

Regards Norman


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Shipping review of the year 2014.

Activity at Bideford has been very sparse this year with only a few ships loading ball clay for Castellon; the Baltic trade has disappeared completely, which is a great pity as visitors on holiday who never see a ship from one day to the next, enjoyed watching the ships berthing loading and sailing.

The ‘Oldenburg’ has maintained her service to Lundy from Bideford and Ilfracombe, which is a credit to her crew when weather conditions have not been at their best.

The shipyard at Appledore completed the first patrol vessel LE ‘Samuel Beckett’ : the second vessel the LE ‘James Joyce’ was floated out in late November with delivery to the Irish Navy March/April 2015 – and the good news, the yard are to build a third vessel (still to be named) for delivery in 2016.

Yelland jetty has been reasonably busy with vessels discharging chippings from Glensanda in Scotland for the plant operated by Notts Construction ; the discharge is quite rapid (taking about 8 hours to discharge 3,000 tons plus), with the same company cranes which used to load the timber at Bideford. This operation has saved many hundreds of road miles as lorries do not have to go down the A39 to the quarries in Cornwall to collect material. The ‘Welsh Piper’ has made a few trips with dredged material from the Bristol Channel ; it’s always good to see her coming back to the area where she was built in 1987. There have only been a few timber ships loading for Wismar and Lubeck.

In the Bristol Channel the size of vessels passing inward and outward seems to be growing each year ; ships of 200,000 tons can be seen heading for Port Talbot , Portbury has seen larger vehicle carriers carrying as many as 8,000 vehicles, not all for Portbury, but still very big. The usual vistors; Grimaldi Line, the Grande ships, and NipponYusen Kaisha NYK painted on the side, Wallenius Wilhelmsen ships, and the container vessel ‘Endeavour‘ on her weekly run to Bilbao in Spain.

Best wishes for 2015.


Photos © Norman Hardaker


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November’s Youth Page.

Don’t take those old records off the shelf!

As you may have heard from the numerous flyers, posters and disintegrated cardboard billboards roped to posts throughout Bideford last month, Friday the 19th October was the day of the record fair down at the Pill. While for many the spiral discs of tar have been gradually phased out by their sci-fi silver counterparts- you can’t watch them idly revolve on the turn table any more, instead they’re sucked into the machine, like the disc equivalent of Greta Garbo, only to be coaxed out of retirement with steady prodding of the ‘stop’ button when they’re finished- it seems the day of the LP is not over yet.

Going down to the fair (now a semi regular occurrence) there was not only a vast array of vinyl on show, both old and new, but a bustling throng of people to match, browsing through the helpful categories of 50′s, 70′s, rock, pop, folk and modern- each on the search for a prize band, or just an eye catching cover. ( Proggy ambience records hardly ever let down on that front.)And well as the presence of rare classics, ranging from about £20+, there were oodles for the tune collector on a budget too- here at Buzz, we were quite proud to snaffle up a copy of Roxy Music’s Manifesto for under £4. ( After hiding it in a pile at the back with the Osmonds, rushing out to get change, then reappearing quite relieved to find no one had ventured into our corner yet to retrieve the purchase. There were countess others, but we didn’t have time to peruse every box.)

To suit this eclectic clump of prices there was an eclectic clump of ages too- those who could remember long players in their heyday, with radio stations and TV shows dedicated to the cause, a rather large percentage of teenagers immersed in the music and new vinyl smell, all the way to toddlers, dancing to the songs blasting out over the athletics club’s booming PA. It seems CD was always destined to be superseded by download, but no way could any strange sound from the ether sound half as good as some physical grooves in plastic. Oddly, it wasn’t that long ago you couldn’t find replacement stylus’ anywhere short of a bargain bin, now not only are diamond strength back on the market, but so are the record players themselves- meaning a whole swathe of the past previously siphoned off from all those without an original turn table, or a knitting needle and a can-do attitude- is now opened up to kids of every generation to enjoy once more. Modern artists are again releasing their new material on vinyl.

With most charity shops covering the bases, and shops like Retro Retro ( on Grenville street) offering an entire room filled to the brim by such gems, record collecting hasn’t felt this fun and easy for an eternity…

Millie Sutherland O’Gara.

PiXL (‘Partners in excellence’) awards.

On Wednesday 24th September, 4 students and 2 members of staff travelled all the way to London, as part of Bideford College’s PiXL membership. They took a mini bus, train, the underground and a brisk march across Westminster bridge to make it to the ceremony, with others doing the same from miles around, encompassing the whole of England. The Partners in Excellence committee organised a day to celebrate this summer’s GCSE results- with those who earned high grades, and those who soared in at above their target, commemorated with a certificate and WHSmith vouchers each. The ceremony took place at the monolithic Westminster Central Hall- which was a prestige in itself to visit- and one the nominees, teachers and accompanying parents could all enjoy. As well as this, there were Special Awards presented, for students that achieved great final results despite circumstances which would have defeated most people.

All this was interspersed with musical interludes from rising talent within the PiXL sphere, such as The Capella’s, Stomp, Boaz Dopemu, Rianne Reyes, Ruby Topping, the poetry collective and the PiXL choir, while this year’s guest speakers Hannah Cockroft and Baroness Sue Campbell gave rousing speeches to round the whole event off.

It was a great honour for everyone concerned and a chance to represent all the GCSE students at their various schools. A tiring day, but one that’ll be remembered for a very long time to come.

P.S. (Millie who wrote the piece was one of the high achievers but is too modest to mention here. – Ed)

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Felicity’s fish cookery – November.

November is the best month for Clovelly Herrings and they are full of roe as the winter draws in.

On the 30th November, St Andrew Day the village keeps the catch for their own food, so no one is hungry through the winter! Let’s hope the weather is benign as they still catch the fish in an open boat with sails, called a Picharooner. This is about 18 foot long and is worked by one or two fishermen who shake each fish out of the net. Sometimes several hundred (or a Mease) or more are caught in a nights’ fishing. This method of fishing has been carried out for centuries. Please contact me if you would like some fresh herring delivered.

Here is our favourite Clovelly Herring Dish to feed the family or a group of friends, very economically.

This recipe is from Ann Burnham and uses seasonal vegetables and fruit. We have cooked it already with several groups. It is quick and simple to make and tastes lovely!

Clovelly Herring and Apple Bake

Ingredients (serves 4/6)

set oven 180C /Gas 5.

4/6 Herrings-filleted, trimmed and sliced.

3 onions, sliced.

1 Cox’s apple, cored and sliced.

6 potatoes, peeled and sliced.

250ml /10 fl oz Milk and 100ml /5 fl oz cream mixed together.


Saute Onions in butter, season.

Grease a large ovenproof pie dish.

Put a layer of potatoes in the dish and continue with layers of onion, herring, apple and potatoes. Season each layer.

Finish with a top layer of potatoes.

Pour over milk and cream combined

Bake for 1-1 1/2hrs, depending on depth of dish.

Felicity Sylvester 07918 779 060


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Buzz Word – November.

Send us your Buzzes…. Write to or to the address on front page.

Orchard Wanted.

I have been hoping for some time to plant a small orchard in this area, but have failed to find one/two  acres for sale. If you can help please contact me at mave22new@ or 01237 472565.

Mavis Dowling.

A showcase of stars.

On the 27th, 29th and 30th November, Westward Ho! Youth Theatre Group is putting on a variety show at Kingsley Hall, to showcase its members’ talents. The acts range from comedy sketches; to singing and dancing, with some uplifting and fun chorus numbers. This year a percentage of the proceeds from the show and raffle will be donated to a fund set up for Ashton Cain.

Ashton is eight years old and has been diagnosed with an aggressive desmoid tumour in his neck. It is unusual for a child to be diagnosed so young and it is uncommon to have it develop firstly in his neck. This is a very rare but life threatening condition of which there is no known cure. He has just started chemotherapy to see if they can shrink the tumour which is inoperable. The fund is to make his life a little easier whilst he is undergoing treatment and to assist the family financially as his treatment will involve extensive hospital visits. The family are extremely keen to raise awareness of this rare condition.Westward Ho! Youth Theatre Group is made up of talented and enthusiastic kids between the ages of eight and 18 and is run entirely by volunteers. There is a long waiting list of kids wishing to join, which is testament to its reputation and the desire for kids to be part of this amazing youth theatre group.

Please book tickets for this production via the website, or alternatively please call Sarah White on 07718 619642. Tickets are priced at £5.00 for adults, £4.00 for youths, seniors and concessions and £15.00 for a family of four. For discounted group rates please contact Sarah.


(Publicity Officer for WHYTG).

Bideford Music Club.

Elen Hydref (Harpist) will be performing to Bideford Music Club for their concert on 5th November at 7.30 pm. at Bideford Methodist Church Hall, High Street. Tickets are £12.50 (students free) and will be available at the door.

The Appledore Singers are changing rehearsal venue. From Monday 3rd November (7-9pm) we shall be at Appledore Baptist Church. Any ladies who wish to join us are more than welcome. Contact Pam Beechey on 01237 420652.

SS ‘Thistlemore’.

I am researching my family history and discovered that a relative of mine drowned at Bideford  Bay, on December 3rd 1909. I then saw an item in your magazine (Buzz November 2010 ) written by Mike Davy, which  gave reference to the monument which was to be erected in memory of the 21 men who drowned when SS ‘Thistlemore’ was lost in Bideford Bay on December 3rd 1909. My Grand-Uncle was one of the crew, and his name is on the monument  as T. Fuzzaro; he was actually called James Fuzzard and came from Guernsey and was the ship’s cook. It is grave FE3, and is located near Bone Hill at the north gate of Northam Church.  I am not too sure if there is not a plaque in the church also. At that time two cottages were being built and they were named Thistlemore in memory of the men who drowned. Sad times. One day I would love to see the memorial for myself. At least his body was washed ashore so he was able to be buried.

Lydia Kirkham.

(Robin Stowell has taken a photo of monument and grave and forwarded to Lydia – Ed).


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Freemasonry in Bideford.

‘Buzz’ has been very fortunate to receive various donations from Bideford’s Freemasons. They are well known for their charitable work and many local organisations have benefited from their fund-raising.

I asked Peter Christie what he could tell us about the history of the Lodge.

The following information is taken from his book, ‘ More North Devon History,’ originally published in the North Devon Journal-Herald 23/5/1985.

In 1843 the fourth lodge called ‘Benevolence’ was formed. Early members included the Town Clerk and the Mayor TB Chanter and this is the one that still remains today.

Its original home was in the Commercial Reading Room, an earlier forerunner of the town library. It moved from there to the Newfoundland hotel (now Mr Chips) thence to 9, Grenville street (now the Cafe Collective). From these premises the lodge moved to a hall in Bridgeland Street and finally secured its own rooms in October 1875 in the present day Masonic Hall in the same street. This was once the home of Thomas Stucley, a noted eccentric, and opposite the Conservative Club. (Home of Dr Ackland – see article ‘A Nineteenth-Century Bideford Doctor’).

The Victorian newspapers have various reports of this lodge – generally in January when new officers were installed and the annual banquet was held. For many years this was in the New Inn where ‘Brother Ascott’ was the host.

The lodge can look back at some 200 years of masonic history in Bideford – a very long period of connection with the town.”

(For the full story, read ‘More North Devon History’ by Peter Christie).


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A Nineteenth-Century Bideford Doctor.

William Henry Ackland was born in Bideford in 1825 and was the son of a doctor. His father, also William Ackland, had been apprenticed to a surgeon and apothecary in Bideford, but William Henry trained at University College Hospital in London. He lived at 23, Bridgeland Street, in the house which is now the Conservative Club, with his wife and seven children. Between 1851 and 1893 he built up a large practice, which stretched from Bradworthy and Clovelly to Instow and out to Lundy. He generally visited between 8 and 15 patients a day. When he went by sea to Lundy to treat a labourer working there, he sent his bills to Mr Heaven who then owned the island, and if he was seeing one of the lighthouse keepers the bill went to Trinity House. He also went as far as Eggesford. In order to visit the Earl of Portsmouth at Eggesford House the doctor caught the train from Bideford, was collected from Eggesford Station by carriage, saw his patients who might be members of the family (the Earl had 6 sons and 6 daughters) or servants, stayed the night and returned by train the next day. Other visits were made on horseback or in a horse-drawn brougham.

Charles Kingsley was a close friend and godfather to Dr Ackland’s eldest son, who was named Charles Kingsley Ackland. Like Kingsley, Dr Ackland was concerned for the health of the poorer people. He courted wealthy patients – and the fees he charged them seemed extraordinarily high in some cases – and he treated some poorer patients for little or nothing. Occasional bartering took place, for instance when treatment for the children of Bideford saddler Walter Chope was exchanged for a new saddle for Dr Ackland’s horse.

He obtained letters of recommendation from patients such as the Earl of Portsmouth and Henry Hamlyn-Fane of Clovelly and as a result obtained the position of Justice of the Peace and the first Medical Officer of Health for Bideford. In a letter to Mr Fane of Clovelly, the Earl of Portsmouth wrote,

Mr Dear Fane, I have written to the Chancellor on behalf of Dr Ackland and I have no doubt that Dr A will be a JP for Bideford. There cannot be a more fit and proper man. He is by far the most talented man in the town and of the highest attainments. He may not be as great a consumer of gin and water and port wine. Yrs Portsmouth.’ The Earl was known to be fond of his drink, while Dr Ackland was probably a teetotaller.

He attended the wealthy Mrs Elwes of Walland Carey at Buck’s Cross and seems to have persuaded her that funding was needed for medical attention for the poor of Buck’s Mills. He then provided their medical care and when Mrs Elwes died she left a sum of money, the interest on which allowed his visits to continue.

Naturally the middle classes of Bideford would have been impressed by these illustrious connections and would want him as their doctor. He used homeopathic remedies alongside conventional medicine. Homeopathy was fashionable at the time because it was used by the Royal Family, so this would also have increased his popularity. He was instrumental in setting up the Dispensary on Bideford Quay and the first isolation hospital on Alverdiscott Road.

There seemed to be a certain amount of rivalry between the doctors in Bideford, judging by accounts of disagreements in the local papers. Dr Ackland’s 1867 diary contained a reference to a visit to a woman in labour. He said she was ‘first seen by Dr Pridham, afterwards by Mr Turner, subsequently by self. I succeeded in turning the child after ineffectual attempts by Dr Pridham and Mr Turner.’

An elderly lady who remembered Dr Ackland claimed that she saw him meet his friend Charles Kingsley in the street and Kingsley asked him where he was going. The doctor waved his hands in a characteristic way and said airily ‘Oh, westward, ho!’ meaning Northam Burrows, as the village of that name did not then exist. Supposedly this gave the author the idea for the title of his book.

William Ackland’s son, Charles Kingsley Ackland, also trained as a doctor and practised in the Strand until about 1930. Charles’s daughter Judith was an artist whose work is displayed in the Burton Art Gallery.

Liz Shakespeare.

Liz Shakespeare is the author of four books set in the Bideford area. Dr Ackland is one of the main characters in ‘The Turning of the Tide’. Photo courtesy of Wellcome Institute, London.


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One hundred years ago – November 1914.

The town is beginning to receive civilian and military casualties from the war across the channel. Six Belgian refugees have arrived in Bideford and will be looked after by Dr. Goddard in his Bridgeland Street house. A total of 21 are staying at the Bath House and another group are in a cottage at Westward Ho! One has served in the Belgian army and has been wounded twice.

The death is announced of Major Humphrey St Leger Stucley of the Grenadier Guards, who died from his injuries received at the Front. He was 38 years old and the youngest son of Sir George & Lady Stucley of Moreton Park, Bideford.

The newly formed Royal North Devon Hussars enrolled Herbert Baglow, F Heath, J H Palmer, W E Galliford, J H Parsons and C E Linceey . All these men are from the town of Bideford.

Bideford Rural District Council sent a note of Condolence to the widow of Mr J Pennington, the town Sanitary Inspector, who has recently died. At a council meeting it was decided to advertise for another Inspector of Nuisances at a salary of £65 per annum.

Farleighs Stores advertise choice Sweet Hog brand bacon, Breakfast bacon at 10½d per lb and boast that all their bacon is now sliced by “modern machinery”. To accompany this they have choice cooking eggs at 10 for one shilling.

Tattersalls in Market Place Bideford warn that Christmas Pudding Fruits will be dearer this year due to the obvious hardships and shortages, however Bideford & District Hospital acknowledge with thanks the receipt of 10 brace of pheasants from Lord Clinton and his estate.

From Bideford and District Archives

A rare treat in the newspaper during the month was a picture of the newly elected Mayor and Mayoress of Bideford, Councillor S Redclift and Mrs Chope.


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Shipping news No. 117 (September/ October 2014).

In port – Yelland Quay.

Celtic Forester - (ex- Spica ’94, Anitab ’01, Jork ’06) built 1984 : flag, Cardiff : owners British : crew Polish : from Glensanda to Teignmouth : arrived 5/10, sailed 6/10 : loaded 3,500 tons chippings.

Lady Anna - built 2012 : flag Delfzijl, Netherlands : owners Dutch : crew Dutch, Ukrainian,& Philippino : from Glensanda to Birdport : arrived 12/10, sailed 13/10 : loaded 3,500 tons chippings.

No cargoes at Bideford since last edition. (There is a vessel due early November to load clay for Spain).

Arco Dart at Appledore 25.9.14, 28.9.14.

Oldenburg has ceased her voyages to Lundy for the summer; she will no doubt be off to Sharpness for drydocking.

Information received from Capt Hoad, Bideford Harbour master, who advised that the second vessel for the Irish Navy, the LE James Joyce, is due to leave the building shed on the 23rd November; high water is at 18.15.

Bristol Channel Observations

16.9.14 at 11.54 cargo vessel Helas, 3,850 tons d.w, owners Hermann Lohmann Bereederungen GMBH Germany. (In the last edition I stated she had sailed from Yelland on 15th – however she did not sail until the 16th bound for Birdport).

21.9.14 at 11.02 vehicle carrier Garnet Leader, 21,020 tons d.w, owners Ray Car Carriers Ltd Douglas IOM, in the colours of Nippon Yusen Kaisha, inward bound for Portbury. At 13.02 bulk carrier Inventana, 44,054 tons d.w, owners Masterbulk PTE Ltd Singapore, in the colours of Westfal Larsen Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

24.9.14 at 12.37 vehicle carrier Grande Benelux, 12,594 tons d.w, owners Grimaldi Line of Italy inward bound for Portbury. At 12.47 bulk carrier Navara, 51,624 tons d.w, owners unknown, inward bound for Portbury. At 16.50 dredger Mannin 172 gross tons, owners Padstow Harbour, outward bound from Ilfracombe; she had previously been work at the buoys in Appledore.

26.9.14 at 12.07 cargo vessel Universal Durban, 22,983 tons d.w, owners Universal Durban BV Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth . (Seen again on 29.9.14 at 16.37, outward bound from Avonmouth, having sailed at 09.10).

27.9.14 at 0932, cargo vessel Helen Anna, 3,650 tons d.w, owners Helen Anna Schiffahrts GHMB Germany, inward bound for Newport. At 14.26 cargo vessel Sea Melody, 3,713 tons d.w,owners Saturn Shipping Ltd Grimsby, outward bound from Newport, having sailed at 19.20 26th. At 14.30 cargo vessel Terschelling, 6,000 tons d.w, owners Terschelling Shipping CV Netherlands, inward bound for Newport. At 14.50 container vessel Endeavour, 9,168 tons d.w, owners J.R. Shipping BV Netherlands seen passing Bull Point , inward bound for Avonmouth.

29.9.14 at 17.24 cable ship Resolute, 10,217 tons d.w, owners Tyco Resolute Inc Spain, having sailed from Avonmouth at 10.46.

1.10.14 at 07.40 bulk carrier Fu An Ha, 30,000 tons d.w, owners Pearl Fortune Trading Ltd China, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 00.36.

4.10.14 at 13.46 cargo vessel Blue Dragon, 3,696 tons d.w, owners Wolfgand Grimpe Marine Germany, outward bound from Avonmouth, having sailed at 04.12

5.10.14 at 08.58 vehicle carrier Viking Chance, 10,834 tons d.w, owners Gram Car Carriers AS Norway, inward bound for Portbury.

10.1014 at 12.18 vehicle carrier Grande Italia, 12,594 tons d.w, owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 07.57.

11.10.14 at 07.28 tanker Triple A, 13,040 tons d.w, owners Walworth Holding SA Greece, inward bound for Cardiff. At 10.03 tanker Grace Victoria, 74,999 tons d.w, owners Astraea Maritime SA Japan, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed 05.59. At 14.27 container vessel Endeavour, 9,168 tons d.w, owners J.R. Shipping Netherland, inward bound for Avonmouth.

Regards, Norman.


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