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North Devon remembers World War One

PUBLISHED: 09:10 01 August 2014 | UPDATED: 09:29 01 August 2014

The North Devon Gazette is asking readers to share family records and memories of World War One ahead of the centenary this summer.

The North Devon Gazette is asking readers to share family records and memories of World War One ahead of the centenary this summer.


Full round up of all the centenary events happening in North Devon and Torridge this weekend.


ILFRACOMBE: Commemoration parade leaves the pier 2pm, along seafront to Runnymede Gardens. Emmanuel church open 2-4.30pm for refreshments, floral display and memorabilia. Exhibition at Ilfracombe Museum.

LANDKEY VILLAGE HALL: Exhibition of WWI memorabilia, coffee morning and cream teas 10am-noon.

BARNSTAPLE: World War One themed activities, crafts music and workshops for all ages, St Anne’s Arts and Community Centre 11am-4pm.

POIGNANT events will be held in communities across North Devon this weekend to commemorate the centenary of World War One.

On August 4 it will be exactly 100 years since Britain entered one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history, the Great War 1914-1918 which claimed an estimated 37 million lives.

No town or village in the UK was left untouched by tragedy - in 1914 droves of volunteers from all walks of life eagerly signed up for a war they thought would be ‘over by Christmas’.

Many did not return home and the country was left counting the cost after four years of the horrors of trench warfare and bloody slaughter that claimed the lives of a generation.

In Barnstaple, more than 400 set off on August 12.

Led by the town crier, hundreds of Ilfracombe volunteers marched to the station and off to war, but 166 did not return.

Across North Devon it was the same story as men left farms and factories in their hundreds, marching away to the sound of brass bands and cheering crowds.

One hundred years on, we remember.

Horses brought for purchase by the War Office are pictured outside Bideford Pannier Market. Horses brought for purchase by the War Office are pictured outside Bideford Pannier Market.

Here is our round up of events happening around North Devon to commemorate the centenary:


MORE than 400 men of the North Devon Yeomanry set off from Barnstaple Station on August 12, 1914, and a variety of events this weekend will commemorate the outbreak of war a century ago.

Barnstaple Town Council is working with the Royal British Legion, the Army Benevolent Fund and other organisations to stage the events.

On Saturday, there is a day of themed activities for all ages at St Anne’s Arts and Community Centre.

On Sunday there will be a parade from Rock Park, with a wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial at 10.45am and a fly-past by the 22 Squadron RAF Sea King from Chivenor.

The procession will then make its way to the Pannier Market for a drumhead service and act of remembrance at 11.50am conducted by the Bishop of Crediton, the Right Reverend Nick McKinnel.


BARNSTAPLE PARADE: Wreath laying ceremony and fly past at Rock Park war memorial 10.45am, followed by procession of North Devon Pipes and Drums to Pannier Market for service with the Bishop of Crediton 11.50am.

BIDEFORD: Remembrance parade organised by Bideford Royal British Legion. Procession leaves Jubilee Square at 9am moving to St Mary’s Church for service and wreath laying ceremony at the cenotaph.

SOUTH MOLTON: In Memoriam Service, South Molton Parish Church 11am, lone piper, poetry readings and the names of the fallen will be read out.

ILFRACOMBE TOWN CRIER COMPETITION: 10am Runnymede Gardens; 2-4pm World War One music with the Two Rivers Ensemble.

Great War Musical Tribute: with Elizabeth Kemp and friends, Emmanuel Church 8.15pm.

LANDKEY: Service of Remembrance, St Paul’s Church 10.30am.

ABBOTSHAM: Commemoration service at St Helen’s Church war memorial 3pm, followed by bring-and-share tea at village hall.

The free events at St Anne’s run from 11am-4pm and include a talk entitled A Beginner’s Guide to Military History with local historian Robert Palmer at 11.30am.

For a full programme of events, visit


BIDEFORD will be remembering the soldiers who fought in World War One at a special remembrance event on Sunday.

Some 200 Bideford men lost their lives on the battlefields of France, Gallipoli and Mesopotamia.

The parade of Bideford Town Band and dignitaries, organised by Bideford’s Royal British Legion (RBL), will by led by a lone piper from Jubilee Square at 9am.

The parade will move to St Mary’s Church via Cooper Street, Mill Street and Allhalland Street, before a service to commemorate the fallen.

Ilfracombe World War One soldiers. Ilfracombe World War One soldiers.

After the service, wreaths will be laid at the cenotaph and the names of fallen soldiers from Bideford will be read out by the mayor, mace bearer and an RBL representative.

Refreshments will be available from the RBL club in the High Street.


MONTHS of hard work come to fruition on Saturday as Ilfracombe holds a special commemoration parade to honour its Great War dead.

It promises to be one of the largest community events of recent times and sets off from the pier at 2pm following the blessing of the new Ilfracombe standard.

The Ilfracombe soldiers who lost their lives in the war will be represented by living relatives as well as local schoolchildren and volunteers, who have signed up to the Adopt-a-Soldier scheme organised by Sue Garwood.

Led by Town Crier Roy Goodwin, joined by the Mayor and councillors, veterans, standard bearers, representatives from town groups plus 32 town criers from across the country – including two from Australia and another from Belgian – will make their way to Runnymede Gardens on the seafront.


BRAUNTON COMMEMORATION: Parade from Memorial Gardens to St Brannock’s Church, with Royal British Legion, for 11am service and laying of wreaths. At 10pm a solitary candle will be lit for the Lights Out campaign.

LIGHTS OUT: Join national RBL campaign to extinguish all lights apart from a single candle from 10-11pm to mark the moment war was declared. In Barnstaple, a 9.30pm procession sets off from Rock Park to the museum, where a single candle will be lit.

Marching with the Belgium flag will be Saskia Van de Voorde, great great niece of Camille Kerckvoorde, one of two wounded Belgians buried at Holy Trinity Church after being evacuated to Ilfracombe.

At the gardens, plaques commemorating the fallen will be placed on a memorial wall – to remain until Remembrance Day in November – and their names will be cried out by the criers present.

The event was inspired by Roy and his wife Bee, who came across a photograph from 1914 showing his predecessor Robert Martin leading the parade of volunteers through the town before they left for France.

It has been organised by Events 4 Ilfracombe and volunteers, including Sue Garwood, whose research has uncovered a vast amount of detail: “It’s been an amazing thing because so much has come out of it,” she said.

“I am just so grateful to the generosity and spirit of the people of Ilfracombe, because they have really embraced this.”

A World War One exhibition is now on display at Ilfracombe Museum.

On the Sunday, all 32 criers will gather at Runnymede for a Town Crier Competition at 10am, with presentations at 12.45pm. From 2-4pm there will be World War One era music from the Two Rivers Ensemble.

Lights Out

PEOPLE in North Devon are invited to join a special ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One.

On Monday, as part of the national Royal British Legion Lights Out event, North Devon Council has organised a walk from the Rock Park war memorial in Barnstaple to the museum, where a single candle will be lit in an upstairs window.

The procession sets off at 9.30pm and all are welcome to join in, or gather at 10pm by the square for the lighting of the candle.

The RBL is inviting people across the country to turn out their lights on Monday from 10-11pm, leaving a single light or candle burning to mark the moment Britain declared war on Germany, at 11pm on August 4, 1914.

The inspiration comes from a remark made on the eve of war by the then Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, who said: ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time’.

“This is a very special event and one I’m proud to take part in,” said North Devon Council Chairman Malcolm Wilkinson.

“It’s so important to remember the sacrifices made by so many people in North Devon and across the country and I’d encourage people to come along and share this moment of reflection.”

Council Leader Cllr Brian Greenslade added: “We can’t let a significant milestone like this pass us by without showing our respects to those who fought for our freedom 100 years ago.

“It is particularly poignant for me as my grandfather fought in Belgium and France in World War One.”

Send us your photos

Are you taking part in any of the commemorative events this weekend? Send your photos to, tweet us @northdevon24 or post them on the North Devon Gazette Facebook page.

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