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This Month in Exeter – 1917

Many changes in wartime city

Page updated 27th February 2017 for the newspapers in March 1917

This Month 1913
This Month 1914
This Month 1915
This Month 1916
This Month 1917

Back to historic events in Exeter

Western Times


These newspaper snippets are from the Western Times, and the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette. It is updated monthly, as we traverse the events of the First World War. The months are in reverse, with January 1916 at the end of the page. Thanks to the British Newspaper Archive


March 1917

The Month in Exeter.

Tram and horse

Yesterday Charles Knight, carter Isca-road, Exeter, sustained an injury to his left leg and a cut over the right eye, on Exe Bridge, through the horse which he was driving taking fright at a tram car, mounting the footpath and jambing him against the bridge. The animal bolted along Alphington-street, where it was stopped by Acting-Sergt. Elford and Mr. E, D. Western.
Western Times - Thursday 01 March 1917

Cream on fire

Exeter Fire Brigade was called about 5.55 last evening to Oakhay Dairy, No. 55, Richmond-road, from which smoke had been seen issuing. The premises, which were locked up, were forced open by members of the Brigade, who found that a quantity of cream which have been left on a gas stove had caught fire. The fire was extinguished before any serious damage was done.
Western Times - Thursday 01 March 1917

Boy injured

A six years old boy named George Connett, of Homefield-place, Heavitree, while crossing Fore-street about mid-day yesterday, was knocked down by a motor cycle ridden by Mr. Thomas Pidsley, of Clyst St. George. First aid was rendered by Mr. T. Peters, of the St. John Ambulance Brigade. Connett received injuries to his knees, and was also suffering from shock.
Western Times - Friday 02 March 1917

Exwick van has no lights

Harold Geal, van driver, employed by the Exwick Laundry, was summoned for driving a van in Fore-street, Heavitree, without two front lights at 6.45 the evening of February 23rd.—P.C. Reed stated that there was only one light on the van.—Defendant said when be started from Exwick he had two lamps, but he had a mishap to one them.—A fine of 2s. 6d. was imposed.
Western Times - Friday 02 March 1917

Suggestions at the St. Thomas Tribunal

St. Thomas Rural District Tribunal yesterday heard application from Mr. F. M. Parsons (A), baker, of Topsham, for further time to enable him to complete the training of his wife in the business. He should like another month, when he would join up. Capt. Vyvyan (military representative) suggested that the bakers of Topsham ought combine to make arrangements for carrying on a business like this. He suggested that the Bakers' Association might do something. Ultimately the Tribunal gave the applicant till the 16th March.
Another case was that of Percy Harris (A), baker, of Pinhoe, who stated that he had had a substitute, who, however, was a confectioner, and not a bread baker, and was, therefore, refused. The Chairman: Do you prefer to let the business go rather than have a substitute. Applicant: Yes, I should sell up.—In the course of discussion it was stated that a Mrs Rogers was carrying on business of a baker at Pinhoe in the absence of her husband, who had been called up. There were three bakers in Pinhoe before the war. Captain Vyvyan said several bakers from Exeter served Pinhoe, He suggested that arrangements should be made with the Bakers' Association to carry on applicant's business. The tribunal refused exemption.
Western Times - Saturday 03 March 1917

Exonian KIA

Official news has been received that No. 1705 Pte. H. G Marsden. Devon Regt., the second son of Staff-Quartermaster-Sergeant Marsden Army Pay Corps, and Mrs. R. Marsden, 93, Cowick-street Exeter, was wounded in action in Mesopotamia on 3rd February last.
Western Times - Monday 05 March 1917


To the Editor of the Daily Gazette.
Sir,—Having read in your "Notes of the Day” the paragraph referring to rabbits, I wish to state that the information is incorrect, at least, so far as l am concerned. Last Friday the price I paid was 1s and 1s 1d for shot rabbits and 1s 3d for trapped, and my selling price was 1s 1d to 1s 3d.
Yours truly,
Cowick-street, St. Thomas,
March 5th.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Wednesday 07 March 1917

Bad Smash at Exeter Yesterday Morning
After Dash Down Fore-street Hill.
Graphic Narratives by Eyewitnesses.

Great excitement was caused in Exeter yesterday when it was learned that owing to an, apparently, runaway tramcar, accidents had occurred at Fore-street Hill and at Exe Bridge with fatal results. The casualties include one woman—a passenger on the car—killed, and several injured. A waggon horse was also killed.
The first part of the accident occurred in Fore-street Hill just after eleven o’clock. A trolley belonging to Messrs. Chaplin and Co., railway contractors, was proceeding down towards the bridge with a load of matches for Mr. Veale, grocer. The driver John Robinson, 29, Exe-street, had drawn somewhat out into the roadway to pass a barrow drawn up outside the pavement, when, without warning, a tramcar plying between Heavitree and Dunsford-hill collided with the waggon, overturning it, and smashing a wheel and the shafts. The collision, it appears, jerked the horse with terrific force against the shop front of Mr. R. Arnold, baker and provision merchant, killing the animal, whilst some show cases outside the shop were badly damaged.
Car Overturns
The tramcar continued down the hill at a fast pace, and at the approach to Exe Bridge left the rails. This part of the accident was witnessed by E. J. Milton, an iron moulder, 2 Friars' Gate. To a representative of the “Western Times" he said: I was standing at the corner of Commercial-road, and saw the cab coming full tilt down the hill. It was rocking on the track, and seemed out of control. The driver was at his post. At the commencement of the Bridge it left the rails and swerved to the right, proceeded some distance, and then overturned. So far as I could see, there were about five passengers in the car…
This was a long report. More on the crash can be found at Tram Crash
Western Times - Thursday 08 March 1917

Local Military Honours

B.Q.M S. A. P. Spicely, R.F.A., of 3, Oak Close, Heavitree, has now had a good many months at the Front, and has distinguished himself on more than one occasion. In July last year his gallant services were brought the notice of the General Commanding of his Division by his Officer Commanding and Brigade Commander, and on New Year's Day was mentioned in despatches. He has now been presented with the French Medal Militaire, which corresponds to the English Military Medal and carries with it a yearly pension of 100 francs. B.Q.M S. Spicely’s many friends in Heavitree heartily congratulate him upon the honour conferred upon him.
Western Times - Friday 09 March 1917

Colonial and "The Pretty Village" OF EXETER.

A young Australian who recently passed through St. David's Station, and shared in one of the Mayoress' Depot Hospitality Fund welcomes, was evidently so occupied at the time with the good fare provided that he could spare not a moment to reflect on the size of St. David's Station, and its importance as a railway centre. Indeed, he left Exeter (would you believe it?) under the impression that St. David's was a village station, and that Exeter was a "pretty village." The fact that this young Colonial should have so lacked all knowledge of Devon's capital may come as a bit of a shock to citizens jealous of the importance of the City, but his letter, sent to the Mayoress and received at the Depot, is too rich, in this reference to the hamlet of Exeter to miss. "I wish to thank you," he says, "for your kindness to us in providing the hot drink and buns when stopped at your pretty little village en route for —. The tea was very welcome to all.” Perhaps that is the best testimonial the Hospitality Fund refreshments ever had, for they obviously riveted this young Colonial's undivided attention. He had eyes for nothing else.
Western Times - Monday 12 March 1917

Exeter Children's Court

At the Exeter Juvenile Court yesterday an errand boy of Wonford was fined 5s for riding a bicycle furiously in Fore-street, Heavitree. on the 22nd inst.—Two schoolboys of Frog-street were ordered to be birched—six strokes and four strokes respectively—for stealing 14 periodicals from a bicycle in Edmund-street. The owner, Mr. A. J. Godfrey, left his bicycle about half a minute, and on his return missed, the papers. The lads offered them for sale to newsagents, including Mr. Pitman, who happened to be a special constable, and who took the boys to the police Station. One of the lads stated that they intended to sell the papers and go to the picture palace with the proceeds. The Bench thanked Mr. Pitman for his action in the matter.
Western Times - Tuesday 17 March 1917

Cider, But no Snack of Bread and Cheese

How the little perquisites of the poor melt away in war-time was shown at the Exeter Police Court, yesterday, when William Gaydon, labourer, of no fixed address, was charged with being drunk and incapable in Heavitree-Road on the 22nd inst.—Replying to Mr Stalker, defendant said he had registered for National Service, but that could not get any work; he didn't know why. He was a plasterer by trade. Asked why he did not buy food instead of drink, he declared that he purchased three pints of cider, and expected to get a bite of something with it. Before the war he could get a snack of bread and cheese from the counter. Now he could not get that.—The chairman(Mr. A. McCrea) said defendant had a bad record, and did not seem to be curable.—He was fined 7s, or seven days.
Western Times - Saturday 24 March 1917

Superintendent leaves

At the Castle Hotel, Exeter, last night, Primo C. Burbidge, superintendent of the Exeter Swimming Baths, who is leaving the city to take up an appointment at Sevenoaks, was presented by local buffaloes with a handsome marble clock, suitably inscribed. Bro. R. Pullen( R. O. H.) made at the presentation.
Western Times - Tuesday 20 March 1917

Wounded in action

Mr. and Mrs Pill, of Buller-road, St Thomas, have been informed that their son, Pte. T. Pill, of the Devons, was wounded in action in Mesopotamia on February 3rd. He went to India with the Devons in October, 1914.
Western Times - Tuesday 22 March 1917 See Journal of voyage to India by the Devons.

Dog steals joint

Two butcher boys had an exciting chase after a collie dog in St. Sidwell’s, Exeter, yesterday afternoon. The dog had secured a luscious joint of pork, and was seeking a quiet place in which to eat it. But the cyclist were seen on his track, and he had a great run for his prize.
Western Times - Saturday 24 March 1917

Swimming lessons for children

There is some doubts as to whether the swimming instruction for Exeter Elementary School children can commence on April 2nd, as the baths are in use by the troops, but it will be started as soon as they are available, and last years timetable would again be adopted.
Western Times - Monday 26 March 1917


Messes. James Guy and Son inform us that their land near Emanuel Church, St. Thomas, was not commandeered by the City Council, but voluntarily offered to the authorities for allotment purposes sometime ago, the offer being now accepted.
Western Times - Tuesday 27 March 1917

Ship Inn license

The Exeter magistrates, on the application of Mr. S. Ernest Crosse, have transferred the license of the Ship Inn, Martin’s Lane, Exeter, from Mr. R. W. Jones to Mr. W. E. Taylor, of Exeter.
Western Times - Wednesday 28 March 1917

TRAMWAY DISASTER AT EXETERTram crash1. The overturned Car, as viewed from the window at Mr. S. Randal’s Seed Establishment, Exe Bridge.
2. The car being dismantled by the tramway workmen.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 9 March 1917

February 1917

The Month in Exeter.


Yesterday, at Exeter Police-court, William Archibald A. Oliver, of the Era Hotel, Sidwell-street, Exeter, was summoned for driving a motor car at a dangerous speed on the 20th ult.
Acting-lnspector Snell stated that he was in Commins-road when saw a car being driven down Pinhoe-road at a "terrific rate." By the time he got into Pinhoe-road the car was out of sight. Subsequently, he was with another police officer in Pinhoe-road when he saw the car again, which he was informed was the one which had been driven furiously. After inquiries had been made, Mr. Oliver was seen. He denied that he was driving fast, but later, when spoken to on the telephone, he said he had no idea he was going at too great a speed, "but if people said he was he supposed must have been.
Defendant: "I said if witness swore to it I must abide by that, but I did not admit that my speed was too great."
In answer to the Mayor, Inspector Snell said it was impossible to estimate the speed at which the car was travelling. It simply flashed by the end of Commins-road.
P.C. Bishop gave evidence to similar effect, and Charles Sampson, butcher's assistant, said he dismounted from his bicycle because the car was coming at a terrific speed.
Defendant said he had been driving for ten years, and there had been no previous complaint against him. He could not call evidence in regard to the present case and must, therefore, leave the matter with the bench.
A fine of 10s inclusive was imposed, the Mayor remarking that the license would be endorsed on this conviction, and that was the real penalty:
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 02 February 1917


Mr. W. Westcott. King Edward-street, Exeter, was driving a motor-car up North-street yesterday afternoon, when two six-year-old boys, Edward Wood and Frank Spavey of Paul-street, ran out from behind a waggon immediately in front of the car, and were knocked down, Mr. Westcott at once stopped the car, and found that both boys were under the front part. With the assistance of Lce.-Corpl. F. S. Smith and Rifleman E. Bull, he took the boys out and conveyed them to the Royal Devon and Hospital, where Spavey, being found to have a fractured thlgh, was made an inpatient, and Wood, whose head was cut, was made an outpatient.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 03 February 1917

Horse bolts

Yesterday morning a horse and waggon, the property of Messrs. J. L Thomas and Co., was standing outside the shop of Mr Hutchings, at Eastgate. A bicycle placed against the kerb, near by, was accidentally knocked down. This frightened the horse, which bolted towards Sidwell-street. It was stopped at the top of Paris-street by P. S. White and a man named Frank Curtis, of Dunsford-hill. The bicycle was slightly damaged.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 03 February 1917

Relics for the Priory

Exeter Museum Library and Fine Arts Committee have assented to a recommendation that appropriate local relics be lent to the estates Committee for the exhibition at St Nicholas Priory under the charge of the Curator of the museum.
Western Times - Saturday 03 February 1917

Exeter Police Court.

At the Exeter Police Court yesterday, Jonathan Batters, labourer, of no fixed address, was brought up in custody on charges of failure to register and neglecting to report when called out for permanent service. When seen at a local lodging-house he stated that he had lost the papers, and admitted later that he was eligible for military service. He had been wandering about the country, and appeared in court in a very unkempt condition. The Chief Constable proceeded with the second charge on which Batters was fined 40s and handed over to the military for medical examination.
Western Times - Wednesday 07 February 1917

No lights

William Clarke, "Barton." Combe Raleigh, was summoned for driving motor-car in Forestreet Heavitree, without carrying lights on the extreme right and left of the car required by the regulations. He pleaded that he acted in ignorance and was fined 5s.
Western Times - Wednesday 07 February 1917

No rear light

William Sowden carter, 8, Snell's Cottages, Bishop's Buildings, Summerland-street, Exeter, for driving a pair of horses and an oil tank in Eastgate without a lighted rear lamp, was mulcted (fined) in 2s 6d. He stated that he did not know the light had gone out.
Western Times - Wednesday 07 February 1917

Widows Compensation

At the Exeter County Court yesterday Mr. G. H. Stephens (Gould and Stephens) applied on behalf of Mrs. Mary Latter and her infant son, that the £290 awarded her as compensation for the loss of her husband, a seaman, who lost his life when the S.S. Princess of Thule went down in Torbay in November last. £10 be paid out to the widow and balance invested in War Loan, £1 per month to be paid out for the support of the child—His honour decided that £20 should be placed in the Post Office, the balance of £270 invested in the War Loan.
Western Times - Tuesday 06 February 1917


There will be a military boxing tournament at the Victoria Hall, Exeter, on February 24. Those desirous of engagements should send names, weights, terms, and past records to the Boxing Secretary, 9th Reserve London Regiment, 47, St. David’s-Hill, Exeter.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 09 February 1917


A satisfactory report was presented by the police at Exeter Licensing Sessions yesterday. It stated there had been a decrease of drunkenness in the city, and that the conduct of the licensed premises had been generally good. All the licenses were named with the exception of the Nugget Hotel, Queen-street. The Magistrates’ Clerk said he had notice from the solicitors to the owners that they were not applying for renewal. The Mayor said the Licensing Justices were obliged to the license holders for the cordial way in which they had fallen in with the suggestions and restrictions in the interests of the public, and in compliance with the desires of the military authorities.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 09 February 1917

Competition of Trams and Motors

The introduction of trams and competition by motors” were the causes alleged at a meeting of creditors at Exeter yesterday by Alfred William Mill, of Pinhoe, and trading as a cab proprietor at Market-street, Exeter. The liabilities were estimated at £473 4s 1d, and the assets £104 16s 3d, leaving a deficiency of £368 7s 10d. Official Receiver's observations:—The receiving order was made on the debtor's petition, and an order of adjudication has been made. The debtor, who is aged 53, states that he commenced business at Cowick-street Exeter, about 1895, when he took over a business formerly carried on by T. R. Rogers. The purchase money was £250 to £30, payable by instalments, having no capital. After about two years he joined his brother-in-law, the said T. R. Rogers, in purchasing a business at Preston-street Exeter, of Mrs. Leach, for £1,800, of which £1,000 was paid down, and the balance was paid in instalments; £900 of the purchase money was advanced by a Bank on the security of two relatives, and £100 provided by T. R Rogers. The partnership was continued for ten or twelve years, when T. R. Rogers retired, being paid £800, which was provided by the debtor's wife. Since then he has traded on his own account. No accounts were prepared on the dissolution, but an agreement was drawn up by a solicitor. He has kept a debtors' ledger and day book, order book, and a rough cash book, which has not been balanced. He has not kept any creditors' ledger nor has he ever prepared any balance sheets or trading accounts. The debtor admits becoming aware of his insolvency about two years ago, but has continued to trade in the hope of improvement, or of being able to sell the business as a going concern. The household furniture, etc., at Harrington, Pinhoe, has been all claimed by debtor's wife, who is also the owner of the property, the whole being purchased by her with her own monies left her by relatives. The unsecured liabilities are follows:—Two for £227 11s. for forage supplied: one for £14 16s. veterinary services and shoeing; one for £145 15s, money lent by a friend; one for £51 5s 1d, undistrainable rent; twelve for £33 16s 2d.
The public examination has been fixed for Thursday next at the Castle of Exeter.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 09 February 1917


There were a large number of skaters to be seen yesterday and last evening both on the river Exe and the Canal.
Western Times - Saturday 10 February 1917

The Ruins of an Exeter School.

ONE of the most destructive fires experienced in Exeter in recent years occurred at St. Thomas (Okehampton-road) Council Schools early Friday evening. Mysterious in its origin—some think it began in a room at the rear of the premises owing to a coke stove, used for warming the building being overheated and igniting the woodwork—it spread with amazing rapidity, and the whole school was in a very short time a mass flames, whose tongues shot upward, high and fiercely. It was a wonderful and weird sight for the hundreds who quickly gathered to the scene. Dense volumes of smoke belched forth, being borne seaward on a gentle breeze—black clouds of disaster. Half-molten glass fell from every window, and there was continual clatter of sliding slates and tiles and falling debris as the roofs turned red and collapsed into the interior. The Exeter firemen, promptly answering a call, fought stubbornly with the flames, and it is no doubt due to the admirable efforts Supt Pett and his men, coupled with the good fortune of the wind being in a favourable direction, that Emmanuel Church, separated from the schools only by passage way, did not become involved. It was a good piece of luck, too, that the fire did not break out until after the 400 children attending the school had returned home for their teas. Everything seemed all right when Miss Newcombe, the Head Mistress, who was the last to leave, had a final look round. The above "snaps," taken by the "Western Times" photographer afterwards, give some idea of two thousand pounds' worth of damage which was done. Arrangements have been made for the children to continue their education at other schools in the vicinity.
Western Times - Friday 16 February 1917

No dog collar

At Exeter Police Court on Saturday, Archibald L. Matthews, Cowick-street, was summoned in respect to a dog not wearing an inscribed collar, and was fined 5s.
Western Times - Monday 19 February 1917

Trams crash

During the heavy fog in Exeter on Saturday morning two of the Council tram cars came into collision in Paris-street. Slight damage, including broken glass, was received by the cars, but no person was injured.
Western Times - Monday 19 February 1917

Farthing fund

We have received 16s 3½d from Miss E. Pursey, 25, High-street, Exeter, 30 farthings from Doris Sercombe, 50 farthings from “S.I.C.," and 96 farthings from Doris Res and 120 farthings from Margery Ley, Lyme Regis, for the Exeter Farthing Breakfast Fund.
Western Times - Tuesday 20 February 1917

Caught in bed with wife

At Exeter City Police Court yesterday, Charles Henry Holland, gunner, R.G.A., was charged with being absent without leave since February 11th, and was remanded for an escort. P.C. Harvey was granted 5s reward for the arrest. Defendant was found in bed with his wife at Bartholomew-street, Exeter, and tried to escape through the bedroom window. Anticipating this possibility the constable refused an invitation to not go upstairs, and did not go till he heard the wife shouting. It was stated that Holland had been six times an absentee from the forces.
Western Times - Tuesday 20 February 1917

Film for deaf and dumb

Through the generosity of Mrs. Sanders, of Stoke House, the pupils of the the Royal West of England Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, visited the Theatre to see the “Tank” films, yesterday afternoon. The entertainment was very much appreciated by the children.
Western Times - Wednesday 28 February 1917

Trench feet

Mr and Mrs. H Stoneman, of Bartholomew-street West, Exeter, have received notification from the Admiralty that their son, Pte. Fred Stoneman, R.M.L.I., is in hospital suffering with trench feet. It will be remembered the eldest son Harry Stoneman, was killed in action last March.
Western Times - Wednesday 28 February 1917


Wonford Bench yesterday granted a reparation order to Mrs. A. B. T. A. Jennings of Pinhoe, the husband, who is employed as a labourer at a munition works at Birmingham, being ordered to pay 15s a week towards her maintenance, and also the costs of the application. It was stated that the man had been employed at Exeter but went to Birmingham, where he could earn more money
Western Times - Wednesday 28 February 1917

Bicycle lights

For being in charge of bicycles on the highway at Broadclyst in the night time without lights, William Mills and John Willey, youths, employed at Stoke Canon Paper' Mills were at the Wonford Sessions at the Castle Exeter, yesterday, each fined 2s 6d. P.S. Harvey stated that he met them at 6.25 and the lighting time was 6.03. The defendants were on the way home from work.
Western Times - Wednesday 28 February 1917


The Ruins of an Exeter SchoolRuined school at St ThomasExtended caption for this photo in the column, left.
Western Times - Friday 16 February 1917

January 1917

The Month in Exeter.


The Mayor proposed a formal resolution to put into operation an order for suspending vehicular traffic to-day in the High-street between South-street and the London Inn Square between 9 a.m. and 11a.m., in view of the procession at the civic reception of the Lord Bishop of Exeter. The Deputy Mayor seconded.
Western Times - Wednesday 03 January 1917


The South Shields Town Council invited the support of Exeter Council to a resolution passed by them and forwarded to the Local Government Board to the effect that the treatment of cases of venereal diseases by unqualified persons should be made a punishable offence. They suggested that joint action taken in the matter by the various authorities which are concerned with the administration of the regulations for the treatment of these diseases. On the motion Dr. Vlieland, seconded by Mr. Depree, it was decided to support the resolution.
Western Times - Wednesday 03 January 1917

Ex-Soldier Found With His Throat Cut at Exeter

Yesterday afternoon shortly after 2 o'clock, George Ralph Williams, ex-soldier, living at 3, Elton-road, Priory-road, Heavitree was found with his throat cut. He returned home Thursday from employment at Warminster, and at two o'clock went upstairs, telling his wife he was going shave. Shortly afterwards she found him on the floor with a large wound in his throat.
She raised an alarm, and two soldiers went in and bandaged his throat, Inspector Snell and P.C. Wood were also on the scene, and Dr. Pereira and Dr. Bradford were fetched. On their instructions, Williams was taken to the hospital by Supt. Bowden and St. John Ambulance members. The wound was not likely to prove fatal.
Williams is aged 33, and was formerly in the Army, having served in France. He afterwards worked as an insurance agent, and was then employed by a firm of caterers at Warminster for a short time.
Western Times - Saturday 06 January 1917


Shortly after noon a gentleman, apparently between and 50 and 60 years of age, entered the shop of Mr. Wynne Tighe, chemist, High-street. Before being attended to he suddenly dropped, and died almost immediately. Dr. Brash, who was called in, found life extinct. The body was conveyed by P.S. and P.C. Jaiman to the mortuary. It was subsequently ascertained that the deceased was Mr. Isaac William Gusset, belonging to Watlington, near Oxford. He had come to Exeter from Penzance, and had taken a room at the Rougemont Hotel for three days. In his pocket was found a medical prescription, and it is supposed he visited Mr. Tighe to have it made up. His friends have been communicated with by Detective Walters.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Monday 08 January 1917

General News

Another Rugby football match, R.F.A. Cadet School v. College, will be played at the County Ground, St. Thomas, Exeter, next Saturday afternoon, in aid of the Mayoress of Exeter's' Hospitality Fund.
The concert in connection with the Children's Red Cross Guild in Exeter, which takes place at the Hippodrome this afternoon, is in aid of the Exeter War Hospitals. An excellent programme has been arranged, and includes dances by Miss Rosa Couldridge's pupils and selections the the band of the Reserve Battalion London Regiment.
A steam roller belonging the City Council was working in Summerland-street, Exeter, yesterday afternoon, when a slight subsidence was noticed in the roadway adjoining the Elephant and Castle Inn. Investigation revealed a cavity beneath the crust of the road extending to a depth, of 12 feet or more, and also apparently proceeding for some yards down the street. The spot adjoins a sewer head, and it is thought that the Cavity has been caused by the attrition of water.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Wednesday 10 January 1917

Exeter's Warm Clothing for Men on Naval Patrol

"On arrival back from patrol to-day," writes an officer of the Naval Reserve to the Mayoress of Exeter at the Depot, “I found your splendid bales of warm clothing awaiting me. It is indeed good of your Depot to send such a handsome gift, and I can assure you it is appreciated by all the hands. I had my coxswain down to help me unpack, and the grin on his face grew broader and broader each time he dived into the bale. It is a gift which will enable every man to have a change of warm garments when he finishes his watch on deck and goes below, probably both wet and cold, for it is not often that even oilskins will keep one dry long in bad weather on our boat. Again thanking you and all your workers, yours, etc'
Western Times - Thursday 11 January 1917

Contempt and Attempted Bribery at Exeter

An attempt to bribe a police officer that did not come off was related at Exeter Mayor's Court yesterday, when Joseph O’Neil, of 61, Glandfield-street, Balham, London, canvasser for a tea company, was summoned for driving a horse and van in Fore-street, Heavitree, on the evening of January 1st, without having a rear red light. Defendant did not appear—Acting-Inspector Snell, who proved the case said defendant at the time was anxious for him to accept 1s., saying "Here you are. Have a drink. It will do you good. Everything will be all right.” Witness replied that that could not be done, whereupon defendant said, "Don't be silly. Everything is quite all right."—The Mayor commented on defendant's contempt of the Bench in not appearing, and his attempt to bribe the officer, and said the fine would be £1.
Western Times - Friday 12 January 1917

Topsham Soldier Awarded the Military Medal

Residents in Topsham will be gratified to hear that Pte. Maurice Hill, Somerset L.I., and son of Mrs. Hill, of Exe-street, Topsham, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field. The award was for rendering first aid to an officer in a battle on the Somme, getting him into a shell hole and ultimately back to the British trenches.
Western Times - Friday 12 January 1917

Alleged Slack Drilling of Cadets

A court martial held at Topsham Barracks yesterday, dismissed a somewhat unusual charge. Corpl. Clement Elgie, 16th Reserve Battalion, pleaded not guilty to neglect, whilst on active service, that, to the prejudice of good order and military discipline, at Topsham Barracks on January 10th, whilst in charge of a squad of Cadets on marching drill, he conducted the parade in a slack and slovenly manner…
… Regt.-Sergt-Major J. C. Hutchins said that on the morning of the 10th inst. at 6.30, accused was in charge of a squad of Cadets. The marching and dressing of the squad was badly carried out. No attempt was made to check or smarten up the squad. He spoke to the accused about it and reported the case to the Adjutant.—Cross-examined: All he said to the accused was “Put a little more ginger into it."
For the defence, Elgie, himself, gave evidence. He had had two years in the Army, he said, and had been drilling the Cadets for over ten months, and no complaint had been made against him until that morning. He gave the squad the order to double. They had gone round the drill ground about six times, when he gave the order to break into quick time. Some of them were very puffed, and he noticed it, and gave them a chance to get into position. Just then the R.S.M. came on the ground. It was very dark, and the R.S.M said to him, "Why don't you give them the time to march to?" He (witness) immediately did so, and went on and finished the parade. He had been drilling the class ever since, and two months ago he entered an examination with other N.C.O.'s and passed out top.
Cadet J. P Vyse, who had eight years’ service in the Army before he became Cadet, being Battery Q.M Sergeant, said he had been drilled by the accused since December 8th. and considered him an excellent instructor. In fact, he was much more particular than any other instructor. That morning he made them take off their coats, and no other instructor had made them do that. After doubling they were out of breath, and when they received the order to break into quick time they were doing their best to get into position; then the R.S.M. came up. Cadet D. J. B. Evans, who had seen some years' service as S.S.M. before becoming a Cadet, said had also been drilled by Elgie, who certainly showed no slackness on the morning of the 10th. Accused was an efficient instructor. Cadet P. W. L. Parkinson and Cadet J. also gave evidence for the defence One of these had had two and a half years the Army, and had never known Elgie slack in his control. The latter said Elgie was one of the best instructors they had.
Prosecutor and Mr. Alford having addressed the Court, accused was found not guilty.
Western Times - Tuesday 16 January 1917


The Mayor mentioned that the seal of the Council was affixed, as directed, to the address of welcome to the Bishop of Exeter, who, he was glad to tell them, was gratified with the warmth the reception given him in the seat of his diocese.
His Worship also intimated that a public meeting would held at the Guildhall on Monday afternoon next at o'clock to consider a resolution as to what the City and citizens shall forward the success of the War Loan.
A communication from the Local Government Board regarding the need for increasing the food production of the county by pig keeping and the development of poultry and rabbit rearing, was, on the motion of the Deputy Mayor (Mr. T. Bradley Rowe), seconded by Mr. J. Stokes, referred to the Sanitary Committee for consideration and report.
Western Times - Wednesday 17 January 1917

Their Employment in St. Thomas District

At a meeting of the St. Thomas War Agricultural Committee at Exeter, yesterday, a letter was read from the Board Agriculture and Fisheries stating that arrangements had been now made whereby all suitable prisoners of war, both military and civilian, who had had any experience of agricultural work would be allotted to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, as well as a number of civilian prisoners of suitable physique who did not possess any previous agricultural experience. In the first instance the Board was able to place seventy-five prisoners at the Committee's disposal. Should the Committee decide that they were unable to frame a scheme for their employment the Board should be informed not later than January 30th, in order that the services of the prisoners might be utilised elsewhere. The letter further stated that batches of not less than 75 in number would be supplied to the county, and with a view to economising military guards it was essential that arrangements be made for housing the prisoners groups of not less than this number in depots from which they could be sent or drawn daily in small working parties, consisting as a rule of not less than five men. Prisoners thus employed would remain under military control, guards being provided both at the depot where they were housed and for each working party.
The Rev Guy Halliday (of Topsham) proposed that prisoners be located at Topsham. There was a suitable building to house the men in, and there was an application for 25 and plenty of work at Topsham.—The proposition was adopted.
Western Times - Saturday 20 January 1917

Exeter Council and Provision of Allotments

Although prior to the war there was a large quantity of land in Exeter cultivated as allotments, the City Council, are doing their best to provide more in order to encourage the citizens to comply with the appeal of the Government to grow an extra supply of food during the continuance of the war. There seems to be no lack of applicants for plots. Already about three hundred persons have applied to the Town Clerk, hundred of these having been received during the past week. The principal difficulty now to obtain the necessary land, more especially in St. Thomas where the demand for allotments is greater than the supply of land at present available. Negotiations, however, are proceeding with owners, and it is hoped that sufficient land will be forthcoming. Of course, the majority of suitable fields are already tenanted, and it is not easy to make arrangements for their conversion into allotments. Nevertheless, owners should at the present crisis, regard it as patriotic duty to supply the local authority with allotment ground as quickly as possible as the time has now arrived when it should be undergoing preparation for the coming season's crops.
Altogether, the Council have so far acquired about ten acres, which will be sufficient to supply about half the applicants each with a ten yards plot. Efforts are being made to obtain at least another ten acres, and owners therefore, who are willing to assist in the municipal scheme should immediately communicate with the Town Clerk. The authorities are making no profit out of the transaction. Except a small margin to cover expenses, which are very small, they are letting the allotments at the same rates as they are themselves renting the field as a whole. Rents for the plots vary accordingly, namely from 9d to 1s 6d per yard. It is understood that manure and seed will also supplied to the allotment holders at wholesale prices.
A large quantity of land in Exeter and the environs has long been under allotment cultivation. The City Council themselves have for several years past let for this purpose land for which they have no immediate use. For instance, at Duck's Marsh they let 2 acres 0 roods and 20 perches; St. Thomas 1 acre 3 roods; at Exwick 4 acres 2 roods; at Pince's Nursery 3 acres 1 rood 33 perches; Sylvan-road, 3 acres 0 roods 3 perches; and at Heavitree 8 acres 1 rood, a total of 23 acres 2 roods and 16 perches. The ten acres which have now been acquired bring the total municipal allotment acreage up to 33 acres 0 roods and 16 perches.
Several landowners are extending the area which they let as allotments. The London and South-Western Railway Company, for instance, are providing further allotments for their men in Mount Pleasant-road, and at least one private owner—a resident in St. David's—has ploughed up his lawn. It is understood also that the Right Hon. H. E. Duke, K.C., M.P. has decided to devote some of his grazing land at Maryfield to the cultivation of vegetables.
Western Times - Saturday 20 January 1917


Yesterday afternoon the inmates of the St. Thomas Workhouse received visit from the Lord Bishop of Exeter and Lady Florence Cecil. The visit was arranged at short notice, his lordship intimating his intention a few days ago to the Chaplain of the Workhouse (the Rev. H. G. Chalk) of preaching at the service in the chapel yesterday afternoon. The inmates who were able to attend were present the the service. Dr. Atkins (Medical-officer Health), Mrs. Atkins, Miss Atkins, Mr. W. P. Trick (Clerk to the Guardians!, Mr. and Mrs. Moore (Master and Matron), Miss C. M. Burrow, Mr. M. L. Baker (Relieving Officer) and Mrs. Baker, and members the indoor staff also attended. The Chaplain read the service. The Bishop read the second lesson, and preached a sermon from the text, "The peace of God, which passes all understanding." In a homely manner he spoke of the war, reminding his hearers of the hardships our soldiers and sailors had to bear. Alter the service the Bishop and Lady Florence visited the sick ward, chatting with each patient, and inquiring after their welfare. They then looked into the dining room where the remainder of the inmates were at tea, and, before leaving, expressed their pleasure at the care and attention bestowed by the staff on their charges. It is stated that this is the first occasion which a Bishop of the Diocese has visited St. Thomas; any rate, it is the first within the past 27 years.
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Monday 22 January 1917

Gardener Walks into the River in a Fog

The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Charles Sercombe, an Exeter market gardener, aged 48, since the night of December 15th last, was cleared up at an inquest relative to his death conducted at Mr. Dart's house, Countess Weir, on Saturday by Mr. H. W. Gould, county coroner.
Agnes Lily Sercombe, 31, Weirfield-road. St. Leonard's, Exeter, identified the body as that of her husband, whom she last saw alive on the morning of December 15th at home. She went out leaving him in the house, and had not seen him since. His garden was at Ide, and he was accustomed to walk there every morning and return in the evening about 6.30 or 7. He usually returned through Commercial-road and way of the Quay She had learnt that he was in North-street, Exeter, the same day, and his most direct way home from there would be down South-street, through Coombe-street, and on to the Quay. She had never beard him speak of suicide. He had no troubles, and his health was very good. On the night of December 15th there was a fearful fog, and people had great difficulty in finding their way about. Miss Julia Courtney, 22, North-street, Exeter, a friend of the family, said on Dec. 15th at 6.15 p.m. deceased called on her, staying about ten minutes. He left saying he was going home to tea. He was quite cheerful and made no complaint. It was a very foggy night. Fred Henry Smith, Lime Kiln Cottages, Countess Weir, said at 9.30 a.m. the previous day he found deceased's body in the mill stream behind the millhouse Countess Weir, and gave information to the police. P.C. W. H. Cox, stationed at Countess Weir, deposed to recovering the body with assistance at the spot indicated. On it there was a purse containing two half-crowns, 1s., and 3¼d., a key a tobacco pouch, and a note book containing the deceased's name, but nothing to throw any light on his death. Deceased had been reported missing.
Dr. W. H. MacPherson, of Topsham, who had examined the body, said it presented the usual appearance death by drowning, and consistent with having been in the water for a month. There were no marks of violence. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death by drowning.'' It is supposed that deceased walked into the river during the fog.
Western Times - Monday 22 January 1917

Heavily Fined by the Exeter Magistrates

For leaving a light unobscured in a look-up shop at 16, Paris-street, on the night of January 18th, Ruby Sellick was summoned at the Exeter Police Court yesterday, before Messrs. J. Stokes (in the chair), P. Kelland, P. R. Gayton, and R. C. Upright.—P.C. Whitfield saw the light which was not screened in any way, just after midnight. It was shining on to the footpath and upon the building opposite.—Defendant said she left the light burning in the shop, which was very dark, the previous morning, when she left in a hurry to catch a train to Exmouth, where her mother was ill. She was worried and forgot to turn out the light.—Fined 5s. inclusive.
Described by Chief inspector Martin as a tramping drover, a man who had given the name John White, but whose real name was found to be Edward Pope, was summoned for allowing cattle to run loose at Cross Park, Heavitree, on December 29th. Defendant did not appear, and the Inspector, in asking the Bench to deal with the case in the man's absence, hoped an example would made of him.—P.O. Rigg stated that five cows and two calves were running about the road and on to the footpath, causing annoyance to pedestrians. There was no one in charge of them, and some time later defendant came out of a public-house. He was insolent, and said he had only been in to have half a pint. —Inspector Martin told the Bench that defendant had given the police no end of trouble for a long time. In April last there was a similar occurrence on the Honiton-road, when motor cars and other vehicles were held up by cattle which had been left to stray. On that occasion he gave the name of John White, as he did now, and said he lived at Newton Poppleford. A lot of correspondence ensued between the police, but defendant could not be found. On the present occasion there had been similar trouble, and the summons had had to be enlarged three or four times. They had now ascertained that the man's name was Edward Pope. A good deal of expense had been incurred in connection with the matter.—The Bench imposed a fine 20s., or 14 days' imprisonment.
Western Times - Wednesday 24 January 1917

Germans for Road Work in the St Thomas District

At the meeting of St. Thomas Council Friday, it was reported that the Road Committee had replied to the County Surveyor that the Council could take 30 German prisoners, and provide sleeping accommodation for them, to work on the roads.
Western Times - Tuesday 30 January 1917

The New Bishop of ExeterWelcome for the new Bishop. The Town Clerk Reads the City's Welcome.
Western Times - Friday 05 January 1917

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