Devon Remembers Micro Project – Cumulative Timeline: The War’s Impact on the South Devon Ball Clay Industry.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 18th March 1914: River Surveyor’s Report. Page 24: The River Surveyor reported that the channel at Buckland to the Devon & Courtenay Quay [now termed as the Town Quay] had got silted up very badly, at different places, the worst parts include the opposite side of the quay and also at the Oaks, Buckland and Wide Places. On the latter, the steam tug [Kestrel] was held up for some time. The river gang had been removing a shoal which had gathered up at the higher end of the Hackney Channel for some distance, this work being to make it navigable for barges.
Extracted from the Western Times dated 24th July 1914 – With the rising of the tides there is much activity in shipping. The “Queen Mab” from Portsmouth, and the S.S.. “Yungay,” from Hayle, have both arrived to load clay, and the barquentine “Hebe” has brought a cargo of coals. About 1,250 tons of clay have been shipped per the “Perriton” for Ellesmere Port, “Jewel” for Glasgow, “Sparkling Foam” and “Constance Mary” both for Antwerp, and the “Rhoda Mary.”
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 5th August 1914 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Overton, 184, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Mid Devon Advertiser 8th August 1914
P8: HORSES FOR THE WAR: In Newton and the whole neighbourhood during the past few days a large number of horses had to be taken for inspection by Government officials, and there was considerable dislocation for a time, more than one baker having to send handcarts instead of horsed vehicles to deliver bread. Only about half the horses were purchased however, good prices have been given by the Government for the horses, and there has been little of the resentment there might have been expected. “They had two of mine”, said a local farmer to our representative, “and “I was sorry to lose then, but they gave good prices, and if England needs horses she must have them”
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 10th August 1914 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Letty, 126, clay (A E Bowen), from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Western Times 11th August 1914
Prayers were offered at all the places of worship on Sunday for the sailors and soldiers at the war and for the many anxious hearts left behind. Short time is already being worked at the Pottery, and at Ilsington the Ball Clay Company have announced their Intention of shutting their works owing to the war. Many of the workers reside in this parish.
Extracted from the Western Morning News 14th August 1914 – SCUFFLE AT TRUSHAM QUARRY – The men on strike having declined on Saturday to return to work, it was intended to close the Teign Valley Granite quarries until spring. In consequence of the closing of the Devon Ball Clay Co’s works, however, and the consequent unemployment of about 100 men, the quarries were reopened yesterday with between 20 and 30 men, employment being offered to 200. At midday a number
of the men on strike arrived on the scene and a scuffle ensued, in which it is stated, considerable violence was used. Additional police were sent for, and on their arrival Police Superintendent Cary persuaded some of the men to restart work. Some of the men appeared at the top of the quarry and threw stones, and the men decided not to go on working. The quarry was then closed.
Extracted from Mid Devon Advertiser, 15th August 1914
P2: KINGSTEIGNTON- The works of Messrs Whiteway and Co., are now working three days a week in consequence of the dislocation of trade.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 19th August 1914 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Meridian, 77, clay, Runcorn from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 19th September 1914 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Thistle, 99, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 29th September 1914 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Bessie, 149, clay, Weston Point from Teignmouth. Amanda, 79, clay Weston Point from Newquay; Moss Rose, 146, clay, Weston Point from Fowey.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 1st October 1914 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Abeyja, 149, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Western Times 2nd October 1914
Advert- Blatchford Farm Teigngrace 1mile from Newton – RENDELL and SAWDYE, instructed by Mr. Jno. B. Mann, who is giving up Clay Hauling, to SELL, by Auction, on MONDAY, October 5th, 1914, at 9.30 p.m., 5 Powerful Cart Horses, including a valuable Roan Mare, 5 years old, 16 h.h).: Roan, 9 years old, ditto, 16.1 h.h.; active Bay Mare. 6 years old, 16.2 h.h., fit for van work, and 2 useful year-old Geldings, good and staunch in harness; 15 Pure-bred Long Black Pigs; 2 Clay Carts, Farm Cart. 2 Sets Breeching Harness, Corn Bruiser, Chaff-Cutter, Beam Scales and Weights, etc., and a Rick of Clover Hay, about 18 tons.
Extracted from the Western Times 3rd October 1914 – Teignmouth: The Norwegian steamer “Mascot” arrived at Teignmouth yesterday with a cargo of wood pulp. At the Quay Extension three steamers are loading clay.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 10th October 1914 -MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks Apenied, 158, clay, Ellesmere port, from Teignmouth: Ellen Lied, 189, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 17th October 1914 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks Inchbrayock, 160, clay (A E Bowen), from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Mid Devon Advertiser, 24th October, 1914 – P6 Kingsteignton – Kingsteignton’s quota to Kitchener’s Army is doing exceedingly well and holding its own, whether at work or play. Of the latter, the men get very little, there being much too much work to be done, but they all thoroughly enjoy it., and certainly look none the worse for the experience. At work Charlie Cook has risen in eleven weeks to be sergeant, whilst his brother, Sidney, is a corporal. At sport, W. Bennett has been elected captain of the Rugby team run in connection with the company. This team is so far unbeaten in camp. Nearly all the lads were at home last week, and each is anxious to see real battle service.
Extracted from Exeter & Plymouth Gazette 30th October 1914
The hostilities on the Continent is considerably limiting the export of potters’ clay from Teignmouth, the shipping port of this material in Devon. Vessels engaged in the coasting trade are also affected. Until this week the brigantines Lenore and Anne Sophia have been lying loaded in the river Teign for over a month waiting to take cargoes to Dordt, but have had to abandon the voyage, the vessels have been towed to Plymouth, where their cargoes will be transhipped to a steamer for another port. Large shipments continue to be made to the Mersey weekly while cargoes in Europe are being taken almost exclusively by Danish craft.
Extracted from the Western Times 31st October 1914 – Coastal shipping, as far as Teignmouth is concerned is being interfered with by the hostilities on the continent, as large quantities of potters’ clay is annually shipped to Dutch, Belgian and German ports from the town. The brigantine Faithlie was chartered to convey a cargo of clay to Dordt in August. The vessel was loaded and was lying in port until this week. The Faithlie’s cargo has been discharged into two small Dutch craft and taken to their destination.
Extracted from Mid Devon Advertiser, 21st November 1914 – P3 – KINGSTEIGNTON – The recruiting band from Newton paid a visit to the village and play a selection of patriotic airs at the Fountain, where a meeting was held to aid recruiting. Capt. C. Bearne and Mr. G. Prowse, of Newton, were the speakers.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 24th November 1914 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks Henrietta, 65, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from the Birmingham Daily Post 27th November 1914 – A Yarmouth message says it is feared that the vessel wrecked ten days ago on Haisborough Sands off the Norfolk coast, is the London ketch Arthur, now overdue on a voyage from Teignmouth to Goole with a cargo of clay. A boat marked Arthur, and a brass plate with this name, and other wreckage has gone ashore at Caister and Winterton. The Cromer lifeboat put out in a gale and for the crew, but could only sight two masts projecting above the water. The Arthur, though registered at London, is owned at Conisborough on the Yorkshire coast. A vessel of her size would carry a crew of three or four hands.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 7th – January 1915. – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks Gaelic, 174, clay, Runcorn from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 19th January 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: C & F Nurse, 91, clay, Runcorn from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 21st January 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Dashwood, 79, clay, Ellesmere Port from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 26th January 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Stanley Force, 144, clay, Weston Point, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 4th February 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Ellen Beatrice, 55, Runcorn from Teignmouth; Sunbeam, 134, clay Runcorn from Poole.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 4th February 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Ravonia, 277, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 5th March 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Emma, 127, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth
Extracted from Western Times 6th March 1915
The Manchester steamer Thordis which, it is reported, sank a German submarine off Beachy Head this week, is due at Teignmouth, after discharging her cargo of coal at Plymouth, to load 600 tons of clay.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 11th March 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Thordis, 282, clay, (A E Bowen), from Teignmouth
Extracted from Exeter & Plymouth Gazette 16th March 1915
LOCAL NEWS: The steamship Thordis has left Teignmouth with her cargo clay.
Extracted from Exeter & Plymouth Gazette 7th April 1915
PIRATE’S FURTHER VICTIMS: The barquentine Fanny, which picked up the survivors of the steamer, City of Bremen (which had been torpedoed by German submarines) who had been in their boat for four hours, is a Teignmouth vessel owned by Mr J. Finch, of Eldra, Landscore Road. The Fanny left Teignmouth on Wednesday night of last week with cargo of clay for Glasgow. She is skippered by Captain Rees.
In last night’s, “London Gazette” there are published two notices to mariners of orders made under the Defence of the Realm Acts. The first closes the River Dee and the port of Chester (within the jurisdiction of the Dee’s Conservancy Board) to all traffic at night, all lights being extinguished, and no vessels allowed to enter or leave. The second notifies that no vessels or boats of any description are to move-in the north of a line joining Portland Bill with St. Alban’s Head by day or night, unless proceeding into Weymouth anchorage. No vessels or boats of any description are to put to sea in this prohibited area during fog, and any caught at sea by fog to return shore or harbour at once.
Vessels or boats found in this area after dark to be fired upon. Caution is given that target practice take will take place without further notice from ships lying in Portland Harbour and that it will be dangerous for vessels to enter specified area outside the specified area outside the breakwater.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 21st April 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Pacific, 91, clay, Runcorn from Teignmouth.
Extracted from The Gloucester Echo 22nd April 1915
A MISSING SCHOONER: The following vessel, which has been previously referred to as overdue, was on Wednesday posted at Lloyd’s as missing: The Dairymaid schooner, of Fleetwood, Hansen master, which sailed from Teignmouth on Feb 11th for Runcorn with a cargo of clay has not since been heard of.
Extracted from Western Times 23rd April 1915: Kingsteignton Parish Council – The Parish Council in the Church Schools on Wednesday. There were present Messrs. Knowles. Freestone, Hawker, Butland, Pengilly, Dolling, Whitear, Wilkinson. Newcombe, Lugg, Mann, and Partridge (Clerk}. Mr Jas. Pengilly was elected Chairman for the year. Messrs. Soper, Freestone, Knowles, and P. Mann were elected overseers. In answer to the Council’s letter for increased facilities of the postal service the authorities stated that owing to present exceptional circumstances the matter could not be pursued. Mr Wilkinson characterised this as abrupt, stupid and impertinent. The War hadn’t interfered in the least with any of the postal servants of the village, and it was proposed to write asking for reasons, as the previous communication considered unsatisfactory. The overseers reported an increase in new property but a decrease the expiration of two leases of clay-working. There was a net decrease of 5d on the rate for the half year.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 29th April 1915: River Surveyor’s Report. Page 28: The River Surveyor reported that the river gang had been employed in removing a shoal opposite the Devon & Courtenay Quay and it would take another week to complete the work and after that he would be taking up the shoal which had gathered at the Oaks. He had been keeping the light lighted at Buckland when it was required and wanted to know whether it was to be continued. – Resolved that the light at Buckland to be lighted only when absolutely necessary. [Is this indicating the barges were towed down at night?]
Extracted from the Western Times dated 29th April 1915: The three-masted schooner, “Betty Russell” from Teignmouth, with clay, has safely arrived at the Tyne.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 29th April 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Gavenwood, 99, clay, Runcorn, from Par; William Ashburner, 77, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 6th May 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: John, 97, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 26th May 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Dinorwic, 111, clay, Runcorn from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 31st May 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Colwith Force, 219, clay, Weston Point, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Western Times 3rd June 1915
After interviewing Watts, Blake and Bearne, Mr Jones was able to inform the workmen that the firm had offered to give an increase of 1s per week to day workers, making the standard rate of 4s per day with 1d per extra for lightermen when working the barges by hand. The men in this case also accepted the offer.
Mr. Jones also interviewed Mr. Fox one of the Directors of the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. and laid the case of the men before him. Mr Fox has promised to reply to Mr Jones’ request by next Tuesday after consulting his fellow Directors. Negotiations will therefore proceed.
Messrs. Hexter are also being approached, and it is hoped that with the continuance the amicable and courteous negotiations that firm will fall into line with Messrs, Watts, Blake, and Bearne.
In other cases, it is recognised the circumstances arising out the war make it difficult for certain trades to pay more wages at present but it is hoped that when trade again returns to normal conditions those firms will be approached with similar satisfactory efforts.
Extracted from the Mid Devon Advertiser: 5th June 1915. –
P3: WAGES INCREASED AT NEWTON. – The employees of Messrs. J. Vicary & Son leather works, Newton Abbot have accepted the firm’s offer of an increase of 2s.6d. [12.5p] per week for employees over eighteen years of age, a shilling [5p] for lads under that age and 6d [2.5p] for girls as a war bonus. Messrs. Watts Blake Bearne and Co., clay owners, offered an increase of a shilling a week to day workers, making a standard rate of 4s. [20p] a day, and a penny [ 0.42p] a ton extra for lightermen when working the barges by hand. The men accepted the offer.
Negotiations are proceeding with the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co., and Messrs. Hexter.
In most other cases the union has recognised that circumstances arising out of the war make it difficult for firms to increase wages at present.
Extracted from The Western Times dated 11th June 1915 – The steamships “Thames” from Plymouth; Turquoise from Dieppe; and Start Bay from Plymouth arrived in Teignmouth harbour to load clay.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 17th June 1915:
River Surveyor’s Report. Page 35: The River Surveyor reported that the uprights used as fenders for the barges underneath the Mortonhampstead Bridge [railway bridge outside of Newton Abbot Station on the Mortonhampstead line?] were knocked aside and this had been repaired and put in through order again. The River Gang were employed in removing shoals at the Oaks and when this was completed would take up the shoals opposite the Wharf House in Whitelake.
[Reference in these minutes is made to ‘flats’. Are the floating objects in this postcard thought to have been barges, actually these flats, if so what were there purpose?’
Extracted from WBB Letter Book No. 260, page 11 – 25th June 1915 Letter from Charles Davey Blake to Sefton & Brown, Ferrybridge, Yorks:
“……a great number of German submarines are in the English Channel and North Sea and Captains and crews are getting very timid again. A few days ago, we chartered a vessel to bring us 360 tons of coal and the Capt. now informs us that the crew have positively refused to perform the voyage. The same thing will happen in the case of clay and stone and that is why Mr. Blake recommends you secure this parcel of stone. This dreadful war is upsetting everything. There is a great shortage of workmen and horses and carts and railway trucks and everything else in this part of the country.” [C.D. Blake was a founding partner of Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co (WBB) in 1861 and became a director when it became a limited liability company in 1914.He had a one third interest in the company and was chairman and the driving force of the company until his death in 1926 – a total of 64 years.]
Extracted from WBB Letter Book No. 260, page 19 – 25th June 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to George Shaw & Sons, Rotherham: “Small vessels are very scarce, and it is seldom that one smaller than 240 tons can be obtained – and as German submarines are still plentiful in the English Channel and North Sea there is no early prospect of getting a vessel at less than 9/-. A few days ago, we chartered a vessel at 12/- freight to bring us a cargo of coal from Newcastle to Teignmouth – but now the Captain informs us that the crew have refused to perform the voyage because they are afraid that the ship will be torpedoed.”
Extracted from WBB letter No. 260, page 44 – 28th June 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to The Caledonian Pottery, Rutherglen, near Glasgow: “Bovey Pottery Co. Ltd. Are you doing much business for them now – and if not, why not? Although a great number of their workpeople have enlisted they are doing a large trade – their sales being still about £700 per week.”
Extracted from WBB letter Book No 260, page 85 – 30th June 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to Thos. Olver & Co., St Stephens, Cornwall: “The Germans owe us many thousands of £s.and we are afraid it will be a total loss”.
Extracted from WBB letter Book 260, page 88 – 30th June 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to The Holland Steamship Co., Amsterdam: “Your Plymouth agents Messrs. Haswell have informed us to-day that they cannot obtain a loading berth at Plymouth for your steamer because all suitable available berths are requisitioned by our Government for naval and military purposes…..”
Extracted from WBB Letter Book page 97 – 30th June 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to A. W Buchan & Co. Portobello, near Edinburgh: “….many German submarines are around our coast, and are doing their devilish work, in consequence of which one of our friends has 8 or 9 vessels laid up because he cannot obtain crews.”
Extracted from the Hull Daily Mail 5th July 1915 –
GOOLE SHIPPING – Arrival 4th July Raven (schooner), Teignmouth, clay.
Extracted from WBB Letter Book 260, page 178 – 5th July 1915 –
Charles Davey Blake to Wm. Johnston & Co Ltd., Liverpool: “Miss Budge read the paper to me this morning as usual and I was very sorry to learn by it that your steamer “Larchmore” has been destroyed by an infernal German submarine. I hope the boat was fully insured. To what port was she bound and what cargo was she bringing? With what cargo was the recently torpedoed “Armenian” loaded?”
Extracted from WBB letter Book 260, page 183 – 5th July 2015 –
Charles Davey Blake to the Newton Gas & Coke Co. Ltd.: “My telegram… resulted in the chartering of the vessel mentioned in that letter – namely the “Ada” – but afterwards the Capt. refused to load because he could not get a crew willing to take the vessel to Teignmouth – for which reason he gave notice that the charter must be cancelled. I protested….I am glad to say that this resulted in the Captain getting a crew and I hope the vessel is now on her way to Teignmouth and that she will safely get there and not be torpedoed by one of the horrid German submarines.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 74 – 19th July 2015 –
Charles Davey Blake to Clarence Potteries, Stockton-on-Tees: “more submarines have been seen, and many sailing vessels are being laid up until the end of the War…”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260 page 516 – 21st July 1915 –
Charles Davey Blake to Mr P. Pardew, Nantgarw: “This dreadful war has made the Pipe trade brisk in many parts of the country….”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 533 – 21st July 1915 –
Charles Davey Blake to Pountney & Co Ltd, The Bristol Pottery, Fishponds: “Captains are much too independent to be dealt with in the manner you suggest. About half the sailing vessels have been laid up – and as it is difficult now to get railway trucks (because so many of them are commandeered by Government for military purposes) it is probable that sea freights will soon double what they are…… We may mention that one of our customers refused a vessel at 6/- freight some weeks ago and afterwards had to pay 11/- freight. The German submarines are to blame for this – and a plenty
of them are around our coasts and many more are coming – more the pity!”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 557 – 22nd June (July) 1915. – Wiliam John Vicary Watts to Hexter & Budge: “…you will load on Saturday next at Teignbridge Siding a large truck……………If you will inform our weighbridge man at Teignbridge the number of the truck that you load we can arrange for him to report weight to us and attend to the consignment of the truck.” [William John Vicary Watts was the son of WJ Watts II who was a founding partner of WBB in 1861. WJV Watts was a partner in WBB when it became a limited liability company in 1914 and thereafter was a director until 1964, representing the Watts family one third share of the company’s shares. He was chairman from 1930 to 1964. He served in Palestine during WW I.]
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 567 – 23rd July 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to Chambers & Wal, Oporto: “They are very busy at Wedgwood & Co’s of Tunstall, also at the Bovey Pottery near here.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 569 – 23rd July 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to The Clarence Potteries Co. Ltd., Stockton-on-Tees: “We hope the labour trouble your port to which you allude will be of short duration. The world is in a terrible state of unrest at the present time.”
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 27th July 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Aysgarth Force, 232, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 662- 27th July 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to Henry Holwill, Torrington: “Your Mr Martin called here this afternoon and had a long chat with me. He is a very intelligent man and I always had a high opinion of him. You (The North Devon Clay Co.) are very fortunate to have such a splendid foreman. He told me that the deepest part of one of your mines is 266 ft. vertical from the surface, viz. at the bottom of the incline from the shaft which you sink near the outcrop of the vein of clay and puddle it to keep out the water, & then drive a level downhill in the seam of clay. We do not work any clay nearly so deep as that here. The greatest depth to which we have gone is about 120 ft. and most of our workings are only 60 to 80 ft. deep. As a rule, our veins of clay become thinner and harder (less plastic) when they are very deep. I would like our head foreman, Mr John Poole – a very good fellow, to see your deepest mine. Have you any objection to his doing so? Wages. He told me that most of your men have joined the Gasworkers &c. Union, and that they are wanting higher wages. He mentioned what your men are getting & I told him that in some cases in my opinion they were not getting enough. 20/- to 21/- a week is insufficient for an engine driver if he is at all able-bodied. Mr Martin thinks as I do that some of your men are underpaid. It is sad to have to work hard every day without being able to save anything for the evening of life. Practically all our men are in the Gasworkers &c. Union. We advanced their wages again this year and now none of our able-bodied men are getting less than 24/- a week, and those who work piece work get from 28/- to 34/- a week – and they deserve it because the work is very hard!”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 702 – 29th July 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to The Caledonian Pottery Co. Ltd., Liverpool: “Bovey Pottery Co. Ltd…..It is a very up-to-date pottery, fitted up with the most modern labour-saving machinery worked partly by water power, and partly by superheated steam and electricity. I am the predominant partner in that pottery – having more than £20,000 invested in it. When you are here you shall also see another large Pottery in which I am interested. Some of the circular kilns there are the largest in the world – about 36 feet internal diameter!”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 732 – 31st July 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to Stephens, Sutton & Stephens, Newcastle-on-Tyne: “Brokerage. We arrange all the chartering for the Newton Gas Co. of which our Mr Blake is a Director and the largest proprietor. We often get one-third of the brokerage but more generally only one-third….”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 840 – 6th August 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to Mr Boyle, Prestonpans: “There are three potteries in this neighbourhood in which I am interested – viz. The Watcombe Art Pottery – the Aller Vale ditto – and the Bovey Pottery Co. Ltd. which makes white and decorated domestic earthenware and a little Art Ware…. They are very busy at the Bovey Pottery – their sales amounting to about £700 per week.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 859 – 9th August 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to Mrs J.R. Singleton, Aintree: “….my housekeeper Miss Budge who has been with me nearly 45 years.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 863 – 9th August 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to James Wallace & Sons, Ld., Belfast: “… a large white earthenware pottery near here of which Mr Blake is the chief proprietor. It is the Bovey Pottery Co. Ld. Mr Blake is also the Chairman of the Watcombe Art Pottery and the Royal Aller Vale Art
Pottery near here – whose productions you have probably seen in some of the Belfast shops. The Bovey Pottery Co. send a good deal of their ware to Ireland. Their sales are about £700 weekly.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 869 – 9th August 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to Slack & Brownlow, Gorton, Manchester: “…our Mr Blake….He cannot leave home because he is more than 77 years old and quite blind.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 879 – 9th August 1915 – William John Vicary Watts to Hexter & Budge: “…. enquire if you can load a barge load, say 32 tallies, of your Best Dark Clay to be loaded to-night in time to go on to-morrow morning’s tide…….P.S. We confirm our telephone message…..you would load the one barge which you will have at your disposal to-night at the Hackney Canal with your Best Dark Clay for our steamer, and that we will place one of our barges at your disposal tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at Teignbridge.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 886 – 9th August 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to Henry Holwill, Torrington: “Thank you for saying that our head foreman Mr John Poole may look at your Clay Works. He is a total abstainer. Is there a temperance hotel at Torrington where he could sleep and go on to the Clay Works the next morning?”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 929 – 11th August 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to James Gilman, Lisbon: “Just now most of the English Tile Makers are doing very well………a tunnel oven would be the right thing for the Bovey Pottery where coal is so dear, but a very large output is necessary for such an oven, and in consequence of the war a sufficient number of workmen cannot be found there, and it will be the same for a long time after the end of the war. About 40 of the Bovey Workmen are gone, and some of them have already been killed and many have been wounded – and nobody (anyhow nobody on earth!) knows what will happen to the poor fellows.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 950 – 12th August 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to Sphinx, Maestricht: “…. the price of our clay is “at Teignmouth” not free on board Teignmouth. The vessels load at the buoys in the river at Teignmouth and the lighters containing the clay go alongside the vessels at the buoys and the crew of the vessels lift the clay from the lighters into the holds of the vessels. This has been the custom at the port of Teignmouth for at least 100 years – and it is also the custom there for the Captains of vessels to pay the customary harbour and canal dues on the cargo and the bargemen’s allowance (pour boire). We enclose 6 of our own forms of Charter Party to be employed by you if you charter any more vessels to be loaded at Teignmouth.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 992 – 16th August 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to Fulham Pottery, London: “We hope you are getting a good share of the Government orders for jars for holding rum &c. for the troops. Have you also been invited to make the large pieces of chemical stoneware made by the casting process which prior to the war the Germans were sending to this country?…..For many years we have sent immense quantities of clay to German potters. Some of them took about 4000 tons annually from us – and we have a customer in Holland whose order for the present year is 6000 tons. We suppose you know that much of the White Sanitary Ware and Hollow White Domestic Ware is now made by the casting process with excellent results.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 260, page 994 – 16th August 1915 – Charles Davey Blake to George Foot, Newton Abbot: “…..we are very sorry to learn that you are still unemployed………… Messrs John Vicary & Sons of this town have large Government orders and would perhaps be glad of your assistance. We regret to say that we have no kind of work to offer you.”
Extracted from The Western Times 20th August 1915.
TEIGNMOUTH: Mr J. W. Finch’s brigantine, Netherton, has safely arrived at Glasgow this week with a cargo of clay from Teignmouth. A steamer from Granville arrived in Teignmouth harbour on Wednesday to load clay.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 23rd August 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Rhoda Mary, 89, clay, Runcorn, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 24th August 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks Cimbri, 111, clay, Runcorn from Teignmouth.
Extracted from The Western Times 10th September 1915.
TEIGNMOUTH: The steamship ” Westdale ” from Portsmouth, arrived at Teignmouth yesterday to load clay.
Extracted from Manchester Courier dated 25th September 1915 – MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL – Entered Eastham Locks: Francis & Jane, 94, clay, Weston Point, from Teignmouth.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 27th September 1915: River Surveyor’s Report. Page 50: The River Surveyor reported that the towpath under the Mortonhampstead Bridge had been replaced by the Great Western Railway Company. The river gang had been at work in taking up the large quantity of silt in the Whitelake, the channel having been badly silted and to cope with this work he had had to take on a little extra labour. The barge flats would be required to be placed on the Cradle to be caulked as soon as convenient as she was taking in a quantity of water.
October 1915: Mr. George Taylor of 7 Palk’s Court, Newton Abbot received information that his son, Pte. Wm. Taylor of the Devonshire Regiment had been killed in action. Before the war Pte. Taylor was a clay carter. He was Pte. 11393 William Taylor of 2nd Devonshire Regiment, aged 23, who was killed at Loos on 6th October 1915. He has No Known Grave, and is listed on the Loos Memorial.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 4th November 1915: River Surveyor’s Report. Page 53: The River Surveyor reported that the river gang had been employed clearing the shoals at Jetty Marsh up to the 25th….
Extracted from The Western Times 5th November 1915.
TEIGNMOUTH: A Dutch vessel from Bridport, in ballast, has been the only arrival in Teignmouth harbour for over a week.
Extracted from Exeter & Plymouth Gazette 6th November 1916. KINGSTEIGNTON: Mr J Pengilley presided at a meeting of the Parish Council. With reference to the proposed repair to Berry Lane, Mr Whiteway-Wilkinson said that the Committee had done nothing in the matter and he did not think anything could be done. The only satisfactory way of dealing it was by making the lane with concrete or tarmacadam„ and this would cost a considerable sum while the Local Government Board would not sanction a loan. He suggested that the repair stand over. There was every indication that the rateable value of the parish might very likely be considerably reduced temporarily. The clay industry was being throttled by the war and it was very possible – it was more than probable – that it would be more throttled still, and that it would mean a very considerable reduction in the rateable value of the parish. It was therefore necessary to be very careful in spending any money that was not urgently required. Mr Hawker said that he took Mr Asquith’s speech very seriously and he thought that they would be soon walking in mud on the main roads. He would vote against any expenditure of this sort. Mr Whiteway-Wilkinson agreed and said that every shilling spent by private citizens or public bodies must be thought about before being spent. It was decided to postpone the repair until the spring. The Assistant Overseer said that the poor and sanitary rates would have been reduced this half year but for the fact that the rateable value of the clay industry in the parish had been reduced by £600. To fill the vacancy caused by the absence of Mr H E Crabbe, Mr J Poole was elected a member of the council. The question of providing a footbridge at Bellamarsh was deferred.
Extracted from the Newcastle Journal 15th November 1915 – WRECKS & CASUALTIES – Lloyds Telegram – GAMALIEL- Hull ketch Gamaliel, Teignmouth to London with clay, ashore Foreness Point, Margate, crew saved
Extracted from The Western Times 12th December 1915.
TEIGNMOUTH: The only shipping arrival in Teignmouth harbour this week has been the schooner Mary Wilkinson from Exmouth. The ketch Gamaliel which met with a mishap near Dover in the recent heavy gale whilst on voyage from Teignmouth with a cargo of clay has safely arrived at London. The ketch Aleyone, also from Teignmouth has arrived at London.
Extracted from The Western Times 21st December 1915.
TEIGNMOUTH: Mr. J W. Finch’s barquentine Cuba arrived in Teignmouth harbour on Thursday from St. Brieux in ballast.
Extracted from the Western Times dated 21st January 1916 – The latest arrivals at Teignmouth Harbour include the Danish schooner “Thyra” from Havre and the schooner “Elabama” from St Malo, both in ballast, to load clay.
Extracted from the Scotsman dated 3rd February 1916 – LEITH Arrived February 2nd: – Eliu, 114, from Teignmouth clay
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 3rd February 1916: River Surveyor’s Report. Page 65: The River Surveyor reported that the river gang was working on a large shoal at the Higher and in the Hackney Channel which was causing a stoppage of navigation. There was another shoal at the Oaks and Wide Place which was necessary to come up as the barges which were brought up there at high water neap tides.
Extracted from the Scotsman dated 23rd February 1916 – LEITH Arrived February 21st: – Rottersand 114, from Teignmouth clay.
Extracted from the Western Daily Press dated 26th February 1916 – EXPORTS from Bristol – U.S.A.— [Long lists of materials including] 1305 tons clay,
Extracted from Western Times 7th March 1916
The Tribunal for the Newton Abbot District had an all-day sitting to deal with a large number of applications from single men and there will probably be two further sittings during the week. Mr J Bickford presided, and the military authorities were represented by Mr P Mc Gregor. Charles Mark Potter, a clay miner of Liverton, applied for total exemption on personal grounds remarking that he was maintaining his sister aged 54 and her daughter aged 14. Both of them were entirely dependent on him. Applicant said that he was a single man and his sister kept house for him. He would go as soon as he could till his garden and provided that his sister to whom he paid 18s a week was given an allowance. Postponed to May 14th.
Messrs Watts, Blake, Bearne clay merchants claimed exemption on grounds that the firm were concerned in Government contracts and consideration was now being given to making their trade a reserved occupation. The Clerk (Mr F Horner) said that there were two previous cases in which postponement was granted and in which the Military authorities were now appealing to the central Tribunal. It was decided to postpone the applications until the decision in the two previous cases were received.
Extracted from Western Times 9th March 1916
Ernest James Laskey, 30, of Horse Mills Kingsteignton, single, described as a farmer and clay haulier, and his brother, Frederick Richard Laskey, 27, single, as a farmer and cowman, renting a small holding, and the elder one asked for exemption on the ground that he lived with his widowed mother and sister. They both did hauling occasionally for Messrs. Watts, Blake and Bearne. The elder Laskey said they jointly occupied 26 acres, and lived at home. They spent half their time on the farm and the other half in clay hauling. The military authorities assented to Frederick (Richard Laskey, as he was stated to be in ill-health, but left the case of Ernest James Laskey to the Tribunal. In the ease of Ernest James, the claim was not allowed, and the other brother granted exemption.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners P76: Stover Canal Company was paid 8s. 4d [ 42p] for Oakum. This was possibly for the caulking of the barge flats.
Extract from Mid Devon Advertiser 18th March 1916. – ON GOVERNMENT WORK. – Messrs. Watts Blake and Bearne, Newton, claimed absolute exemption for a clay miner, as he was indispensable to the carrying on of the business seeing they were engaged on Government work. The form produced a letter – which had already been presented to the Rural Tribunal – in which they claimed that clay mining was a starred occupation.
The Chairman thought they could hardly get that from the letter from the Government. It stated distinctly that they decided not to recommend special provision for the clay industry.
In reply to Mr. Murrin, Mr. Bearne said they had lost six or eight men. They formerly employed about one hundred, and now less than fifty.
Mr. Michelmore pointed out that mining was becoming more and more important at the front, and this was the sort of man that was urgently wanted.
The application was dismissed.
Extracted from Western Times 25th March 1916
EXETER CENTRAL TRIBUNAL: Twenty cases on the list to be dealt with by the Appeal Tribunal for the Exeter Division which sat at the Castle, Exeter yesterday. Sir Ian Heathcoat-Amory presided. Ernest James Laskey aged 27 of Kingsteignton, farmer and clay haulier appealed on the ground that he is in a certified occupation, and that he supported a widowed mother and sister. In rejecting the claim, the local tribunal stated that a brother had been given absolute exemption—The appellant stated that his brother was not strong and if he (appellant) was called on he would have to sell up and leave the farm. Decision confirmed.
Extracted from Exeter & Plymouth Gazette 13th April 1916.
NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL: J. Bickford presided and intimated that all decisions of the Tribunal had been upheld by the Exeter Appeal Tribunal. Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co. Ltd asked for the exemption of 22 of their employees engaged in various capacities at their clay works. It was stated that six of the number had just joined up. Mr A Bearne who was present in support of the application said he knew exemption could not be granted in all cases, but he urged that enough men to carry on the works be left to the firm. It was eventually decided to adjourn the case with the exception of two for a fortnight in order that a representative of the firm might consult with the military representative as to those men who were quite indispensable and those who were not. The two cases which were decided were those of the electrician mechanic and the carpenter mechanic. The first was granted absolute exemption and the latter exemption to September 1st.
Extracted from the Minutes of the Meeting of the Directors of Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co. Ltd. held on 19th April 1916: “Resolved that as it is probable that Mr W.J.V. Watts one of the Directors who has attested will be called up for Military Service the consent of the other directors to his absence is hereby granted with their best wishes for his speedy and safe return.”
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 20th April 1916.- P4: THE NEWTON TRIBUNALS – IMPORTANCE OF CERTIFICATION – Mr. W. Vicary, JP, CA, presided over the meeting of the Newton Abbot Urban Tribunal on Thursday evening, when amongst those presents were Major Sir. L. Alexandra, Bart. DSO…. As the firm are to confer with the recruiting authorities as to the arrangements for men to be left, an appeal by a clay miner, employed by Watts Blake and Bearne & Co., was adjourned. Mr. Michelmore said that his instructions were that miners were wanted. The Chairman pointed out that in some cases the observations of the Military Authorities had not been signed. He thought they should be signed before they were put before the Tribunal. Mr. Michelmore agreed. They should have been signed at the Recruiting Office, when the observation was made.
The Chairman: Perhaps someone will sign it. Mr. Marshall could.
It must be signed by the Recruiting Officer said Mr. Michelmore. The papers were accordingly taken away, signed, and returned.
Extracted from Mid Devon Advertiser 6th May 1916
NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL CASES. – CLAY MERCHANTS’ EMPLOYEES. The adjourned cases of fourteen employees of Messrs. Watts, Blake, and Bearne, clay merchants were again brought forward, exemption being asked for in respect of one clay men and thirteen clay-miners. A representative of the firm, appeared in support of the claim, said prior to the outbreak of the war about 240 men were employed, but this had been reduced to 130 at the present time. The work of clay mining could only be done by young and skilled men. The firm, of course, would like exemption for all the men, but, recognising the impossibility of that, asked for reasonable treatment at the hands of the Tribunal, so as to prevent the undue dislocation of the firm’s trade. He further explained that though the particular occupation of these men was not on the certified list, Messrs Watts, Blake and Bearne supplied very large quantity of clay to potteries whose employees were, of course,” starred.” The potters could not carry on their work without this supply of clay, and, therefore, it was contended that these men for whom exemption was claimed were indirectly doing work of some national importance. The Military representative (Mr. McGregor) offered formal objection on behalf of the military authorities who, he said, were of the opinion that under present circumstances, these men would be more profitably employed in the service of the State than in their civil occupations. It was further stated that the Company was engaged in export- trade, which as of great importance in the present crisis. The Tribunal decided to totally exempt three clay miners, and also granted temporary exemption to September 1st. in the cases of three others. The remaining seven applications were refused.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Report of the Finance Committee 9th May 1916 – P76. Due to the financial position of the Commissioners it was resolved that the River Surveyor (Lang) and the Engineer (Harwood) be given notice of dismissal and the Clerk offer the River Surveyor ten shillings [50p] per week to survey the river and report on the condition of the river. If Harwood could obtain local employment he be offered fiver shillings [25p] per week to look after the dredger. [Subsequent accounts indicate the Mr Lang has been paid ten pounds ten shillings for seven weeks pay. This equates to a weekly wage of one pound ten shillings [£1.50] per week.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 11th May 1916: River Surveyor’s Report. Page 79: The River Surveyor reported that he had offered his services to King and Country and had been accepted by the Military Authorities and goes to Exeter on the 8th August and that if he passes the military doctors alright he would take on there and then and go where they sent him…. He also asked that due to the fact that he had a wife and three children he asked that his position be kept open ‘if ever he got the luck and came back’. Due to his previous long service he also asked for five shillings [25p] per week be paid to the family. Resolved that due to the financial position of the Commissioners no monies could be paid to Lang.
With regard to the supervision of the river during the absence of the River Surveyor it was resolved that the Harbour Master by paid an extra five shillings [25p] per week and instructed to inspect the river as often as possible. NEWTON
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 11th May 1916. – P4: NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL – CLAY WORKERS CALLED FOR -…The adjourned case of the employees for Messrs. Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co. clay merchants, were again brought forward, exemption being asked for in respect of one clay worker and 12 clay miners. A representative of the firm, who appeared in support of the claim, said prior to the outbreak of war about 240 men were employed, but the number had been reduced to 130 since that time. The work of clay mining could only be done by young and skilled men. The firm, of course, would like exemption for all the men, but recognizes the impossibility of that asked for reasonable treatment at the hands of the Tribunal so as to prevent undue dislocation of the firm’s trade. He further explained that though the particular occupation of these men was not on the certified list, Messrs. Watts, Blake and Bearne supplied a very large quantity of clay to the potteries who employees, were of course starred. The potters could not carry on work without the supply of clay, and therefore it was contended that these men for whom exemption was claimed were indirectly doing work of some national importance. The Military Representative (Mr. McGregor) offered formal objection on behalf of the military authorities who he said, were of the opinion that under present circumstances, these men would by more profitably employed in the service of the State than in their civil occupations. It was also stated that the company was engaged in the export trade which was of great importance in the present crisis. The Tribunal decided to totally exempt three clay miners, and also granted temporary exemption to September 1st in three other cases. The remaining seven was refused.
Messrs. Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co., asked for exemption for a clay miner, aged 34, the foreman stating that the work could only be done by younger men. Answering Mr. F. Marshall (the military representative), he admitted there might be one or two men over 50 working underground, but it depended on the men. Some were old at 40, some at 60. He was exempted until June 15th.Mr. J.H. Doulton appeared in support of an applicant who was rejected for the Navy. He claimed that the Act said any man rejected was exempt. A War Office instruction could not override an Act of Parliament. Under the new Act, exemption could be reviewed, He suggested the man should be exempted until August 1st, when the new Act could affect the case. The man was quite prepared to come up for re-examination. Mr. Doulton’s suggestion was agreed to.
Extract from Mid Devon Advertiser 13th May 1916. – CLAY MINERS. – Messrs. Watts, Blake, Bearne and Co. Ltd., clay producers, applied for the exemption for a clay miner, age 34, on the ground that the work was of national importance, and that the man was indispensable.
Mr. J. Poole, who appeared for the company, said before the war they had 240 men, and now they employed 130. The underground work could only be done by young skilled men.
Mr. Marshall said this case was left over until a reply was received from the Government department, and he had heard nothing further.
Mr. Larkworthy thought the military authorities had declined to accept the proposals of the company, and there had been no agreement as to the number of the men that should be retained.
Mr. Poole said they were working five shafts less than before, and they were working with many less men.
The Chairman: So is everybody. You won’t shut up if this man goes.
It is very difficult to get men. Answer further questions Mr. Poole said there might be a few men over military age working underground. He did not think they were over fifty.
Mr. Michelmore: When a man gets to fifty you don’t stop him working underground? Mr. Poole said that depended on the man. Some were old at forty and some at sixty.
Mr. Marshall: If you had an application from a man of fifty you would refuse to put him underground?
The man was exempted until June 15th.
Extracted from Western Times 18th May 1916.
NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL: J. Bickford presided over meeting of the Tribunal which was also attended by Captain Impey, the Inspector of West Country Tribunals.
Exemption was sought by Mr W H Whiteway-Wilkinson (Chairman of the Rural Council) for seven employees of Whiteway-Wilkinson, clay merchants, of which firm he is managing director. In that capacity, he also asked to be exempted himself. Personally, the reason why he sought exemption was because of a resolution passed by the directorate and in the capacity of managing director he was responsible for the control of the business. The strength of the firm had been reduced to a minimum, only 37 men at present being employed compared with 116 at the outbreak of the war. Clay was supplied to firms engaged in Government work and the Company was engaged largely in the export trade. He wished to point out there was not the slightest wish on the part of the men concerned, or himself, to evade military service. On the contrary the firm had facilitated in every way the enlistment of their employees and left it entirely in the hands of Tribunal to determine whether they would be of greater service in the ranks or in civil life. Mr Whiteway-Wilkinson said that all the men were married. He himself endeavoured to enlist but in deference to the desire of the directors he was unable to. Exemption was allowed to Mr. Whiteway-Wilkinson, but the employees were temporarily exempted to September1st.
22nd May 1916: Former clay carter, Driver 94542 William James Dobbs, aged 18, 8th Battery, 13th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, died in Mesopotamia. He lies in Amara War Cemetery, Iraq.
Extracted from The Western Times 26th May 1916
TEIGNMOUTH: The Russian schooner, Janow, has managed to get to Seville all right with her cargo of clay from Teignmouth, having arrived there a week ago.
30th May 1916: Death in the Battle of Jutland of former clay cutter Stoker K/22983 Frederick John Charles Jordan, aged 23, whilst serving on HMS Warrior. Son of William and Margaret Jordan of Higher Sandygate, Kingsteignton. He has ‘No Known Grave’ and is listed on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, panel 16.
Mid-Devon Advertiser 10th June, 1916 Page 5: The Naval Battle: Kingsteignton’s Tribute – Kingsteignton Has suffered heavily in the Great Naval Battle, and both clubs have had their flags flying at half-mast in memory of ‘Teigntonians gone down…Stoker Fred Jordan, Kingsteignton, old Rugby football half was killed on the Warrior.
Extracted from Exeter & Plymouth Gazette 8th June 1916.
Clay merchants, etc., applied for the exemption of 13 of their employees engaged in the production of clay in their works. All the men were married, and many had children. A representative of the firm said much clay was supplied for war work. Exemption to January 1st, 1917, was allowed in all cases with the exception of that of an engine driver.
12th June 1916: Death from TB of former clay miner Frank Cockerham, aged 27, at Exeter, previously serving with the Royal Field Artillery. Son of John and Charlotte Cockerham of Kingsteignton.
Mid-Devon Advertiser 17th June 1916: KINGSTEIGNTON – War Items: Pte Frank Cockerham of Sandygate had died in hospital in Exeter as a result of being gassed ‘somewhere in France’. He was only 24, and one of Kingsteignton’s most promising rugby forwards, being captain of the reserves.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 22nd June 1916. – Devon and Courtenay Clay Co. had in several appeals for employees, but a letter was received stating that the manager, Mr. H.G.C. Bishop, had been called away on urgent business in Scotland, and would not be back until Monday week. The Chairman: Surely, they could have got someone else to attend. The cases were adjourned until next Friday, with others for the same firm which were down for hearing next Tuesday.
P5: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL – With regard to the claim of four clay miners, L.A. Towell, G. Elliott, W.H. Turner and W.J. Lang, Mr. Harold Michelmore (Military Representative) said when the cases came before the Advisory Committee this was not a certified occupation, but apparently, it was now a certified occupation for married men. The instructions said that single men up to the age of 41 were not to be considered in a certified occupation if engaged in clay mining, so that apparently married men were. The cases were adjourned for a week.
Extracted from Western Times 22nd June 1916.
NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL: Mr. J. Bickford presided over yesterday’s meeting. Messrs Hexter, Budge and Co. applied for the exemption of ten of their employees (all married) engaged in clay mining. etc.—All were given until 19th January 1917. Messrs Hexter Humpherson and claimed the exemption on similar grounds of five men in their employ, and also for Ernest John Hexter, managing foreman engaged the firm’s potteries. All were given until 1st January. 1917, with the exception of Mr Hexter who was absolutely exempted.
Extracted from Western Daily Press date 23rd June 1916
CHUDLEIGH TO NEWTON ABBOT: This piece of road is in a very bad state between the second and fourth milestone from Newton, being very bumpy and uneven caused by the heavy traffic of horse vehicles and steam Foden Wagons drawing the clay from the Kingsteignton pits.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 23rd June 1916: Page 83: Up River Report. The Harbour Master reported having surveyed the channels up to the sills on both the Hackney and Stover Canals at both high and low water. The Manager of the Hackney Canal complained that the channel had filled up very badly and that their barges were stopped on small tides.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 24th June 1916. – P4: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL – INTERESTING APPEALS DECIDED. – Mr. W. Vicary presided at a sitting of the Tribunal for the Newton Urban district on Tuesday evening………THE OFFICIAL WAY. – Mr. Mitchelmore said the military authorities had agreed to exemptions in twelve cases, and in addition there were four cases in respect of clay miners. When these cases came before the Advisory Committee clay mining was not a certified occupation but it appeared from the regulations that had been issued since that it was a certified occupation for married men. The regulations stated that clay mining was not a certified occupation for single men up to forty-one years of age, so it was for married men.
The four cases referred to were claims by the Devon & Courtenay Clay Company for the exemption of L.A. Towell, G. Elliott, W.J. Lang and W.H. Turner. The cases were adjourned until next week as the manager of the company was away from home………
BORN SOMEWHERE. – Frederick Charles Jordon, clay miner, employed by Messrs. Watts, Blake, Bearne and Co., said he was forty-one last February.
In answer to a question, he said he had not got a birth certificate.
The Chairman: You must have been born somewhere, at some time.
Applicant replied he was born at Sandygate.
The case was adjourned for the production of the certificate. [see below for the result]
Extracted from Western Times 29th June 1916.
Mr. J. Bickford presided over a sitting of the Newton Abbot Rural Tribunal held yesterday. A Clay haulier. William Edwin Gill of Haytor View, Kingsteignton, he said that he would have to sell his business if he went-—Granted until August, Final.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 29th June 1916. – P5: NEWTON ABBOT RURAL TRIBUNAL – CLAYWORKERS AND POTTERS EXEMPTED – Mr. J. Bickford presided over Newton Rural Tribunal on Wednesday.
Sydney George Ellis, 24, of Star Cottage, Ilsington…. all single men in the employ of the Bovey Pottery Co. personally applied for exemption on the ground of domestic responsibility. The Recruiting Officer entered his objection stating that no case of serious hardship had been made. Ellis stated that those who suffered widowed mothers considered themselves in the same position as married men. Indeed, many of the married men’s wives could go out to work; their mothers could not. All were disallowed.
CLAY WORKERS EXEMPTED – Messrs. Hexter & Budge, represented by Mr. Hexter senior, applied for the absolute exemption of ten of their employees on the ground that they were men engaged in raising clay for large manufacturers, who were certified; also because of the firm’s export trade, and that it was expedient in the national interest that the men should remain in their present employment, the clay industry having been already largely curtailed.
Mr. Hexter gave figures regarding the men at present employed as compared with the number of employees before the war. In August 1914, there were forty-one employees eligible for military service. Only ten were now with the firm – those for whom the applications were being made – most of the remaining thirty-one having joined up. The company had five machines capable of turning out a mile of clay pipes per day, but because of the shortage of labour, were only able to keep one running. The claim was heard at the same time as Messrs. Hexter & Humpherson in respect of five employees in their potteries, and also with regard to Mr. Ernest John Hexter, managing foreman of the china factory.
Mr. P. McGregor asked Mr. Hexter if it was true that he had put obstacles in the way of his employees enlisting?
Mr. Hexter: Will you show me the man who told you that? I should like to face him. I am much in favour of men joining up.
In all cases exemption was granted to January 1st, 1917, with the exemption of that of Mr. Hexter, who was absolutely exempted.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 1st July 1916.- P1: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL. – CLAY WORKERS. – The Military Authorities agreed to the conditional exemption of the following employees for the Devon & Courtenay Clay Company: – J. Parker, G. Turner, C. Millman, W.H. Heales, L. Wallen, G. Elliott, W.J. Lang, L.A. Towell and W.H. Turner. The Tribunal confirmed the decision.
In the case of F.C. Jordon, clay miner, his birth certificate showed that he was over military age.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 8th July 1916 – OVERLAPPING. – The claim of J. Walsh, clay miner, was struck out. It was stated that he had also appealed before the Rural Tribunal, and obtained exemption until August 1st.
OTHER DECISIONS. – Other cases were decided as follows: – William Frank Newton, clay miner, F. Priddle, clay cutter, and J. Bearne, clay cutter, conditionally exempted, being in starred occupations;
Extracted from the Western Times dated 8th July 1916: On Sunday morning, as the brigantine Ebenezer was being towed to sea, she grounded on the bar at Teignmouth. The efforts of the steam tug Teign to re-float her proved unsuccessful. Fortunately, the tide was rising and soon after eight o’clock last night the Ebenezer floated. The vessel which is loaded with clay had laid in the harbour for nearly nineteen months and had recently changed owners. Her previous registry was at Littlehampton.
Extracted from the Western Times 21st July 1916 – On Sunday morning as the brigantine Ebenezer was being towed to sea she grounded on the sandbar at Teignmouth. The efforts of the steam tug Teign to re-float her proved unsuccessful. Fortunately, the tide was rising and soon after eight o’ clock last night the Ebenezer floated. The vessel which is loaded with clay had lain in harbour for nearly nineteen months and had recently changed owners. Her previous registry was at Littlehampton.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 22nd July 1916. – P1: MID-DEVON MILTARY TRIBUNALS – OTHER DECISIONS. –; J. Woodleigh, clay cutter, employed by the Devon and Courtenay Clay Co, conditional exemption.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 3rd August 1916.- P2: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL – On Tuesday at the Newton Urban Tribunal, Mr. W. Vicary presiding, …… and E.J. Neck, a clay miner in the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. Ltd., employment, was given conditional exemption
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 5th August 1916 – P1: MILITARY TRIBUNALS. – INTERESTING CASES IN MID-DEVON. – The Tribunal of the Newton Abbot Urban District met on Tuesday afternoon…. ANOTHER CLAY EMPLOYEE. – The Devon and Courtenay Clay Company applied for the exemption for E.J. Neck, of East Ogwell, and the military authorities did not oppose conditional exemption. It was stated that he was discharged from the Territorial Force after the war began, and had since been rejected by the army doctors. Conditional exemption.
Mr. Murrin asked if there were more men to be applied for the company, and Mr. Bishop was understood to reply that he had only one more.
Extracted from Birmingham Daily Post 14th August 1916
SUNK IN COLLISION: The crew of the schooner King’s Hill, from Teignmouth to Runcorn, with a cargo of clay, has been landed at Holyhead. Their vessel was sunk in a collision with an unknown steamer, six miles west of Caernarvon Bay Lightship.
Extracted from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 26th August 1916. – P1: NEWTON MILITARY TRIBUNAL. – OTHER DECISIONS. – Decisions in other cases were as follows; includes G.C. Bishop, clay works manager, conditional exemption.
12th September 1916: Death of former clay carter, Rifleman R/17038 Frederick George Partridge, aged 26, serving with the 10th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Son of George and Ann Partridge of Kingsteignton. He lies within the churchyard of St. Michael’s Kingsteignton.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 16th September 1916. – P1: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL. – STILL MORE CLAY WORKERS. – The Devon and Courtenay Clay Company appealed for the exemption of James Walsh, a Kingsteignton man. It was stated that he had been previously granted a temporary exemption by the Rural Tribunal on personal grounds, and this had expired.
The Chairman: I thought you told us some time ago you had applied for all the men you wanted? – I said all we knew of, replied Mr. Bishop. They are still coming in; some of them have to be re-examined. I have just obtained a form for another man.
In answer to Mr. Michelmore, Mr. Bishop said Walsh had been in their employ seven years.
Conditional exemption was granted, the occupation of clay miner being a certified one.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 21st September 1916.
P5: NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL – TOO OLD AT 50 NOW – (Extracts) Messrs. Watts Blake Bearne and Co. applied for the exemption of Walter H. Collings, 21, single, clay worker, Custriat, Ilsington and Thomas W.H. Crocker, 29, single, clay worker, Chudleigh Knighton, as indispensable. The military opposed in both cases, each of the applicant being under the age limit for exemption. The firm’s manager (Mr. Poole) appealed to support the claim, and said that seventy-four men from Messrs. Watt Blake and Bearne & Co. employ had joined the forces, and only between fifty and seventy remaining. It would be necessary that the worker in this industry should be young men.
The Military Representative: At what age do you think a man so engaged is too old?
Mr. Poole: About fifty, except in exceptional cases.
Collings said he was previously rejected, but the Medical Board had now accepted him for general service. Crocker said he had passed for the labour division abroad.
In both cases the application was disallowed.
CLAY WORKERS RE-EXEMPTED: Messrs. Watts Blake Bearne & Co. further sought the exemption of six other employees, all married men, who had been previously rejected, but had now been accepted for service in different capacities. The men are as follows: –
Thomas Satterley, 39, married, clay worker, Gandy’s Cottages, Halford; John Wm. Medland, 37, married, clay cutter, Sandpath, Kingsteignton; Edwin John Burridge, 35, clay miner, Greenhill Road, Kingsteignton; Jonas Campion, 34, ganger of mining shaft, 46 Woodway Street, Chudleigh; Albert Edward Towell, 38, married, clay miner, 14 Quay Terrace, Newton Abbot; and Thomas Henry Moist, 28, married, timber getter, 1 Elm Road, Newton Abbot.
The military agreed to the conditional exemption if the Tribunal were of the opinion that none could be spared. The men attended and explained their respective domestic responsibilities. One man said he had eight children.
Mr. Poole said the men were engaged in a certified occupation. No more men could be spared from the works as the staff had been reduced to a minimum. The firm did not know which way to turn for more men. They still had three or four applications to be heard by the Tribunal. Mr. A.T. Stock: None of these men or fit for general service except the man with eight children. Another member said he would prove to be an expensive soldier. Condition exemptions were granted in all cases except that of Thomas Henry Moist, who was finally exempted until November 1st.
Extracted from Mid Devon Advertiser 23rd September 1916.
RURAL TRIBUNAL: CLAYWORKERS REFUSED- Messrs. Watts, Blake, Beane and Co. appealed for the exemption of Walter H, Collings single, 21 clay worker, living at Ilsington, and Thomas W. H. Crocker, 29, single, ditto, Chudleigh Knighton, on grounds of indispensability. Opposition was raised by the military authorities, as each of the appellants was under the age limit for exemption. The firm’s manager (Mr. Poole), who appeared to support the claim, said that 74 men in -Messrs. Watts, Blake, Bearne and Co’s employ had joined the forces, only between 50 and 70 remaining. It was necessary the workers in this industry should be young men.
The Military Representative: At what age do you think a man so engaged is too old. Mr. Poole: About 50 except in exceptional cases. Collings stated that he was previously rejected, but the Medical Board had now accepted him for general service, Crocker had passed for the labour division abroad. The appeals were dismissed.
Messrs, Watts, Blake, Bearne and Co. further sought the exemption of six other employees all married men. They had been previously rejected, but were now accepted for service in different capacities. The men are as follows; Thomas Satterley,39, clay worker, Candy’s Cottages, Halford; John Wm. Medland, 37, married clay cutter. Sand Path, Kingsteignton; Edwin John Burridge, 35, clay miner, Greenhill Road. Kingsteignton; Jonas Campion, 34, ganger of mining shaft, 46, Woodway Street, Chudleigh; Albert Edward Towell, 38, married, clay miner, 14, Quay Terrace, Newton Abbot; and Thos. Henry Moist, 28, married, timber getter, 1, Elm Road, Newton Abbot. The military consented to conditional exemption if the Tribunal thought that the men could not be spared. The men explained their domestic responsibilities, one man stating he had eight children.
Mr. Poole said the men were engaged in certified occupations. No more men could be spared from the works, as the staff had been reduced to the minimum. The firm did not know which way turn for men. They still had three or four applications to be considered by the Tribunal.
Mr. A Stooke: None of these men are fit for general service, except the man with eight children. Another Member remarked that he would prove a very expensive soldier. Conditional exemption was granted in all cases except that of Thomas Henry Moist, who was finally exempted till November 1st
Mid Devon Advertiser 23rd September 1916: KINGSTEIGNTON NEWS: Rifleman Fred Partridge, of the Kings Royal Rifles, who died of wounds received in France, was buried at Kingsteignton Churchyard….The Clubs flags were flown at half-mast. Mr. Partridge had been employed as Clay Carter.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser 30th September 1916. – P1: MILTARY TRIBUNALS. – CLAY WORKERS. – The Devon and Courtenay Clay Company appealed for A.T. Perriam, clay cutter. Mr. Michelmore said he would like the Tribunal to consider how many men had already been exempted from this firm.
Mr. Murrin asked if there were still further applications to be made for men.
Mr. Bishop replied that there were two others.
Conditional exemption was granted till December 1st, and Perrim was told to be re-examined by the Medical Board before that date.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser 7th October 1916. – P1 & 3: MILITARY TRIBUNAL. –
CLAYWORKER REFUSED. – The Devon and Courtenay Clay Company applied for H. Edworthy, clay cutter.
Mr. Michelmore said the man was in a certified occupation, but he had given notice to the employers that he intended to ask the Tribunal whether they considered it was in the national interest that he should still be employed in that capacity. Edworthy was a single man passed for general service.
The firm was not represented. Edworthy said Mr. Bishop was away.
The appeal was dismissed.
LORRY DRIVER. – Mr. F. White, steam lorry owner, appealed for S.T. Denley, a married man, passed for general service.
Appellant said he had spent 18s. 6d. [92.5p] in advertising and had one reply. The man he took on was only there a day, as he nearly killed a man. He has three engines and only two men to drive them. He had a three-month’s contract for the clay company, and he thought that was a certified trade.
The Chairman: What about the substitution scheme?
Mr. Mitchelmore: I have no engine driver, have a bricklayer if he will do? (Laughter)
Exemption to December 1st, with Volunteer condition.
7th October 1916: Copy of article by J. Ellis for Stover Canal Trust Magazine. – Local Hero: Gunner Murrin killed in action 1916.
As we move through the period of the 100-year commemoration of the Great War we should pause to remember the local men who fell in this conflict who were linked to the gaining and transportation of clay. Whilst my research has found many references to the struggle of the clay firms to retain the men working in the pits and on the barges from conscription post March 1916, I have only once found reference to a casualty linked to the local canals.
Gunner Fred Charles Murrin, aged 20, of the “C” Battery, 92nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, 8 Fore Street Kingsteignton was killed on the Somme in October 1916. He had formerly lived at Oakford Farm and had joined the forces within months of the outbreak of the war. He went to France in July 1915. Originally his widowed mother had received a letter from the Chaplin of stating that Gunner Murrin had been gassed but that after hospital treatment and rest there was a marked improvement and indications were that he would fully recover. However, on the following day came a further letter from the Chaplin stating that he had suddenly collapsed and passed peacefully away on 7th October. The newspaper reported that employee of Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, as an assistant shipwright on the Stover Canal, but as an employee of Lord Clifford, he had probably worked on the Hackney Canal. Gunner Murrin is buried at Carnoy Military Cemetery, south east of Albert, in France.
Extracted from Mid Devon Advertiser 14th October 1916.
RURAL TRIBUNAL: CLAY FIRM’S APPLICATION – Messrs. Watts, Blake, Bearne and Co appealed for three of their employees, Wm. Henry, Penhale, married, ledger clerk, etc, Pottery Road, Herbert Black,31, flat dresser, Mary Street, William Wills, 23, married, ditto, Mary Street, all of Bovey, Mr. Robinson represented the Company, and stated that Penhale was indispensable, four of the clerical staff out of seven having joined the Colours. The man was not fit for the Army, having passed only for C3 it would be a cruelty to take him. In respect to the dressers, Mr. Robinson stated that Black had been classified by the Medical Board as being fit only for Cl (home service) and Wills for Bl (garrison duty abroad). Out of a total of 78 eligible employees, 56 had joined the Colours. He thought the Company had done its share. Not an unmarried man of military age was at present in the Company’s employ. Conditional exemption was allowed in the case of Penhale, Black was allowed to 1st January, whilst the claim in respect to Wills was disallowed.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser 21st October 1916. – P1: MID-DEVON MILITARY TRIBUNALS. – Forty-five appeals came before the Tribunal for the Newton Abbot Urban District on Tuesday afternoon, when Mr. W. Vicary presided.
OTHER DECISIONS. – Other decisions (included) T.C. Luscombe, stevedore, employed by the Devon and Courtenay Clay Company (military assented to exemption), to 15th November;
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 26th October 1916. – P5: NEWTON ABBOT –Mr. George Taylor of 7 Palk’s Court, Newton Abbot has received information that his son, Pte. Wm. Taylor of the Devonshire Regiment has been killed in action. Before the war Pte. Taylor was a clay carter. Mr. Taylor has four other sons, all of whom are serving with the forces. They are Ptes. Thomas, Frank, Sydney and Lewis Taylor, two of whom are in France and the other two are in India.
Extract from the Mid Devon Advertiser – 4th November 1916 – Henry Bovey Walters
Rifleman Henry Walters, the son of Mr Adoniah Walters, is 26 years of age and an old scholar of the British school. Previous to joining the army he was engaged in clay work at Messrs Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co. He joined in November 1915, the King’s Royal Rifles. He, Fred Partridge (who recently died as the result of wounds and was buried in Kingsteignton), W Willcocks and Geo Loving, going away together. Later he transferred to the Rifle Brigade with whom he crossed to France. He was home on leave last January. A brother, Sapper W J Walters is in the Royal Engineers. In his first letter home he said that he had been recommended for the Military Medal and was informed by his Commanding Officer that he was to receive it and in a later letter that he had received the Military Medal, the same being awarded for bandaging and carrying wounded under fire, mainly of machine guns.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 25th November 1916. – P1: MID-DEVON LOCAL TRIBUNALS. – MANY CASES HEARD. – OVER FORTY-ONE. – F.C. Jordan, clay miner, was applied for by his employers, Messrs. Watts, Blake, Bearne and Co., as being in a certified occupation. He said he was forty-one on the 26th of last February.
Mr. Michelmore: The only object, I suppose, is to get you to adjourn it until he is called up.
Jordan said he had been called up twice.
Mr. Michelmore said if he produced his birth certificate before the Recruiting Officer he would be have been put on the Reserve.
Mr. Larkworthy enquired whether Jordon was not outside the scope of the Act altogether.
Mr. Michelmore: What they are doing is calling them up and passing them into the reserve, and once that is done they cannot appeal.
28th November 1916: Death from Wounds of former clay cutter, Private Alfred Mason, age 32 whilst serving with the 3rd/7th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. Son of William and Selina Mason of 4 Woolaton Terrace, Kingsteignton. He lies within St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France.
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 8 – 6th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to Wm Champion, Caudledown Clay Works, St Austell: “Our workmen (through
the National Union &c.) have given notice to-day of a demand for 5/- per week additional war bonus – and we think they deserve at least a part of what they are asking for. Are your men and the other Cornish clay workers asking for higher wages or an additional war bonus at present?”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 21- 7th December 1916 – Arthur Bearne to Capt. J. Skidmore, Shaugh Prior: “Carters. We were glad that you were able to arrange with them to continue 3 days a week and we agree to pay the extra 6d. per ton until further notice. In the meantime, it will be just as well for you to make enquiries about steam carts as we previously suggested. This loading 3 days a week will be very awkward if we have to load a steamer or a sailing ship quickly and in that case we should want more carts or something to fill up the blank days.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 27 – 7th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to Wm. White & Son, Glasgow: “Yesterday we received from the Secretary of the Trades Union with which our workmen are connected a demand for a further war bonus of 5/- per week plus other extras. If we resist this demand our workmen will either go on strike (same as they did 3 or 4 years ago when they remained out for about 6 months and did not return until their demands were granted) or else, they will leave for other parts of the country where they can get even higher wages than they are now asking us to pay. In the event of either of the above happenings we shall be unable to supply you with any more clay at any price – and if we decide to pay our workmen an increased war bonus it will be necessary for us to charge you at least an additional 2/- per tally for each kind of clay – and it is for you to decide, of course, whether you can afford to pay it or not. Seeing that the price of coal &c. in your district is about to double what it was before the war you have probably wondered why the prices of Cutty and Household Clay have not been advanced considerably more than they have been.” [N.B. Similar letters sent to other customers]
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 32 – 8th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to The Paper Makers Importing Co., St Austell: “In consequence of the shortage of labour and horses & carts in this district we have not yet found any opportunity of sending No. 3 Grindley Ball Clay to Bristol for America for your account, but we hope to be able to send some ere long.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 45 – 8th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to G. Pike Ward, Teignmouth: “We don’t like steamers but to help you we will try to give her 29/- or perhaps 30/- Teignmouth to Rotterdam……P.S. A steamer would, of course, allow the usual 1/3 per ton towards the extra cost of loading steamers at Teignmouth. It really ought to be 1/6 or 1/9 now, to cover the extra cost of labour etc.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 48 – 9th December 1916 – Charles Geen to B. Giles, G.W. Railway, Newton Abbot: “We find that a leak has developed in two of the bottom stays of the boiler of our Steam Tug “Kestrel”. Attempts have been made to do the necessary repairs, but as the space is very limited we have not succeeded. The Boiler Insurances Inspector considers that the boiler must be lifted. We remember that this boiler was put on the Tug by one of your cranes stationed on one of the bridges over our waterway. We find that the Tug can take up a position below the bridge on the Moreton Line crossing the lock at Jetty Marsh, and that there is room on the bank close alongside to rest the boiler……The boiler weighs about 7 tons and the lift required is 6 to 8 feet.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 57 – 9th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to Wm. Christie, Glasgow: “Two or three days ago the Secretary of the Trades Union with which our workmen are connected sent us a demand for an additional war bonus of 5/- per man per week. We have already made two or three advances of wages and war bonuses since the commencement of the war – but the new demand is not altogether unreasonable seeing that everything has become so frightfully dear. If we refuse….. the supply of clay would cease, probably for months, because there are practically no stocks on hand. The stoppage of the production of clay would be absolute ruin to many of our customers.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 79 – 11th December 1916 – A Bearne to Director General of Munitions Supply, Ministry of Munitions of War, London: “You are no doubt aware that our business is included in the certified list of occupations and that we supply the raw material used by a great many firms of potters in all parts of the United Kingdom whose establishments are under your control. Recently someone came from the neighbourhood of Birmingham and endeavoured to persuade many of our workmen to leave their present occupation and join in the manufacture of munitions in a Birmingham factory offering them 9d.per hour for week days and 1/6 per hour for Sunday work. This was a temptation to our men to leave their present occupation and we presume such an offer was not sanctioned by your Department. We believe the person who came here represented a motorcar factory which is now being used for the production of munitions. It can certainly lead to no good results to take men from one Reserved Occupation and put them into another….”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 87 – 11th December 1916 – A Bearne – Bill of Lading (Steam): about 200 tons Rotterdam (for Societe Ceramique, Maastricht): “Vessel to be loaded in turn at the buoys in the quickest possible time. Steamer to pay to shippers 1/3 per ton for the canal dues &c. Cargo to be discharged as quickly as possible……..Merchants undertake to provide W.T.D. Licence for this cargo but the owners of the steamer must satisfy Customs that they have given a special bond to the Crown or made a special arrangement with the Netherlands Overseas Trust for the right to carry this cargo.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 100 – 12th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to Richard-Ginori, Milan: “…. some vessels that we charter never arrive to load because they are destroyed by storms or by German submarines. A steamer of about 4000 tons which was going to be loaded by us with clay for America was destroyed last week by a submarine.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 116 – 12th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to Slack & Brownlow, Manchester: “…. in the present condition of affairs and in view of the trouble with our workmen mentioned in our letter of 9th inst. we cannot accept any orders in advance for any kind of Stoneware Clay at any price – but will do our best to supply you from time to time with what you require at the lowest price that we can afford to charge. There is already a great shortage of Stoneware Clay and the deficit is much more likely to increase than to decrease –and we shall probably have to confine our supplies of Stoneware Clays to customers who regularly purchase China Clay from us.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 144 – 14th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to Caledonian Pottery Co. Ltd., Liverpool: “…..demand of an additional war bonus…..ruin to many of our customers who would have to close their works for want of clay. We have consulted them, and they have agreed to pay us an extra 2/- per ton for our Clays rather than that the supply should cease. Please carefully consider the matter and wire us tomorrow morning if you also are willing to pay 2/- per tally extra for the cargo of clay to Glasgow if we can charter the sailing vessel in
question.” [R. Harris note: The Caledonian Pottery was owned by W.P. Hartley of Liverpool, the famous jam makers, and made ceramic jam pots for the parent company. I think this may be the jam jar contract referred in other Charles Davey Blake’s notes.]
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 14th December 1916. – At the Newton Urban Tribunal on Tuesday, Devon & Courtenay Clay Company again appealed for T.C. Luscombe, stevedore, single, 39, passed B1. Mr. Mitchelmore said the firm had many men exempted, and on the last occasion they were only granted 17 days for this man. The appeal was dismissed.
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 146 – 14th December 1916 – A Bearne to Charles Hill & Sons, Bristol: “The roads have been in such a state owing to frost that the carts have not been able to work to-day.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 160 – 15th December 1916 – A Bearne to Major Kendall, Recruiting Office, Newton Abbot: “ … we have pleasure to enclose copy of Form D.R.17 as posted in our Establishment, as requested.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 177 – 16th December 1916 – A Bearne to Thomas Olver & Co., St Stephens, Cornwall: “Your postcard of yesterday received. We know there is a difficulty about obtaining trucks. We have great trouble in this district but there is a way of getting them by what the Americans call “hustling”. We think it is quite disgraceful that you should have been left without a truck since the 5thinst. so we have written to the District Superintendent at Plymouth….”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 188 – 16th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to George Knowles, Trenton, New Jersey: “Your letter of the 1st inst. is received explaining the difficulty experienced by you in getting a passport for England – in consequence of which you will perhaps have to let your son Luke visit England on your behalf. None of us knew that a passport is necessary. Was it always so, or is it in consequence of the War?”
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 16th December 1916.
P1: MID-DEVON MILITARY TRIBUNAL. – The members present at the sitting of the Tribunal for the Newton Abbot urban district on Tuesday afternoon were Messrs. A.J. Murrin (in the chair), N. Larkworthy and H. Bearne, with Messrs. H.G. Michelmore and W.F. Marshal as military representatives. NO MORE. – The Devon & Courtenay Clay Company put in another appeal for T.C. Luscombe, single aged thirty-nine, and passed for B1.
Mr. Michelmore opposed, saying that the firm had had many exemptions for their employees.
In answer to questions, Luscombe said when last before the Tribunal he was given seventeen days’ exemption.
The Chairman: That is practically a dismissal. The Company have had a great many exemptions, and the appeal will be dismissed.
OTHER DECISIONS. – Other decisions were as follows (included) A.T. Perriam, clay cutter, passed for C2, was exempted until June 1st;
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 255 – 21st December 1916 – A Bearne to B. Giles, G.W.R. Engineering Dept. Newton Abbot: “Re our boiler which you were good enough to lift from the S.S. “Kestrel” at Jetty Marsh last Sunday. Our usual engineers Messrs. H. Beare & Sons are utterly unable to do the necessary repairs owing to the great demands on their production by the Government. Could you do what is necessary?”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 268 – 22nd December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to James Wallace & Sons Ltd., Belfast: “…. It is not certain that we shall be able to continue to send you much Clay because more and more of our men are being called up with the result that the production of Clay must greatly diminish.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 286 – 23rd December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to Mosa Maastricht: “Your postcard ….informs us that you have applied to the Netherlands Overseas Trust for the necessary certificate. When we receive that Certificate from you we will apply to our Government for the necessary licence to
send you the clay………….We send the Ball Clay by canal in lighters (barges) from here to Teignmouth – and are in that case independent of railway wagons which frequently cannot be obtained because all of them are commandeered by our Government for war purposes.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 307 – 27th December 1916 – NFD to Major Kendall, Union Street, Newton Abbot: “We enclose herewith a list of our workmen for whom we are now appealing.”
Blackmore R.J. Ideford, Chudleigh
Billinghurst Wm. Coldeast, Ilsington
Caunter J. Teignbridge, Newton Abbot
Campion S. Gibbs Cottage, Chudleigh Knighton
Carnell W.J. Mill Park, Kingsteignton
Heyward J. 4, Heytor Terrace, Newton Abbot
Howell E.A., Coldeast, Ilsington
Scott C.H. Church Street, Kingsteignton
Scott A. 15, Wollaton Terrace, Kingsteignton
Scott S. 9, Wollaton Terrace, Kingsteignton
French W.R Mill Park, Kingsteignton
Glanfield J. Tarrs Lane, Kingsteignton
Noyce F.28, Elm Road, Newton Abbot
Noyce F.K. Albert Road, Newton Abbot
Brinicombe C Sandy Gate, Kingsteignton
Brinicombe G. Halcyon Road, Newton Abbot
Lang Fd. 29, Gladstone Road, Newton Abbot
Field A. Wm. 3, Yeoman Terrace, Kingsteignton
Gerry S. Teigngrace, Nr. Newton Abbot.
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 309 – 27th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to S.J. Wright, Secretary of the National Union of General Workers, London: “We have received your letter of the 23rd inst. reminding us of your letter of the 5th inst. which asked us if we could see our way to pay our workmen an additional war bonus of 5/- per man per week. The matter has received our very careful consideration and we now say to you as follows: In consideration of the inability to get ships and other serious difficulties in the carrying on of the clay trade it would be an advantage to clay merchants to close their works until after the termination of this dreadful war – but as that would affect a great hardship on our older workmen and their families we are willing to go on a little longer, and to pay our men an additional war bonus at the rate of 2/- per man per week – say 4d. per day during the war. We hope the other clay merchants in this neighbourhood as well as those at Torrington and at Poole and Wareham will follow our example. You say that if desired you would arrange for one of your officials to come to see me. This does not appear to be at all necessary – but we may mention that we are always well pleased to have a chat with your Mr. Jack Jones &/or Mr. Young – and when they come here Mr. Blake will be glad to see them at his house as usual. They are very sensible men.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 311 – 27th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to Whiteway & Co. Newton Abbot: “We received a letter dated the 5th inst. from the Secretary of the National Union of General Workers…..We have to-day written the Secretary of the said Union to say that although it would be more profitable to us and the other Clay producers to close our Works until after the War we are willing for the sake of our own [old] workmen to go on a little longer and to pay our men an additional war bonus of 2/- per man per week (say, 4d. per day) during the remainder of the War. In connection with the foregoing we have informed our customers that we cannot accept any more orders for Clays except at higher prices.” [Same as above also sent to –
Messrs Hexter & Budge
Oliver Goddard, Ltd
Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. Ltd.]
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 312 – 27th December 1916 – Charles Davey Blake to Mr Holwill, The North Devon Clay Co. Torrington: “I hope you and Mrs Holwill and family are quite well and that you have passed a pleasant Xmas, and will have a very happy New Year. W.B.B. & Co. Ltd. received a letter dated the 5th inst. [as for letter to Whiteway & Co.] Have your men recently demanded higher wages, or an additional war bonus – and if so what have you done in the matter? Some of our customers have invited W.B.B. & Co. Ltd. to accept large orders – but I have written them declining the proposal. I have done so because we do not wish to deprive you of any of your business – and I have told our customers (some of whom are your customers also) that in consequence of the increased cost of Coal and Timber, &c. and having to pay higher wages and additional war bonuses they (our customers) must pay an extra price for our Clays – and in most cases an advance of 2/- per ton. Please see me alone or with Mr. Vincent whenever you like to…..”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 373 – 1st January 1917– Charles Davey Blake to Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. Ltd.: “Re. workmen’s wages. We have received your letter of the 29th ulto. (December 1916) acknowledging receipt of our letter of 27th ulto. On the above subject – and we note that you have written to the same effect as we did to the Secretary of the National Union of general Workers. ….Our senior Director, Mr. Blake, will be much pleased to receive a call at his house (which he seldom leaves now) from Messrs. Fox and/or Mr. Bishop whenever they may wish to confer with him on any matter of mutual interest to yourselves and us.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 389/391 – 1st January 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to L.G. Pike, Wareham and Charles Davey Blake to Sidney Stiff, Corfe Castle re wages – similar to letter to other ball clay producers.
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 376 – 2nd January 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Hexter & Budge: “We have just received from the Makers a new Steam Cart with several improvements suggested by our engineer friend Mr. Charles Geen. We shall perhaps find some difficulty in getting a good driver for the new steam cart therefore we write to ask if you have a suitable driver that you could spare. We are supposing that you could perhaps do so seeing that some time ago you were working three steam carts of your own of which we understand two are now laid up from old age or temporary invalidity. If you could lend us a driver for our new steam cart, we could perhaps arrange for one of our steam carts to spend parts of its time hauling your Clay to the station, siding or cellars if you are short of horses and carts &c.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 447 – 5th January 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Whiteway & Co.: “Mr. G.H. Young, the representative of the National Union, &c. called here yesterday and informed us that at a mass meeting of the Clay workmen at Kingsteignton on the previous evening the offer of the Clay Merchants to pay an additional war bonus of 2/- per week or 4d. per day was rejected – and that the Clay workmen considered that they ought to get at least 4/- per week additional war bonus because Messrs. Vicary’s men had been granted it – but that he (Mr. Young) had with difficulty induced them to moderate their demand to 3/- per week, or 6d. per day. He also told us that the Clay workmen wanted the advance to be made retrospective, namely, from the date when the Notice was sent to the Clay Merchants by the National Union &c. We told Mr. Young that we could not pay an additional war bonus of so much as 3/- per week, but would probably agree to make it 2/6 per week, or 5d. per day, and that we could not pay it from the date of the Notice but would perhaps pay it for last week as well as for the current week. This morning Mr. Young left at our office a note headed “The National Union” &c. and dated to-day, reading as follows – “Dear Sirs, The men concerned have accepted the revised offer of yesterday’s date for which we thank you. Yours faithfully, Geo. H. Young.” For the sake of our beloved customers – some of whom would be ruined in a month if they did not get a supply of Clay which is like “daily bread” to them – we have decided to pay our workmen the 2/6 per week, or 5d. per day, as aforesaid.”
Letters similar to the above also sent to
Devon & Courtenay Clay Co.
Oliver Goddard Ltd
Hexter & Budge
Extracted from the Mid Devon Advertiser – 20th January 1917. NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL. – “KICKING MARE” DIFFICULTY. – Exemption was sought by his father of William John Carnell, Class A, twenty-six, married clay haulier, 43 Alma Cottages, Highweek. In the application, it was stated that the son drove a mare which was “very spirited and a kicker”.
The military authorities’ representative: Our Advisory Committee recommend that the kicking mare might be substituted (Laughter). There are not any grounds for asking for the exemption of a general service man. If he can manage a ‘kicker’ he would be a splendid man for the Royal Field Artillery. – 1st February, final.
POTTERY EMPLOYEES – Messrs. Hexter, Humpherson and Co., Ltd applied for the exemption of ten employees in their potteries, etc., and also of Wallace Hexter C3 35, single, manager and financial secretary, East Park, Newton Abbot, whose case was heard in private. Conditional exemption was allowed with regard to the other ten employees. Mr. Hexter, senior, claimed all as indispensable especially those engaged in the manufacture of acid-resisting goods. In addition to much domestic ware, Government work was also undertaken. The number of men required to run the works had reached “its lowest ebb”. The following decisions were arrived at: Frank G. Bradford, 36, thrower, Kingskerswell (Class A), conditional exemption; Frank A. harp, 24, handler and presser, Newton Abbot (Class A)1st February (final); Harry Hill, 39, packer, Newton Abbot (C 3), conditional; Fred Dart, 29, thrower, Kingskerswell (Class A), 1st February (final); Albert Herd, 32, maker of chemical ware, Kingsteignton (C 1), conditional; Robert Ernest Sharp, 32, maker of chemical ware, Kingsteignton, (Class A),1st April (final); James Sharp, maker of chemical ware, Kingsteignton (B I), conditional; William J. Harvey, 39, rnaker of chemical ware, Newton Abbot, (C2), conditional; Walter Hy, Hope, 40, Kingsteignton (B2), conditional; A. J. Partridge, 27, ball clay miner, Kingsteignton (Class A),1st February. All are married men.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 25th January 1917. P5: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL – At Newton Urban Tribunal on Tuesday, Watts, Blake, Bearne and Co., clay merchants, appealed for two bargemen and a steam cart driver. Mr. C. Geen said the firm had to pay as much as £50 a day demurrage for ships at Teignmouth through a shortage of bargemen, and a great deal of the clay was for Government contractors. Owing to the impossibility to obtain horses, they had purchased three steam carts, but only two of them could be used, as men could not be obtained. The appeals for two of the men were dismissed, and they were passed for general service and under 30. The other was adjourned for medical examination.
Extracted from the Mid Devon Advertiser – 27th January 1917. P1: MID-DEVON MILITARY TRIBUNAL. –MILITARY AUTHORITIES PRESS FOR YOUNG GENERAL SERVICE MAN. – THE NEW REGULATIONS. – Messrs. Watts, Blake, Bearne and Co., clay merchants, appealed in respect of five men – Fred Noyce, bargeman, aged thirty-one, passed for general service: F. Lang, bargeman; J. Heyward, steam cart driver, aged twenty-two, passed for general service; Frank Noyce and G. Brinicombe, bargeman.
The military assented to the exemption of Frank Noyce and G. Brinicombe, and they were given conditional exemption to August 1st. Lang was adjourned for a week for medical examination, and the Military opposed the other two cases.
The Chairman said they hardly had any locus standi with men fit for general service under thirty-one years of age.
Mr. Michelmore said he should strongly press for these two men. He had assented to two men being exempted, and another man who had appeared before the Rural Tribunal had been agreed to.
Mr. Poole, for the firm, said they had lost more than half their employees, and if they went on losing hands they would have to stop altogether.
Mr. C. Geen, who supported the application, said sometimes as much as fifty pounds a day had to be paid for demurrage for ships they could not load quickly enough with their present staff. One or two of the barges would be useless, as ships had to be loaded quickly. In the case of Heyward, he said the firm had purchased three steam carts in consequence of the difficulty in obtaining horses and drivers, but they had only been able to obtain two drivers for the steam carts, and one of the engines was idle. If one of their two men had to go the position would be serious, as two engines would be idle.
The Chairman said the new instructions stated that all fit men under thirty-one must go.
Mr. Geen: The whole of the work of sixty men is jeopardised if the clay cannot be got to the ships.
The Chairman said the matter did not lie with the Tribunal at all. It was absolutely impossible in the face of the new regulations to give exemption to these men. The appealed in respect of Fred Noyce and Heyward would be dismissed, but they asked the military not to call them up for a month.
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 904 – 30th January 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Rowland Sandwith, Crayon Manufacturer, Bracknell: “[Your letter] mentioned that one of the trucks loaded by us for you contained “2 or 3 tons of small broken clay, also this clay was put in a coal truck which appears not even to have been brushed out”. We cannot regulate the size, &c. of the lumps of Clay which our workmen dig in the mines. They are of irregular shape and size. We sent you by the truck in question the Clay which contained the smallest proportion of small pieces – and we can never do more than that for you, or anybody else. We are very sorry that some of the clay was soiled by coal dust. The truck was carefully swept by the man who loaded it, but a little coal dust always remains in the angles and corners of the truck, and gets shaken out and absorbed by the Clay in transit. We are not responsible for anything that happens to the Clay after it is put into the truck.”
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 927 – 31st January 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Wm, White & Son, Tobacco Pipe Manufacturers, Glasgow: “We sell our clays on rails here, and have nothing whatever to do with what happens to them afterwards. There is an inevitable loss of weight from evaporation – absorption of some of the moisture in the clay by the wood-work of the trucks per capillary attraction – by some of the clay falling to the ground when being thrown from the trucks into carts – and some clay is often visible on the ground between Railway stations and Wharfs and Docks in Glasgow and the Potteries and Pipe Works there. For such loss of weight, we are not the least responsible, and cannot (will not) make any allowance in respect thereof.”
31st January 1917: Increase in U-Boat Activity: On this day in 1917, Germany announces the renewal of unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic as German torpedo-armed submarines prepare to attack any and all ships.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 1st February 1917. P5: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL –On Tuesday night Mr. A.J. Murrin, JP, CC, presided over the Newton Urban Tribunal, Mr. H.G. Mitchelmore representing the military authorities.
The military authorities consented to conditional exemption to August 15th in the following cases: (included) – An appeal by Messrs. Watts Blake Bearne & Co., for F. Lang, single, bargeman (A) was dismissed, not to be called up for a month.
Extracted from WBB letter book 270, page 946 – 1st February 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Societa Ceramica Italiana, Laveno: “We are extremely busy and very shorthanded in our office because so many of our clerks etc. have gone to France & Salonica & Mesopotamia to fight for England and Italy and their Allies.”
Extracted from the Mid Devon Advertiser – 3rd February 1917. P1: MID DEVON MILITARY TRIBUNALS. –Fourteen cases came before the Newton Urban Tribunal on Tuesday afternoon. Messrs. A.J. Murrin (in the chair), H. Bearne, N. Larkworthy and G.D. Woollcombe were present.
- White, motor lorry proprietor, appealed on behalf of himself and two employees, E. Gilbert and S.Y. Denley, drivers. He withdrew the appeal for Gilbert as the military had provided a substitute. He urged that if he was engaged to a considerable extent in hauling produce and manures for farmers who were growing potatoes for the Government; taking coal to places that could not be reached by rail, and hauling pit-props and clay. When necessary he drove one of the lorries himself, but when he did that there was no one to manage the business. The recognised minimum staff for his plant was six men, and he only had five. If he went the business would have to be closed down, as there was no one who could manage it.
Mr. Michelmore, the military representative, said the three men appealed for were all passed for general service. One man had been substituted, and he would not press for White if Denley joined.
White said he did not know what he would do without Denley, as he was able to carry out repairs as well as drive.
White was granted conditional exemption, and Denley exempted to February 1st, in order that the military authorities might endeavor to find a substitute. If a substitute was not provided a further appeal might be made.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 8th February 1917:
P121: Harbour Masters report –The Harbour Master reported that since the last general meeting (9th November 1916) five vessels had arrived, two with cargos of manure, two in ballast and one light. Eight had sailed with cargos of clay, one discharging manure and a steamer loading wood.
Up River Report – The ice had broken adrift several of the mark buoys, there are seven of these off, all of which are in the store. As there is so little traffic at present on the river, he suggests that only the buoys at the turning points be replaced; these he proposed to replace as soon as the ice is cleared.
Extracted from WBB Private letter Book page 685 – 8th February 1917 – Arthur Bearne to Capt. W.J.V. Watts: “Our total shipments last year were 35,314 tons out of which over 20,000 tons were sent from Teignbridge Siding and Newton Station but of course Teignmouth shipments fell off very considerably. However, with the increased
prices I think that the result of the years working will be a little better than that of 1915.”
26th February, 1917 – Vessel bound for Teignmouth to load clay sunk:
The ‘Alberdina’, built by W. Mulder, Staadskanaal in 1913 and owned at the time of her loss by Reederij Groote Kustvaart, Delfzijl, was a Dutch sailing vessel of 134 tons, on a voyage from Le Havre to Teignmouth in ballast, was scuttled by the German submarine UC-65 (Otto Steinbrinck), 35 miles northeast of Alderney. There were no casualties.
9th March 1917: Death of former clay carter, Gunner 678632 Thomas Henry Howard, aged 22, serving with the Royal Field Artillery. Son of Thomas and Sarah Jane Howard of 13 Woolaton Terrace. He lies in Queens Cemetery, Bucquoy, France.
Mid-Devon Advertiser 17th March 1917: KINGSTEIGNTON – War Items: Pte Thomas Howard, has been reported killed in action in France. He has not been in the Army long and had been in France only a short time. He was an old Kingsteignton Church School boy, and lived at Woolaton Terrace with his parents. He was 22 years of age.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 22nd March 1917:
P126: Harbour Masters report – Since the last general meeting (8th February 1917) 5 vessels had sailed with clay….three sailing vessels are now at the buoys ready to sail with clay.
Extracted from Western Times 5th April 1917.
William Sanders and Arthur L Willcocks, clay miners, Kingsteignton in the employ of Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co Ltd were appealed against by the military. Asked by the chairman if any of the goods produced from the firm’s material were useful in the war, the representative replied, “Rum jars is one” (laughter). There were also hot water bottles for hospitals, sprit jars of all sorts and jars for lime juice for the Navy, to prevent them getting scurvy.” (laughter). If they get scurvy they cannot win the next naval battle.
Lieut. Stirling: There must be hot weather before they get scurvy. Answer: That is coming. – The Tribunal allowed the military appeal.
Extract from Mid Devon Advertiser 7th April 1917. P1: APPEAL TRIBUNAL – MID DEVON CASES HEARD [Extracts] – Several cases from
Mid-Devon came before the Exeter sitting of the Devon Appeal Tribunal at their sitting last week.
CLAY MINERS. – William Sanders and Arthur L. Willcocks, clay miners, Kingsteignton, in the employ of Messrs. Watts Blake Bearne and Co, Newton Abbot, were appealed against by the military. Asked by the Chairman if any of the goods produced from the firm’s material were useful in the war, the representative stated, “Rum jars is one (Laughter). There are also hot water bottles for hospitals, spirit jars of all sorts, and jars for lime juice for the Navy to prevent them from getting scurvy”. (Laughter) “If they get scurvy” he declared, “they can’t win the next naval battle.”
Lieut. Stirling: There must be hot weather before they get scurvy.
Answer: That is coming.
The Tribunal allowed the military appeal.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 27 – 8th May 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to J & G Meakin, Hanley: “Four vessels loaded by us, and coming to be loaded by us have been torpedoed – and you can quite understand that the voyage of the poor little “Pursuit” has been a serious loss to the Captain though the freight was so high. Freights have advanced considerably. In one case where we used to pay only 14/-freight we are now loading at 90/- freight.”
9th May 1917: Death of former clay cutter, Lance Corporal 6647 George Henry Vallance, from Kingsteignton, whilst serving with the 4th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. He has ‘No Known Grave’ and is listed on the Arras Memorial to the Missing, at Arras, France.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 10th May 1917:
P131: Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported that since the last general meeting 2 vessels had sailed with clay and two were now loading……..He found that it would be necessary to coat the Dredger and he suggested that he do so with creosote instead of paint as with the present of paint it would be very costly.
Extract from Mid Devon Advertiser 12th May 1917.
DIED OF WOUNDS. – Sympathy is felt with the relatives at Newton of Pte. John Cockerham, who have been officially informed this week that he died of wounds in hospital at Salonika on April 27th. Pte Cockerham joined the army when the war broke out, prior to which he was employed at Decoy clay works. He served with the Devon’s in France and was wounded whilst there. His younger brother, Gunner Frank Cockerham, of the R.F.A., died in 1916, as the result of injuries received in action. [CWGC: Private John William, 3/7047, ‘A’ Coy., 10th Bn. Devonshire Regiment. Died of Wounds 27th April 1917. Age 26. Son of John W. & Charlotte Cockerham, of Kingsteignton, Newton Abbot; husband of Emily Cockerham, of Wolborough St. Newton Abbot. Buried at Sarigol Military Cemetery, Kriston, Greece, B.235. – This would have been the Salonika theatre of War.: Soldiers Died – Pte. 3/7047 John William Cockerham, 10th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Born at Newton Abbot, enlisted at Exeter. Theatre of War, France and Flanders, Killed in Action 27th April 1917.]
15th May 1917 – Teignmouth vessel loaded with clay at sunk
The’ Cuba’, built by Watt, Dymart in 1875 and owned at the time of her loss by J. W. Finch, Teignmouth, was a British wooden barquentine of 271 tons, on a voyage from Teignmouth to Treport with a cargo of clay, was sunk by the German submarine UB-40 (Hans Howaldt), 19 miles 263° from the Owers lightvessel. There were no casualties. [NB: not to be confused with another CUBA (Norwegian steamer) sunk the same year a bit more to the south.]
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 17th May 1917. Great sympathy is felt with the relatives at Newton Abbot of Pte. John Cockerham, who has been officially informed this week that he died of wounds in hospital in Salonica in April 27th. Pte. Cockerham joined the Army when war broke out, prior to which he was in the employ of the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co, at Decoy. He served in the Devon’s in France earlier in the war, and was wounded there. He was a genial good-tempered fellow and had an excellent record whilst in the army. His younger brother, Gunner Frank Cockerham, of the RFA died in 1916, as a result of injuries received in action. Deceased was 27 years of age. The royal message of sympathy with bereaved relatives has been received.
Extracted from WBB Private letter book, page 717 – 22nd May 2017 – National Union of General Workers (S.J. Wright) to WBB (copy of letter): “Gentlemen, Our members in your employ have held a meeting to consider their conditions and I have been requested on their behalf to forward you the following application. The men ask for 3d per ton on all existing rates and from 4/- to 5/- per day for lever men and all daywork men, and 5/- for taking off timber and from 1/7 to 1/10 per yard sinking. (White Pit) These men ask for 1/9 per yard and 3d for every additional 10 feet deep, 10/- for uprighting pits instead of 5/-, 20/- instead of 10/- for raising cranes, and 5/- per day daywork. Bargemen to receive an advance from 7d to 9d per ton for towing and 11d for poling. The men ask for these concessions as they find that owing to the great increase in the cost of living they have difficulty in managing on their present rates. I desired, I shall be pleased to arrange for an Official of the Union to wait on you to discuss the matter.”
WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 75 – 23rd May 1917 –
Charles Davey Blake to J & G Meakin, Hanley: “Bad News. This morning we received a notice from the Secretary of the Trades Union with which the clay workmen are connected demanding another large additional war-bonus rendered necessary by the present enormous cost of food and clothing, &c. This new demand must be complied with, to some extent at least, because otherwise the workmen would move away to places where much higher wages are paid, and then the production of Ball Clay would entirely cease – which, of course would be of no consequence to millionaires like yourselves, but would be utterly ruinous to many of your confreres……. You mention that you would like to get the Ball Clay by ship to Runcorn – but the last sea-freight was 23/- per ton plus about 6d. per ton more in the shape of gratuity, in addition to which you would have to pay the heavy cost of Insurance against ordinary marine risk and war risk and the increased landing charges at Runcorn, plus the canal freight from there to your Works – therefore to get the clay in that way would cost you more than double the expense of getting it by rail. Moreover, it would be almost impossible to get a vessel at any rate of freight now because there are so many German submarines in the sea between Devonshire and Runcorn. A vessel recently loaded by us with 395 tons of clay was torpedoed a few days ago, and the same fate has befallen three other vessels that were coming to be loaded by us, and it is well known that one or two German submarines are waiting for a vessel that we have just finished loading with 725 tons of Clay.”
Extracted from WBB Private Letter Book, page 715 – 24th May 1917 – “Mr Blake says to Mr Arthur Bearne, I am very sorry that this new demand has been made by our workmen, but it does not surprise me much seeing that everything is so very dear and that wages are so much higher elsewhere than they are here. I recommend that we should attempt to compromise the matter in the same way as we did on the last similar occasion, and I shall be glad to know the views of yourself and John Poole after you and he have put your heads together on the subject and spoken to me thereon. Then I will draft what I think would be a suitable letter to the Secretary. Have you learnt from the other clay merchants whether they have received similar notices, and if so, what they intend to do in the matter? I have already told some of our customers…… and have warned them that a further advance in the price of clay will consequently be inevitable.”
Extracted from Extracted from WBB Private letter book, page 718 – 24th May 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to SJ Wright: “… you shall hear from us again as soon as possible. Meanwhile we may mention that we are quite willing to meet the request of our workmen to some extent…”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 128 – 8th June 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to D H Brownfield, Llandudno: “Our undated letter. The sinner who omitted to date the letter to which you allude is our latest junior clerk aged between 14 and 15. He craves your pardon and clemency! His father is dead, and his brother, one of our clerks, has gone to France to kill or be killed – not the latter we hope.”
Extract from Mid Devon Advertiser 16th June 1917.
MAN WOUNDED. – Mrs. Lang, 12 Buckland View has received news that her husband Gunner S. Lang of the Royal Garrison Artillery, has been wounded in his arm, back and foot by a shell during fighting in France. He has been removed to an English Hospital, where he is progressing favourably. Gunner Lang in civil life was a surveyor under the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners [being dismissed by them in May 1916].
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 21st June 1917:
P139: Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting only one vessel had arrived at the port to load with clay.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 21st June 1917. P3: NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL– At Newton Abbot Tribunal on Tuesday evening…. The appeal of the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. for four men, passed C2, were adjourned until the next sitting, when other appeals by the same company will come in. It was pointed out that one man was deaf and another lame, and Mr. Michelmore said they must not be judge as fighting men, but as labourers for similar work to that they were doing now, to release men who were fit to fight.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 167 – 26th June 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to James Best & Sons, Stoke-on-Trent: “Owing to the great unrest in labour in this neighbourhood it is impossible for us to quote prices very far ahead.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 168 – 25th June 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to D H Brownfield, Llandudno: “Whiteway & Co. …..In consequence of shortage of workmen etc. they are not raising a quarter so much clay as they did and don’t want new customers – and it is the same with the other Ball Clay producers in this district.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 177 – 28th June 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to J & G Meakin, Hanley: “Early in the month the clay workmen in this district demanded through the Secretary of their Union another large additional war bonus to compensate them for the enormously increased cost of food and the other necessaries of life. For some time, the demand was resisted by the clay merchants but eventually they had to agree and the additional war bonus has been paid, operating retrospectively from the first of the present month. This necessitated the advance about a week ago of 2/- per ton in the prices of Ball Clays, making the price of Blue Ball Clay 20/- per ton……”
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 5th July 1917. P3: NEWTON ABBOT TRIBUNAL – Mr. W. Vicary JP, CA, presided over a sitting of the Newton Abbot Urban Tribunal on Tuesday evening…. The Devon & Courtenay Clay Company appealed for W. Stott, W.J. Mitchell, clay miners; W. Jackson, horse foreman; William Avery, H. Puddicombe, carters; S.J. Joslin, stevedore; and D.C. Bearne, bargeman. Mitchell and Avery were given until August 15th (final). The others were given six months’ exemption.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 6th July 1917:
P143: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (21st June 1917) only two vessels had entered to Harbour, one had sailed with clay and one was then loading….
Extracted from the Mid Devon Advertiser – 7th July 1917. P1: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL. – INTERESTING CASES. – The Tribunal for the Newton urban district took place on Tuesday afternoon… CLAY WORKERS. – The Devon & Cornwall Clay Company appealed for eight employees – W. Avery, C1; W. Stott, clay miner, C2; D.J. Mitchell, C2; W. Jackman, horse foreman, C2; H. Puddicombe, carter C2; A.T. Perryman, clay carter C2; S.J. Joslin, stevedore, C2; and R.C. Bearne, bargeman, C2. Four of the cases had been adjourned from the last sitting.
Mr. Towell, for the Company, said they had many more orders than they could execute. He added that they could not get men to work underground without experience.
The Chairman said other people besides that company had reduced staffs.
Mr. Michelmore asked that some of the men should be sent to the Army. He asked that Avery should be the one sent, and he has passed for a higher category than the others. The others could not be judged to be fighting men, but has fit to replace men who could then be sent to fight.
The Tribunal gave Avery (C1) and Mitchell (a single man) to August 15th, final, and gave six months’ exemption to the others.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 212 – 7th July 1917 – Arthur Bearne to Wedgwood & Co Tunstall: “The steam carts are weighed on a special bridge quite recently installed for the purpose, and the tare of the carts is taken each time. The horse carts are weighed on another bridge close to our Railway Siding. Both these bridges are periodically examined by the makers Messrs. Avery, and also by the local inspector of Weights & Measures who has certified them correct
within the last month or two.”
Extracted from the Mid Devon Advertiser – 9th July 1917. P1: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL. –The sitting of the Tribunal for the Newton urban district on Tuesday was of more than usual interest…… CLAY CARTER. – R Doble, clay carter, was appealed for by the Devon and Courtenay Clay Company, and it was urged that only eight carters were left, and Doble was only classed B2.
The Chairman remarked that, for one thing, clay would not hurt if left in the ground a little longer. It had been there some years.
Granted a month final.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 216 – 10th July 1917 – A Bearne to Taylor, Tunnicliffe & Co: “We are unable to get ships now except at an abnormally high freight…”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 236 – 13th July 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to T.A. Simpson & Co, Burslem: Please note that in consequence of having to pay two additional war bonuses to workmen in this district and to pay much more for coal, timber and cartage etc. the prices of Ball Clay have been twice advanced 2/- per ton during the present year – so that the present price of Light & Dark Blue Ball Clay is 20/- per ton less 2 ½% for cash within one month from date of invoice or nett at 4 months.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 231 – 14th July 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to The Rhodes Tile Co, Burslem: “Railway trucks are getting scarcer & scarcer because so many are commandeered by our Government for war purposes….”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 257 – 17th July 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Burgess & Leigh, Burslem: “In consequence of the enormous rate of sea freight and the heavy cost of insurance against ordinary marine risk and war risk we are now supplying all our Staffordshire customers with China Clay by rail.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 263 – 18th July 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Johnson Bros., Stoke-on-Trent: “…it is probable that some weeks would elapse before another vessel could be found to load even at 24/- freight – and if she eventually reached Runcorn safely it would probably be not until some weeks after she was loaded because vessels are detained in port by the Customs Authorities when a German submarine is in the Channel – which is the case at present. About 50 Government craft have been trying to capture her for more than a week and have not succeeded. Two ships loaded by us with clay, one of them carrying 725 tons and the other 395 tons have been torpedoed, and we have just heard that a steamer of 3000 tons partly loaded by us with our most expensive Porcelain China clay (price 34/- per ton) has shared the same fate. Also, three other vessels that were going to be loaded by us with China Clay and Ball Clay have been torpedoed. In view of all this it is not to be wondered t that there is a great shortage of vessels.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book 270, page 265 – 18th July 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Arthur Whittaker, Stoke-on-Trent: “What is the principal government work that is being done at your pottery? We are sending about a dozen kinds of special clays to about 20 potteries in different parts of the country for the manufacture of goods ordered by our Government – the principal goods being jars to contain picric acid, lime juice, rum and jam – insulators – foot warmers – & filters etc…..In consequence of the great shortage of labour etc. we are not able to raise the
clays half fast enough.”
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 19th July 1917. Repairs to the footbridge over the River Lemon at an estimated cost of £13. 1s. 3d [£13.06p] were agreed by Newton Urban Council on Monday, the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co., to be relieved of all future responsibility. [? Was this the bridge near to the clay drys near Town Quay?]
Extracted from Western Times 27th July 1917.
NEWTON RURAL DISTRICT MILITARY TRIBUNAL: Wednesday’s meeting of the Newton Rural District Military Service Tribunal presided over by Mr. J. Bickford. P. McGregor represented the military authorities. The following cases were decided:
- S. Tapper, 19. Single, rabbit trapper. Bovey Tracey Sept 1st; H. M. Murrin. 33, married, clay labourer, Kingsteignton, conditional exemption; W. G. S. Wright, 19, single, apprentice to thatcher Coombe, C3. 1st Jan. S. Hutchings, 35, married, thatcher, Starcross C2, conditional; H. S. Nichols, 20, single, carpenter, Bovey B1, adjourned for re-examination: W. J. Husband 28, married, chauffeur, Bovey. C2. 1st Jan; Frank Rowe, 29, married coal haulier. etc. Chudleigh. S. Gibbs, 29, single, baker and small bolder Chudleigh Knighton (A) 1st Jan; Geo. Harris, 32, married, ball clay miner, Kingsteignton (A) disallowed. Thos. E. Clement, 34, married, steam sawyer, Kingsteignton disallowed. G. J. Burrows, 33 married, clay miner, Kingsteignton, married, conditional exemption. F. Shobbrooke, 23, carpenter at clay works, Kingsteignton, B1, conditional exemption; W. J. Steer, 36, coal trimmer, etc.. Bovey, 1st Oct (final); J. Holmes, 40, married, clay pressman, Bovey, conditional exemption; W. Smith,37, married, sawyer and estate carpenter, Dawlish, Oct. 1st (final): W. 11. Powlesland, 26, horseman on farm, Mamhead conditional exemption. Fredk. Wm. Hammacott, 34, miner, Chudleigh (A), disallowed; R. G. Moist, 33, biscuit kiln setter, Heathfield, certificate withdrawn. L. T. Coombe 22, married, horseman, Chudleigh, certificate withdrawn.
Extracted from Mid Devon Advertiser 28th July 1917.
RURAL TRIBUNAL: KINGSTEIGNTON CLAY LABOURER – Conditional exemption was granted to Harold M. Murrin, 33, married, clay labourer, 8, York Terrace, Kingsteignton, employed by Messrs. Whiteway-Wilkinson. The appeal was made on the grounds that it was expedient in the national interest that the man should be allowed to remain in his civil employment, but the military opposed.
The Clerk explained that in connection with this case the Tribunal at its last sitting refused exemption to another of Messrs, Whiteway-Wilkinson’s employees on the understanding that the military would assent to conditional exemption in this case. Both of the men were classified C2, but this one was of more use to the employers than the, other. Had any difficulty been anticipated in regard to the present case, the Tribunal would have adjourned that of the other man, instead of disallowing it, in order that the man might join up forthwith.
Mr. W. H. Whiteway-Wilkinson who appeared to support the appeal, said it was only a matter of arrangement. This man, being skilled in his occupation, was of more use to his firm than the other, who, in turn, was of more use to the Army, being an agricultural worker and could be placed as such.
NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL. –At the sitting of the Tribunal for the Newton urban district last evening…. CLAYWORKERS TO GO. – Devon and Cornwall Clay Company asked for exemption for L. Walling, G. Turner and J. Walsh, clay miners, all passed for general service.
Mr. Bishop said it was a certified occupation, but Mr. Michelmore said they were not of sufficient age to come under the certified list.
Mr. Bishop said he had been instructed by the War Office to report to them if any more men were taken, as they were supplying Government contractors.
The Chairman said the application would be refused, the men not to be available for one month. If further exemption was wanted, the firm must apply to the War Office.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 9th August 1917.
P3: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL – In his application for R. Doble, Mr. Bishop for the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. Ltd., said he had received a telephone message from the War Office to appeal for his men, but no further communication had been received. He had also reported to the War Office in consequence of their instructions, that his appeal for four miners had been refused by the tribunal, and they wrote that they would not interfere. It placed him in an awkward position. The Chairman said this was not a matter for the tribunal. If the military wanted to retain men, they could give instructions that they were not to be called up. The appeal for Doble was dismissed.
Extracted from the Mid Devon Advertiser – 11th August 1917. P1: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL. – Newton Urban Tribunal sat at the Council Chamber on Tuesday afternoon…… WAR OFFICE METHODS. – The Devon & Courtenay Clay Company appealed for Mr. Doble. The military opposed, pointing out that the man was granted final exemption to 15th July, and there had been no application for leave to appeal.
Mr. Bishop for the company, said the War office had sent a telephone message to him instructing him to appeal again for this man, but he had received no letter confirming the message. With respect of the four miners, the application for whom was dismissed at the last sitting, he had reported the matter to the War Office as they had instructed him to do, and they had now received a letter from the War Office saying that they could not interfere. This put him in an awkward position, and took up the time of the Tribunal, as he appealed for them under the instructions of the War Office.
Mr. Michelmore said as the matter of law the Tribunal had no power to entertain the application, as the man had been granted final exemption, and no leave to appeal had been granted.
The Chairman told Mr. Bishop it was all very well for the War Office to tell him what he had to do, but all the War Office had to do if they wanted to retain men in this employment, was not to call them up.
Mr. Michelmore suggested that the War Office officials should read the rules, and the Clerk said he thought it was in the power of the Tribunal to extend the time for leave to appeal, but as a matter of strict law he did not think they should entertain the present application.
Mr. Bishop: Cannot I appeal again for the men you sent last week, of can the military defer the calling up notices until we hear from the War Office again?
Mr. Woollcombe: You can apply at the recruiting office if you like, but it is entirely outside this Tribunal.
The application was dismissed.
20th August 1917: Death during the Third Battle of Ypres of former clay cutter with Watts Blake Bearne, Rifleman B/203129 Henry Bovey Walters, M.M. aged 27, whilst serving with the 9th Battalion, the Rifle Brigade. Son of Adoniah and Elizabeth Walters of 27 York Terrace, Kingsteignton. Awarded the MM in 1916, he was killed whilst assisting a wounded comrade, and has ‘No Known Grave’ and is listed on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing
Extracted from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 23rd August 1917. P4: (Untitled) – At the Devon Appeal on Friday at Exeter, Mr. W. Hexter appealed in support of the appeal for George G. Burrows and Frank Shobbrooke, clay miner & carpenter respectively, at the Clay works, and stated that he desired to consult a solicitor in the case, as he suffered from partial deafness, but the solicitor was now on holiday. He asked that the cases might be taken on the next sitting. The chairman said that in view of Mr. Hexter’s disability they would grant the application. Lieut. Stirling protested against this course, and said it was contrary to the usual custom, but the Tribunal adhered to their decision.
Extracted from the Mid Devon Advertiser – 25th August 1917. P3: DEVON APPEAL TRIBUNAL. – NEWTON CASES YESTERDAY. – The Exeter Panel of the Devon Appeal Tribunal was held at Exeter yesterday, Mr. W.H. Reed presiding.
The military appealed in the cases of Frank Shobbrooke, Kingsteignton, pits carpenter in clay works, B1, and George G. Burrows, Kingsteignton, clay miner, B1, both employed by Messrs. Hexter & Budge, of Kingsteignton, for whom Mr. W.T. Windeatt (Totnes) appeared. – Mr. Windeatt elicited from the representative that some of the work done by these works was for munition works. Some time since there was a proposal by the military by which they took four men way from the works, and agreed to leave these two men. Now they proposed to take these two men. They would send tens of thousands of tons more to America if they could get enough men. These were the only men they had appealed for. – The tribunal dismissed to appeal in the case of the carpenter, and allowed it in the case of the clay miner; the latter not to be available until October 1st.
Extracted from Devon & Exeter Gazette: 25th August 1917.
EXETER TRIBUNAL: CLAY MINERS – The military appealed in the cases of the pits carpenter in the clay works and a clay miner both employed by a firm in Kingsteignton for whom Mr W. T. Windeatt (Totnes) appeared. The case of the miner was first heard. He is passed B1, 33, married with three children. Before the war said a representative of the firm they had 75 miners. Now they had just 25.
Lieut. Stirling: Have not men been taken from the clay industry lately because it is now considered of less national importance than before?
The firm’s representative: It is, I suppose in the eyes of the military, but it is not in my eyes. (Laughter.)
Lieut. Stirling: I mean in the consideration of the Government. Have they not suggested the miners should go in for other work? The representative: Not in our case. Lieut. Stirling: Is it not the case of clay miners in general?
The representative: No!
Lieut. Stirling: What is the ultimate product of your work?
We make jam and rum jars for the army, for instance. Lately we have secured a very big order for the Government in London for making spirit jars.
Lieut Stirling: What proportion of your orders are in connexion with civilian requirements and what proportion in military work?
The representative: We supply through our agents and they supply manufacturers all over the country except in the case of one form which we supply direct.
Lieut Stirling: What would be the result if this man was taken away as far as output was concerned? The representative: It would upset the gangs. Five men work in a gang. I have tried to get another man but it is impossible. We have four shafts mining and one sinking.
Mr Windeatt elicited from the representative that some of the work done by these men was for the munition works. Some time ago National Service people sent down an official to see if any men could be taken from the works for National services. After inspecting the works the official said that far from being able to get more men from the works they should send men to the works. Mr Windeatt told the Tribunal that some time since there was a proposal by the military by which they agreed to take four men away from the works but leave these two. Now they proposed to take these two men! An additional point was that they got silica these works which was necessary for munitions.
Mr Kekewich: Is not a good deal of silica used for face powders (Laughter). Mr Windeatt read a letter from a firm at St Austell in regard to a shipment of a large consignment of clay for America.
Mr Kekewich: Does not the bulk of clay go to America?
The representative: We should send tens of thousands of tons more to America if we could get enough men.
Mr Kekewich: An enormous amount of clay goes to Germany in normal times?
Mr Kekewich: The Germans had nearly taken the Staffordshire trade away?
Mr Kekewich: Clay was sent in vast quantities to Germany?
Mr Windeatt: We do not desire it shall go to Germany in future. Continuing he read another letter from a firm saying that clay was not coming in as quickly as it was required. Many of the firms were on the verge of starvation for want of clay. He asked that exemption be given until a substitute were found. Lieut. Stirling said a substitute could not be given in such a case. In regard to the carpenter 37, married and with three children it was said that he was the only carpenter they had. After being twice rejected he was eventually passed B1. The representative said that they had not appealed for a single man throughout the works. The Tribunal dismissed the appeal in respect of the carpenter and allowed it in respect of the clay miner, the latter not to be available until October 1st.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 342 – 25th August 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Doulton & Co, Burslem: “We daresay you have heard that in consequence of our Government having commandeered two-thirds of the China Clay workmen, the prices of China Clay will probably soon be considerably advanced.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 30th August 1917. P3: NEWTON CASES AT THE DEVON APPEAL TRIBUNAL – At the sitting of the Exeter Panel of the Devon Appeal Tribunal on Friday, several Newton Abbot cases came up for consideration.
Frank Shobbrooke, 37, carpenter at the Clay Works at Kingsteignton, and George Burrows, clay miner, Kingsteignton, were appealed against by the military.
Mr. Hexter stated that he now had twenty-five clay miners, whereas before the war there were seventy-five. Burrows, who was a married man, received £2. 5s. [£2.25p] per week, and perhaps a little more. The ball clay industry had lost a lot of men, and in the eyes of the military it was right it should be so, but this was not his view. They were now making jam jars for the soldiers [? was Hexter’s linked to Aller Vale Pottery at this time??]. The firm also had a contract for Spirit Jars [SDR jars?]
Lieut. Stirling: What would be the effect of this man going?
Mr. Hexter: There would be one less with me – (laughter). Proceeding he said the absence of the man would upset the gang. He was turning out silica for the munitions work. A Government Official, who had visited the Kingsteignton works, stated that so far from taking men away, they ought to be sent to them.
Mr. Kekewich: A great deal of silica is used for paste power, isn’t it – (laughter). Mr. Hexter said that his firm could send tens of thousands of tons of clay to America if they could get the men. They used to send it to Germany.
Mr. Windeatt: We don’t intend to send any more to Germany – (laughter).
Mr. Windeatt urged for that clay industry was of national importance. His client could give up this man is a substitute could be found.
Lieut. Stirling replied that it was impossible to find a substitute clay miner.
The Tribunal then took to the case of Shobbrooke, married, three children, earning £2 per week.
Mr. Hexter said Shobbrooke had been working for him for twelve months, and took the place of a man who joined up. He had not appealed for the single man in his works except these two.
The Tribunal allowed the appeal in the case of Burrows, but dismissed that against Shobbrooke. Burrows allowed until October 1st.
Mid-Devon Advertiser 8th September 1917: MID DEVON MEN IN THE WAR: KINGSTEIGNTON REPORTS – On Sunday news was received that four more Kingsteignton men had become casualties, two being killed… One of them, Lance Corporal Henry Walters, had won the medal. His parents reside at 27 York Terrace, and to them the Commanding Officer writes informing them that Lance Corporal Walters was killed in action on August 28th ‘Whilst in the execution of his merciful work of attending on the wounded”. We are all proud of him, and it is great loss to us” adds the officer. Mr. Walters had been employed as a Clay Cutter.
September 8th 1917 – Teignmouth loaded vessel sunk
The ‘Ezel’, built by W. H. Tonkin, Cardiff in 1873 and owned at the time of her loss by D. Davies, Cardigan, was a British sailing vessel of 163 tons on a voyage from Teignmouth to Treport with a cargo of china clay, was sunk by gunfire by the German submarine UC-51 (Hans Galster), 20 miles north of St. Valery-en-Caux. There were no casualties.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 388 – 10th September 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to John Maddock & Sons, Burslem: “… Mr Blake ….suggests that you could accumulate a moderate stock of our Granite ball clay by letting some of it be sent by rail to Runcorn ….or for the Clay to be sent by rail to some other canal wharf in the Staffordshire potteries to be forwarded from either of those places by boat to your different Works as wanted. Either of these arrangements would be much less costly for you than for the Clay to be sent by ship to Runcorn. We may mention also that you would perhaps have to wait for months until a vessel could be chartered for Runcorn. We have been waiting that length of time for a ship to take clay to Runcorn for customers in Lancashire, &c.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 398 – 13th September 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to John Maddock & Sons, Burslem: “We will do our best to send this Clay by rail to Burslem Station in sufficient quantities to enable you to accumulate a stock at your local Canal Wharf – but we regret to say that not only Railway trucks, but horses and carts also are very scarce here because so many of these useful quadrupeds have been commandeered by Government. We have three of the newest types of steam carts, but some months ago Government collared one of the drivers and we are unable to get a substitute – workmen of every kind being extremely scarce here…….A day or two ago we received news that another vessel loaded by us with 270 tons of Clay had been torpedoed – being the fifth or sixth cargo of ours which shared the same unhappy fate. [He was clearly referring to the loss of the ‘Ezel’ on 8th September.] This is a very serious matter because in consequence of the shortage of labour there is already a great shortage of good Ball Clays – and the deficit is increased pro tanto when vessels containing cargoes of Clay are torpedoed.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 13th September 1917:
P147: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (6th July 1917) 4 vessels had arrived, two with ballast, one with a cargo of manure, one with boulders and two were loading….
River Report: He reported that there was very little change in the depth of water in the channel and as there was not likely to be much traffic with the clay barges he had not re-laid the marker buoys.
Coombe Cellars Lamp: The lamp at Coombe Cellars not having been in use for a considerable time it was proposed by Mr Parker, seconded by Mr. Hexter and Resolved that the Clerk write to Mr Higings (Stigings?) of Coombe Cellars (who was paid 30/- per annum for lighting the lamp) that it was proposed to discontinue the payment for the present.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 407 – 17th September 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to J & W Wade & Co, Burslem: “…the Railway. Co. has received a notice from Government that tomorrow and on Wednesday all trucks must be used only for conveyance of food stuffs and munitions – therefore we regret to say a truck cannot be loaded for you before Thursday next…”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 411 -19th September 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Paddock & Sons, Hanley: “Two of our partners and some of our office staff are in the Army, and the War is making our business more difficult to manage – especially as several steamers and sailing vessels loaded by us have been torpedoed.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 510 – 22nd October 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Morley, Fox & Co. Ld., Burslem: “By our letter of 10th April last you were informed that in consequence of our having to pay an additional war bonus to workmen and to pay much more for coal, timber, cartage etc. the price of Ball Clays had been advanced 2/- per ton and that if another war bonus had to be paid the price of Ball Clay would be again advanced. Since then we have had to pay two additional war bonuses to workmen, and coals etc. have become dearer…..In consequence of the great shortage of workmen (more than half of whom have been called up) there is no stock of Ball Clay and it is being sent away as fast as it is raised from the mines…”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 511- 22nd October 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to T & R Boote, Burslem: “There is a great shortage of railway trucks because so many of them are commandeered for war purposes – therefore the Railway Co. (now under Government control) is unwilling that its trucks, the smallest of which carry 8 tons, should move about with so small a quantity as the 4 tons which you have ordered.”
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 25th October 1917:
P152: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (13th September 1917) four vessels had arrived in the port, three in ballast and one light. All four had been loaded with clay, three had sailed, one was still lying at No1. Tier. There were also three Dutch Vessels lying at Tiers 3 & 5….
29th October 1917: Death of former mines pump engine driver. Private 44867 Richard Henry Spears, aged 32, whilst serving with 14th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment. husband of Jessie Spears of Fore Street Kingsteignton. He lies within La Brique Military Cemetery, France.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 552 – 1st November 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to H.A Ollivant, Ltd. Shelton: “We learn that the makers of Domestic Earthenware advanced their prices a further 25% last week – making the plussage 100%. We hope this will enable you and other Tile Makers to again advance your prices to a sufficient extent. People expect to pay and have to pay, much more for everything. Eggs were 4/6 per dozen and butter 2/5 per lb. in our market yesterday – and sufficient tea, sugar &c, are unobtainable for love or money. Government and other buyers are wanting ten times more Canteen and Hospital ware etc. (not tiles) than they can get – in view of which could you not start making some of the kinds of goods that Government requires – including insulators?”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 570 – 5th November 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to J & G Meakin Ltd., Hanley: “Please note that we do not accept orders in advance except at the price we may be charging at the times when the trucks are loaded here. At present there is no intention on our part to increase the prices of the various Ball Clays – but an advance may become necessary seeing that Coal, Timber and Cartage &c. are becoming dearer and dearer. Coals are now 45/6 per ton here having been advanced 2/6 per ton last week. Congratulations. We have heard that Earthenware Manufacturers (including your worthy selves, we suppose) advanced their prices a week or two ago to the further extent of 25% – thereby making the aggregate advances no less than 100%. The Crockery dealers in this dear little town naturally enquired if we had doubled the prices of our Ball Clays and China Clays – and when we replied “Thank God we have not done anything quite so wicked as that “, they could scarcely believe us, and used strong language which we will not hurt your feelings by repeating!”
Mid-Devon Advertiser 10th November 1917: MID DEVON MEN IN THE WAR- PTE. SPEARS, KINGSTEIGNTON-The sad news of the death of Private Richard Spears reached Kingsteignton on Sunday. His chaplain somewhere in France sent the news saying that he was killed in his sleep, a bomb having been dropped from an enemy aeroplane onto the billets. Private Spears had only been across for three weeks, this being his first visit to the front. Much sympathy is felt for the widow Mrs Spears who resides in Fore Street. Mr Spears had been previously employed as a pump engine driver within the clay mines.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 617 – 14th November 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to J. Lucas & Son, Burslem: “Ball Clay. We or Mr Blake recently informed you that the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. and Whiteway & Co. would soon run short of Clays. This has already happened and many of their customers are offering Ball Clay orders to us – some of which we shall perhaps accept and some we shall not… but please note that we cannot supply any Ball Clay whatever to you.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 620 – 14th November – Charles Davey Blake to Henry Richards Tile Co., Tunstall: “There is such a great shortage of railway wagons and of horses and carts and drivers at this end that we do not want any orders from new customers (in which category we must place you seeing that you have ceased to do business with us for such a long period)…”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 638 – 22nd November 1917 – Charles Davey Blake to Johnson Bros., Tunstall: “… at present we have no intention of advancing the present prices of our Ball Clays – but yesterday we received from the Secretary of the Union with which the clay workmen are connected a letter demanding another additional war bonus of 6/- per man per week and as workmen of this part are alas! to a great extent masters of their employers, and the demand for good Ball Clay far exceeds supply, and many earthenware manufacturers who are not multi-millionaires like your worthy selves would soon be ruined if they could not get Ball Clay, which is nearly as essential to them as “daily bread” – for all those reasons it is probable that we shall comply with the demands of the workmen – in which case it will be necessary, of course, to advance the prices of our Ball Clays.”
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 22nd November 1917.
Information has been received that Lance Corpl. Ellis, MGC Devon’s, aged 36, has been missing since October 21st. He is the husband of Mrs. Lydia Ellis of Grafton Road, and the son of Mr. & Mrs. George Ellis of 14, The Grove, Newton. Before joining the Colours he was for 16 years in the employ of the Devon & Courtenay Clay Company. The news up to the present lack official confirmation, but Lance Corpl. Ellis’ wife has received a letter from the Colonel that he was either taken prisoner or is missing. [No record of his death on the CWGC Database] Another son of Mr. & Mrs. Ellis, Drummer Reginald Albert Ellis, age 22, has been wounded in Palestine having been in the Battle of Gaza. No official news has been received, but information came through a comrade.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 664 – 30th November 1917 –
Charles Davey Blake to Wm. G Fox, Fenton: “Tribunal etc. I hope you will not lose any more of your hands. I suppose you are employing women workers to the largest extent possible. In two of our China Clay Works we are employing young women (English Amazons!) to hold and direct the Monitors in the hydraulic method adopted by us there – which is the most up to date system.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 665 – 1st December 1917 –
Charles Davey Blake to W T Lucas, Burslem: “Ball Clay. An additional war bonus had to be paid last week to the Ball Clay workmen – in consequence of which our friends the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. have informed us that they have today increased the price of their Ball Clay to the extent of 3/- (three shillings) per ton.”
Extracted from the Mid Devon Advertiser – 1st December 1917.
SERGT SNELL, NEWTON. – Mrs. Snell, of 40 Wolborough Street, Newton, has received a letter from one of her sons stating that his brother, Sergt. Wilfred William Snell of the Devon’s, was killed in action on October 26th. Sergt. Snell was on reserve for seven years, being an old soldier, but was called up on the outbreak of war and proceeded to France three years ago. He was formerly in the employ of the Devon and Courtenay Clay Company. No official news from the War Office has yet been received. [CWGC: Lance Sergeant 3/6162 W.W. Snell, 8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Died on Friday, 26th October 1917. Buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, LIV.F.9. Transparency taken Sept. 2000.]
Soldiers Died: Lance Sergt. 3/6162 Wilfred William Snell. 8th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Theatre of war, France and Flanders, Killed in action 26th October 1917. – Recorded on Devonshire Regiment Roll of Honour at Exeter Cathedral as Fredrick, died 21/12/17.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 685 – 6th December 1917 –
Charles Davey Blake to W T Lucas, Burslem: “….we are having great difficulties with our carters who have on many days refused to draw any Clay at all because they say the Government requires them to work on the land.”
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 6th December 1917
Lance Corpl. Wilfred William Snell, who was killed in action in France on October 26th, was the third son of Mrs. M.J. Snell of 40 Wolborough Street, Newton Abbot. Prior to the war, he had been in the Army, and on leaving it he resumed his employment at the Devon & Courtenay Clay works. Recalled to the Colours when war broke out, he went with some of the early contingents to France, and went through many of the famous actions including Mons, Ypres, and the Marne battles. He was wounded several times and was 27 years of age at the time of his death, when he was serving with the County regiment. He was a picked man for the famous ‘Battle Platoon’ of the regiment, which included the finest fighters. Four of his brothers are in the Army, two being in hospital, whilst one is in Salonika.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 6th December 1917:
P157: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (25th October 1917) seven vessels had arrived in the Harbour, one with a parcel of boulders, the others in ballast and two had sailed with cargos of clay.
P159: Re shipping at Port: A discussion arose as to the small amount of shipping now using the port and the Clerk was instructed to get in touch with the Naval, Military and other authorities and point out to them by correspondence or interview the advantage and accommodation of the port at the present time with regard to craft.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 698 – 8th December 1917 –
Charles Davey Blake to J & G Meakin, Hanley: “… we regret to say that it has been necessary to advance the price of Blue Ball Clays 15% – making the present price of Light and Dark Blue Ball Clay 23/- per ton.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 701 – 8th December 1917 –
Charles Davey Blake to W T Lucas, Burslem: “Steam Carts. We have three of them … Two of the drivers of our steam carts were “called up” sometime ago and for a good while we had only one driver and then only two – but now have the third and hope they will be able to remain.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 712 – 12th December 1917 –
Charles Davey Blake to J H Weatherby & Sons Ltd., Hanley: “Coal is now 44/6 per ton here – and some kinds of timber are about 4 times dearer than they formerly were.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 714 – 12th December 1917 –
Charles Davey Blake to Wm E Robinson, Burslem: “Everything is so dangerously uncertain that nobody knows what will happen next. The military situation is much more serious than most people suppose.”
Extracted from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 13th December 1917
P4: NEWTON ABBOT: Mrs. E. Waldron, of Wolborough Street has received an official indication that Pte. W.A. French of the Devon’s, her eldest son by first marriage, has been missing since October 25th. He was an old employee of the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. and was 33 years of age.
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 729 – 17th December 1917 –
Charles Davey Blake to J & W Wade, Burslem: “Trucks are extremely scarce and are likely to get more and more so. A train of 17 trucks which had been linked up to go to our Siding this morning was stopped at the last moment in consequence of a Government telegram ordering all the trucks to be sent to Bridgwater to load munitions and take them to a seaport to be shipped to France – where the Military situation is very serious.”
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 20th December 1917 Mr. J. Pearce, of Decoy Dairy, Newton Abbot has been officially informed that his eldest son, Pte. Sydney J. Pearce, DCLI, has been killed in action. The deceased, who was twenty-five years of age, was very popular with all who knew him, was home on leave only three weeks since. In civil life, he was a miner with the Devon & Cornwall Clay Co., but joined the forces over two years ago. The deceased officer writes, “While on the morning of 29th November, in holding an important part of the line in an attack from the enemy, your son was killed by shell fire. Death was instantaneous. He showed great courage and coolness to the end. Such men as your son have been the means of us keeping our ground. Pte. George Pearce, his younger son, who volunteered at the commencement of the war, is at present with the tanks. His father has not heard from him for a month.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 20th December 1917
P3: NEWTON MAN DROWNED AT SALONICA – News has been received that Corpl. Sidney G. Bowden of 13 Vale Road, Decoy, son of Mr. &. Mrs. Bowden of Victoria Place, Newton Abbot, has been accidentally drowned in Salonica, where he has been for two years and ten months. Corpl. Bowden, who is 32 years of age, was with the AOC. He leaves a widow and five children, with whom deep sympathy is felt. Before joining the Army, he was in the employ of the Devon & Cornwall Clay Co., for whom he has worked since he was a boy. He was a Newtonian by birth and lived here all his life. [His Commemorative Plaque is retained within the Newton Museum.]
Extracted from The Scotsman 5th January 1918 –
Advert: By direction of the Earl of Devon, Devonshire. Surrounding the Town of Newton Abbot, the Valuable Freehold Property known as The Wolborough Estate extending to about 750 acres, including Clay Mines, Stone Quarries, Sand Pits, Wharves, Building Premises, House and Cottage Properties, Freehold Ground Rents, Agricultural Lands comprising the Wolborough Barton Farm, Accommodation Land, allotments. Over 30 acres of woodlands, also various Properties at Teignmouth. Auction at an early date. Solicitors: Messrs, CORBIN, GREENER & COOK, Bedford Row, WC1. Land agent: – L C H PALAIRET, Esq, Kenton, South Devon. Auctioneers:- Messrs KNIGHT, FRANK, & RUTLEY, 20 Hanover Square W1. [Note by R Harris – No doubt this was when D&C acquired the freehold of clay bearing land at Decoy].
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 834 – 15th January 1918 –
Charles Davey Blake to J Gimson & Co, Fenton: “… the Coal Controller has declared Newton Abbot and all other parts of Devonshire to be a prohibited district for Staffordshire coal – but we think it is only so for House Coal, and is not so as regards manufacturing or steam or gas coal – and in the absence of the former we would rather keep ourselves and our friends alive by warming our fingers and toes and food with Staffordshire manufacturing, steam or gas coal. We think that some of the North Staffs. Coals other than House Coal would meet our present requirements….”
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 24th January 1918:
P161: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (6th December 1917) only two vessels had arrived, both in ballast and that five had sailed with cargos of clay. Five were lying in the harbour, four loaded at the buoys and one light on the beach.
P162: Re shipping at Port: The Clerk reported that as instructed he had interviewed the Home Grown Timber Committee and had written their head office, the Ministry of Shipping, the King’s Harbour Master at Devonport, without any satisfactory result, but that the Harbour Master had received a letter from Messrs. Instone & Co, of Baltic Wharf, Cardiff as they were anxious to send coal by rail to some suitable port in the English Channel to be transhipped into sailing vessels for northern French ports……..
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 868 – 28th January 1918 –
Charles Davey Blake to Burgess & Leigh, Burslem: “Trucks are exceedingly rare because nearly all of them are wanted for munitions etc. – and, to make matters worse, it is understood that 2000 trucks are being sent across to France to be used on the French and Italian railways in connection with the war…”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 872 – 28th January 1918 –
Charles Davey Blake to Thomas Poole, Longton: “…the American Government book on the Ceramic industries to which you allude was read to me at my house per telephone from the Office by my young partner Captain Watts (myself being blind) – who is now with his regiment in Palestine…”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 893 – 5th February 1918 – A Bearne to Keeling & Co., Burslem: “We are sorry to say we have been utterly unable to get trucks for the last two or three days, and when we have obtained one or two we have not had permission to load for any of the stations which suit you. Please see what you can do at your end.”
Extract from Newton Abbot Western Guardian, 7th February 1918. P3: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL – On Tuesday Mr. W. Vicary presided over a meeting of the Newton Abbot Urban Tribunal……The Devon & Courtenay Clay Company appealed for six employees, four of whom, in Class C2, were conditionally exempted, one dismissed, and one put back for re-examination.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 9th February 1918. Mr. W. Vicary, who presided at the sitting of the Military Tribunal for the Newton urban district on Tuesday…… Of six men applied for by the Devon and Courtenay Clay Company, conditional exemption was granted to four, with military assent, they being married men, passed C2. Opposition was raised to the other two men, passed C1 and C1, and single. – W. Avery, who had been passed C1, said he was discharged from the Army in 1908 through diseased bone, and this subsequently caused swelling and gathering now. – Mr Michelmore said that he agreed to the firm having four men out of the six, and he must ask for this one. – Mr. Bearne: We are not arguing about the firm, but the man. – Mr. Michelmore: He has been carefully examined by doctors and found fit for C1. – Mr. Sampson: If his leg frequently breaks out, he is not a fit man for the army. – Mr. Michelmore: I am not a doctor, and I cannot give an opinion. – Mr. Sampson: but of we use our common sense we should say that the doctors who examined him should know, and the man says that he called their attention to his leg. – It was decided to order a medical re-examination. – Mr. Bishop, who appeared for the firm, asked Mr. Michelmore to make a note as to the man’s leg. – Mr. Sampson: Make sure the doctors look at the right one.
Mr.Bishop strongly appealed for the other opposed man, H. Puddicombe, as it was impossible to obtain carters. – Mr. Michelmore said an unlimited amount of hauling was required in the Army and for Government work. – The firm’s appeal was dismissed, not to be called up until March 15th.
Extracted from WBB Private letter book, page 744 – 18th February 2018 – A Bearne to Charles Davey Blake: “Balance Sheet. I enclose a draft balance sheet for Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co. Ltd for the year ended 31st Dec. 1917……The result shows a profit of about 5/- per ton on our shipments, which amounted last year to about 33,000 tons.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 925 – 19th February 1918 – A Bearne to Thos. Hughes & Son Ltd, Longport: “…..the foreman who has charge of the men whose duty it is to clean the trucks informs us that he remembers this particular truck quite well. He says that it had contained a red material of some sort, which bears out your description, and from the sample which we have received from you we have come to the conclusion that it is iron ore… Our foreman tells us that he and his gang of workmen spent a very long time in trying to clean this truck. They used a great quantity of water and a lot of labour, and the foreman was very astonished that any complaint had been made, because he thought that the truck had been very thoroughly cleaned. We have always warned our workmen to be very careful when dealing with trucks which have contained material of this sort…. We have given strict orders that in future no trucks which have contained this sort of material shall be used for sending clay….”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 936 – 22nd February 1918 – Charles Davey Blake to TW Gimson, Fenton: “…all my life I have been a student of geology and mineralogy – and my explorations in those domains bring me in touch (by fossils &c.) with God’s creatures whose histories extended through countless millions of years – and now, an octogenarian, I am unable as ever to understand why this world was created, and why God made the wicked creature man (apparently a hybrid between angels and devils – or devils and angels!) – millions of whom, without
any personal animosities, are now endeavouring to destroy each other in most disreputable ways.”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 947 – 26th February 1918 – Charles Davey Blake to Thomas Hughes & Son Ltd., Longport: “You also ask us to continue to send such statements monthly – but as one of our partners is slaying the Turks in Palestine, and another partner is slaying the Germans in France, and many of our clerical staff are absent on the same errand we are so short-handed that we really cannot spare time to do more than make out our invoices at the dates of sending……Recent events in the East have strengthened the hands and hardened the hearts of the Kaiser….Awful carnage is expected at an early date in France and Belgium – and we are asked to supply large quantities of a splendid clay (a complete body) for certain varieties of hospital ware…”
Extracted from WBB Staffordshire letter book, page 974 – 6th March 1918 – Charles Davey Blake to J Gimson & Co Ltd., Fenton: “At present we have no intention whatever of charging more than the price of 23/- which we are charging for Light and Dark Blue Clays, but the representative of the Clay Workmen’s Union was in the neighbourhood last week and has sent to the poor unfortunate Clay Merchants a Schedule of higher rates demanded for various types of work – and if these advances have to be paid (as will probably be necessary to avoid the calamity of a Strike) the prices of Clays will have to be reluctantly again advanced. About 60 to 65 years ago when our Senior Director, Mr Blake (who dictates this letter) told the skilled
Clay workmen that his father intended to advance their wages to 10/- per week, the worthy fellow who represented the group of men, (he died long ago) brushed the tears (tears of joy) from his eyes with the back of his hand and said, “Please give my best thanks to your dear father and tell him I never expected to get all my life such high wages as the 10/- per week which he has kindly promised us.” Times have greatly changed since then. The same type of workmen are now earning, by strenuous work, 30/- to 40/- per week and are less grateful than men were 65 years ago – but of course food and raiment &c. are so very dear at the present time that high wages are a necessity and there is no doubt that generally in the past the “working bees” of the human social have not had a reasonable share of the honey which they have gathered.”
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 14th March 1918:
P167: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting 24th January 1918) four vessels had arrived in the harbour, all bringing ballast and had loaded clay. The Brigantine “Tess” had been on the beach repairing. She was then lying at the buoys loaded, also the Schooners “Duchess” and “Julia”. The Dutch Schooners were still at the buoys.
P168: River Report: There was a few inches less water in the channel at Jetty Marsh and a bank forming off the point abreast of the Devon and Courtenay Quay, also a shoal in the channel at Oaks, but nothing at present that interfered with navigation.
Shipping at Port: Further correspondence on this matter was read from which it appeared that owing to the Seven tunnel being worked to its utmost capacity there
seemed no prospect at the moment of any coal being shipped from Teignmouth.
Extract from Mid Devon Advertiser 30th March 1918. P1: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL. – CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR SUCCESSFUL. – CASES TO BE REVIEWED. – The Tribunal of the Newton Urban district met on Tuesday afternoon, when twenty-six cases came before them……… OTHER DECISIONS. – Other cases were as follows: – W. Avery, Grade 3, clay cutter, formerly discharged from the Army as unfit, until October 1st;
Extracted from the Western Times dated 10th April 1918: Private Clements of Fore Street, Kingsteignton has been reported taken prisoner of war. He previously worked with Messrs Hexter & Co and only recently crossed to France.
Extract from Newton Abbot Western Guardian, 11th April 1918. The National Service authorities at Newton Urban Tribunal on Tuesday asking for the withdrawal of the certificates of exemption in several cases, and Mr. H.G. Michelmore said the position in France was so serious that not only were all Grade 1 & 2 required, but they were wanted immediately, and every day was of the utmost importance…..The National Service appeal with respect to G.C. Bishop, manager of the Devon & Courtenay Clay Company was withdrawn, a medical examination having reduced his Grade from 2 to 3. G.D.S. Caunter, 24, said he had no objection to his exemption being withdrawn. It was explained his father and two brothers were serving, but his father had since returned. Exemption was withdrawn.
Extract from Mid Devon Advertiser 13th April 1918. P1: PRESSING FOR MEN. – APPLICATION TO THE URBAN TRIBUNAL. – At the commencement of the business at the Tribunal for the Newton urban district on Tuesday, Mr. Michelmore, the National Service representative, said in several cases the authorities asked that the certificates of men be withdrawn, on the ground that having regard to the extreme national need for men, it was not in the nation’s interest in the higher medical categories should remain outside the Army. He was instructed to impress on the Tribunal that the position in France as so serious that not only was every man in grades one and two wanted, but that they were wanted immediately, and that every day was of the utmost importance…… ESSENTIAL OR NOT? – In the case of H.C. Bishop, manager of the Devon and Courtenay Clay Company, who had been placed in Grade 3 after medical re-examination. Mr. Michelmore said he would assent to the application being dismissed, and the exemption continued. Mr. Bishop asked if the clay industry would be considered an essential industry under the new regulations, and Mr. Michelmore said they would know more about it after reading the speeches made in the House of Commons that day.
A COPY of the Order, which withdraws all certificates of exemption, granted wholly or partly on occupational grounds in certain ages, can be seen at the “Advertiser” office. Ball clay miners and quarrymen, employees in engineering works and foundries, bakers, boot repairers, tailors, clerks, monumental masons, barbers, commercial travellers, barmen, shop assistants, sand quarrymen, domestic servants and dustmen are amongst those effected.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 23rd April 1918. P1: LONG EXEMPTIONS BY NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL. – Those present at the Tribunal for the Newton urban district on Tuesday were Messrs. W. Vicary (in the chair), A. Sampson, N. Larkworthy, H. Bearne, and G.D. Woollcombe…… CLAY WORKERS. – The Devon and Courtenay Clay Company asked for exemption for four employees, passed for C2 – H. Puddicombe, carter; A.T. Perram, carter; S.J. Joslin, stevedore; and R.C. Bearne, bargeman.
Mr. Michelmore asked the Tribunal to send some of the men into the Army.
It was pointed out that one of the men was deaf and another was lame.
Mr. Michelmore said the men were only classed for labour at home. It was obvious they would be very useful as labourers. They must not be judged as fighting men, but as men to relieve men who were fit to fight.
In answer to questions, the representative for the Company said appeals for five more men had been sent in that morning, and it was decided to adjourn these cases so that they could all be heard together.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 25th April 1918:
P172: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting 14th March 1918) only two vessels had arrived in the harbour, the “Mary Peers” in ballast and had loaded a cargo of clay, and the “Delight” put in seeking [a cargo] she sailed again light.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 6th June 1918:
P177: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting 25th April 1918) only one vessel had arrived in the port. She loaded clay and sailed. The Dutch Schooner “Margina” discharged her cargo of clay at the old quay and was then on the beach for cleaning.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 22nd June 1918. P1: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL. – At the sitting of the Tribunal for the Newton Urban district the chair was taken by Mr. W. Vicary. THE LAND ARMY OFFER. – Mr. C.D. Blake appealed for C. Carpenter, forty-six, passed in Grade 1. Mr. Hutchings, for the applicant said the man worked fourteen hours a day, partly at the clay works and partly at the gardens at Highwood. He pointed out the argument that every “Grade 1” man was wanted for the Army did not now apply, as men over forty-five could elect to join the land army, whatever their grade, and this man would be more useful there. Mr. Hutching also referred to the man’s domestic responsibilities.
Mr. Michelmore said he was asking for the man to be made available for work of national importance. He would have the option of going on the land, but that could not be enforced unless the Tribunal made him available. He contended that the man was not employed in work of national importance at present. He was marking bags at the clay works, and that was not skilled work. Owning to the clean-out in agriculture there was an urgent need of men on the land, and he asked that the man be made available immediately.
The appeal was dismissed, the man not to be available until July 18th.
Extracted from Western Times; 28th June 1918
NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL: Newton Rural Tribunal met on Wednesday, Mr, J. Bickford presiding. The following cases were decided : John May, G1, 46, general farmworker, Chudleigh, 1st Sept.; Thomas Powlesland, G2, 45, agricultural carpenter and pig killer, Bickington (who stated that he killed 414 pigs last year, and whose appeal was supported by 43 farmers), referred to War Agricultural Committee; Wm. H. Parsons 45, GI, dairyman, Bovey, 1st August, final; John H. Sweetland, 44, widower, mason’s labourer Chudleigh Knighton, 1st August, final; Thos. Burnett, G2, 46, stonebreaker, Chudleigh, Ist August, final; George S. Preston, G2: sanitary drain-pipe maker, Heathfield, and Mark Laskey, GI, pit-prop feller, to whose appeal the National Service authorities agreed, conditional exemption.
Extracted from WBB Private letter book, page 798 – 28th June 1918 – Committee on Production. (1736) Clay Industry – Gt. Britain. 1. The parties to this reference are…2. The claim submitted on behalf of all general workers engaged in the clay industry……was as follows:
(1) A war wage advance of £1.1.0 per week for all adult workers, over 18 years of age, plus 12 ½% on total earnings or its equivalent to both time and pieceworkers.
(2)…..3. The matter was referred by the Ministry of Labour to the Committee on Production…..The award of the Committee in settlement of the Claim as submitted is as follows:-
- The men concerned aged 21 years and over shall receive an advance of 8/- per full ordinary week, provided that in no case shall the total war advance over the pre-
war rate exceed 25/- per week …..
- The men concerned age 18 years and over but under 21 years and women aged 18 years and over shall receive an advance of 4/- per week subject to a maximum advance over pre-war rate of 20/- per week…..
- The boys and youths and girls concerned under 18 years of age shall
receive an advance of 2/- per week.
- Piecework shall receive advances proportionate to those granted under this award to timeworkers….
- This award shall take effect from the beginning of the first full pay following 24th
Extracted from WBB Private letter book, page 800 (no date – 28th June 1918?) – District Organiser (Mr Connell) to Watts, Blake & Bearne: “I have been requested by your Employees, who are members of the above Union, to forward the following petition for an increase of Wages and Overtime Rates as follows: An increase of 10/- per week all round. This amount to be added to the present Bonus of 13/- and the whole 23/- to be recognised as a War Wage, to be calculated on any overtime worked. Overtime Rates Requested: For the first two hours – Time and quarter. For all hours onwards – Time and half, with the exception of Sundays, for which Double time is requested. Each day to stand alone…… P.S. I am sending a similar petition to other Clay Merchants”
Extracted from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 29th June 1918. P1: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL – THE OLDER MEN. – At the sitting of the Tribunal for the Newton urban district on Thursday, Mr. Vicary presided over a full attendance……. OTHER CASES. – A.R.W. Ellis, forty-six, Grade 2, carpenter for the Devon and Courtenay Clay company, October 1st;
Extracted from WBB Private letter book, page 801 – 13th July 1918 – “Mr. Arthur Bearne says to Mr. Blake “Mr W. Whiteway Wilkinson rang us up this morning to know if we had received a notice of further demands for wages, and I replied that we had, and promised that we would not take any action in the matter without informing him, and he promised not to do anything until he heard from us.” “Mr. Blake says privately to Mr. Arthur Bearne July 13th 1918……”I suppose you will speak on the subject per telephone or otherwise to our fellow sinners, the other clay merchants – & let me know the result. My opinion is that, as the workmen are to a very great extent masters of the situation, & a strike would ensue unless we offered our workmen at least a part of their new demand, & our customers would much prefer that in order to prevent a strike which, to them, would be fatal, we should pay something more to our workmen & debit themselves (our customers) with something more for our clays. What are your views thereon?”
Extracted from WBB Private letter book, page 797 – 16th July 2018 – A Bearne: “Re National Union of General Workers. Mr. Bishop called this morning and showed me particulars of an Award given by the Employers National Council as to the raising of wages. ….Mr. Bishop also showed me a letter from Mr. J. Howard Fox by which he (Bishop) was instructed to reply to the National Union of General Workers saying that the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. intended to follow the award of the Employers National Council and that they did not consider any alteration need be made with regards to overtime. Mr. Fox also thinks that any further requests for increase of wages by the workmen will not be considered by the Employers National Council for some time to come.
- p.m. Mr Whiteway Wilkinson has just called, and I think he is prepared to offer to pay the 8/- rise to men over 21 and 4/- to those under. He does not believe in making advances on overtime, and he thinks that we ought to raise our prices to meet this expense by at least 2/6 per ton.”
Extracted from WBB Private letter book, page 802 – 17th July 1918 – “Mr Blake also says to Mr Arthur Bearne 17 July 1918 – “Mrs Donn has now read to me the copy of an Official Award dated 28th June 1918 respecting clay workers which Mr Chatterly Bishop manager of the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co. handed to us yesterday. She has also read to me your interesting memorandum dated yesterday on the whole matter and I note that as suggested by Mr Whiteway Wilkinson you will write to Mr Connell….of the National Union of General Workers whose foregoing letter demands more than the Official Award in question. Please note. I think it would have been better if Mr J. Howard Fox had conferred with us before finally deciding to pay his workmen the full 8/-per week granted by the Official Award. My reason for saying this is because I consider it quite possible that we could have got our men to accept one half of the 10/- per week extra bonus demanded by them … Each of the clay firms can advance its prices to the extent that it deems fit. We must keep our prices to ourselves!”
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 18th July 1918:
P181: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (6th June 1918) the yacht “Moina” was the only vessel that had arrived in the harbour.
Up River Report: There was no change in the river or channel except that the Hackney gut which channel was silted up at several places.
Extracted from Newton Abbot Western Guardian, 18th July 1918. P3: NEWTONIAN’S EXEMPTION EXTENDED – At the Devon Appeal Tribunal, H. Brimicombe, 14 Fisher Road, Newton Abbot, ledge clerk, 46, Grade 2, stated he was employed by Mr. Cordwent. The local Tribunal had given him until October 1st. He had a wife and five children under 15 and two sons serving. The employer, Mr. Cordwent, also appealed and said his employee worked on highly technical work. His was a controlled business – Mr. E. Hutchings said his client was working for the Ministry of Munitions. He kept a thousand ledger accounts, relating to customers in the counties of Devon & Cornwall.
Mr. Cordwent said Brimicombe had been with him for two years, prior to which he was clerk for a Kingsteignton clay pit. (Actually, he was the clerk at the Teignbridge Lock loading point of the Stover Canal.)
The Military appeal was not allowed, and exemption was given to January 12th on personal grounds, the Chairman expressing the hope that Brimicombe would soon get good news of one of his sons who was reported missing. [This could be CWGC: Private, 68083 Saxby Brimicombe, 2nd Bn. Devonshire Regiment. 24th April 1918. Son of Lewis H. & Annie Brimicombe, 13 Abbotsbury Road, Newton Abbot. Buried at Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, Somme, II. F. 15.]
Extract from Newton Abbot Western Guardian, 1st August 1918.
P3: NEWTON MAN DROWNED AT SALONICA – News has been received that Corpl. Sidney G. Bowden of 13 Vale Road, Decoy, son of Mr. &. Mrs. Bowden of Victoria Place, Newton Abbot, has been accidentally drowned in Salonica, where he has been for two years and ten months. Corpl. Bowden, who is 32 years of age, was with the AOC. He leaves a widow and five children, with whom deep sympathy is felt. Before joining the Army, he was in the employ of the Devon & Cornwall Clay Co., for whom he has worked since he was a boy. He was a Newtonian by birth and lived here all his life. [His Commemorative Plaque is retained within the Newton Museum.]
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 10th August 1918. P1: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL. – A sitting of the Tribunal for the Newton urban district was held last evening, there be a full attendance of members. OTHER DECISIONS. – Other cases were dealt with as follows: F.W. Marshal, clay manager, 51 (within a few days of the age limit), to February 16th;
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 5th September 1918:
P184: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (18th July 1918) there had been no arrivals or sailings.
P185: Up River Report: There was no change to report in the channels and banks up the river.
Blower (Mooring) Barge: He (The Harbour Master) took this vessel up to the Hackney Channel and Mr. Hexter’s men took the engine and boiler out as arranged and the barge was then down in the Harbour. [Removed because they got in the way on the newly fitted winch]
Extracted from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 21st September 1918. P4: NEWTON RURAL TRIBUNAL – National Service application refused. – The Rural District Council resisted the application of the National Service authorities for the withdrawal of the exemption of Charles John Nickols, forty-two, married, Grade 1, main road foreman, Osborne Road, Newton Abbot. Mr. Phillips, highway surveyor said the man was the foreman of the Kingsteignton main roads, which, on account of the clay traffic were some of the most important in the district. He was quite agreeable to accept a substitute, if one could be found. The man had nineteen years in the employ of the Council.
The Tribunal declined to withdraw the man’s exemption, unless and suitable and efficient substitute could be found.
Extracted from the Mid Devon Advertiser 5th October 1918. SERGT. HOLDING, NEWTON. – The Distinguished Conduct Medal has been awarded to Sergt. T.W. Holding, of the Welsh Regiment. In a letter to his wife, who resides at 52 Osborne Street, Newton. Sergt. Holding mentioned that he had been presented with the ribbon, but did not state for what work he had received the distinction. He joined up at the outbreak of the war, having formerly been bargeman in the employ of the Devon and Courtenay Clay Company. He has been wounded on two occasions.
Extract from Newton Abbot Western Guardian, 10th October 1918.
Another Newtonian has received honours in the recent fighting, the Distinguished Conduct Medal having been awarded to Sergt. T. W. Holding of the Welsh Regiment. In a letter to his wife, who resides with his mother, Mrs. Frude, at 52 Osborne Street, Newton Abbot. Sergeant Holding mentioned that he had been presented with the ribbon, but did not stated exactly for what work he had received the distinction. He joined up at the outbreak of war, having been formerly a bargeman in the employ of the Devon & Courtenay Clay Company Ltd. He has been wounded on two occasions
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 24th October 1918:
P188: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (5th September 1918) six vessels had arrived at the port. All had loaded cargos of clay and sailed.
Extract from the Mid-Devon Advertiser – 2nd November 1918. P1: NEWTON URBAN TRIBUNAL. – YESTERDAYS SITTING. – At the meeting of the Newton Urban Tribunal yesterday…; W.H. Turner, 36, Grade 1, foreman miner, employed by the Devon & Courtenay Clay Co., National Service application for the exemption to be withdrawn refused, unless a satisfactory substitute was found.
Extract from Newton Abbot Western Guardian, 7th November 1918.
P4: NEWTON URBAN DISTRICT TRIBUNAL – At the meeting of the Newton Abbot Urban Tribunal……The decisions were as follows; (included) W.H. Turner, 36, Grade 1, foreman miner, employed by the Devon & Cornwall Clay Company Ltd, National Service application for withdrawal of exemption refused unless a satisfactory substitute is found.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 19th December 1918:
P195: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (24th October 1918) three vessels had arrived at the port. Two to load clay and one for repairs and that one had sailed.
P198: Re Harbour Lights. In view of a communication from the Coastguard Authorities that all lights should be resumed, a letter was read from the Board of Trade that they saw no reason why Teignmouth should be excluded from the general scheme to restore lights to pre-war condition, which the Harbour Master had done.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 23rd January 1919:
P200: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (19th December 1918) only one vessel had arrived at the port. Two had sailed and four were at the buoys. The yacht “Moina” was at the Quay getting ready to sail.
30th March 1919: Death of former clay cutter, Private 29467 Laurence Arthur Scott, aged 30, due to the effects of gas inhalation, suffered whilst serving with the Labour Corps of the Royal Berkshire Regiment. Son of George and Louisa Scott of Kingsteignton and husband of Elizabeth Scott of 11 Fairfield, Kingsteignton. He lies within St. Michael’s Churchyard, Kingsteignton.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 20th March 1919:
P205: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (23rd January 1919) five vessels had arrived; six sailed with cargos of clay. One was then sitting at the buoys.
Up River Report: He reported that there had been a lot of flood water in the upper reaches during the past month…… The depths of the channel kept good, but on the 19th of last month a barge belonging to the Devon and Courtenay Clay Co broke adrift and drove down near Ford Sluice where she turned bottom up and sank. She had since been righted and would be removed as soon as the flood water runs off.
Harbour Lights: A letter was read from Trinity House that all lights must now be restored to pre-war conditions and that they had been informed that this had been done. It was proposed by Mr Ward, seconded by Mr. Parker, that Trinity house be written to (if necessary) asking for assistance in maintaining the lights.
Mid Devon Advertiser 5th April 1919: KINGSTEIGNTON – The funeral of the late Mr. Laurence Scott, of 11 Fairfield Terrace a discharged soldier, took place on Thursday at Kingsteignton Parish Church. He was 30 years of age…. Floral tributes included one from ‘all discharged soldiers of Kingsteignton’. Mr Laurence had previously been employed as a Clay Cutter.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 1st May 1919:
P211: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (20th March 1919) seven vessels had arrived in the port to load clay.
Up River Report: Several of the marks buoys have broken adrift through the mooring chain being worn. The Harbour Master suggested that the wearing should be marked by poles instead of buoys. [Adopted]
P212: Harbour Lights. A letter was read from Trinity House, in reply to the Commissioners application for a grant to enable them to maintain the lights under their control, stating that the Elder Brethren regretted that there were no funds at their disposal which could be applied to such a purpose.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 5th June 1919:
P216: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (1st May 1919) twelve vessels had arrived in the harbour, two with cargos of cement, three with flint and other in ballast. All had loaded cargos of clay.
P217: There was no change in the depths of the channels since the last meeting. Several barge loads of sand had been taken from the river for building purposes during the last month.
P220: Re Copper Refining: The Clerk reported that he had had a call from a Mr. Wilson with reference to a scheme of considerable magnitude which was proposed to be started in the Teign Valley as to the refining of copper and that the gentleman had said that if the scheme were carried out, vast alterations in the harbour and neighbourhood would be necessary, and that he would probably ask to meet the Commissioners as a later date.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 24th July 1919:
P223: The Harbour Masters report –The Harbour master reported since the last general meeting (5th June 1919) ten vessels had arrived in the harbour, four with boulders [? flint], one with timber and five light. Six had loaded cargoes of clay, one sailed light and three were at the buoys loading clay.
Re Mooring: He reported that he had under run the bridal chain at No. 6 Tier at the buoy the tug Kestrel moored on……
P224: Up River Report: There was rather less water in the Hackney channels particularly at the junction of the Kingsteignton water and the water from the railway culvert. There was also a bit of a bar near the light beacon. There had been a complaint from the foreman of the Hackney Canal that their barges had stopped at these places on the neap tides.
P226: Obstruction of the Hackney Canal: A letter was read from Lord Clifford’s agent that there was some difficulty in getting barges from the Hackney Canal owning to and alleged obstruction there. Proposed by Mr. Ward and seconded by Mr Segar and resolved – That Mr Hexter and the Harbour Master should meet Lord Clifford’s agent and discuss the matter and if was necessary to do any work to remove any obstruction. The cost of which should not amount to more that £5.
Extract from the Newton Abbot Western Guardian – 21st August 1919. P6: NEWTON ABBOT- The Great Western Railway wrote to Newton Urban Council offering no objection to water being taken from the Stover Canal, if the lessee permitted for the proposed swimming bath at Jetty Marsh. Messrs. Watts Blake Bearne & Co. wrote offering objections for several reasons. In a dry summer the water often insufficient for their barge requirements, whilst damage would probably be done to their property. The Chairman and Mr. Dolbear were asked to interview representatives of the firm.
Extracted from the Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 21st June 1923: P 464 – The Harbour Master reported that since the last meeting (10th May 1923), twenty-two vessels had arrived at the port, nine motor vessels, seven steamers and six sailing. Two were loaded with cement, two with potatoes and eighteen light. Fifteen had sails loaded with clay and three light.
Up River Report: He reported that the depth of the channels keep good but at several places the upper reaches were narrow. At Jetty Marsh, there was a bank of mud that wanted removing the tug and barges being stopped on about seventeen feet tides.
There was also and lot of mud washed into the berth at the Devon and Courtenay Quay from the River Lemon and their upper berth was very shoal and only available at half tides. By appointment he met with the manager at the Quay and with him sounded and found there was three feet of mud on the berths, He begged to ask the Commissions opinion on that.
He had a complaint from the manager of the Hackney Canal the shoal below the bridge was bad for their barges working and begged to suggest that a flat load or two be taken up as the shoals was making up fast now owning to the channel being so narrow… Resolved that the Harbour master carry out the work mentioned and that a cheque for £50 be drawn on account of the Harbour wages,
Extracted from the Minute Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 2nd August 1923: P 472 – The Harbour Master reported that since the last meeting (21st June 1923), twenty-four vessels had arrived at the port. Seven steamers, seven motor vessels and ten sailing vessels, one loaded with timber, two with cargos of oil cake, three with asphalt, two with general cargo, two with slates and fourteen light. Seventeen had sailed with cargos of clay and four light.
The Bridge Company had been taking soundings of the ground across the river. One of the bars they drove down, they were unable to recover and it still remained at the third arch out from the stone arch. To prevent any damage to boats or barges they had encased it in timber. The barge with explosives was moored on arrival above the bridge.
Extracted from the Minute Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 13th September 1923: P 482 – The Harbour Master reported that since the last meeting (2nd August 1923), twenty-two vessels had arrived in the Harbour, five steamers, seven motor vessels and ten sailing. Two with general cargos, three with timber, three with oil cake, four with asphalt, and ten light. Ten had sailed with cargos of clay, three light and seven were still in the harbour.
Up River Report: He reported that the sill at Jetty Marsh below the Stover Canal had been cleared and that there was a good depth of water. At Devon and Courtenay Quay good progress in deepening these berths had been made. He had used limestones from the New Quay, about thirty tons, to build the weiring at Buckland and had backed them up with two flats loads of dredging from the Devon and Courtenay Quay and more stones were required to finish this work… He asks for a cheque for forty pounds for wages..
Extracted from the Minute Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 25th October 1923: P489 – The Harbour Master reported that since the last meeting (13th September 1913), sixteen vessels had arrived in the harbour; nine steamers and seven sailing vessels, two with general cargos, three with oil cake, one each with cement, and basic slag and nine light. Ten had sailed with cargos of clay and six light.
Up River Report: P490 – The work of deepening and cleaning the berths and Jetty Marsh and the Devon and Courtenay Quay and the channel in the Hackney Gut would be finished this week. There was good working depth at the three places the weiring at Buckland wants more stone or rough ballast and suggested that he waits until some suitable material came along for the work be done…. Sixteen days were put in ay Jetty Marsh. Forty at Devon and Courtenay Quay, fourteen at Hackney and five at the weiring.
Extracted from the Minute Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners – Minutes of meeting held 4th December 1923: P500 – The Harbour Master reported that since the last (25th October 19124) meeting twenty-nine vessels had arrived in the harbour, three with cargos of oil cake, two with general cargos, two with cement, one with boulders, one with basic slag. Seventeen had sailed with cargos of clay, two sailed light, and still in the harbour to load clay…… The rebuilding of Shaldon Bridge he suggested that it would be a great advantage to the barges navigating the river if the wide arch were put near the Teignmouth side.
Note- The Annual profits of Watts, Blake, Bearne & Co Ltd as shown in annual balance sheets:
1913 (partnership) £13,057
The research for information to inform this time line was undertaken for the Devon Remembers Project by;
Richard Harris (Kingsteignton History Society)
John Pike (Ball Clay Heritage Society)
John Ellis (Newton Abbot Museum Volunteer).
The Minutes Books of the Teignmouth Harbour Commissioners 1914-1919, held at the Devon Records Office under deposit 3258A/HA – 6 to 8.
WBB Letter Books 260 and 270 – Held by the Ball Clay Heritage Society
WBB Staffordshire Letter Book No. 30 – Held by the Ball Clay Heritage Society
WBB Private Letter Book No. 1 – Held by the Ball Clay Heritage Society
Mid-Devon Advertiser 1914 – 1919
The Newton Abbot Western Guardian 1914-1919
Stover Canal Trust Magazine
Devon & Exeter Gazette
Exeter & Plymouth Gazette
The Gloucester Echo
Birmingham Daily Post