The Western Front Association in Devon

wfa_website_logoThe Western Front Association (WFA) was set up in 1980 to educate the public in the history of The Great War 1914-1918, with particular (but not exclusive) reference to the Western Front. It was founded by noted military historian John Giles and has grown to include many thousands of members worldwide.

The WFA takes care of a number of existing memorials on the Western Front; some belonging to the WFA as well as others. The WFA owns the Butte de Warlencourt on the Somme which is currently being restored in readiness for the Centenary of the end of the battle of the Somme in 1916. The WFA has worked with the UK Government to draw up the programme of centenary events to commemorate The Great War 1914-1918.

Each year on 11 November (except when this is Remembrance Sunday) the WFA gathers at the London Cenotaph to remember those of all sides who fought in the conflict. On the evening before, the WFA commemorates the arrival of the British Unknown Warrior at Victoria station in London on 10 November 1920.

The Devon and Cornwall Branch of the WFA  which was set up in 1988; hold regular meetings on the last Friday on each month (apart from August and December) in the small hall at the Avenue Church in Newton Abbot. Meetings start at 7.30pm until 9.30pm with many published speakers who cover a wide range of topics on the Great War.

It is not necessary to be a member of the WFA to attend branch meetings; just come along. A donation of £4 is requested to cover hire of the hall and speakers expenses/fees; this also includes refreshments.

Speakers for 2015 have included Dr Simon House: the French army activities in August 1914, Michael Orr: The Artist Rifles. Other speakers for  2015 include Neil Hansen; The first Great Escape, Edwin Astill; St Luke’s Exeter in the Great War, and Peter Hart: Somme success; The RFC and the battle of the Somme 1916.

Bren Hand, Branch Chairperson

Visit the WFA website at:

Exeter City Football Club pays tribute to players lost during WW1

Exeter City Football Club has paid tribute to players who lost their lives during the First World War through a memorial project at St James’ Park.

ECFC WWI Memorial

The memorial is part of a new area of the St James’ Park stadium where former players, staff and fans are honoured. The plaque overlooks a garden of remembrance, which includes primroses from the bank below the old Cowshed terrace. The garden and memorial can be seen just inside the Stadium Way entrance to the WTS stand.

Have a look at the link to the Supporters’ Trust website for more information about the memorial project, and creation of the garden of remembrance.

The Club will be honouring the centenary of deaths each of the players as they occur. You can read about the first two, George Thomas White and John Addems Webb by clicking on their names.


Commemoration of the 1915 International Congress of Women

On April 28, the Peace Palace in The Hague (The Netherlands) participates in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the International Congress of Women that took place in the city of The Hague in 1915.

The women who attended this Congress a century ago, were suffragists who up until that time, met every other year through their national organization at the International Women Suffrage Alliance.

Due to the outbreak of World War I, their 1915 meeting could not take place in Berlin. Despite of the war, the idea of solidarity among the women from different countries did remain intact. A small delegation, headed by Dutch suffragist and physician Dr. Aletta Jacobs, believed it to be important to organise a meeting, even during wartime, to discuss the principles of constructive peace.

Photograph: International Congress of Women of 1915 at The Hague

For an interesting blog about the International Congress of Women of 1915 please see attached link to the Peace Palace at the Hague, and read the full story.



Tower of London Poppy for Devon Remembers

The Devon Remembers Project is proud to have supported armed services charities through the purchase of one of the iconic Tower of London ceramic poppies.  This poppy is now on display at County Hall, and was formally presented prior to the March meeting of the Full County Council, by Chairman Cllr George Gribble.

There was also a presentation of a framed poem ‘The Devonshires’ Last Stand’ to Leader of the Council Cllr John Hart.  The author, local war poet John Horsham recited the poem to the elected Members prior to the presentation.

Tower of London Poppy

Photograph: The Devon Remembers Steering Group unveil the Tower of London Poppy.

Devon Remembers received the following message from Historic Royal Palaces: ‘We are absolutely delighted to announce that the ceramic poppies from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red have all been sold, and to date over 860,000 poppies have been delivered to their new owners.  A project of this size and scale has been both rewarding and challenging.

Each of the service charity partners has received a staggering £1.2m and you can find out here how they are already using this money to help their causes. We anticipate that this figure will rise even further once we complete our accounts. The project officially comes to a close on 10 April 2015 but further information and support, if required is available on the following link:

  • For information about the Tower of London Remembers project, visit this page.

On behalf of the whole team and our charity partners we offer our heartfelt thanks for all your support’

Civic Voice offers Workshops for Volunteers on War Memorial Condition Surveys

Community volunteers are being given an opportunity to get involved in an exciting and rewarding project as part of the First World War commemorative events.

It is estimated that there are 100,000 war memorials throughout the UK taking many different forms, such as obelisks, crosses, rolls of honour, lych gates, community buildings and playing fields. Throughout the centenary we would like to ensure that they are a fitting tribute to those who gave their lives in the First World War and subsequent conflicts. Over the next four years we will be helping volunteers throughout England to record the condition of their local war memorials and take steps to ensure they are conserved and protected for the future.

Volunteer Involvement

Volunteer involvement in the project is vital to its success. Civic Voice, in partnership with English Heritage, Imperial War Museums and War Memorials Trust, is asking for volunteers to carry out condition surveys of their local war memorials. This will provide an overall picture of the condition of memorials throughout England and enable funding to be directed to those in need of conservation. Volunteers will also be encouraged to apply to have their local memorials listed, giving them protection for the future.   A series of workshops is being organised to provide volunteers with all the necessary training, and ongoing support will be provided by Civic Voice and the War Memorials Trust.

Next Steps

A programme of workshops is being organised across England with several taking place in the South West. They will provide volunteers with the opportunity to discuss the project and find out how to identify and record the condition of their local war memorials. From the workshop volunteers will gain:

  • Background information about the project
  • Training to undertake a condition survey.
  • Training on how to record survey results on the War Memorials Online website
  • The chance to meet staff from the War Memorials Trust
  • The chance to ask questions
  • A resource pack containing all the necessary information to get you started.

Planned Workshops in the South West:

  • 8 April 2015 in Bristol
  • 8 July 2015 in Plymouth
  • 25 September 2015 in Exeter
  • 6 October 2015 in Truro
  • 24 and 25 October in Bristol
  • 6 January 2016 in Taunton

Anyone interested in getting involved in the project can visit: to find out more and register their interest or to book a place on one of the workshops.

It is a great opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to an important part of your local heritage.   If you require any further information about the project please do not hesitate to contact Anna Wilson, Senior Development Officer (War Memorials).

Anna Wilson – Senior Development Officer (War Memorials)

Civic Voice, 60 Duke Street, Liverpool L1 5AA

Tel: 0151 707 4319  Mobile: 07788 268996

Dartmoor Trust exhibition highlights Moor-life during the First World War

Dartmoor Trust WW1 logoA new exhibition at the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre at Princetown aims to provide a focus for Dartmoor communities to understand how people lived during the early 1900s, the effects of the war on families and their way of life, and the legacy of the 1914-18 war.

The DaDartmoor exhibition 2rtmoor Trust and the National Park Authority, with funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Dartmoor Trust, are presenting the Dartmoor Life in the First World War exhibition at the National Park Visitor Centre, Princetown until 9th September 2015.  Entry is free.

It is a collaborative project with information and images provided by local history groups, museums and other bodies.  Over 200 images of Dartmoor in the First World War have been located, oral history and reminiscences.Dartmoor exhibition 1

In parallel, an educational website is being developed for primary and secondary schools on and around Dartmoor, and available through www.dartmoortrust.org19 exercises will be available from March 2015 for use by teachers, as homework or for independent study.

We are also encouraging interest though providing further information and material; it is anticipated that more information will come to light over the next 2 years.  This knowledge will be added to the Dartmoor Trust Archive which will host the legacy for access worldwide in perpetuity. Dartmoor exhibition launch 1Photograph above shows Bernard Whitehorn (left), Peter Mason (exhibition curator), Peter Harper (chair of Dartmoor National Park), Philip Sanders (chair of The Dartmoor Trust) and Col Tony Clark (rtrd) of the Dartmoor Trust

For more information about the exhibition, educational resource or how to contribute to the archive, view the website, or contact Tony Clark by email at


The Last Post project returns to mark Gallipoli centenary

Authors, actors and musicians have lent their support to the Last Post Project’s ambition to get communities across the country playing the Last Post for someone in the First World War.

Following a successful start that saw over 40,000 people take part in 2014, the project has now launched a free information and resource pack exploring the battle of Gallipoli.

The Last Post resource pack was launched at a live recording of folk songs linked to 1915 and the Gallipoli campaign. Musicians Paul Sartin of British folk band Bellowhead and Turkish singer Cigdem Aslan sang Ҫanakkale Türküsü and ‘Old Gallipoli’ to the tune of Mountains of Mourne.

The music will form part of the pack along with poetry, art and family stories. Actor and comedian Hugh Dennis tells of his Uncle Frank who died at Gallipoli at just 17 years old. War Horse author, Michael Morpurgo wrote the foreword in which he challenges young people to ask why and how they should remember the war.

Teachers, parents, youth workers and community groups can register for the pack at and to take part in a week of Last Post activities from 20th-26 April 2015.

The Last Post 2015 E-Flyer

Ipplepen War Memorial granted Listed status

The Ipplepen Local History Group are pleased to announce that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has decided to add the Ipplepen War Memorial to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. The War Memorial is now listed at Grade II.

This is the final part of the Group’s commitment given to the village last year to commemorate the start of the First World War.

The first part was to have the memorial cleaned and refurbished. The owners, Ipplepen Ipplepen war memorial 1Parish Council, having given their backing & approval, applications were made to Devon Remembers, The Ipplepen Community Fund and to County Councillor Alistair Dewhirst for funds which would enable us to pay for the work to be carried out. Fortunately all our applications were successful and the work was carried out in July 2014.

The second part was to have the Memorial re-dedicated, this was done at an inter-denominational ceremony on August 3rd 2014. Representatives of both St. Andrews Church and the Methodist Church carried out this very moving ceremony. The Parish Council, The Royal British Legion together with several other organisations were well represented as were the local villagers. The ceremony ended with a very enjoyable cream tea which was provided by the Village Hub which is situated behind the Methodist Church.

Ipplepen war memorialThe final part was to apply to English Heritage to have the Memorial Listed. The Parish Council were asked as the custodians, approval sought and given from The Royal British Legion. Credit should be given to Shirley Northwood in the preparation of the many documents required, English Heritage also required photographs of the Memorial and surrounding area which were provided by the Group Chairman John Eastley.

Ipplepen has a real car parking problem and the War Memorial is situated in the village square which makes it very vulnerable. Villagers can now be assured that this poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by local people is safe.

The original documents may be viewed from our web site at:

For further information contact John Eastley Tel: 01803 8143337  or e-mail:

John Eastley, Chairman,  Ipplepen Local History Group

Wembury WW1 day with added treasure !

The main event of Wembury Local History Society’s 2014 programme was a World War I exhibition staged in Wembury War Memorial Hall on November 15th.

Based partly on the war’s impact on the locality, and partly on the wartime experiences of forbears of present-day residents, the day was a great success. Themes covered ranged from letters, postcards and stories from the front lines, to the arctic convoys, sea battles and the early Royal Flying Corps.

Happily, it was possible to combine the exhibition with the presentation of a WWI medal to the granddaughter of the soldier who originally earned it.

This story began when David Luscombe, a member the South Hams Metal Detecting Club, found the medal on Traine Farm, Wembury, in October, 2014.  Robert Rowland, the farm owner and a member of the Wembury Local History Society, researched the name ‘J. L. Cairns Suffolk Regiment’ engraved around the rim of the medal and found that he was a Plymouth man who died in 1982.

Through, Robert was able to find the family tree and contact the granddaughter, Helen Bailey. The organisers were delighted that Helen was able to travel down from Kent to be presented with the medal by David Luscombe.

Wembury medal Presentation

Photograph: David Luscombe presents Helen Bailey with her grandfather’s medal