Memories of Evacuee, Ron Vickers

Frank May was co-owner of the quarry (it seemed funny that everybody pronounced it ‘Anter, unless that was a slang name for Hantergantick!) I was never aware that Charlie May was a co-owner.
From what I remember Harry was the main man, Mabel did all of the paperwork, and Frank managed the quarry, Charlie did work at the quarry though. Harry lived a few doors up from the Champion house and I believe that it was called “Hillcrest,” and Charlie lived diagonally opposite the Champion house.

I am enclosing a photo of myself and the Mays taken on the front lawn of now named “Eldon”. (This house was then called Libreville and I was told by “Uncle Frank” that it was the name of a place in Africa where he worked; he also worked over here (USA) as a stone mason in his early years). I visited them almost every year in the summer after the war until 1951 when I was drafted into the RAF, when I was discharged I found out that they had moved to Eton to be with Ivor. I visited them in Eton just once as they had both passed away shortly after.

My last visit to St. Breward was in 1976, I knocked on the door of Mrs. Jack Teague who had billeted my sisters (Rita and Gloria), she opened the door and without hardly a word said “hello Ron,” I just didn’t believe that she would have remembered me, I figured it had to be 35 years since I last saw her! We (my wife and I) had a long visit with her and then dinner with Monica (nee Hancock,) who also took in my sisters later on. Her Father, and known to all as Father, worked at the clay quarry, and I would sometimes go with him there to start the engines. One of my sisters had been billeted with the Headmaster’s Family (the Dawes.) I also met up with Ivor again at that time, he was living in St. Austell then, he had a bed and breakfast place, and he also passed away shortly after that.

In regards to the names of evacuees; I remember quite well Johnny Johnson, as Uncle Frank and I would pass by the cottages on the way to “Anter,” I would sometimes go there and help out. Other names that might be on the list are Alan Keane and Mavis Godwin or Goodman; I kept in touch with them after the war, they both lived in Lambeth, London. I forget who Alan was billeted with but I’m sure Mavis was with Harry May.

The house that you can see next to “Eldon” belonged to Miss McCrea; she was a wonderful old lady that had returned from China doing missionary work, she was almost 90 when I arrived at St. Breward.

Other memories are pumping the organ at the chapel on Sundays of course and choir practice, I actually got paid for that.

Quite a few of us also helped out on the farms, one in particular was the Finamore, no tractors of mechanical devices of any kind, just horses, for that we got apples!! And loved them, also the pasties in the fields after harvesting ………………. Great!! And the other one of course was the bombing, I think I told you before though, I was actually biking around the road in front of the Sunday School when the planes came over, I hid in a corner opposite the shop, I could see the pilots faces as they flew over ……….Not so Great!

Hoping this has been a little more information for you. I have fond memories of St. Breward, they were wonderful people in sad times, they did an extraordinary thing and I will never forget.

Sincerely, Ron Vickers

Life from a Rectory on Bodmin Moor  

Life from a Rectory on Bodmin Moor  

by Revd Canon Sherry Bryan

My family and I had always holidayed in Cornwall. By the late ‘70s my brother had lived in West Cornwall for many years, so we knew it in all seasons of the year. Usually we camped in the westernmost part at the same site every year and during our stay I always enjoyed my ‘pilgrimages’ walking to a tiny rural church a mile or so away. I loved sitting in the peace and quiet to pray and to soak in the atmosphere.  I would often think romantically of what it would be like to live in Cornwall and to have such a place as my local church. At the time we lived very happily in a village in Warwickshire with no prospect of moving. Little did I know what lay ahead…..

By 1991 I was standing in Truro Cathedral being ordained as a deacon. My girls and I (one by then at university up north) had just moved into a village near Newquay, and I was to spend the next five years as curate at two local churches. I think I was, even after many years of training, still a bit shell-shocked that this was actually happening.

The process of becoming a vicar is usually long and drawn out . It was no exception for me either. In those days no woman would be able to aspire towards such a thing, so it wasn’t even on my agenda.  Despite that however, over a long period of years I had begun to feel an undeniable call to work for God in some capacity.  It seems that other people were also identifying that in me, and I was being slowly drawn towards that surprising prospect.  Gradually it was dawning on us all that I was to have a ministry in the church, whatever shape that might take.  It was a daunting prospect but also rather awe-inspiring and exciting. To live out such a vocation in Cornwall was still not something I had dreamed of.  One thing I was sure about: I was definitely called to a rural location, even though this is the least favourite option for most ministers in the church.  There are usually fewer people to help, more practical jobs to do and a distinctly more difficult landscape to negotiate than in town or suburban ministry.

However it was right for me. I was eventually ordained priest in 1994 with 9 other women.  We were the first ever women priests in Cornwall. Ten happy years were to follow as I became vicar of St Teath and Delabole, where I was to undertake a variety of different chaplaincy roles at the same time as being priest in charge.  But it was as Rural Dean that I became especially aware of St Breward, where in 2005, the need to find a new vicar was becoming urgent. To my great surprise I was in fact to fill that vacancy myself, having prayed for a willing candidate. (Be careful what you pray for!).  My present parish were shocked and tried to stop me from leaving.  “Tis bandit country up there maid”, warned one farmer, with more than a little humour in his voice.  

It’s true that moorland life is very different, even from somewhere as close as St Teath six miles away.  It feels a lot more remote and even the weather and the roads are trickier to negotiate.  It may not be bandit country but you do have to be pretty tough.  I had no intention of moving , but I embraced our new life in St Breward, making full use on days off, of the vast acres of moorland to ride my horses and walk my dogs. I’ve even been known to ride between churches on occasion.  There was certainly plenty to do in the churches, with Summer Fetes, Christmas Fayres, Coffee Mornings, Harvest Festivals and Harvest Suppers, meetings galore and of course, all the usual ups and downs of village and parish life to contend with, not to mention the regular and special services, the weddings and funerals of local people and the occasional tricky pastoral situation.  As vicar I often found myself at the centre of it all, and with 4 churches to look after there were 4 centres of operation too.  This expanded to 7 churches eventually as I neared retirement.

Being a vicar on the moor is not everyone’s idea of heaven but I was so fortunate  that it really was mine. I have always loved country life and I revelled in the atmosphere, and even the weather.  The wildness of it all suited me perfectly.  I’m sure that it must suit others who choose to live there.  It has to because you certainly are part of nature, living in such a place.  For me it was fun to have to don my water-proofs and jump into my 4×4 and trundle my way down muddy rutted tracks to visit parishioners or attend meetings.  And I enjoyed the people too.  From farmers to shopkeepers, publicans to grave-diggers, young mums to elderly parishioners who’d lived there all their lives. It was exciting to share the life of the moor; to hear the hunt going past the Rectory on their way from the kennels, and to see them assembled at the meet or strung out across the moor, followed by quad bikes and cars.

St Breward is a very friendly church and though not everyone was delighted to receive a woman priest into their midst, eventually most came round to accepting me and I think we had a mostly very harmonious time working together.  I loved it when the community really came together in the church. The wonderful candlelit carol services, starting with mulled wine and mince-pies, followed by rousing singing echoing into the darkness of the moor outside.  The packed church at Remembrance services, accompanied by the Silver Band in all its glory, was a very special occasion for me. It was so good to see the little Brownies and Guides taking their poppy duties so seriously.  And for me no Remembrance will ever be more evocative than standing at the memorial on Armistice day at Mine Hill with the wind buffeting, the clouds scudding across the landscape, the view stretching for miles around us as the Last Post was sounded.

I suppose that like most who have lived in St Breward, it’s the weather that tends to dominate.  There’s usually quite a lot of it.  Those sunsets from Ladydown, glinting on the sliver of sea in the far distance were incredible. Spring sunshine bringing the lanes to life and filling the hedges with colour; torrents of rainwater flooding from the fields and occasionally blocking all entry and exit from the village as rivers rose and bridges disappeared; Autumn gold of falling leaves on trees on the Camel Trail and in the woods; my muddy canines charging in to flop down by the Rayburn after a spectacularly muddy winter walk. It truly was and still is a very special place to make contact with the natural world.  

It doesn’t often snow in Cornwall but my goodness when it does, St Breward is the place that gets it. And it’s not unusual to experience being snowed in.  It happened a few times when we lived there. I remember some terrifying driving conditions. Slithering down a hill on the way to an appointment or service was no joke, and on one occasion I thought I’d met my ‘Waterloo’ – and I don’t mean the one near Blisland’! Thankfully Farmer Greenaway was around and came to my rescue just in time or I might not be writing this.

There is so much more I could say about the privilege of serving my last 12 years of stipendiary ministry in St Breward, and all the other churches in the Benefice, but I hope you get the picture.  I think I could safely say that my experience was not for the faint-hearted, but it certainly was right for me and as I shuffle off into my dotage I look back with fond memories on that perhaps lesser known  part of Cornwall that I’ve been privileged to be a part of.  

The Armstrong Family

The Armstrong Family

The Armstrong family is descended from the Border Reivers who lived mostly lawless lives on the border between England and Scotland between the 13th and 17th centuries.  Our Armstrongs originated in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland and then some time between 1869 and 1871 they moved to Shap in what was Westmorland, now part of Cumbria.

The men’s livelihoods were derived from the land and the granite.  As many families did, they moved where the work was to be had and in the 1880s they came down to Cornwall.  Francis Armstrong, born in 1844, became the landlord of the Sportsman’s Arms in Camelford and bought the quarry works at Carbilly between Blisland and St Breward.

By the 1891 census they had moved to Penquite, St Breward and took over the Wenford Inn, at Wenford Bridge.  They also operated as F Armstrong and Sons, Stonemasons and Dealers in rough and finished granite.  They employed 20 or 30 workers in the yard next to the Inn and in Carbilly Quarry.  Francis left most of the running of the Inn to his wife, Harriett and, indeed, in 1903 his licence was adjourned because he hadn’t been there for five years – the Inn being kept by his wife and sons.  When he died in 1905 the licence was taken over by his wife.

Later his son William took over the granite business and his son Alexander became landlord of the Inn until 1935 when, as the business had deteriorated, the licence was not renewed.  The buildings stood empty until 1939 when Michael Cardew moved in to open a pottery.

Alexander Armstrong and his wife Eva Broad had ten children together, with Eva dying when she had her last child, in 1925.  Their sixth child, Robert, born in 1913, had always shown a great interest in what his father did as a stonemason and he began to use the tools “not without hitting my hand, which was very common in the beginning – as the old saying was you have to knock off enough skin to make an apron, before you become a man!” Robert began an apprenticeship when he was sixteen.  His wage when he started was 7 shillings and six pence a week (37.5 pence), but Robert says that when payday came along he had been given ten shillings (50 pence) which “put him in good heart”.  When he was twenty-one the pay went up to £3 per week.  Robert learnt very quickly and was soon being taught to do lettering as well.  

His first big job outside the quarry was when King Arthur’s Hall was built in Tintagel, using granite from the area.  During his long career he worked on many famous pieces, now national landmarks.  He did the lettering and carving on the Karl Marx statue in Highgate Cemetery, Paul Julius Reuter in Threadneedle Street, the Monks in London and the statue of Winston Churchill in Westminster, London.  

A newspaper report speaks of “Some of Cornwall’s finest craftsmanship can be seen in Finsbury Square, London, in the doorway of the Dominion Shippers’ building, made with granite from De Lank quarries, St Breward.  It is 18ft high and 14ft wide with decoration consisting of a series of two full flowers of the Giant Protea, the emblem of South Africa, and twelve stylised buds.  The carvers were Robert Armstrong, Hedley Methven and Ted Barron.  The work demands great exactitude, and above all patience; a single bud took 200 hours to carve and 100 hours to polish” 

Here in St Breward he did the sign for St Breward Bandroom and a large amount of work at Colliford Lake.  Robert, Master Mason, retired when he was sixty-four.  He continued to put his skills to work in his workshop in the garden of his home in St Tudy.  He died in 2005.  

The above has been condensed from writing by Robert himself, his daughter Joy and newspaper articles, photos, etc., collected by Joy

Robert Armstrong

Robert Armstrong, circa 1940

Churchill Statue in Parliament Square, London

Churchill Statue in Parliament Square, London

Monument of Karl Marx at Highgate Cemetary

Robert Armstrong

Robert Armstrong, circa 1940

The St. Breward ‘Bheys’

The St. Breward ‘Bheys’

Original History

by Trevor Ternouth


Ralph and Roy Kerslake with Trevor Ternouth, their second cousin, started meeting for lunchtime meals around 1986. Ralph, who lived in Torquay, had to come to Liskeard for his monthly Masonic Lodge meetings. Roy lived at Cardinham and Trevor at St Austell. They would often meet at their old village pub in St. Breward, sometimes the Blisland Inn. Also various pubs around St. Austell where Ralph would go back to Trevor’s home, for Pam’s high tea. 

Often while in St. Austell, Ralph would visit Trevor’s mother Edna, Ralph and Roy’s first cousin. Early evening Ralph would drive back to Liskeard for his meeting. Although at times, Ralph would be enjoying his time with Pam and Trevor and if they were at home, Phil and Rich, Pam and Trevor’s sons, laughing and joking, he would miss his meetings!

Occasionally, when in the North Cornwall area, after eating, we would come to see Denis Champion, an old school pal of theirs. I do remember Gladys, Dennis’s wife was very poorly at this time. It wasn’t long before she sadly passed away.

Terence George Kent

Terence George Kent

By this time Raymond Burrows had joined us. This was around 1990. Because of the three, we decided to ask Dennis to join us, he was pleased, the three plus Denis being old school mates had plenty to reminisce about. Then Ralph passed away. Although we were able to visit him at his home and in hospital, in Torquay. Roy, my mother and I visited him, at home to say our goodbyes – he sadly passed away the next day.

Denis, Raymond, Roy and Trevor still met each month. It was at Edna’s funeral Denis asked Terry Kent to join the St. Breward boys, Terry being Trevor’s best and oldest friend – both being best man at each other’s weddings. Their parents were also best friends!

William Arthur Welch

William Arthur Welch

So once more it became FIVE. But time takes its toll, both Ray and Roy passed away. A sad time for our families. But at Roy’s funeral, his best mate Terry Gifford, from Port Isaac, said Jack Hill, another St Breward man,  would like to meet Terry Kent, so it was agreed they should both join us.

It does appear it’s at funerals we recruit new members! John Collins and Arthur Welsh have been with us, joining after John’s wife Eileen’s sad passing. They have been keen members and the rest of us are glad they’re ‘on board’.


Early in 2016, Denis died, quite suddenly and we miss his vast knowledge of the St. Breward village – it’s people, past and present and his great knowledge of the granite industry.

We now number six in our group Jack Hill, Terry Gifford, John Collins, Arthur Welsh, Terry Kent and Trevor Ternouth.

We still meet each month – putting the world and St. Breward to rights, of course will continue to do so. Once each year we are joined by Ray’s London fishing buddies, in his memory. Being six in number we benefit from the Falcon’s two for one offer – that suits us tight Cornish buggers! 

This is after our 30 years anniversary

Time again has moved on. On Tuesday, December 5, 2017 we met with Raymond Burrows’ ‘up country fishing’ mates Jed and Graham. On this day we were joined, by hopefully two future regulars. Joe Kay and Peter Davey, these will be the younger members! See next paragraph.

Then on Wednesday, 13 December 2017, Pam, our son Phil and I had lunch at the Old Inn. When Darren Wills mentioned his dad, Dai would maybe pleased to join us – so I phoned him, he was delighted to have been asked to be part of our luncheon group.

It looks as though the Old Inn, could be our favourite venue for our monthly meetings.

William Arthur Welch

William Arthur Welch

Members list current: Terrence Kent (Truro), Arthur Welch and John Collins (Bodmin), Jack Hill and Terry Gifford (Port Isaac), Trevor Ternouth (St. Austell), Joe Kay, Peter Davey, and Dai Wills (St. Breward). (Joe Kay and Peter Davey joined us in November 2017 – Dai joined in January 2018)

Past members: Ralph Kerslake (Torquay), Raymond Burrows (Bodmin), Roy Kerslake (Par), Denis Champion (St. Breward). But all are ex St Breward, born and bred!

So we start 2018 with nine members, our 32nd year of formation. Although Jack Hill and Terry Gifford have decided our January 23, 2018 dinner at the Old Inn St. Breward it will be their last. Perhaps they may occasionally join us in the future. 

Chris Greenaway joined us August 2018.

Michael Hosking joined for 2019 only two meetings.

June 2020

Sadly we heard of Jack’s Hill’s death. Although no longer meeting with us he was a popular member of a group for almost 8 years. I was honoured to relay his eulogy at his funeral.

Also Dai Wills has been poorly for quite some time so he’s not joining us, at the moment. Regulars are Arthur Welsh, Terry Kent, Len Morgan, Peter Davey, Joe Kay, Chris Greenaway and Trevor Ternouth.

Owing to the Corona virus we haven’t met since February 2020. The first break since we started meeting back in 1986 – 34 years.

Mid 2018 Terry brought us along Michael Hoskin, who now lives in Redruth – so because of the distance from St. Breward he no longer joins us.

After Covid

Terence George Kent

Terence George Kent

We, Terry and I, hoped to restart our monthly meetings on Tuesday, July 27, 2020. But our St. Breward members decided it was too risky! Arthur, age 92 also decided, through his family, it was not the most sensible thing to do – so we have postponed until we all feel safe. Terry and myself have never been thought of, in St. Breward, as the most level headed people! We never seem to grow up.

On Tuesday 3rd of November 2020 my oldest and dearest friend Terrence George Kent died suddenly. The news has shocked all who knew him. Now I know how my dad felt when Terry’s dad Kenneth died suddenly. Those two were lifelong pals.

Dates of the St. Breward Bheys meetings

And times of their joining – and their year of death!

1986 Ralph and Roy Kerslake with Trevor Ternouth

1990 Raymond Burroughs joined

1996 Dennis Champion joined

1997 Ralph Kerslake died

2006 Terry Kent joined

2008 Raymond Burrows died

2011 Roy Kerslake died

2011 Jack Hill and Terry Gifford joined

2011 John Collins and Arthur Welsh joined 

2016 Dennis Champion died

5-12-2017 Joe, Kay and Peter Davey joined

John Collins left the group

23-1-018 Dai/Brian Wills and Len Morgan joined

28-8-2018 Chris Greenaway joined

Terry Gifford and Jack Hill left the group

8-2019 Mike Hoskin joined – only for 2 dinners! 

3-2020 Because of the pandemic our monthly meetings now permanently in the Old Inn St. Breward are suspended – will they ever restart? Who knows.

June 2020 Jack Hill passed away in June.

November 2020 Terry Kent passed away in November

May 2022 Arthur Welsh passed away aged 93 years. 

Résumé of the Lank Bheys personnel

1 & 2, 1986

Ralf and Roy Kerslake from “Homelands”, Higher Lank, Wilfred their dad – Lily now Rowe their mum (my second cousins Lilly was my grandad, John Rich Rowe’s sister)

4, 1990

Raymond Burrows – his mother and father ran the Old Inn, but later the family lived at Claylands – Ray was the best friend of Roy Kerslake – so many tales and disasters!

5, 1996

Denis Champion – school friend of Ralph, Roy and Raymond – a great footballer in his day – went on to become manager of Hantergantick Quarry. Also a representative of the Cornwall F.A. and on the executive of the England Ladies Football Team – married to Gladys née Teague.

3, 1986

Trevor Ternouth – Brought up in St. Breward but left in 1960, when his parents moved to St. Austell his dad Gordon always concerned of contracting “The Dust” – so many Stone Cutters died of silicosis. Trevor has always retained a great affection of his birth village – read his book “Now That is Some Trek!”

6, 2006

Terry Kent – Trevor’s best friend – a real character and loved by many of his generation – although Trevor was quite well known for his stage work, he always wished Terry had pursued this way of life. But Terry suffered from stage fright! Again see Trevor’s book.

7, 2011

Terry Gifford – A Port Isaac import – but another of Roy Kerslakes good friends – he was a popular member of the De Lank Bheys!

8, 2011

Jack Hill – spent the latter years in Port Isaac and was good mates with Terry Gifford. Jack brought endless tales of life in St. Breward in the 1930s/40s and 50s. Some stories that amazed Terry Kent and Trevor. It was surprising how the youngsters of the era behaved – I’ll say no more – but we know!!

9, 2011 

John Collins married Eileen Rowe a distant relative of the Rowe family (Trevor). John moved into the village on his marriage – a man of strong opinions but was liked by all the original De Lank Bheys.

10 ,2011 

Arthur Welsh – a great asset to our lunch party! A wealth of knowledge re-the China play industry – he became the manager of Stannon Pit and Wenford Dries. A lovely man – dry wit and a valued member.

11, 2017

Joe Kay – One of the younger element who was to join in 2017. A real St. Breward legend. Married his childhood sweetheart Doreen née sleep and both became important members of village life. The Football Club especially and the revived Carnival Committee.

12, 2017

Pete Davey – a stoneworker all his life, younger than Trevor, but of Joe Kay’s vintage. Peter is a distant relative of Trevor’s through the Bunt family – Gwennie was his mother (née Bunt), Peter was a good local footballer who played for the village team.

13, 2018

Dai (Brian) Wills joined and was a valued member. Dai the father of mein host of the Old Inn Darren Wills.

14, 2018

Len Morgan – a friend of Terry Kent, who lived near each other in Truro. Len a former chairman of Truro City Football Club (Terry was a committee member alongside Len) so had much in common with the De Lank Bheys.

15, 2018

In 2018 our final member Chris Greenaway joined us. Chris was a classmate of Terry and Trevor’s from their infant school days. Well known and respected in the village, a stalwart of the Football Club alongside Joe Kay. Chris was as good a footballer as any to have come out of the village.

Incidentally Trevor’s dad Gordon, Terry’s dad Kenneth and Chris’s dad Cyril all attended St. Breward school as did their mums Edna Ternouth née Rowe,  Terry’s mum Monica Kent née Hancock and Chris’s mum Josephine Greenaway née Rawlings. But then in those days it was a village of very few residents(?). Joe Kay’s mum Dorothy née Kent, (Terry’s auntie) Pete Davey’s mum Gwennie Winn née Bunt, Trevor’s mums second cousin – it was very much a ‘closed’ community for several generations. The second world war ended that.



Terry Kent bought Michael Hoskin (former St. Breward boy) although he didn’t stay with us long, he moved to Redruth and felt it was too far to travel.

For several years in Nov/Dec we were joined by a few Raymond Burrows fishing friends from up London way. They would come to the Bodmin area and stay for a week and fish the Camel and Fowey rivers. Raymond goes on fishing, trips with Jed and Graham to Ireland and Scotland, fishing for salmon in those famous waters.

It has been my sad honour and privilege to have been asked to present the eulogy at the funeral of the following members of our group. Roy Kerslake, Raymond Burrows, Denis Champion and Jack Hill. I was asked to speak at Terry Kent’s funeral but felt he was too close to me so I wrote his eulogy, which was well presented by the minister of his funeral service.

Trevor Ternouth

June 2022

Peter Coats Hutton

Peter Coats Hutton

Peter Hutton and his wife and two sons, John and Patrick, lived in St Breward and Patrick’s prep school friends were delighted by the address on Patrick’s weekly letter to his mother:

Mrs Peter Hutton Fellover St Breward nr Bodmin!

There is a memorial brass to Peter Coats Hutton over the church door inside St Breward’s Church.

Peter Coats Hutton’s naval career

Peter Coats Hutton was born 2 November 1902 and entered the Royal Navy 15 September 1916.  After completing training as a naval cadet he was appointed temporarily on 15 January 1921 as a Midshipman to the cruiser ORION and then in March 1921 to the cruiser RALEIGH.

HMS RALEIGH was later wrecked on the shores of Newfoundland and “in recognition of services in saving life on occasion of wreck of HMS RALEIGH” Hutton was awarded the R.H.S Silver Medal & Certificate and the Stanhope Gold Medal for 1922.* 

Subsequent appointments included the battleships ROYAL SOVEREIGN and REVENGE.

Hutton obtained First Class passes in all his specialist courses: Seamanship, Navigation and Pilotage, Engineering, Gunnery and Torpedo, for which he was awarded a £10 prize.

On 5 January 1927 his resignation from the Royal Navy was accepted.  Married with two sons, either he was a victim of the Geddes Axe or he recognised that there was little future in a navy being drastically reduced in size.  The family moved to St Breward and Hutton took over Tor Down quarry.

On 11 May1927 he was “Granted permission to join Special Constabulary on clear understanding that Admiralty would have first claim on his services in event of Emergency.”

On 15 December 1932 he was promoted a Lieutenant Commander (Emergency) and recalled to the service on the Emergency List on 26 May 1939.

During the evacuation of Crete in April 1941 Lieutenant Commander Hutton was flown out from England to take command of ‘A’ lighters in the Mediterranean.  Described thus for security reasons, ‘A’ lighters were tank landing craft, but they were sadly ill-equipped for war.  None of them was fitted with wireless and their anti-aircraft armament was either non-existent or very weak.  With their shallow draught and high slab-sided bows they were bitches to handle in harbour and uncomfortable at sea, only in calm weather able to maintain  their maximum speed of ten knots. Their twin 500hp petrol engines made a noise which would alert the enemy from miles away.  These craft were sent to Suda Bay where they arrived on 21st April.

Subsequent operations described in Greek Tragedy ’41 by Anthony Heckstall-Smith and Vice Admiral Baillie-Grohman (published by Blond in 1961) relate the evacuation of the 58,000 Imperial troops from Crete under attack by the Luftwaffe. 

On 25th April Hutton went aboard A.15 with the intention of reaching Monemvasia on the Greek mainland in order to assist in the evacuation of ‘X’ beach where 4,320 were embarked.  A.15 never reached Monemvasia.  Somewhere between Suda Bay and the Greek coast she was sunk with the loss of all hands.

“The loss of Hutton was a tragic blow to his squadron of ‘A’ lighters for he was a splendid leader and was sadly missed……”

*Although not an official award, the medal can be worn on the right chest in uniform by members of the British armed forces.

Information courtesy of St Lawrence House Museum, Launceston

Memorial plaque to Peter Coats Hutton, located on the wall adjacent to the main door

Memorial plaque to Peter Coats Hutton, located inside the Church on the wall adjacent to the main door

Where was that cottage?

St Breward History Group was approached via its website by the husband of a lady in poor health – they had been reminiscing about a holiday they had had in a cottage named Venn back in 1985. They thought it was in St Breward and sent a photo of the cottage taken at that time.
No-one in St Breward could identify the cottage, but someone mentioned that they believed there was a cottage by that name in Cardinham. Google said “yes” and gave a postcode, so two brave History Group members crossed the A30 and, following their SATNAV ended up in Mount, on the back road to Trago! Switching the cursed machine off, they followed their noses back to Cardinham and found two knowledgeable members of the community who knew where the cottage was and even who lived there.
The cottage was easily identified and the owner gave permission for up-to-date photos to be taken. These were sent to the holidaying couple forthwith – to much appreciation and delight.
30 Years Ago!

30 Years Ago!

Members of the St Breward snooker club took part in a 24 Hour Snooker Marathon on 21-22 June 1991. 

Funds were donated to The Air Ambulance and The Cavitron Fund at Derriford Hospital.

 L-R: Arthur Cobbett,  Mike Sutton,  Martin (Chiefy) Yeo,  Noel Smith,  Robert Hill,  John Collings, Ray Wardon (Air Ambulance),  Ron Bennett,  S. Sampson (front),  D. Walsh (hidden), Terry Ellery,  Bill Hill (front) and Fred Sanders.

Ref: SBHG 2785

Photo: Martin Yeo

Bolatherick, St Breward, 1946

Bolatherick, St Breward, 1946

This month’s contribution is courtesy of Florence Walkey, who kindly donated this picture of her farm at Bolatherick.

Florence’s father William John Keast is leading (being led by?) his prize bull across the rain-soaked yard watched by the family goat and pony.  

I’d love to know the name of the animals – Over to you Florence?

Ref: SBHG 2785

The Statue of Baden-Powell

The Statue of Baden-Powell

De Lank mason Hedley (Ted) Methven and sculptor Donald Potter working on the statue of Robert Baden-Powell in the late 1950s.

Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell was a British Army officer, writer, and founder of the world-wide Boy Scout Movement. The statue was unveiled by the Duke of Gloucester on 12 July 1961 at Queen’s Gate, London to mark the opening of the new Scout Headquarters.

Donald Potter later acknowledged that it was Ted’s countless hours of help and co-operation that made the carving possible.

Photo courtesy of Margaret Methven

Ref: SBHG 0231

Beattie Well Tank at Helland Crossing

Beattie Well Tank at Helland Crossing

This 1950s photo from Robert Darlaston shows a Beattie Well Tank Locomotive, no 30587, at Helland crossing in the late 1950s.

The Beattie Well Tank is a class of British steam locomotive built between 1863 and 1875 for use on passenger services in the suburbs of London, but later used on rural services in South West England.

If you have any memories or stories of the steam trains working on the Wenford line, please contact the history group so that we may add them to the archive.

Please contact us at

Ref: SBHG 2327

Contact us:

Exploring and preserving
the history of St Breward

All content © St Breward History Group
Website: David Eno