Newspaper Articles

The following articles all appeared in the Western Morning News between 1939 and 1945. They all relate to St. Mawes and St. Just in Roseland in some way, either directly or by being about someone connected to the parish. They are presented in chronological order.

Thursday 31 August 1939


Recruiting Progress


Cornwall Women's Land Army is now getting under way, and the present strength is 102, but this number, according to Mrs. P. Pollard, of St. Mawes, the secretary, is altogether too small.

In an interview last night, Mrs. Pollard told " The Western Morning News" that 30 farmers in the county had offered to take volunteers, and of this number more were in the east than in the west. Training had been started, and about twelve girls had either completed their fortnight's training or were arranging to go for training.

Miss Collett, of Quenchwell, near Truro, at the start some time ago took volunteers by arrangement with the Women's Farm and Gardening Association, of which she is a representative. About half a dozen are in training with farmers in different parts of the county, and others are training with farmers whom they know, but this private training will count as connected with the Land Army.


" The Ministry," Mrs. Pollard said, " have now said that in the event of war they will pay 15s. per week for the board and lodging of volunteers to the farmers, but at the moment farmers in Cornwall are giving accommodation and training free. In the county we could not ask volunteers, to pay that, and appealed to farmers to take them without any payment, and they responded to the extent of 30, who will take trainees free.

"There are a lot of people who in the event of war will take volunteers, and many farmers      will want female workers. The demand will no doubt be greater than the supply.

"We are grateful," Mrs. Pollard added. "to the Agricultural Committee the county for helping us by offering classes in every branch of farm work, and we are asking volunteers to take advantage of that."

Mrs. Bolitho is chairman of the Cornwall Women's Land Army, and the county has been divided into districts corresponding with the electoral divisions, and assistance is invited for the five divisional officers who have been appointed.

They are:—St. Ives—Mrs. Favell, Penzance. Camborne—Mrs. Ward, Camborne. North-East Cornwall —Miss Ruth Cruddas, Bodmin. South-East Cornwall—Miss Winifred Roberts, Torpoint. Falmouth and Penryn—Miss Dorrien- Smith.


Miss Calmady-Hamlyn, of Okehampton, is undertaking the duties of publicity and propaganda officer.

The ultimate aim is to create a machine similar to that which proved so successful during the Great War. This entailed parish registers, with local supervisors.

Recruiting is proceeding slowly. The object of the " Army " in Cornwall is to gain as many enlistments as possible, a total of 500 being regarded as the minimum. is anticipated that should an emergency occur the rate of intake will be increased rapidly. The broccoli-growing community is expected to be particularly helpful.

The following two pieces both relate to an incident when eight servicemen drowned after attending a dance in St. Mawes.

Tuesday 01 October 1940

Eight Drowned After Dance


Boat Capsizes In Cornwall

Eight Service men were drowned after attending a dance at St. Mawes when a12ft. dinghy, with outboard motor, in which they were returning to St. Anthony, was swamped.

Ten soldiers and two naval men were in the boat. Four were rescued. Three bodies have been recovered and five are missing.

The accident occurred about midnight ton Saturday in the centre of the river off Polvarth Point.

The boat capsized in choppy water.

The men's cries attracted the attention of Mr. Cyril Green, of Brackley Cottage, St. Mawes, who went out in his boat and rescued a soldier, Chas Nisbet, and also found the body of another soldier, Chas-Edward Hughes, a married man, aged 29.

Other soldiers rescued were named Butler, Riley, and Ronald Cook.


The bodies recovered, in addition to that of Hughes, were those of John Beard,36, married, of Stoke-on-Trent, and Albert Habbajam, 35, married.

The missing men are Sergt. Matthews, soldiers named Kidd and Mullin, and two naval men, P.O.s W. Reed and T. N. Elliott.

Other rescuers followed Mr. Green, but they could not find any more of the men.

Throughout Sunday search parties continued to look for bodies.

Beard's body was found on the sands at Amsterdam Point, St. Anthony, and Habbajam's was recovered with dragnets.

An inquest is be held today.

Wednesday 02 October 1940


St- Mawes Tragedy Story


"THE evidence is perfectly clear that the boat was overloaded and as a result these unfortunate men were accidentally drowned," said the Coroner (Mr. L. J. Carlyon), at an inquest at Truro yesterday on three bodies recovered after the tragedy which occurred at St. Mawes in the early hours of Sunday morning, when eight men were drowned. Five of the bodies are still missing. Four men were rescued.

The inquest was on Gnr. John Beard, 10. Linley-road, Hartshill, Stoke-on- Trent, aged 41, tyremaker; Gnr. Albert Habbajam, 216, Bright-street, Carbrook, Sheffield, aged 48, grinder; and Gnr. Chas Edward Hughes, 55, Queen-road, Tipton, Staffordshire, aged 29, iron and steel bender.


Gnr. Chas. Nisbet, of Wardlew-street, Edinburgh, said the party went to a dance at St Mawes, and left there some time after midnight. They congregated at the quay. He had had a drink or two, but not sufficient to make him drunk. A naval boat picked them up and all twelve went on board.

"When we were 30 or 40 yards out," continued Gnr Nisbet, "the engine was revved up when the boat started to sway. When we were halfway across the water to St Anthony she capsized suddenly and without any warning. We were all thrown into the water. I clung to the boat to the best of my ability and was picked up after half an hour."

Answering the Coroner, Gnr. Nisbet said a petty officer was in charge of the boat, and they all on board in quite an orderly manner. They went on one by one. and it was suggested it would be all right if they kept quiet and still. The boat was undoubtedly filled, but they were all able to sit down. All the soldiers got on board as well as two sailors.

It was eight or nine miles to go around St. Anthony by road.

The missing men were Sergt. Matthews, Dvr Mullin, Gnr. Kidd, and two sailors. Those rescued were himself. and Gnrs Cook, O'Reilly, and Butler.


The Coroner: Did the man in charge make any remark about the boat being overloaded?

Gnr. Nisbet: No.

The gunwale was only three or four inches above the water, he added, but no one protested that the craft was overloaded.

The Coroner: Was everybody sober?

Gnr. Nisbet: Yes, and there was no skylarking or anything of that kind.

Bdr Ronald Cook, another rescued man, of Kennet-avenue, Colwyn Bay, said someone suggested the boat was rather overcrowded, but the naval man in charge said would be all right. It was quite calm in the harbour, but when they got out there was quite a swell and the boat started to roll.

Someone complained about water coming over the side, and the naval man told them to keep quite still and it would be all right. In about midstream he thought the man in charge was having a job with the boat, and she began to roll even more, and the water came over and they were thrown into the water.


The Coroner: Are you able to express any opinion about the boat?

Bdr. Cook replied that the naval rating was confidenthe could get the boat over with all the men, but he found the sea rougher than he expected. The boat must have been overloaded.

Maj Bailey, Have you heard of the order not to cross in a boat after dark?

Bdr. Cook: Yes.

Cyril James Green, of Brackley Cottage, St. Mawes, said about 12.30 on Sunday morning he heard shouts for help. He hastily slipped on trouser and jersey, ran to the quay and got out his boat. He rowed 400 or 500 yards and saw a man in the water, face upwards. He pulled him on board and 30 yards away found a boat upside down with Nisbet clinging to the bottom. He pulled him on board, and then worked on the other man to try to restore life. He took the body to the beach and sent for a doctor.


Meanwhile there was another shout for help, and witness sent two young men to try to find those who were missing. His efforts with the other man on the beach were hopeless.

The boat the men had been in was a pram ten or twelve feet long and about four feet beam and normally should carry five persons in fine weather. To have had twelve in it was overcrowding by a long way. A local man would never have gone out in such circumstances.

The Coroner said he had received a petition signed by 133 inhabitants at St. Mawes, in which they said they considered the military authorities should provide some form of motor transport such as a bus service for the men stationed at St. Anthony. Haphazard use of water transport with the approach of winter would inevitably lead to further loss of life.

Maj. Bailey: There is a limit to the transport provided, but there may be some arrangement for men to pay tor going across.


The Coroner: The evidence perfectly clear. The boat was overloaded, and asa result these unfortunate men were accidentally drowned, and shall return a verdict that effect. The only thing to do is to take steps to prevent anything similar happening in the future.

Mr. Green said he did not agree with some of the wording of the petition, because would be all right to take men across the water with capable men in charge. Some were willing to get them over if the military authorities would only help, but they made no attempt to do so. He had an engine which could be used if the military would provide a suitable boat. The skipper of the Roseland steamer and himself were ready to help.

This next article relates to the raid on Falmouth Docks on 10 July 1940 when two merchant ships were burnt out and a third sunk. The raid is depicted in Charles Pears painting “The Bombing of the British Chancellor”.

Wednesday 30 October 1940


Falmouth Man's Bid To Save Ships

H.M. Government, recognizing the devotion to duty of masters, officers, and men of the merchant service and fishing fleets, have made awards for outstanding services in saving ships and cargoes from destruction by the enemy.

The following is a list received by Lloyd's of vessels in respect of which awards have been granted: Clan MacBean, Dosinia, Gryfevale, Stonepool, Baharistan, Rockpool, Northern Coast, City of Marseilles, Scottish American, Dunster Grange, Roseburn, Helder, Groningen, Argos Hill, Highlander, John M. Sanfry, Yewkyle, Strinda (Norwegian), Harpenden, Sussex Regent, Lion, Etruria, Lavinia, Rigoletto, Star of Scotland, Katreen, and Windsor.


Among the awards is: - M.B.E. (Civil Division): Charles Phillips Jackson, pilot, Falmouth.

In a raid merchant ship was struck by a bomb and set on fire. Pilot Jackson, with the assistant dockmaster, cut away her mooring ropes on the wharf. Later Pilot Jackson was put on board the ship, which by this time was burning fore and aft, and he cut away the remaining ropes connecting her with another vessel. He then made fast a tug's tow-ropes to the forward bollards and towed the ship to St Mawes.

On reaching St. Mawes Pilot Jackson came back in another tug and went on board a third merchantman which was on fire. He cut the ropes away from this vessel, and, taking a rope from her into another ship, towed her to Mylor Pool.

A radio broadcast

Tuesday 05 November 1940



The B.B.C. will present musical entertainment from Cornwall on Thursday in a programme entitled " Cornish Journey," to be broadcast in the Home Service at 8 o'clock.

It is one of the " Music-Makers' Half- Hour " series, and comes as the fruits of a journey made recently through part of Cornwall by Mr. Clifton Helliwell, of the B.B.C. music department, in the recording van.

Mr. F. H. Grisewood, the popular announcer and compere, will introduce the programme, compiled from music met with on the trip.

Listeners will hear St. Austell Ladies' Choir, Penzance Silver Band, Heamoor Male Voice Choir, St. Mawes Choral Society, including an interview with the conductor and a member of the choir, the Mid-Cornwall Male Voice Choir, and Camborne Brass Quartet.

One of the high spots of the programme will be a recording made in the main street of Helston on May 8 this year of the famous Furry Dance.


The aim of this programme is to show how, even in wartime, amateur music-makers in country districts carry on with the hobby they love. Some of them came in Home Guard or A.F.S. uniforms to make the recordings; others are fishermen, shopkeepers, miners, land workers, and municipal employees. They perform a wide selection of music, including, of course, some of the grand old traditional tunes of Cornwall.

Three B.B.C. programme departments now situated in the Westcountry combined in the making of " Cornish Journey."

The idea was originated and carried out by Mr. Clifton Helliwell, who normally advises Mr. Leslie Baily. of the variety department, with the musical side of the popular " Everybody's Scrapbook " programmes: so, by way of returning the compliment, Mr. Helliwell enlisted Mr. Baily to give his expert advice on the continuity and presentation of this show.

The production of the programme will be by Mr. Douglas Cleverdon, of the West Region's features and drama department.

The funeral of an artist who did work in St. Mawes

Tuesday 29 April 1941

Newquay Artist Buried

The funeral of Mr. F. R. E. Whiting only son of Mrs. R. M. Whiting and the late Mr. E. R. E. Whiting, of Chumley, Porth-road Newquay, who was killed by enemy action at Plymouth, took place at St. Columb Cemetery on Sunday. Deceased, who was 29. was a native of St. Columb, and as an artist craftsman of great genius had a studio and studio club at Newquay.

 A few years ago he was engaged by Miss Jessie Matthews, the film star, to do the mural paintings at her house at St. Mawes, Cornwall. Canon S. J. Childs Clarke (rector of St. Columb) officiated.

A salvage claim.

Tuesday 17 June 1941


St. Mawes Detention


St. Mawes Pier and Harbour Co. intervened in the Admiralty Court yesterday in the salvage action of the Mari Chandris, a Greek vessel, owned in London, to ask for an order of the Court establishing their title to detain her until their dues at St Mawes were paid, which were said to be about £100, and increasing at £15 a month.

Two claims of salvage had been before the Court for services rendered the vessel after she had been in collision in the Atlantic in June a year ago, and £5,000 had been awarded in the one case to the Zwarte Zee, which took her into Falmouth, and £1,500 in the other to Ellerman Lines, Ltd., the owners of the Algerian, her master and crew, who towed the ship in the Atlantic.


Mr. Porges contended for the St. Mawes Pier and Harbour Co. that they had under their Acts a statutory right to hold the ship for their dues which took precedence over all maritime liens, and he complained that the £1.500 had been paid by the defendants' underwriters to the salvors, who had thereupon given a consent to the owner for the release of the vessel.

The ship was injured by enemy action, and shipbreakers under a Court's order were now taking the metal out of her for the Government's war effort.

Mr. Justice Langton said he would adjourn the hearing as the defendants were not represented in Court and direct that in the meantime the vessel be not taken away from where she lay at St. Mawes. The payment of the purchaser of the metal would pile up in the Registry for the benefit of the St. Mawes Pier and Harbour Co.

Over the course of the war several reports of St. Mawes residents falling foul of blackout regulations appear in the newspaper. Here is one example.

Tuesday 12 August 1941


Black-Out Offence At St. Mawes

Adml. Frank Scott Carlisle, of Sea Rings, St. Mawes, was fined £10 and ordered to pay over £3 in costs at Tregony Police Court yesterday, for a blackout offence.

After saying he had warned defendant on previous occasions, Special Constable Wiley, St Mawes, said lights from defendant's house were showing across the bay.

Defendant, in a statement, said he was expecting evacuees and the black-out arrangements had to be altered.

Giving blood, lots of it!

Thursday 04 September 1941


Appreciation Expressed To Cornish Donors

The Army Blood Transfusion Service, Bristol, have written expressing appreciation of the splendid way in which everyone responded and helped to make both days for blood transfusion at St. Mawes so successful.

Altogether, the letter states, some 141 donors gave their blood, which must be quite a large proportion of the total population, setting, in fact, a standard for the whole of Cornwall.

The numbers giving transfusion the othe places visited were:— Bodmin, 19; Camborne, 60; Falmouth, 19; Fowey, 30; Hayle, 31; Helston, 31; Liskeard. 30; Manaccan, 39; Newlyn East, 23; Newquay, 39; Penzance, 40; Perranporth, 33; Padstow, 44; St. Austell. 39; St. Ives, 94; Truro, 27.

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