Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: 14/06/1901
Number issued: 8
Silver medals, to:
Turner example illustrated on angloboerwar.com (with thanks to Harry Staff).
THE VOLUNTEERS’ HOME-COMING
At a public meeting held in the Bideford Town Hall on Tuesday evening, the Mayor (Mr T. Goaman) presiding, it was decided that a public reception be given to Bideford Volunteers on their return from South Africa on Monday, a band, and the local Volunteers to attend. The following Committee was appointed to arrange details – The Mayor (Mr T. Goaman), Aldermen J.W. Narraway and R. Dymond, Messrs F.A. Searle, W.H. Metherell, W.B. Jones (Secretary), W.D. Wickham, officers of the Volunteers and C.L.B., and Mr W.B. Seldon (Town Clerk). A suggestion was made that a medal with the Bideford coat of arms on one side and a suitable inscription on the other, should be presented each man, and also that a tablet be placed in the Town Hall, but nothing definite was decided upon. The Mayor, in fulfilment of a promise when the Volunteers left for South Africa, will entertain them to dinner.
BIDEFORD’S WELCOME TO THE VOLUNTEERS.
ENTHUSIASTIC SCENES LAST NIGHT.
Last night Bideford and District received home the remainder of her sons who so readily and indeed bravely in January last year, in the time of nation’s need, came forward to fight and possibly meet death for their country, and who as Queen’s soldiers went out, but now as King’s returned. They were Capt. W.B. DART, Bideford; Pte S.J. FULFORD, 21 Honestone Street, Bideford; Pte C. SHAXON, Cross Street, Northan, Bideford; Pte S. BRAUND, 3 Cross Street, Northan, Bideford; Pte W.H. TURNER, 3 Propsect Place, Instow, Bideford; and the following have previously returned home on sick furlough, Pte S. SHORTRIDGE, 5 Bell Hill, Bideford; Pte E. LEE, 60 Meddon Street, Bideford; and Pte W. TUCKER, Castle Street, Northam, Bideford. Happily none of the local men have yielded their lives, but they certainly have not returned without taking part in an engagement or without being able to detail the hardships and trials of warfare. Had they arrived at Bideford on Saturday they would have reached here on the anniversary of a particularly thrilling event (June 8th) when, it may readily be called to mind, the Devons captured Inkwela [sic] Mountain at night amid a terrific pom-pom fire.
Enthusiastic as were the receptions at Exeter and other places, none could possibly have been more earnest and heartfelt than those at Bideford last night. The weather was bright and truly in unison with the people’s feelings of joy, for everyone seemed to wear that mark of gladness.
The arrangements for the reception were most satisfactorily made by the following committee appointed at a meeting held on Tuesday evening – The Mayor (Mr T. Goaman), Officers of the Volunteers and Church Lad’s Brigade, Aldermen J.W. Narraway and R. Dymond, Messrs T.A. Searle, J.M. Metherell, W.D. Wickham, W.B. Seldon (Town Clerk), and W.B. Jones (Hon. sec). An escort consisting of Lieut. Boord, Col.-Sergt. Short, Corpl. Sluman, and 16 men left Bideford by an early train for Exeter. It was announced that the men would arrive by the 7.57 train, and long before that time the long Bridge and Station yard was crowded with people. Also assembled at the Station were about 130 members of the E and H Companies 4th V.B.D.R. with their bandmaster F. Ellis, commanded by Capt. and acting Adjt. Martin, Capt. Paton, and Major Gorton. True to time the train conveying the eagerly awaited occupants steamed into the station, and barely had it stopped before almost deafening shouts of welcome were given up by the crowds which the men looking out the windows acknowledged, the band striking up “See the Conquering heroes come”.
As the men proceeded off the platform the cheers became louder, and continued for some minutes. The bronzed faces of the warriors who wore khaki, at once reflected upon one’s mind the hardships of the veldt, but allowing for this they looked very fit and lacked not smartness cultivated by “Tommy”. The men exchanged greetings with comrades and friends, and those dear to them to whom they said “good-bye” seventeen months ago at the time realising they might never again meet, which made the scene pathetic.
The greetings over, the men of the hour, with their escort on either side marched into the midst of the E and H Companies, and a procession was formed, headed by the band playing patriotic tunes. Followed by hundreds of people they proceeded to the Jubilee lamp, on the Broad Quay, where they were received, amidst loud cheering, by the Mayor and Corporation, who were standing on a raised dais, surrounded by the Bideford Company of the Church Lads’ Brigade under Lieut. De Spailier.
Silence having been obtained and "God save the King" played, the Town Clerk read the following address to the men –
“Capt. DART, Ptes FULFORD, BRAUND, SHORTRIDGE, SHAXON, TURNER, TUCKER and LEE, men of the Active Service Company, Devon Regiment, on behalf of the Corporation, Burgesses, and other inhabitants of the ancient Borough of Bideford, it affords me great pleasure to welcome you on your return from active service in South Africa. It was with pardonable pride that in common with others whom I have the honour to represent, I witnessed the outbursts of patriotism which led you to volunteer for the arduous and dangerous duties of the war in South Africa. We have from day to day followed the developments of the campaign in which you were engaged and always were glad to know that you have maintained the best tradition of valour for which the men of Devon have ever justly been famed. We trust that on your return to civil life you will continue to be the subjects of the same good fortune which hitherto has smiled upon you”.
In handing this address, which was written on parchment and bore the Borough seal, to Capt. DART, on behalf of the men, the Mayor said – “It gives me great pleasure to be present to-night to receive you home from the war in South Africa, to which you went 18 months ago, when we wished you ‘God speed’. We are glad you have returned safe and sound and been spared through the war and been brought to your native country. We have not been unmindful of you. A collection has been made and medals engraved, which will be presented to you. You will be entertained to supper next Friday evening as promised you. I must again say I am heartily glad that you have returned”. (Loud cheers).
Lieut. DART, showing signs of much feeling, at length replied, saying – “Mr Mayor and gentlemen, if I ought to make a big speech to-night, with one thing and another I cannot. We have done our little best and I don’t think what we have done we have done very bad[ly]. I know we have had rotten times, but it has not been our faults. (Loud cheers). I thank you all for the cordial way in which you have turned out to greet us”. (Continued applause).
The band again played “God save the King”, and the procession was reformed and went by the way of the Quay and New Road to the Drill Hall. The route was, through some reason, altered and caused great disappointment to many. It was truly a case of “must go with the crowd”, and everywhere the men were greeted with shouts of welcome, and handkerchiefs, &c. were waved from windows, whilst bunting was displayed almost everywhere.
The men were then dismissed, but not before they had again been heartily cheered.
The active service men with Troopers KING and PROUSE (who have been invalided home from the front) will be entertained to dinner on Friday next by the Mayor in the Music Hall, in fulfilment of his promise when the volunteers left. A medal with the Borough Coat of Arms on one side and the following inscription on the other will then be presented to the volunteers who have taken part in the war – “Presented to (name) 4th V.B.D.R. by the Town of Bideford for services rendered in South Africa during the war of 1899 to 1901. June 14th 1901”.
ACTIVE SERVICE MEN GET MEDALS.
Following up the reception given the active service volunteers on their return from South Africa on Monday evening, a public dinner was given, with the men as guests of the Mayor, on Friday night. Occasion was also taken to present each of the returned men with a souvenir of the campaign, and distribute the prizes to the winners in the monthly competition of the E and H companies. The invited guests included Capt. W.B. DART, Bideford; Privates S.J. FULFORD, 21 Honestone Street, Bideford; J. SHAXON, Cross Street, Northam, Bideford; W.H. TURNER, 3 Prospect Place, Instow, Bideford; and Privates S. SHORTRIDGE, Barnstaple Road, Bideford; E. LEE, 60 Meddon Street, Bideford; W. TUCKER, East-the-water, Bideford; and also Troopers W. KING and J. PROUSE and Sergt.-Major ROGERS, of the Imperial Yeomanry, who had previously returned home on sick leave. ……
……. Dinner over, the loyal toast of “The King” was given by the Mayor, and then followed the presentation of the medals to the returned Volunteers. The medals, which are the size of a five-shilling piece, were specially struck, the name of the recipient only being engraved. The inscription reads as follows – “Presented to Private _____ , H Company 4th V.B. Devon Regiment, by the town of Bideford for services rendered in South Africa during the war of 1899-1901, June 14th, 1901”. As each man came forward at the call of their names, they were heartily cheered by the audience.
The Mayor next proposed, in felicitous terms, the toast of the evening, “The Returned Volunteers”. Bideford, he thought, had done nobly in sending eight men prepared to serve their Queen and country. They had gone through hardships and endured many privations upholding the name of Bideford for valour and doing their duty well.
Captain DART responded, remarking that he could but inadequately thank them for the magnificent reception accorded to him and his men. They had had very hard luck, but they had done their duty, and what they had done they had tried to do their best.
Private FULFORD also responded, and told how General Hildyard had commanded the Devon Volunteers. Private SHAXON also briefly replied.