‘When the Lights went Out’

The photo was taken by George Stevenson Curnow (b1887) and shows naval personnel enjoying a tug of war on Newlyn Green during a respite from combat duties. This is one of many fascinating pictures on display at the next Newlyn Archive Open Day on Saturday November 8 2014 from 9.30-3.00 at Trinity Centre Newlyn. The postcards showing Fleets of Peace and War in Mounts Bay before WW1 indicate the strategic importance of Newlyn and its coast during times of war. The Royal Flying Corps had a base at Sandy Cove during WW1 and there are photos of the ancient aircraft and their personnel from that time.

Women played their part. The Women Volunteer Motor Drivers (WVMD) was started in 1918 to enhance members’ driving skills to the standard where they would be acceptable to the Red Cross and other branches of national service. Phyllis Maureen Doherty, the daughter of the artists Thomas and Caroline Gotch (later the Marquise de Verdieres) started the movement. Another woman who played a key role was Charlotte Douglas Lockhart McGrigor whose sister’s memorial stands at the top off the Norrad slip.

The artists played their part during WW1, the older ones forming the Artists Rifles as part of the home guard.

There were also conscientious objectors who were often given a hard time by villagers whose sons were dying in the trenches.

With Remembrance Sunday the following day, ‘When the Lights went Out’ is a timely display of wartime Newlyn. In WW2 Belgian fishermen kept the fishing going when the Newlyn fishermen and their boats were requisitioned for the war effort. During this time Newlyn acted host to the French and Belgians under the watchful eye of the French Consular Agent.

At home the women, children and older men suffered bombs, blackouts and shortages of war-time and were equally heroic.

The Open Day will conclude with an AGM at 3pm. In the evening there will be a talk by Andrew Gordon entitled ‘Sending Saffron to Tommy’ about the sights and sounds of war, the arrival of the military and how it changed lives. This will be held at Newlyn Art Gallery which will be open for drinks from 6pm with the lecture starting promptly at 7pm. The lecture is free to friends of the archive but others will have to pay £5 and become friend in order to attend.

Do download the poster!

pdfPoster_1.pdf02/11/2014, 17:08