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Maidencombe resident since 1960. Local historian and author of the 'Coves of Maidencombe'.
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The bowl of the coombe as seen from Sladnor heights

The bowl of the coombe as seen from Sladnor heights

Maidencombe point

Maidencombe point
as seen above Maidencombe cove.

Blog Archive

Tuesday, April 20, 2021



Brim hill closed again for water leak

The tell-tale trickle of water down Brim hill could only mean that the 'everlasting' leak had surfaced once more and that South West Water would soon be digging up the road - yet again.

I took a closer look at the works on Monday and now can see why the 'leak' occurs and will continue to do so, time and time again.

The 'repair'
The 'repair'  

 A veritable Heath Robinson arrangement of water couplers and graduated plastic pipes connect the two apparently different diameter water pipes. A failed section of plastic pipe remains.

To my knowledge, this is at least the seventh time the leak has occurred over the years.  I would have thought that engineers had the number of incidents logged and would have questioned the effectiveness of repairs previously undertaken.

Residents now have the right to ask whether it would now be better to simply replace the section of pipe, instead of SWW continuing to keep patching up the leak and knowing that it will be just a matter of time before they are called out again.

Thursday, November 26, 2020


There was chaos at Maidencombe Cross this afternoon as rescue vehicles galore arrived to deal with a head-on car crash on the bend (Teignmouth side) before Maidencombe Cross. Two fire engines, two ambulances, five police cars and a police dog team were at the scene just after 3 pm and the busy Teignmouth Road was shut, causing serious disruption for motorists.


The sight of a police dog handler and Alsatian searching the fields alongside Stoke Road gave rise to a suspicion that someone had fled the scene of the accident between a car - on the wrong side of the road - and taxi.

A short time later, a police helicopter appeared overhead and began circling. A police officer at the scene confirmed that it was searching for someone who had run off.


Two people were injured and taken to hospital, the extent of their injuries not known. Devon Live carried the story but failed to comprehend that there was a police search underway.

Sunday, August 02, 2020


Well, it was a long time coming and we had waited, wondered and hoped but finally, the doors of our beloved pub were opened for us, the locals, to come on in and see what the new owners had wrought.

Some tantalizing sneak previews had been posted on their facebook page and the wow factor was plain to see, this was evidently a refurb to end all refurbs with great attention to detail and no expense spared. And we were not to be disappointed when viewing it 'in the flesh' Saturday evening.

James (left) and Stephen

Arriving a little after eight, the pub was already in full swing and a party atmosphere was evident with a mini barbie operating by the notice board on the green. Entering the hallowed portal I was surprised to see a gentleman sitting at the bar! What? Normality restored? Why yes, and there they were, four sumptuous, sink in and be supported in your supping bar stools, outfitted in plush royal red upholstery.

Three banks of pumps assailed my eyes with the reassuring real ales at centre. The de rigueur Jail Ale stood proud and tall - the first non Hall and Woodhouse ale on offer at this free house for many a moon - hurrah!
A novel sight at the TT - a pint of Jail Ale

Recovering from a previous tipple tasting, I plumped for the Bob (Wickwar Brewery in the Cotswalds), as endorsed by Paul of the Linhay (of course pronounced Blackadder style). It was a strange, malty and lively hopped 4.0 abv session ale to keep my senses semi-alert. As Andy Maltas, beer supper cum connoisseur elite remarked: 'A typical Yorkshire style ale.'

However, enough of the minutiae, back to the Thatched Tavern set-up. Residents aplenty were present, including the curious from far-flung Stoke and the beer garden accommodated the overspill and the keen to stay in the open air set.

The first drink was on the house after you had filled in a covid form with contact details - cheers to the management for that welcome.

Behind the bar were James, Jo (formerly of the Orestone Manor) and General Manager Stephen.
There was suddenly a round of applause as three of the four chefs entered - apparently for their nibbles assortment which had been distributed earlier - so an early indication of the quality and preparation of the food that would be on offer in the restaurant.

A round of applause greeted the chefs

Sue Austin gave her seal of approval and she echoed the general thumbs up approval of the locals. The hard work by the new owners had not been in vain and they must have breathed a collective sigh of relief at clearing the first hurdle of their proud new venture.
Thumbs up from Rob Austin as Andy Maltas reclines
in luxury at the bar.

Time was called at 10 pm and the locals drifted away - all with a positive take on the born again Thatched Tavern. It's early days and let us fervently hope that our local will prosper in these terrible times.
Ziggy Austin looking sharp and dapper in the TT

The bottom line from beer drinkers Andy and myself was one of joy and great relief that we would be welcome to drink beer at the bar - something we took for granted but which now seems a privilege.

Good luck to the new management and fingers crossed everyone.

Jim Campbell
Posting on behalf of the Maidencombe Community Group

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


 Data supplied by:

RFA Tidespring’s role

RFA Tidespring is predominantly deployed on replenishment at sea operations. These involve refuelling Royal Navy ships while they are on operations, delivering vital supplies, and transporting specialist personnel, including Royal Marines Commandos.

RFA Tidespring undertakes a range of other maritime operations, including policing shipping lanes and providing humanitarian aid. It also has capacity for a large Chinook helicopter on the flight deck, making it more versatile than previous tankers.

Thursday, March 19, 2020


My situation is tricky but not desperate - yet.  A ninety eight year old mother, six rescue cats and a tortoise who didn't want to hibernate are wholly dependent on me for the duration of the Corona war. Resourcefulness must be brought into play if my household is to be kept functioning at 'normal' capacity. Here then is my CoronaWar Diary..

Rule 1 supermarkets are to be avoided*, there's more available from your previously much maligned and ill-used corner shop.  A visit to Sainsbury's at the Willows last night amply demonstrated the point. Only three of anything (two for the toilet rolls and #1 Hoarder items) seemed like a good idea but most shelves were still forlornly empty and 'serving' [sic] to ratchet up the panic levels even more.

Pet food non-existent and my shopping basket (don't bother with a trolley) consisted of two cans of red salmon; a bottle of sunflower oil to bake my unavailable potatoes; a six pack of white finger rolls (still available on a daily basis - thumbs up) and two packets of basics digestive biscuits for when we go into bunker mode.

Asda next and a bit of luck - an employee is unpacking the pet food stocking trolley and three boxes of Felix senior sachets are like gold dust in my basket. Strawberries (Mum's favourite) and bananas are available but as was the case at Sainsbury's:
No milk today, it wasn't always so
The company was gay, we'd turn night into day

How right you were Herman.

Up to the Coop at St Marychurch and though a hefty £1.50, 4 pints of skimmed milk and two chocolate eclairs (another Mum's favourite) are the last shop of the day.

DAY 1 done and the confidence number (out of 100) is 90.

* The reserving of the first hour for the elderly/at risk at some supermarkets not helpful (yet) for me as I tend to be up until the early hours most nights tending for Mum and 7am is usually when I get my head down for three hours or so shuteye. Also not sure if queueing in close proximity with other shoppers a good idea.

Sunday, March 15, 2020


And so it begins. A brief visit to my local post office to take out money and a member of staff, usually friendly, is standing back from the counter and seems ill at ease. Small talk is rebuffed and monosyllabic comments are forthcoming.

The seriousness of the situation for all is clear, the emergence of Covid-19 is a threat not seen since 1939 and the start of the second world war.

For the next few months at least, lifestyles will be drastically changed and social interaction will be curtailed, almost to the point of extinction for some of the most vulnerable.

For the elderly among us, the threat is even more serious, so what can we do to make ourselves as safe as possible?

With an ailing and exceedingly frail mother of ninety eight, my courses of action are clear and without resorting to panic measures, I have ceased going out Mondays for my social activities on the hash or having a beer or two at the Church House down the road.

The 'hot spot' of Torbay with cases reported from pupils at Churston Grammar and health workers from Chelston Manor practice, mean that the virus is close by and inevitably spreading.

My groceries were being delivered twice weekly, however, the selfish panic buyers have now used up all slots for over a week and that option is no longer available. This is a great hardship for carers and the elderly who will now have to venture out in order to buy essential items. 
If there is a vulnerable resident near you, please be kind enough to ask them if there is anything you can get them when you go out. THIS MAY BE VITAL FOR THEM in the near future. 
I make sure that I do not touch my face for the duration of any outing and until I have thoroughly washed my hands on returning home. Ensure regularly washing hands after that as the virus can survive on surfaces for some time and you might have brought contaminated items with you back into your home.

The best time to visit shops is about half an hour before they close when few shoppers are out.

One vital activity that is unaffected is my running, a saving grace indeed and the opportunity to stay reasonably fit and maintain the immune system.

As a community, it is incumbent upon us to look after the elderly and infirm around us. If you live near such a neighbour, please enquire regularly if they are in need of assistance. Such an enquiry would also be deeply reassuring.

Although not guaranteed, the young and healthy have a significantly better chance of shrugging off the virus, whereas the elderly with health issues are at far greater risk. For us, it will be a severe test of our resolve.

I have never known such a potential threat to life and normality is a commodity that may not be restored for many months to come.

Take care out there.

Saturday, March 14, 2020


Video shot on 7th March: Thank you Martin Pols for identifying the barge as the Almerode being towed by Grace 1 (Vanuatu flagged).  The vessels are now underway and making 5.2 knots some 20 miles southeast of Salcombe. We haven't seen  these type of dubious sorties for some time but this inlet is a well-used location for sheltering en route for their destinations off the African coast.

Saturday, February 29, 2020


Rockhouse Lane slippage
Bottom of Brim Hill slippage

By the side of Five Meadows, Rockhouse Lane, NOT Byways as stated on commentary.

Monday, August 05, 2019


On Saturday 3rd August, Joe Croker our much loved postie, made his last rounds in Maidencombe.

Over the past three decades, Joe has become a familiar sight around the coombe and has got to know many of the residents.  A cheerful toot of his horn alerting me to go to the gate for a parcel; when I'm not there, wrapping bulky post or packages in waterproof bags and lowering over the gate - a host of helpful ways which have been so appreciated by myself and others for such a long time.

I managed to get a short video of Joe on Saturday as he delivered his 'last post' to me. So sad to see him drive off. We all wish him a long and happy retirement.
Goodbye Joe, we'll miss you greatly.

Saturday, January 05, 2019


The Torbay Coastal Heritage Trust's letter regarding the perceived abject failures and duplicity of the Torbay Design Review Panel (TDRP) makes for fascinating but ultimately alarming reading. The letter is reproduced here by kind permission of the TCHT.

“It is up to us to live up to the legacy that was left for us, and to leave a legacy that is worthy of our children." 

Our ref 129 -3rd January. 2019 Objection
Your ref. P/2018/1053 Sladnor Park, Maidencombe. 

Planning Officers re Torbay Design Review Panel

Dear Sirs / Madam     Timeline of Events re Sladnor Park Application

1. Developer responds  to Torbay Council web question quote:
“Do you need Planning permssion?” “Contact us about a potential future major development”
“Save you the costs of pursuing a formal application unlikely to gain approval”
“Avoid delays by reducing the amount of negotiations and amendments required at the formal application stage”
“In some instances we will wish to refer development proposals to the independent Torbay Design Review panel. A separate fee will be required to cover the cost of using the Panel."

2. Developers Architect Tyack Architects prepare a 7 page briefing document for Panel distribution and a powerpoint presentation to procure the support of Torbay Design Review Panel.

3. 7th November 2016 meeting, Torbay Design Review Panel at Council House, Torquay Chair, Panel Members, Developer, Architects, Planning Advisor and Torbay Planning Officers. commencing with a presentation noting the site is within the Countryside zone, Coastal Zone and Area of Great Landscape Value. Recording incorrectly:-“ An extant planning permission exists for a similar type of development”

4. The TDRP minutes records para 2.1. quote:
“The various viewpoints that you illustrate with a comparison between the current scheme, the impact of the approved project and the anticipated impacts of the new proposals seem not to show a significant increase in harm to the visual amenity of the surroundings,” and Para 5.0 quote:“We are broadly supportive of the revised proposals as a replacement for the approved scheme and it appears that the new strategy is not markedly different in terms of visual impacts.”

5. Torbay Design Review Panel - became -Torbay Developers Resolution Panel By Wittingly or Unwittingly a series of grave incorrect assessments.

a) Incorrect analysis that previous approved scheme was valid. Expired (see Para 6)
b) Since expiration, ignoring a multitude of new relevant National and Local Planning Policies.
c) In breach of Principle Accountable. “The Review Panel and its advice must be clearly seen to work for the benefit of the public. This should be ingrained within the panel’s terms of reference.”
d) The Panel was not Independent, working only for the Developers overdevelopment benefit.
e) Not taking account the proposed large development is in an area scheduled as Country Park.
f) Failed to look at scheme in context, and challenge the design brief, to preserve the setting.
g) Failed to identify weak and inappropriate scheme at an early stage, when radical changes can be made with a minimum of wasted time and effort, and consideration of current policies.
h) Failed a programme of community engagement, to hold a meeting in public, proceeding secretly
i) The community was denied knowledge of the secret minutes of the meeting for over two years.
j) The secrecy from the Community, delayed identifying errors of simple common sense.
k) A Panel member was biased- designing and advocating tall building in protected Coastal areas.

6. 21st May 2018 Torbay Mr Scott Jones Pre-application advice Quote:- “As previously stated within correspondence by Ruth Robinson it was stated that the Authority considered the previous consent to have expired” 7. 15th Nov.2018 Planning Application Validated - Agent Pegasus Planning Group Ltd.

It is requested the proposals are re-assessed by an Independent Regional or National Panel to re-consider the above mis-calculations before the Committee consideration.

Yours faithfully   — Trustees (12) of Torbay Coastal Heritage Trust  (copy to CABE)

Wednesday, January 02, 2019


Engineers and equipment have been on site all day at the lower end of Sladnor Park just in from Brim Hill. Two operations are taking place with drilling equipment to test the water tables and saturation levels of the lower reaches of Sladnor Park.
Survey team number 1 at Sladnor Park
The latest planning application - the highly contentious 'Retirement Village' is under scrutiny by Torbay Council's Planning Department and one of a number of major obstacles facing the developer is the drainage and rainwater run off from Sladnor Park.  There are, as villagers are patently aware,  existing problems from flooding down Brim Hill with rainfall run off from Sladnor Park. 

The following two videos of the operation are posted below. Video #1 is detailed footage of the Survey 1 team and the following video shows both survey teams.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Maidencombe Resident breaks British Masters Swimming record

The record breaking team with Neal Taylor at far right.
Maidencombe's Neal Taylor, already feted with numerous wins, medals in UK events and excellent times, added a British Masters record to his achievements on Sunday June 10th. The event in question was the 4 x 100 metres Medley relay and Neal swam the anchor freestyle leg for Totnes Swimming Club.
The team consisted of Kalon Veale, Levin Veale, Dan John and Neal Taylor..

They beat a very strong team from Preston. 

During the three days of competition at the Plymouth Life Centre, 715 athletes from 202 clubs took part. As well as the UK, athletes represented Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey and Australia.

Friday, June 01, 2018


A request for a 'Coves of Maidencombe' booklet was received from the Teignmouth station of the National Coastwatch Institution a few days ago.  Although the booklet, first printed in 2014, has sold out, there are a limited number of archive copies and I was pleased to be able to supply one in person at the station last Tuesday.
The elevated Teignmouth NCI station in Eastcliff Walk
I was welcomed by the Deputy Station Manager, Isobel, and shown around the tiny lookout station in Eastcliff Walk.  
Watchkeepers at work inside the Teignmouth NCI station
Isobel told me that the watchkeepers realised that there were probably some 'nooks and crannies' along the southern stretch of coastline from Shaldon which they observed from their lookout but had no details of, so the Coves booklet would fill that gap.
It was a fascinating insight into the vital work undertaken every day by the NCI and I thanked Isobel for the invitation to the station.
View from the station looking south to the Ness
Cover of the Coves of Maidencombe

Thursday, March 01, 2018


This afternoon down on Maidencombe beach as Storm Emma swept in to batter south Devon.

Monday, December 04, 2017


I am indebted to John Williams for giving me access to a most extraordinary and historically important photograph of Maidencombe's Tin Church which was situated within Sladnor Park at the turn of the twentieth century.
Such was my incredulity at first seeing the photograph, I studied the image for many minutes to ascertain its authenticity. As various recognizable features were identified, my initial doubts were dispelled and replaced with wonderment at the sight of the almost fabled structure before me.
John Williams' extraordinary photo of the Tin Church enlarged and enhanced.
 In the above magnified and enhanced image of the original, important detail can be discerned. Although the original photograph is faded sepia tint, the lightness of the exterior of the church indicates either a pale colour such as green or blue or indeed a rarer whitewash of the CGI panels.  The church would have come, twentieth century shades of Ikea, flat packed and assembled in situ to be modified and painted as desired by the denomination.
The structure is aligned as I had thought - immediately adjacent to Sladnor Park Road with the entrance pointing to the southwest.  In the top left hand of the image, the junction with Longpark Hill and the Teignmouth Road can be identified.

The original sepia photograph
The building at centre (above) and semi-screened by trees is Applegarth Villa (demolished and now the Orestone Drive development). Lower down and to the right is Brimhill Villa which exists today.
Although indicated by the 1904 OS map, the complete absence of trees in the immediate vicinity and below the church is somewhat surprising to me. The pasture land dropping away to the east of the church is now heavily wooded - being the main part of Glass wood.  The 1933 OS map - possibly ten to fifteen years after the dismantling of the church - shows the loss of pasture land and the steady encroachment of trees and undergrowth.

An incredible discovery by John Williams which now can be recorded in our archives.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Anyone strolling along Maidencombe beach on the evening of September 16th 1918 would have witnessed the sinking of the Lord Stewart - a 1445 ton armed merchantman (converted collier) - en route from Cherbourg to Barry.   At 8 pm in the evening, she was directly opposite Maidencombe, some 11 kilometres offshore when a torpedo hit her on the port side at 50° 30'N, 3° 17'W.   The merchantman sank in just four minutes but with only one fatality. 

The author of her destruction was the infamous Kaiserliche Marine U-boat commander Oberleutnant zur SeeThomas Bieber, who prowled the South Devon coast and  was responsible for 35 ships being sent to the bottom of the sea in the First World War.

Periscope view of a target
Any lesser U-boat  commander would not have attacked the Lord Stewart on sighting no less than three Royal Navy warships escorting her across Lyme Bay.  There were 375 U-boats operational in WWl  and  a total of 7,659 ships sunk.  Bieber's 35 sinkings was well above average.
A 'Bieber type attack' - surfacing to shell a barque - note the crew being allowed to disembark.
At the start of the war, U-boats operated by 'gentlemanly' rules of engagement whereby they surfaced, issued their intentions and gave merchant crews time to board life rafts before sinking with their 88mm deck gun* or putting a prize crew aboard.  
If the conditions on board the WW2 U-Boats were difficult, then their WW1 counterparts could be described as operating in the most primitive of living standards with a multitude of on board dangers such as poisonous fumes from the batteries and equipment failure on a less than perfected technology.

One of the dangers facing U-boat commanders in WW1 was the advent of the Q-Ships, pressed into service by the Admiralty to counter the mounting threat of U-boats. They were decoy vessels, typically a merchant ship with concealed armament, designed to lure a U-boat within gun range and then open fire at close range.  

Such a vessel was HMS Hyderabad which was especially well armed with  1x4 in gun hidden abaft of her funnel, 2 x 12 pounders and a deck mounted 2.5 pounder (the only weapon visible). HMS Hyderabad also had four Sutton-Armstrong bomb-throwers behind cargo hatches, two depth-charge throwers concealed on deck and four 18in torpedoes in  launching tubes masked by screens. She also had a very shallow draught of 6 feet 9 inches, designed to let torpedoes go beneath her.

Obltnt. Bieber may well have been responsible for an attack on HMS Hyderabad in Lyme Bay on November 26th 1917.  His UB31 had sunk the Steamer Farn off Start Point on November 19th so he was in the area.  A torpedo was fired at close range and narrowly missed astern, mainly due to the quick response of the officer on watch.  A U-boat commander of Bieber's experience had almost certainly observed the ship before attacking and had been suspicious enough not to have surfaced to engage with his deck gun (the preferred method of attack as UB31 only carried six torpedoes).
UB104 returned to Bieber's hunting ground for what was to be his final tour in September 1918 - just two months from the end of the war.  It must have seemed like 'business as usual' as Bieber entered Lyme Bay on September 14th, routinely sinking the Steamer Gibel Hamam 15 miles off Portland Bill before heading across to his favourite haunt and so well-known area off South Devon.  
The next day, September 15th, the Kendal Castle was sunk off Berry Head and Bieber, almost brazenly, stayed close by this latest sinking to attack and sink the Steamer Ethel four miles away, the very next day.  Bieber still hadn't finished, as a few hours later, after tracking across Tor Bay, Bieber surfaced to periscope depth to sight the armed merchantman Lord Stewart** approaching him as he lay off Hope's Nose in the fading light.  A scan of the horizon also revealed three Royal Navy warships close by, but Bieber, his confidence high, nevertheless proceeded to attack the Lord Stewart, firing a spread of torpedoes from his bow tubes. One of the torpedoes hit the Lord Stewart on her port side and she sank inside four minutes with the loss of one crew member.

The next day, September 17th, Bieber sank the Ursa off Beer Head and that was the last time Bieber and the crew of UB104 were ever seen or heard from again.  The likelihood was that his U-boat had either exhausted its supply of torpedoes (10 in the UB III series vessel) or was heading home after sinking five ships in four days and anticipating the resultant furore.

One report states that UB104 struck a mine in the North Sea, whilst another source stated that:  UB104 disappeared presumably in Lyme Bay for an unknown reason on or after September 17th 1918 with 36 dead (all hands lost).

What cannot be disputed is that in a scenario so reminiscent of the final episode of 'Das Boot' - the much acclaimed fictional account of WW2 U-boat U96 and its crew - Oberleutnant zur See Thomas Bieber and his crew were killed after surviving nearly all of World War 1.  The wreck of UB104 has, to this day, never been located.

*Type UB II = UB31 carried 6 torpedoes and 120 rounds for the 88mm deck gun.
*Type UB III = UB104 carried 10 torpedoes and 160 rounds for the 88mm deck gun. 
**The Lord Stewart was en route to Barry from Cherbourg so her position and path was strange - heading directly into what was known as a graveyard for shipping.
Map fragment courtesy of Google maps.


Type UB II - UB31 carried six torpedoes and 120 rounds for the 88mm deck gun

1 24 April 1917 sailing vessel St Jacques (Fr) damaged by gunnery 15M south of Portland Bill, beached and refloated
2 28 April 1917 passenger steamer Medina sunk 3M ENE of Start Point 6 casualties
3 15 June 1917 steamer Teesdale damaged 2 miles off Bolt Head:  beached and refloated
4 17 June 1917 steamer Stanhope sunk 7M SW x W of Start Point 22 casualties
5 July 1917 sailing vessel Ocean Swell stopped and sunk by gunnery 15M SE of Start Point
6  6 July 1917 steamer Ariadne Christine torpedoed and damaged 6M south of Start Point
7 10 July 1917 sailing vessel Hildegard stopped and scuttled 10M SE of Start Point
8 11 July 1917 steamer Brunhilda sunk 7M S of Start Point
9 1 August 1917 steamer Laertes sunk 1.25M SSW of Prawle Point 14 casualties
10  2 August 1917 steamer Newlyn torpedoed and sunk 2M S of Prawle Point 4 casualties
11  8 August 1917 steamer Algerie (Fr) damaged 2M SW of Portland Bill
12  8 August 1917 sailing vessel stopped and scuttled 12M ESE of Start Point
13  9 Sept 1917 steamer Pluton (NOR) torpedoed and sunk 6M ESE of Start Point 10 casualties
14  19 Oct 1917 steamer Waikawa sunk 4M ENE Start Point
15  20 Oct 1917 steamer Colorado torpedoed and sunk 1,5M E of Start Point 4 casualties
16  23 Oct 1917 steamer Lepanto torpedoed and damaged 3.5M off Dartmouth 2 casualties
17  19 Nov 1917 steamer Farn sunk 5M E x N Start Point
18  15 December 1917 steamer Sachem torp. and damaged off Start Point 1 casualty
19  18 Dec 1917 steamer Riversdale torp. and sunk 1M S of Prawle Point 1 casualty
20  20 Dec 1917 steamer Alice Marie sunk 6M ENE Start Point
21  20 Dec 1917 steamer Eveline sunk 9.5M SW Berry Head
22  20 Dec 1917 steamer Warsaw torp and sunk 4M SE x E Start Point 17 casualties
23  22 Jan 1918 steamer Admiral Cochrane torp. and damaged 3M SE Berry Head
24  22 Jan 1918 steamer Greatham torp and sunk 3M SE Dartmouth 7 casualties
25  24 Jan 1918 steamer Elsa (NOR) sunk 5M ESE Dartmouth
(Last time in UB 31 which was lost on 2nd May 1918 hitting a mine in the Dover Strait)

Type UB III = UB104 10 torps. 160 rounds for 88mm deck gun
26  14 Sept 1918 steamer Gibel Hamam sunk 15M S of Portland Bill 21 casualties
27  15 Sept 1918 steamer Kendal Castle sunk 4M SE Berry Head 18 casualties
28  16 Sept 1918 steamer Ethel sunk 8M SE Berry Head
29  16 Sept 1918 steamer Lord Stewart sunk 6M E x N Hopes Nose 1 casualty 
30  17 Sept 1918 steamer Ursa (SWE) torp. and sunk 8M SSW Beer Head

23 ships sunk 7 damaged 128 casualties

 Photo below a Type UB III U-boat similar to Bieber's UB104

Friday, November 03, 2017


Nestled unobtrusively in a sheltered combe between Torquay and Teignmouth, the then undeveloped and mainly farming community of Maidencombe would have been expected to avoid the heavy punishment meted out by the Luftwaffe in World War two. And, to a large extent, it did but the tiny hamlet did have a few isolated occasions to remind the residents that the war was never that far away.

It may come as a surprise to residents today that the only time that Maidencombe was intentionally attacked was by two  marauding Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter bombers on Tuesday November 3rd 1942. Documentation is sparse, but by cross referencing various snippets of military sources, the event can, for the first time, be more precisely recorded.

Terrorangriff raid
Four Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger fighter bombers from unit 8/ZG 2  set off on November 3rd 1942 to bomb Newton Abbot. Each aircraft carried a 500 kg bomb slung beneath the fuselage. The flight plan was  recorded as a Terrorangriff (terrorist attack) against Newton Abbot.

However, for various reasons (visibility, fuel, navigational error, wind direction etc) but most probably poor visibility as weather reports for the day indicate that it was raining,* Teignmouth was targeted by the four 'Butcher Birds' with all 500 kg bombs being dropped on the Salcombe and Park Street area at 1249 hrs. Six people were killed and four injured.

The flight then separated with two aircraft heading out to sea and the other two peeling off in the direction of Torquay. This Rotte (two aircraft - tactical formation), flying at low level, proceeded to strafe the built up area of Maidencombe at approximately five minutes to one in the afternoon. It would have all been over in a few seconds before the pilots veered off seawards to join up with the other Fw 190s. There are no recorded casualties or damage sustained in the 'fly past' attack, but this was to be Maidencombe's war and only recorded deliberate attack upon the sleepy hamlet in WW2.**
Fw 190 approaching head on.
Unfortunately for the adventure seeking pilots - who were often given free rein to roam and strafe after dropping their lethal cargoes - fuel permitting, retribution was about to catch up with them in the form of two Hawker Typhoon interceptor fighters stationed at RAF Bolt Head (one mile southwest of Salcombe) and about twenty five miles from Maidencombe.

The two Typhoons of 257 Squadron, piloted by Flying officer Geoffrey Ball and Pilot officer Pete Scotchmer had been on a status of "readiness" (ready to take off within two minutes) and had been scrambled to intercept the Tip and Run raiders.
Hawker Typhoon
The Typhoons were given an intercept vector heading of 120 degrees but even with their superior maximum speed (Fw 190 408 mph and Typhoon 417 mph) it would have been touch and go whether they would have been able to overhaul the fleeing 190s before they reached the safety of the French coast.
Eight minutes after take-off, the four Fw 190s (now together) were spotted by the Typhoons which were at 1000 feet altitude, flying in wide line abreast at sea level about three to four miles distant. A six minute chase ensued until the Typhoons were in range to engage. Each Typhoon pilot destroyed a Fw 190 with one flying out of range and the other hidden in cloud.  Lt Hermann Kenneweg and Uffz Johann Hannig were both killed in the engagement.
The RAF intercept route of Luftwaffe flight 8/ZG2
(map fragment by Google maps)

On this occasion, the act of bravado by the two predatory Luftwaffe pilots may have been the reason for the fatal conclusion to the flight, with half the unit destroyed.  Even the few seconds of delayed flying time as the other two planes reduced their air speed to allow them to rejoin the formation could well have been crucial.

*Official meteorological records for November 1942: 'On the 2nd and 3rd (November) a depression over the Bay of Biscay moved quickly north-east and caused further rain, particularly in England.'

**On May 4th 1941 a bomb/bombs was dropped in Horton's field, Maidencombe (about 200 yards up from Maidencombe cross towards Shaldon) but was probably jettisoned as the plane(s) turned for home. The Teignmouth road, immediately adjacent to the field was badly damaged and was closed off for some time to traffic.

**On May 30th 1943, a Fw 190 hit by flak on Babbacombe Downs after participating in the Tip and Run raid on St Marychurch, crashed into the sea off Maidencombe beach. It was witnessed by resident Alan Hunt and has been documented in another posting.

**The 40mm bofors gun, positioned in Tiddly Pinch field to the south of the village, engaged Tip and Run aircraft as they flew across Babbacombe Bay.


The twinning of Maidencombe with Comeinbemad reflects the light-hearted nature of this gentle blog. The articles posted are written by the author alone and have no connection with any official body or association.


Eerily shrouded in mist, two of the lower chalets of Sladnor Park.



(sung to the tune of 'Home on the Range')

Oh give me a park where the badgers can roam
Where the deer and the wildlife reside
There never is heard the developer's word
To disturb where the denizens abide

Oh give me a park where the diggers are banned
And the architect can't earn his fee
Where the noise of the town
Is a far distant sound
And conservation is all it can be

For when houses are built
The council covered in guilt
And all the animals forlorn
Now the only sounds to be heard
Are vehicles absurd
And the cries of a motherless fawn

Jim Campbell

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The old Toll House on the west side of the A379 Teignmouth Road, stands at the junction of Claddon Lane with the A379 about 50 yards from Ridge Road and the former position of the black and white Solomons Post sign (see side panel right). This early photo shows the open porch (lower left) - now blocked off and the blanked out toll-board recess (top right). Under the angled roof on the right, there is a small shop and working post office. The building probably dates from 1827 when the new road was built. Originally named Solomon's Post Gate when there was a gate across the road for the toll collector to open upon payment.


Found this interesting little site with a rambling group's write up of walks. CLICK HERE FOR MAIDENCOMBE WALK ARTICLE



After scrutiny by a panel, this site has been added as a reputable source of information about Maidencombe.


The first Timeline evening took place Wednesday evening March 20th at the Thatched Tavern. Local lad Ziggy Austin's brainchild, it was an endeavour to map out the history of Maidencombe on a ten metre paper scroll. The initiative was first mooted and widely supported on Ziggy's Maidencombe Residents Facebook page. Residents and non residents were asked if they could research local history on the area and bring along any material such as postcards or text to place on the scroll.
The first evening was well attended and as can be seen in the photos on the left, a great deal was achieved.
Longest residing villager, Alan Hunt attended to add his considerable knowledge and was supported by his 'young' student Jim Campbell with a mere 53 years of residence under his belt.
The pub opened up the restaurant area for the occasion and were most generous in providing sandwiches for the studious throng.


No known images of this iconic Maidencombe landmark exist. Post war and up to the late 1960's, sign posts were wooden posts painted black and white. This is a close reconstruction of the sign where buses would actually pull in to for passengers to alight or board.


A video of one of my foxes being treated for Sarcoptic mange - taking the medication on the food by hand. She recovered completely and my thanks go out to the Derbyshire Fox Rescue who supplied the medication.


Worth a look as Maidencombe's section of the SWCP is also very much under threat.

From myfoxesandbadgers site


Photo taken from the beach cafe above Maidencombe cove and the arrows indicate the cause for concern. A minor land slip has already taken place and the Environment Agency had a look Christmas eve in case the cove had to be closed.

ARCHIVE: Entrance to Crossways at Maidencombe Cross

ARCHIVE: Entrance to Crossways at Maidencombe Cross
After a catalogue of antisocial behaviour displayed by motorists illegally entering a private area, the police recommended that the entrance be made narrower. A sad indictment of society.


Constructed between 1830-1833 by Mrs Groves who inhabited Sladnor Manor House at the time. The hexagonal tower and accompanying arched outbuilding were built of Devon red sandstone. A projecting castellated cornice crowned the gothic apertures and single faux crossbow slit at ground level. A most interesting aspect of the folly is the purpose-built pony and trap winding carriage-way which Mrs Groves carved through the north western woods of the estate to facilitate her passage to and from the folly. The structure is now in poor condition and it is earnestly hoped that Richmond Villages, the new owners of Sladnor, will be able to make safe the folly to enable residents to enjoy in years to come.


Some of the features we will be mentioning:



Circa 1850. Constructed of Devon red sandstone with unfortunately, as is the case with the Sladnor Folly, some cement patching. Sited at the eastern end of the garden, overlooking the sea. A single storey structure with faux castellated parapet. It has a one-window front incorporating a gabled porch on the front to left with a segmental headed and arched doorway. There is a matching arched window to the right. Reportedly, the structure had a flight of external steps for access to the flat roof with commanding views of Lyme Bay. The interior is clay-tiled laid.