This page will have all of the written reports that have been generated on topic discussions and topics of interest.

Posted by TPC-ADMIN on February 8, 2015

Tavistock Area Support Services

Since 1985, people in Tavistock have benefited from a unique and dedicated service for everyone over the age of 55. Tavistock Area Support Services is a very local charity. Andy Lyle, who is the General Manager, was invited to our February meeting to give a talk on the many services offered including Transport, Outreach, Contact and Volunteer Services.

Andy gave an entertaining and informative account of the activities within TASS. The Anchorage Centre in Chapel Street offers a film club, table tennis, whist, scrabble and coffee mornings. Transport is on wheelchair friendly buses and includes minibus trips, shop mobility, transport to health appointments and a country bus. Their buses are on the road 365 days a year and any Tavistock community organisation can apply to use them. The Memory Café is dedicated to helping those with dementia in its many forms and performs a vital service within the Tavistock community. Andy told members that the future for TASS and Tavistock is exciting – TASS will continue to look after older people with the constant hope for a brighter tomorrow. Ray Meneer thanked Andy on behalf of members for coming and explaining the many and varied aspects of TASS.

Also this month, Probus members were invited to a tour of the nuclear submarine “Courageous” in Devonport Dockyard. During the Cold War, patrols would last 2 or 3 months and most of that time would be spent submerged. Our tour lasted an hour and a half and gave a fascinating insight into the life, companionship, and skills of the crew onboard the submarine.

The subject of the March meeting of the Tavistock Probus Club is “French Inland Waterways”.

Anyone interested in the Tavistock Probus Club may contact the secretary on 01822 615669.


Posted by TPC-ADMIN on January 8, 2015

The Defence of Rorke’s Drift

Which single battle saw the most Victoria Crosses awarded? The subject of our talk this month was ‘The Defence of Rorke’s Drift’ , a mission station on the banks of the Buffalo River on the border between Natal and Zulu Land. Originally established as a trading post by James Rorke it was known locally as “Jim’s Land”. The Battle of Rorke’s Drift between the British Army and the Zulu warriors was depicted in the film Zulu starring Michael Caine and took place on 22nd and 23rd of January 1879 immediately following the British Army’s defeat by the Zulus at the Battle of Isandlhwana,

Lou Fletcher, who is a member of the Anglo-Zulu War Historical Research Society, gave members a fascinating account of the tragic and heroic events which took place on those two days when 150 British redcoats, some already wounded, faced 4,000 Zulu warriors. Under the command of Lieutenant John Chard, the British soldiers built a defensive perimeter of mealie bags alongside the mission station around an area the size of two tennis courts and within this, they built a small redoubt, a fortification some eight feet high.  Throughout the night, and in the glow of their burning hospital, the brave men repelled wave after wave of attacking Zulus and, at first light,  when ammunition for their Martini-Henry rifles was running low they saw that the Zulus were gone. Seventeen of the defenders died and eleven of the survivors received The Victoria Cross.

Michael Edmonds, on behalf of members, thanked Lou for his stunning talk which was thoroughly enjoyed by all present. The subject of the February meeting of the Tavistock Probus Club is “Tavistock Area Support Services”.

Anyone interested in the Tavistock Probus Club may contact the secretary on 01822 615669.


Posted by TPC-ADMIN on December 8, 2014

Geology of Dartmoor

We often visit the beautiful settings of Dartmoor but how many of us understand the origins of the rock formations which make up the Dartmoor landscape? Dr. Richard Mayhew provided members with an entertaining and educational talk entitled The Geology of Dartmoor.

Richard started his talk with pictures of other well-known beauty spots – Snowdonia, the Lake District and Gordale Scar near Malham with its limestone ravine and surrounding pavings and compared these with the more gentle landscape of Dartmoor.

Members were each handed a sample of Dartmoor granite rock with different faces, being polished, cut or rough. Here one could clearly see the composition of the granite samples – white feldspar, grey quartz and black mica in a tightly packed matrix.

There are two theories on the formation of the Dartmoor tors. Professor David Linton proposed that the tors were formed by a rotting process or deep chemical weathering. Palmer and Neilsen suggested that surface weathering occurred during periglacial periods bringing rise to the clitter (strewn rocks) surrounding the tors. Members were shown example photographs of various tors each with their own unique structure and showing how mining activities account for some of the distinct shapes.

Tony Dunk thanked Richard for his most interesting and informative talk. Members then proceeded to Tavistock Golf Club where an excellent Christmas lunch was served. The subject of the January meeting of the Tavistock Probus Club is “The Defence of Rorke’s Drift”.

Anyone interested in the Tavistock Probus Club may contact the secretary on 01822 615669.


Posted by TPC-ADMIN on November 8, 2014

RAF Harrowbeer

Which local airfield played a major role in winning World War 2? This month’s Tavistock Probus Club meeting was held on Remembrance Day and Stephen Fryer gave an enthusiastic and most interesting talk on the history of RAF Harrowbeer near Yelverton.

When Plymouth came in range of German bombers, a new airfield became an urgent priority and Harrowbeer was chosen as it afforded a level site. It was officially opened as a fighter base in Autumn 1941. Yelverton itself underwent many changes. The Parade was reduced to a single storey for the safety of aircraft and Udal Torre sanitorium and the Moor House Hotel were demolished. Knightstone, now a tea-room, was converted into a watch office or control tower for the new airfield and new roads were built and old ones diverted.

Stephen recounted tales of daring by the Spitfire and Typhoon pilots including one, complete with photograph, in which the pilot successfully brought his aircraft home with a huge hole in its wing. He also recounted how the pilots of Walrus aircraft, (used in air-sea rescue) were sometimes unable to take off in the rough seas and would be forced to ‘taxi’ their aircraft back across the Channel to safety.

Ray Hurle, on behalf of members, thanked Stephen for bringing history to life and for providing such extraordinary photographs. The subject of the December meeting of the Tavistock Probus Club is “The Geology of Dartmoor” and this will be followed by a Christmas lunch at Tavistock Golf Club 

Anyone interested in joining the Tavistock Probus Club may contact the secretary on 01822 615669.

Posted by TPC-ADMIN on September 8, 2014

Colin Street Gives A Talk on Prostate Cancer

Colin Street Gives Talk on Prostate Cancer

The subject of this month’s Tavistock Probus Club talk was one which causes deep concern to men of retirement age namely Cancer of the Prostate Gland. Our speaker, Colin Street is a leading member of Derriford Prostate Steering Group (PSG) which was formed to increase awareness of the symptoms of the disease and of the availability of detection and treatment methods. There are 40,000 new cases of the disease each year in the UK.

What does the PSG do?

PSG works closely with the Chestnut Unit and the Prostate Support Group in Derriford Hospital. Colin was able to reassure members that, with early diagnosis, the disease can be successfully treated. The talk emphasised the importance of an annual Prostate Specific Antigen test (PSA). If cancer is detected then treatment can be by surgical removal of the gland or by forms of radiotherapy to destroy the cancer cells.

Colin was ably assisted by his colleague, John Thorn and was happy to answer the many and varied questions which followed the talk. David Isaac, on behalf of members, thanked Colin for his most informative talk.

The Probus Club celebrates its 25th Anniversary in October of this year with lunch at the Bedford Hotel. The subject of the October meeting is “Some engineering aspects of submarine operation”.

Anyone interested in Tavistock Probus Club may contact the secretary on 01822 615669. We are happy to welcome new members and hear from potential speakers.