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 August 8, 2014

Battle of Isandlwana

A battle which “stunned the world” was the subject of this month’s Tavistock Probus Club talk. Lou Fletcher gave a colourful and graphic account of the defeat of the British by the Zulu Army at Isandlwana in 1879 under the leadership of Lord Chelmsford.

What was to be a straightforward battle turned into a massacre for the British Army. Total official casualties numbered some 1,350 men but the true figure was much greater. They were outmaneuvered by the Zulus who used their traditional “horns and chest of a buffalo” formation and encircled the British position pitting their traditional assegai spears against the formidable firepower of the Martini-Henry rifles. The Zulus were close to defeat until the British, hampered by administrative red tape, ran out of bullets. Having been encircled by the horns, the British made their courageous but unsuccessful last stands. There were few survivors.

Lou provided a variety of photographs showing the picturesque and rocky landscape in which the battle took place, southeast of Johannesburg and midway between Lesotho and Swaziland.  The ground is dotted with mounds of white stones and granite pillars marking the war graves of the British Soldiers.

Geoff Willetts, on behalf of members, thanked Lou for his talk and its most interesting historical and geographic content. The subject of the September meeting of the Tavistock Probus Club is “Prostate Cancer”. Anyone interested in Probus may contact the secretary on 01822 615669.

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

Posted by TPC-ADMIN on June 8, 2014

The Tamar Salmon Fishery

Atlantic Salmon

When we picture salmon swimming upstream in the River Tamar we may not be fully aware of the fascinating life cycle enjoyed by these Atlantic salmon. Dr. Ann Pulsford gave members a remarkable and colourful account of their life’s journey from their breeding grounds, far upstream, to the North Atlantic Ocean and back again, a distance of some 2,000 miles.

The journey of a salmon

It is a perilous journey with the risk of many predators. For their safety, the salmon use camouflage, stripes when in the river to blend with the gravel, and a silvery appearance at sea. For navigation, they use the earth’s magnetic field together with an olfactory memory enabling them to smell their way home to their original breeding grounds. There the eggs are laid and fertilised and the salmon, their long journey ended, die.

Large salmon are a prize catch. Georgina Ballantine landed a 64lb salmon from the River Tay in 1922 and inspired thousands of women to take up salmon fishing. Conservation measures are critically important and have included the building of a fish ladder at Lopwell Dam, a salmon hatchery at Endsleigh and the cleaning of the gravel beds where the eggs are laid.

David Rippon, on behalf of members, thanked Ann for her most interesting talk spanning many scientific fields. The Probus Club hold their annual club lunch in the Bedford Hotel in July and the subject of the August meeting is “The Battle of Isandlwana”.

Anyone interested in joining the Tavistock Probus club may contact the secretary on 01822 615669. We are always happy to welcome new members. 

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