Tag Archives: plaque

A Famous Son of Brixham

 

Commander Evelyn George Martin OBE RNVR
1881 – 1945

 

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The port of Brixham is used to seafaring men but Commander Martin was special. He was not born locally but, because of his parents overseas commitments, he and his siblings were “fostered” by the Hogg family who lived in the property which today is known as “The Berry Head Hotel”.

George’s childhood was spent on the quayside and harbour of Brixham and he made friends with the fisherman and was soon an experienced rower and sailor.
The family were wealthy and he had a privileged schooling going to Eaton and then graduating at New College, Oxford. As a young man he had endless opportunities. He was handsome, clever and well connected , but he decided to devote himself to the sea. He built and bought several yachts and got into international racing often being accompanied by seasoned Brixham fisherman, John Blackmore.

He soon began to win prestigious races, but the First World War interfered and he saw service with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves earning an OBE for running operations out of Falmouth. He donated the Challenge Trophy Cup, helped plan the course around the Fastnet Rock and promptly went on to win the first race in “Jole Brise”.

World War Two meant an RNVR posting to Campbeltown where thousands of tug man were trained for rescue service and safeguarding convoys across the globe. War service finally broke George’s health and he died near Ipswich in 1945.

Clare Hoogewerf-McComb may be known to some of you. She is a regular visitor and researcher to the Museum and a member of the Martin family. Her brother has written a biography of Commander Martin and together they organised on 24th May 2013 a celebration of the life of Commander Martin at Berry Head House Hotel.

A small number of Museum staff were asked to attend and a Blue Plaque now hangs adjacent to the entrance to the hotel. In her speech to guests Clare Hoogewerf said “Although not born locally and travelling most of the world in many boats George Martin’s heart was and always will be in the place he loved most, Brixham”.

Terry Lakeman
dtlakeman@hotmail.co.uk

 

Unveiling of Historic Plaque

A plaque commemorating the stoicism of the Brixham people in adversity has been unveiled at Brixham Museum.

 

 

At the time of the Second World War the museum was the local police station and the few officers there had to police a town containing a torpedo shipyard, a refuelling installation and 4,000,000 gallon underground aviation fuel storage tank.

Sergeant Alfred Mock, who had fought in the First World War, was in charge of the station during this time. Members of Sergeant Mock’s family, including his son Frank who provided the plaque, will be on hand to see it unveiled.

 

 

There is a display in the museum based around Sgt Mock which details the esteem he had for the people of Brixham, who largely policed themselves in a period of reduced manpower, increased risk and deprivation. He watched, saluted many troops and wished them luck as they were unloaded outside the station house to march down to the harbour to embark.

 

 

The museum curator, Dr Phil Armitage, welcomed the plaque being added to the front of the museum and said, ‘This goes to show what respect the people of Brixham were held in by those who manned this police station and also commemorates a long serving officer, who was based here from 1933 through the depression and the war until 1945.”

Chairman of Brixham Town Council , Councillor Martyn Hodge, said  “It is pleasing that members of Sergeant Mock’s family feel strongly enough about Brixham to have had this plaque erected. The words show that it is not just about Sergeant Mock but also the people of Brixham. It is entirely fitting that it is placed in such a prominent location on the front of the old Police Station in New Road and re affirms this building’s importance as part of the heritage of our town.”

ARTICLE COPIED FROM BRIXHAM NEWS ONLINE 14/10/11