Wendover Remembers, November 1914

Val Moir and Mike Senior  |  Published: Nov 1st 2014
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In mid-November 1914, the great German attack on Ypres, carried out by the Prussian Guard, failed. Trench warfare was established all along the Western Front from Dunkirk in the North to the Swiss Alps. The war started to spread to other parts of the world. Turkey joined forces with Germany and Austria and consequently Great Britain, France and Russia declared war on Turkey.  The conflict spread to East Africa, the Far East and Mesopotamia. Sea battles took place off the coast of Chile, in the Black Sea and the Red Sea. British airmen bombed a Zeppelin factory at Friedrichshafen.

Nearer to home, in Wendover, there was great excitement when rumours were confirmed of two important visitors to Halton Camp.Lord Kitchener, the Secretary for War, inspected the Halton troops at the end of October. The Bucks Herald reported: “Lord Kitchener lunched with Mr Alfred de Rothschild at the mansion, who, as usual was spending the week-end at his country seat.” The inspection of the troops in the afternoon was hampered by continuous rain but Lord Kitchener seemed satisfied with all he saw. He did not address the men but had a “round table” chat with the chief officers, when many matters of importance were discussed. He was overheard to say “These men would look better in khaki”. Lord Kitchener left the camp at 4pm to be driven back to London. Mr de Rothschild returned to town by the 4.10 train from Wendover.

Crowds gathered to greet the King when he visited Halton on 18 November. The King took a great interest in the training and in the course of the Royal inspection, three Army biplanes flew over the camp.

Because of the very wet November and heavy Army traffic the roads throughout Wendover were in a dreadful condition.  The Parish Council Minute Book recorded a letter, dated 15 November 1914 sent on behalf of the Commanding Officer of Halton Camp: “Sir, I have arranged that the Troops under my Command, shall assist in keeping clean the roads in Wendover, Aston Clinton, Stoke Mandeville and Weston Turville, and parties will be so employed from 7.15am to 8am every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during their stay in billets. If these villages be not all under the same Council, will you be good enough to pass this letter to any others concerned.”

The Buckinghamshire Advertiser & Aylesbury News 28 November recorded the effort made by the people of Wendover to assist the soldiers at Halton: “There are many agencies at work endeavouring to keep in touch with the soldiers and provide for their enjoyment, pleasure and comfort. In Mr How’s meadow there is a fair and cinema and near Clay Lane a Theatre has been installed and one of these has been in Norgate’s Meadow for some time. Mr F Caudrey has recently emptied his large store shed in Aylesbury Road, and has made it warm and comfortable and concerts are arranged”.

All material © 2014 Wendover Remembers

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