Wendover Remembers, April 1919

Val Moir and Mike Senior  |  Published: Apr 1st 2019
Chiltern Hills Agricultural Show at Halton in 1910 (Colin Seabright)
Chiltern Hills Agricultural Show at Halton in 1910 (Colin Seabright)

One of the tragic results of the war was the vast number of disabled men.  In December 1919 the Minister of Pensions informed the House of Commons that “the number of persons receiving pensions was 2,621,313.  These included 1,059,136 pensions for varying degrees of disability.”  This number certainly under-estimated the problem in that illnesses associated with war service often took years to develop.  The Pensions Act, for example, stated that claims had to be made within seven years of the date of discharge from the army.  This ruling later excluded many cases of “shell-shock”, or what became known as post- traumatic stress, on the grounds that they were not registered within the required time period.  Even so, by 1922 some 50,000 men were in receipt of pensions as mental cases.   

The sad story of Corporal Clement Pickop of Wendover suggests that he may well have suffered from shell-shock.  Corporal Pickop returned from service in the Holy Land in April 1919.  He was received on his arrival at the Station Hotel by a number of his friends and a welcoming address was given by Mr Pedel on behalf of the Parish Council.  Corporal Pickop had been a keen sportsman, but in his reply to Mr Pedel he said that he could no longer take part in the sporting life of the town.  He declined to talk about his wartime experiences.  Corporal Pickop became a rent collector for Wycombe Rural Council, but lost his job in 1923.  He became increasingly depressed and tragically committed suicide in 1925.

The April 1919 election for the Wendover Parish Council engendered an unusual amount of excitement as, for the first time women could both vote and stand as candidates. Eleven seats were available and 25 candidate put their names forward for election. Of the eleven successful candidates, three were women. Margaret West, daughter of Dr West of the Grange, Beatrice Lina Colborne who lived at The Castle, Aylesbury Road and Elizabeth Perrot, of Hazledean, Hale Road. At the first Parish Council Meeting Miss West raised the housing problem in the town and informed members that Amersham had detailed plans to improve the situation in that town. The Chairman Mr Blake explained that they were awaiting a visit from the Commissioner, and had gone as far as they could in the matter. At the same time no harm would be done by communicating with the Wycombe Rural Council. Mr Pullein called attention to the need of repairing the water supply to the drinking trough, remarking that animals went to drink but found no water, and were “as disappointed as men who found no supply of beer at public houses.” The Clerk explained that the person responsible had given orders for the work of repair to be carried out.

Bucks Herald of 5th April 1919 printed a letter from Albert Morley of Dunsmore House, Wendover, complaining that the station waiting room had been taken over as a parcel office.- ‘ To the editor. Dear Sir, Owing doubtless to the great pressure of work at Wendover Station the passengers’ waiting room was converted into a parcel office. The Railway Company evidently has overlooked the fact that a waiting room is usual and necessary at a station, the only refuge for passengers now being the corners of Smiths bookstall and other sundry corners to avoid the severity of the weather. This is the only station from London so placed. On the platform and within a few yards of the passengers’ waiting room there are several sites for luggage rooms. It is a pitiful sight to see ladies and children waiting on this station during winter months, and I am pleased to note that the Company consider their staff, and we have a small consolation in catching a gleam from their fires occasionally. I propose to leave a petition at Smiths bookstall, and I trust the residents will sign it. Maybe thereby the Railway Company will restore or find us another waiting room in the near future.

A special Meeting of the Chiltern Hills Agricultural Association was held at the Red Lion. The chairman drew attention to the serious loss the Association had sustained by the death of the President, the late Mr Alfred de Rothschild. As the Halton venue was no longer available for the Association’s show Mr F Purssell kindly offered the use of Castle Farm grounds and the committee recommended that a show be held in 1920.

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