Wendover Remembers, December 1915

Val Moir and Mike Senior  |  Published: Dec 1st 2015

December 1915

The Gallipoli Campaign was acknowledged as a failure and the allies began to withdraw. The Battle of Verdun ended with 550,000 French and 450,000 German casualties. General Sir Douglas Haig replaced Field Marshal Sir John French as Commander in Chief of British forces in France. Strict instructions were sent from both the British and the German Headquarters forbidding a repeat of the Christmas 1914 fraternisation, but that did not stop some minor gatherings in No Man’s Land on Christmas Day. As a result, two British officers appeared in front of a Court Martial, but, because of their good service records, received only light reprimands.

In Wendover efforts were made to entertain the troops who were billeted locally. The Parish Church Record noted that: “Teas were served on Xmas afternoon and again on Boxing Day afternoon to nearly 400 soldiers. There were two ‘sittings-down’ each afternoon and everything went without a hitch in spite of the fact that not a single piece of bread and butter had been cut at 1 o’clock. Supplies had been most generously sent in by almost everyone in Wendover. Mrs Sharp acted as head organiser and she was ably assisted by a band of other ladies and also by as many men as could be induced to leave their own fireside. One of the most amusing events of the evening was the singing competition judged by the vicar”.

Mr Oliver Beeson, bootmaker, of the High Street, Wendover, advertised in the Bedfordshire Times of 31 December that he would teach injured soldiers to repair boots. The offer was open to men who had lost a leg or a foot in the war and preference would be given to men from Bucks or Beds.

The Aylesbury Court report in the Bucks Herald of 11 December carried a piece with the heading: “A Lady’s Dilemma”.  It read: “Ethel Lyndon Robinson, Cedar Vale, Wendover, was summoned for quitting a motor car without taking precautions against it being started in her absence. The defendant pleaded guilty. Sgt S G Bennett said that he saw the car standing in the Market Square in Aylesbury for a quarter of an hour unattended. The engine was running the whole time. When the lady returned he pointed out that an offence had been committed. The defendant said that her chauffeur had enlisted and she was really afraid to stop the engine lest she should not be able to start again. The bench ordered payment of 5s 6d costs, without a conviction.”

The saga of the newly erected Public Convenience in Back Street continued.  A report at the December Parish Council noted that the Convenience had suffered “wilful damage” and that “steps are being taken to find the culprits and prevent improper use of the premises”.

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