Wendover Remembers, June 1915

Val Moir and Mike Senior  |  Published: Jun 1st 2015
Private H Wells

The Gallipoli Campaign dragged on. The Third Battle of Krithia began on 4 June and was a costly failure with the loss of 6,000 British and French troops. The Italian Front saw the opening of the first of the eleven battles of the Isonzo River against the Austrian army in the Trentino and Gorizia area. Zeppelin raids on the east coast of England killed 24 and injured 30. Fighting continued in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) against the Turks who retreated along the Tigris towards Amarah, Kut and Baghdad. 

It was in Amarah that Private Harry Wells of the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry died of sun fever. Harry was born in Dunsmore in 1890 the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Wells. The Wells family were the licensees of the Black Horse in Dunsmore for over 70 years until 1932. Harry was a Regular soldier and the Wendover Magazine reported: “He had been several years in the Army and at the outbreak of war was stationed with his Regiment in India. He had been fighting for some months in the Persian Gulf against forces of the Turks when he was struck down. We honour this brave soldier who died fighting for his country, and our sincerest sympathy goes to his father and mother at Scrubwood.” 

The account of Harry’s funeral had all the elements of a tragic farce. On the way to the cemetery one man went down with heat stroke and had to be carried back to hospital. As the burial proceeded another man collapsed into the grave on top of the body. On the way back to the camp a third man collapsed and had to be carried back on the burial stretcher. 

On 25 June Captain Geoffrey Samuel Smith, the third son of the Rev Albert Smith, once Lord of the Manor and Vicar of Wendover, underwent an operation in Wandsworth Hospital. Captain Smith, who was serving with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli, had been wounded in the left arm on 3 May. Having spent five weeks in hospital in Cairo, he returned to England.  The wound must have been serious and it was reported that: “He is doing as well as can be expected, but it will be many months before he can use the arm at all.”

The 5 June edition of the Bucks Herald printed a copy of a letter from Sgt Clement George Pickop serving with the Bucks Hussars in Egypt. The letter mentions Sgt Alex McLean (Royal Marines), of Firtree Cottage, Perry Street, who had recently been wounded. Before the war Clement Pickop was very active in Wendover. He had been Assistant Parish Clerk, a champion bowls player and a good rifle shot. After the war he raised funds for war charities. He was much missed by his many friends in the Bucks Hussars, the British Legion and the Bowls Club when, after a period of unemployment in 1925, he committed suicide. 

The Wendover Magazine noted that on 18 June a Mr White of Chiltern Road joined the Veterinary Corps and “with the enthusiasm so characteristic of him” motored from Wendover to Woolwich to take up his new duties. Mr White was already a Special Constable and a member of the Bucks Defence Corps. 

The coal merchant at Wendover Station, Frederick Harry Caudrey, was fined for selling underweight coal. “Upon inspection it was found that the Station weighbridge was 84 lbs out of balance and proceedings were taken against the Metropolitan and Great Central Railway Company. The Company pleaded that various causes, such as rain and mud, would put the mechanism of the machine out of balance and therefore it was fitted with an adjustment screw. Because of staff illness and increased workload this duty had been overlooked. The Company was fined £2.”

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