Wendover Remembers, March 1915

Val Moir and Mike Senior  |  Published: Mar 1st 2015
Tring Road Corner WW1

The first major British attack on the Western Front took place at Neuve Chapelle 10-13 March 1915 with limited success.  The British, including Indian troops, had 13,000 casualties and the Germans around 14,000.  The Royal Flying Corps made its first bombing raid against enemy rail centres.  The British liner SS Falaba was sunk with the loss of a hundred passengers including the first American casualty of the war.  Two German submarines were sunk in the English Channel. On 11 March the British government announced a blockade of German ports and issued an Order banning neutral countries from trading with Germany.  Ypres, defended by the British, was under constant attack by German forces.

A Wendover man, Charles Atkins (Ox and Bucks Light Infantry), who had taken part in the Christmas Truce on the Western Front, was wounded and returned home   He wrote to his parents, who lived in London Road, that he was being treated in a hospital in Oxford.  The wound must have been severe and Charles was eventually invalided out of the army.  In November 1916 the Wendover Magazine noted “Charlie Atkins (whose arm is a little stronger) has joined the staff at Stone Asylum.  His brother Jim is still in France.”

The Diocesan Inspector gave the Wendover School a good report in March saying: “This is an efficient school of well-taught and intelligent children”. The report praised the written work throughout the school which was “well above average”.  During the last week of the month Miss Avery gave lessons in cooking economical meals. Each day seven girls from the Upper School shopped, cooked and ate a two-course dinner. The meals were planned to be healthy and satisfying and suitable for a week for a family of two adults and four children. The daily cost of the ingredients for these family meals was, at the Grocers, 2s5½d and at the Butchers, 10d.  Other costs were: flour 9d, bread 2d, milk 3d, onions 6d and vegetables 9½d. The total amount spent amounted to 5s 9d per day which, in decimal currency, is equivalent to 30p. Examples of the menu are given in the School Log Book and include Vegetable Pie and Stewed Figs; Meat and Vegetable Pie and Rice Pudding; Onion Pie and Suet Jam Pudding; Scotch Broth and Ginger Pudding and Irish Stew and Currant Dumplings.  What more could you want?

The Bucks Advertiser & Aylesbury News of 13 March reported that: “The extraordinary traffic on the Tring Road made conditions indescribable.   Preparations are being made by some enterprising persons for the troops, no fewer than seven coffee shops being erected between the Camp and the Town Clock.  The premises are neither ornamental nor attractive, but the purpose in view is a good one.”  Less pleasing was the report that six Missionary Society collection boxes kept at the Baptist Church had been opened and the money stolen. 

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