Wendover Remembers, May 1915

Val Moir and Mike Senior  |  Published: May 1st 2015
Sec Lieut R T Shaw

In May 1915 fighting continued in Gallipoli, but little progress was made. On the Western Front British troops attacked at Aubers Ridge (9 May) and at Festubert (15 May) in support of the French offensive in Artois. In those two attacks the British, including Indian and Canadian soldiers, suffered a total of 28,000 casualties and little ground was gained. At sea, the Cunard liner Lusitania en route from New York to Liverpool was torpedoed without warning and sank in 18 minutes (7 May). 1,195 passengers were lost including 124 Americans.  Zeppelins raided Southend and London where 38 people were killed and 35 injured.It was during the attack at Aubers Ridge that 2nd Lieutenant R. T. Shaw of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Sussex Regiment was killed.  Reginald Shaw, aged 22, was the son of Dr and Mrs Lauriston Shaw of Icknield Cottage, Ellesborough Road, Wendover. The Wendover Magazine recorded that Lt Shaw was killed “when he was gallantly leading his platoon across the open in the face of heavy fire...somewhere in the bullet-swept space Lt Shaw made the crowning sacrifice for his country”.  Lt Shaw is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial in northern France.

The Bucks advertiser of 29 May reported that Lieutenant John Eldridge of the Royal West Kent Regiment had been wounded. John Eldridge was the son of Francis Eldridge, a bricklayer, and his wife, Ellen. John had been a pupil at Wendover School and before the war lived with his parents in Aylesbury Road. He survived the war and in 1918 married a Miss Somerville – “a well–known and respected Wendover lady” in Portsmouth.

A second Wendover man wounded in May 1915 was William (Will) Herbert Dell, a Private in the 1st Battalion Ox and Bucks Light Infantry.  Will was the middle son of William and Martha Dell of Wellwick Farm. Will spent a considerable time in hospital, but survived the war.

The Bucks Advertiser of 8 May announced that: “We know that an anonymous donor has kindly offered to erect a YMCA hut [in Wendover] for the use of soldiers. We trust that a suitable site will be obtained.  In the offer provision has been made for a caretaker.” Wendover was continuing its efforts to make the Halton soldiers feel welcome. 

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