Wendover Remembers - October 1917

Val Moir and Mike Senior  |  Published: Oct 1st 2017
George Edmonds, courtesy Yvonne Simmons
George Edmonds, courtesy Yvonne Simmons

On the Italian Front, Austro-Hungarian troops, strengthened by German forces, broke through the Italian lines at Caporetto and took thousands of Italian prisoners.  French and British soldiers were immediately sent to reinforce the Italian Army. American troops had their first experience of warfare near the Swiss border.  Peru and Uruguay break off diplomatic relations with Germany, but Brazil decided to support Germany. The Dutch dancer and German spy, Marta Hari, was executed at Vincennes just outside Paris. On the Western Front, the final phase of the Third Battle of Ypres began with an offensive towards Passchendaele.

On October 9th George Edmonds of the 4th battalion Worcestershire Regiment was killed near the village of Passchendaele. The December edition of the Wendover Magazine reported that his death hadn’t been officially recorded but some of his personal belongings had been returned to Mrs Edmonds. George, known as Tubby, lived in Clay Lane with his wife Eva, four children and widowed mother Emma. Before enlisting in Aylesbury, George aged 39 had been a brewer at the King’s Head Brewery. The magazine also printed news of George’s brother Alfred who was back in England suffering from severe shell shock

An appeal was made in the October edition of the Wendover Magazine for ladies to help with the Church Army’s Recreation Huts on the front line in France. ‘MORE LADIES NEEDED – The Ladies’ Selection Committee at the Church Army Headquarters would be glad to hear of many more ladies willing to go to France, paying their own expenses, to take a share in the Church Army’s Recreation Hut work there. Constant appeals are daily being received from Chaplains and Hut Superintendents for more ladies, for huts at the base and also those at the front. The right kind of ladies can do a very great deal in the way of lightening, by their influence, the burdens and trials of our soldiers’. No record of ladies answering this call were found but Sylvia Avery of the Hale Farm went to help in a military hospital in France in 1916.

Bucks Herald 13th Oct reported that ‘A BRAVE LAD- George Heels, aged 15, has received the Royal Humane Society’s certificate for rescuing a soldier from drowning in Halton Reservoir in May last’. A note in the Wendover Magazine comments ‘Whilst we feel proud of him, we feel slightly disappointed; for we think that, for a mere lad of fifteen, and small at that, to rescue a strong able bodied man from 12 feet of water deserved the higher reward of a silver medal’.

Bucks Herald report of the inquest into the death of Arthur Hopcraft aged 38 of Addington-villas Wendover. He was employed by Mr F J Pedel, Railway Hotel to collect and deliver goods with a horse and trolley. On September 19th, as he turned from the High Street into Great Lane Mr Hopcraft fell from the shaft and his leg was badly smashed when run over by the trolley. He was admitted to hospital where his leg was amputated but his condition deteriorated and he developed tetanus. Despite treatment with anti-tetanus serum he died at the end of October. A verdict of accidental death was returned. 

For the second time the plate glass window of Mr Morgan’s shop on the corner of the Tring Road was smashed in an accident with, on this occasion, a motor cycle. It was suggested that a few substantial post be put in to protest both pedestrians and property.

The numerous air raids over London increased the desire of many residents to buy property out of town, causing concern to many local tenants.  It was said that house agents all along the “Met” line ‘wear a very happy look’.

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