Wendover Remembers, September 1914

Val Moir and Mike Senior  |  Published: Sep 1st 2014
Thomas Carter
Thomas Carter was a recruiting agent before the war and his arm band shows him as a Special Constable.

September 1914

The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) – about 120,000 men – was mobilised on 5 August 1914 and by 16 August the first contingent was in France. The BEF was positioned in the area of Maubeuge in Belgium and on 23 August found itself face to face with the German First Army near a small mining village called Mons.  Heavily outnumbered, the BEF together with sections of the French Army, retreated and it was not until 6 September that the Allies stood firm on the River Marne and halted the German advance.

It was during the Retreat from Mons that Wendover suffered its first casualty of the war. Private George Caudrey (2nd Ox and Bucks Light Infantry), of Clay Lane, was hit by fragments from an exploding shell. George was sent home for a period of convalescence and gave this account of his experience to the Bucks Advertiser and Aylesbury News:  “We were up early and marched about 15 miles and on the route passed through  a town that was in flames. Rain was coming down in torrents now and we went straight into action in open country. A fierce struggle ensued, the German shrapnel falling to the rear of us every time. However, one shell was either wrongly timed or the weather caused it to fall short for it dropped right in front of me. I received four bullets just above the ankle and it also took the sole of my boot right off and smashed my rifle to atoms. I fell down like a bullock slaughtered.”  Fortunately, George Caudrey recovered from his wounds and before long returned to France. He survived the war.

During the early weeks of the war there was no shortage of recruits. The two recruiting agents in Wendover were Sergeant Hines at the Laundry on Aylesbury Road and Corporal Thomas Carter in the High Street. Thomas Carter had fought in the Boer War and in civilian life was a blacksmith and, later, owned a garage on the site of the present Budgen’s store. He lost two sons, Thomas and Gordon, in the 1914-18 war.

All material © 2014 Wendover Remembers

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