Wendover Remembers, August 1918
Having successfully resisted the massive German offensives on the Western Front of March-June 1918, British and French forces made a major counter-attack beginning on 8 August. This became known as the Second Battle of Amiens. The Germans had 27,000 casualties on the first day alone and were forced back eight miles to their Hindenburg Line defences. The German Commander, Erich Ludendorff, called it the Black Day of the German army. In Russia Lenin survived an assassination attempt. Allied forces, including British, American and Japanese troops, landed in Archangel, Vladivostok and Baku to oppose the Germans and Bolsheviks. An outbreak of Spanish flu affected both German and the Allied soldiers.
In August 1918 two Wendover men were killed in France. Private Arthur James Dorrell of the Royal Berkshire Regiment died of wounds on 26 August aged 20. Arthur was the son of James and Sarah Dorrell who lived in the London Road. Arthur, also known as Jimmy, and his brother Harold were among the first to enlist in the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry in the early days of the war. In January 1918 Arthur was wounded and sent home to hospital in Tring suffering from septic poisoning. Soon after being back on the front line he was again wounded and died of his injuries.
Corporal George Buckley Thompson of the London Scottish Regiment was killed in France on 31 August aged 38. George had already been wounded in 1916. In September 1918 the Bucks Advertiser and Aylesbury News paid tribute to him with the news of his death-“Mr W Thompson of Pound Street Wendover has received official information that his brother Corporal George Buckley Thompson was killed in action on August 29th. Deceased who was in his 39th year went to the National School and finished his education in Aylesbury, proceeded at the age of 19 to London. He was there apprenticed to a firm of drapers and rapidly rose to a position of trust and confidence. When his engagement to Miss Sears of High Street, Wendover became known the news was received with popular approval. Much sympathy is felt with his fiancée, brothers and sister in their loss.” George was a grandson of William Thompson who establish a bakery in Pound Street in the early 1830s. We have no photograph of George Thompson but the picture shows his brothers William and Harry standing outside the shop. Harry also served in the war and ran the bakery until the 1940s.
At home, apart from the sad loss of well-loved Wendover men, life seemed a bit easier. The sun shone. On August Bank Holiday crowds of people visited the town and many were unable to find accommodation over the weekend. The Bucks Herald 24th August .-“ Harvest operations are in full swing, and the weather is all that could be desired for the gathering in of the crops. It is a glorious sight from the hills to see the great number of fields under cultivation, with sheaves of corn standing ready to be stacked. The allotment holders on the new ground are getting good results. A garden fete and evening dance held at Bacombe Warren in aid of the Prison of War fund was well attended and the weather reported as all that could be desired.
At the Parish Council meeting Mr Blake said he believed there were a number of men who would like to form a pig club. He suggested that the Clerk should take the name of those willing to form such a club, in order that definite action might follow.
At the Court of Petty Sessions Private George Bull pleaded not guilty to a charge of unlawfully taking wild birds at Wendover on August 8th. Local policeman P.C. Bryant said he saw the defendant sitting behind a heap of Churlock in a field between Halton and Wendover with a large double net which opened and shut by means of a cord operated from behind. Inside the net were two linnets and one lark, and at each corner was a small cage containing a call bird, there being three linnets and a goldfinch. In a larger cage were three freshly caught linnets and a bullfinch. Witness liberated the freshly caught birds. When asked for an explanation defendant said that he had been working in a field, and another man asked him to look after the nets while he went away for a little while. The Chairman said there could be no question about it that the defendant was bird catching. The law for the protection of wild birds must be carried out. He would have to pay a fine of 20s and the nets found in his possession would be confiscated.
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