Wendover Remembers, February 1918

The war at sea continued with the sinking of the U.S. troop carrier Tuscania. It was torpedoed off the Irish coast with the loss of 166 lives. In the Bristol Channel the hospital ship Glenart Castle was torpedoed and 162 were lost. British forces continued to make advances in Palestine and Jericho was taken. A German air raid on London killed 21 and injured 32. Trotsky announced that Russia would take no further part in the war and would demobilise immediately. Thankfully no Wendover servicemen were killed in February.

Halton Camp was expanding rapidly. An advertisement in the Bucks Herald by Messrs Foster and Dicksie Ltd. called for “30 carpenters, 12 painters, 3 scaffolders, 12 labourers” with “free sleeping accommodation on site”.

As a result of German submarine attacks, food supplies to Britain from abroad were seriously disrupted. Compulsory rationing was in force. In an effort to encourage self-sufficiency the Government promoted the growing of vegetables, particularly potatoes, on any land that was available – even on the flower beds of Buckingham Palace. Wendover did its bit. The Bucks Herald reported that allotment plots in Dobbins Lane had been marked out and land reserved for building in Perry Street had been ploughed ready for cultivation. On 4 February Mr Molineux wrote in the School Log Book: “Dr Wollerton has kindly promised to relinquish his tenancy of the small paddock near the YMCA Hut, and alongside the brook, so that we may dig up and clear the land in preparation for a School Garden”. Later in the month the School Log Book noted: “The plot of garden near the Heron Path has now been acquired…and I propose spending much extra time (principally that at present used for Drawing) so that boys may trench it and dig out nettles whilst the weather is favourable. The total area of the plot is about 2 roods 34 sq. poles, but the area to be cultivated will be considerably less as we shall leave a wide margin near the stream and beneath the trees”.

The Bucks Herald also noted that: “The Ministry of Food say that the keeping of tame rabbits – a pleasant and profitable hobby – can now be made of real use in increasing the meat supply of the country. The Ministry advises you to feed them on greenstuff and you must not give them corn”. A wit in the Herald office added that “restricting the supply of corn would make the tame rabbits wild” and “a wily old hare stole past the local gamedealer’s shop without looking in”.

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