Wendover Remembers – June 1918
In June 1918 the great German offensives on the Western Front were finally checked. Heavy fighting took place along the River Aisne where American forces played a major part in retaking Chateau Thierry. French troops stopped the Germans from advancing on Compiegne. In Italy the Austro-Hungarians were repulsed by a combined British, French and Italian army. The British Independent Air Force was formed for the strategic bombing of German cities and factories. At sea, near Fastnet, the British hospital ship Llandovery Castle was torpedoed with the loss of 244 lives.
At home the Bucks Herald reported that the Wendover Prisoner of War Fund had been able to adopt 6 more prisoners and had accepted responsibility for sending them food parcels. Three of the six were old school friends from Wendover, Privates Harry Caudrey, Leslie Wood and William Deering.
In June 1918 Wycombe Rural District Council informed the Parish Council that 30 houses were to be built in Wendover and asked for two representatives to sit on the committee to select a site or sites. Although it was thought very necessary to have the scheme prepared the erection of the houses would not take place until after the war. By January 1921 some of the houses were ready for occupation. They were built in the newly constructed Victory Road, those on the north side were called Haig Cottages and on the south, Beatty Cottages. Several ex-service men were in occupation at the beginning of the year and more would move in as the houses were finished.
At the annual meeting of the North Bucks Congregational Union three ministers were congratulated for volunteering for temporary service with the Y. M. C. A. One of those ministers was the Rev William Williams of the Wendover Congregational Church who later wrote of his experiences in the Wendover Magazine. Initially attached to a Bakery Camp in the centre of Dieppe which supplied bread to over a million men every day he learnt the routine of life behind the lines. He later moved to a camp on the hill above Dieppe. He wrote – “The camp itself is a remount camp, with stabling accommodation for two thousand horses. These horses were brought over by boat from England to the docks at Dieppe, from whence they were fetched by the men and brought up to our camp. Once or twice a week the men had to take a batch of horses to the front lines to fill gaps made by bombs, shells or bullets.” After five weeks at this camp the Rev Williams took sole charge of the Y.M.C.A. hut at a camp mid-way between Dieppe and Rouen. In addition to hundreds of British soldiers there were nearly two hundred German prisoners in the camp and more in the many camps in the forest around. He wrote that although the work was hard and rough and the hours long he regarded the time he spent with the Y.M.C.A. as among the happiest in his life.
Mr Molineux, headmaster of Wendover School wrote in the Log Book – June 3- King’s birthday, forgot to hoist the flag. June 21-The Headmaster (aged 48) was today examined for Military grading at Aylesbury & certified Grade 3. This low grade ensured that Mr Molineux didn’t have to enlist for active service and remained at home.
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