Tring in War Time, 1914-1919
Extracts from the Bucks Herald of 19th December, 1914
Edited from British Newspaper Archive
Christmas in Tring is looking good, as the the decision to based the headquarters of the 21st Division in the town, and the billeting of some 3,000 men now means that the shops are busy, although they would be even busier if local people shopped locally rather than in London. The paper was full of Xmas Announcements and Tring Consolidated Charities distributed tickets for bread and coal. Over £25 was raised at the Tring Stock Sale for the Belgium Relief Fund and the big local news was the death of Dr Brown. There are brief mentions of the success of Evelyn A. Freeman and Norah Jeffery in music exams, the vocalists at the Gem cinema, a lecture by the Rev. E. J. Whitman at the Baptist Chapel at Wigginton, and the fact that Mr. H. W. Bishop, of Pendley, was a judge at the Smithfield Show.
The military plans to use the High Street Schools as a military hospital were progressing, which will allow them to vacate the Victoria Hall. Several Councillors launch an appeal for Xmas gifts for the soldiers in the hospital. Meanwhile military training carries on in the area. The nearby village of Marsworth provides a list of men from the parish serving in the armed forces. The very rainy weather was causing problems in the construction of the large army camp just over the county boundary at Halton, where "The continual heavy rains have, if anything, added to the wretched conditions that prevail, and the roads in the vicinity of the camp are almost impassable to anything but heavy motor vehicles." These problems may be why James Putnam was offering 30/- a week, plus lodgings, for "Pair and Single Horse Drivers" to work at the camp. Elsewhere in the paper there is a mention of the problems farmers are having with preparing the fields for the crops because so many farm workers have volunteered for the forces. [Later in the war a single track narrow gauge line was built between Wendover Station and the camp]
Bombardier P. Seabrook, 35th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, son of Mr. Edwin Seabrook, of Albert-street, wrote home and while such letters do not normally mention the location or the fighting he can report that "Yon can read of my Battery in the Daily Mail of Nov. 26th. The heading 'Sticking to the Guns.' and 'The Heroic Defence of --- by a Single Battery commanded Major Christie.'" [Has anyone got a copy???]
The Charities. - The Trustees of the Tring Consolidated Charities attended at the Vestry Hall on Thursday and Friday in last week when the annual distribution of tickets for bread and coal took place in accordance with the scheme sanctioned by the Charity Commissioners.
Musical Successes. - At the recent examinations held by the Associated Board of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, Evelyn A. Freeman passed the Elementary Division in pianoforte playing, and Norah Jeffery the Primary Division in the same subject. Both are pupils of Miss Hobson. A.R.C.M,. L.R.A.M., A.R.C.O.
The Pictures. Two exceptionally interesting two-part dramas, "The Night Hawks" and "The Stiletto." have been presented to crowded audiences during the week. On the varieties side the programme has been particularly strong. Miss Ivy Rainsford has charmed everyone with her unusual voice, and Miss Dannell who by special request was engaged for a second week, has been singing with all her usual charm and vivacity.
Death of Dr. Brown.
Death has removed one of the best-known and most familiar figures from our midst. Dr. Brown who had been in indifferent health for some time, passed away on Tuesday night at "Harvieston" his residence in Aylesbury-road, and his death is felt by many as a personal loss. For some five and twenty years Dr. Brown has lived Tring, to which he came as assistant to the late Dr. Pope. Later he joined Dr. Pope as partner, and on the retirement of that gentleman, took over the practice. His assiduous attention to his professional duties, and his courteous bearing to all, made him popular with all classes. His work as a doctor naturally brought him much into contact with his poorer neighbours, and his kindness and sympathetic consideration for the humblest of them won for him their lasting esteem. Dr. Brown's marriage with Miss Fulton, a sister of the late Mrs. Richardson Carr, strengthened the bonds which bound him to the town of his adoption. He was medical officer to the Loyal Sincerity Lodge of Oddfellows, and to Court Albion of the Foresters' Society, and his services were greatly appreciated by the Friendly Society members. Although he was a very busy ma, Dr. Brown took his full share of public work. For many years he was a member of the Urban District Council, and his opinion and advice, especially upon questions affecting the health and sanitation the district, were highly valued by that body.
Dr. Brown leaves a widow and three children - a son (who serving in the University and Public School Corps) and two daughters. The greatest sympathy is expressed on all sides with them their irreparable loss. We understand that the funeral was fixed for Friday (yesterday).
BELGIAN RELIEF FUND AT TRING STOCK SALE.
An interesting feature of this sale last Monday was an effort to assist the above-named fund. This was done by a Weight-judging Competition. The beast to be judged was the property Mr. J. G. Williams, and was sold by weight to Mr. Walter Mead, of Tring. This competition realised £4:13. there being 86 entries, and the prize. 5s., was won by Messrs. R. W . Bedford and F. G. Gerrish. who were both within 1lb. of the actual weight, namely. 164st. 6lbs. and 164st. 4lbs. respectively,. the correct weight being 164st. 5lbs. Next. Mr. Arthur Macdonald, of Hasely, Tring, gave a Scotch wether sheep to sold for the fund. This was bought by Mr. Harry Munger, of Aston Clinton, at 46s., and was given again for the fund realising next time offered 38s. Afterwards. Mr. J. Treacher of Tottenham, London, gave a lamb to be sold for the same object, and this was sold and given back no fewer than ten times, the purchasers being Messrs. H. L. Turner, John Ashby, A. Wright, C. B. Oliver, G. Outlaw, Jos. Clarke. H. Ashby. F. J. Brown, Thomas Asbby, and J. Youngman, the total realised for the fund, with the competition mentioned above, being £25: 14, for which a cheque will be forwarded to the Secretary of the Tring Belgian Relief Fund.
TRING IN WAR TIME.
The continued presence of the military in the district is proving a boon to Tring, for it means the circulation of money and the provision of employment. Tradesmen were looking forward to a very slack time this winter, but the fixing of the Headquarters of the 21st Division in the town and the billeting of something like 3,000 soldiers has falsified that apprehension, and provision dealers and tradesmen generally are rejoicing in the briskness of business quite unusual at this time of the year. If the people Tring, and especially those who get most of their goods from London, would only display a little practical patriotism, and do their shopping at home, there is no reason why the Christmas trade this year should not be quite as good as in normal times.
The district possesses many advantages as a training ground for troops, and full advantage is being taken of the geographical features by those responsible for arranging the men's instructional exercises. Field operations, tactical schemes of defence and attack, and scouting and reconnoitring exercises, form a large part of the men's training. These manoeuvres are carried out under the personal direction of Sir Edward Hutton, the General commanding the Division, and the men appear to take a keen and intelligent interest in them.
The playgrounds at the High-street Schools have been shut in by a high closely-boarded fence, which makes it impossible for anyone to overlook the grounds from the High-street. It is understood that the schools will be used as a military hospital for the Division, and will take the place of the Victoria Hall, which is to be shortly vacated. The Rev. Charles Pearce (vice-chairman of the Council) and Councillors Allison and Hedges have issued an appeal for contributions towards procuring Christmas gifts for the men in the soldiers' hospital.
WITH THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCES.
The following letter from Bombardier P. Seabrook, 35th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, gives some idea of the spirit in which the brave fellows at the front are facing the dangers and hardships of the terrible campaign. Bombardier Seabrook is son of Mr. Edwin Seabrook, of Albert-street. one of four brothers who are serving their King and country in the Army or Navy:-
December 8. 1914.
Dear Mother and Father, - Just few more lines, in answer to your letter. I am glad know you are still well. I am glad to know you are still well. I am well at the time of writing, only wet through to the skin. It makes the third wet shirt in 24 hours; but we take no notice of that now, have got used to it by this time. We have had some very bad weather here lately, but I hope it is finished for a bit now. We are still in the same place - been here nearly three weeks - and I cannot say when we are moving again. But I expect there will be a sudden move shortly, as soon as everything is ready. It doesn't do to strike until everything is ready. You say in your letter - Shall I he home for Christmas? I may be home 12 months come Christmas; but I would like to home for this all the same.
Well. I am in the best of spirits up to the present; and although I don't much care about gain going through the same we have been through, if we have to, we can do it again with a good heart. Yon can read of my Battery in the Daily Mail of Nov. 26th. The heading "Sticking to the Guns." and "The Heroic Defence of --- by a Single Battery commanded Major Christie."
I remain, your affectionate son.
Very rainy weather has been experienced recently, and in some parts of Bucks the land is much flooded. Reports state that work on the farm fairly forward, but there is now general delay in most districts owing to the excessive rain. Wheat is mostly up, and looking well. Reference made to some increase in the area sown, and it stated that a lot will be planted in the spring after the sheep have fed the roots. Various allusions are made to scarcity of labour, and to the number of horses being reduced. All stock is selling well.
The British Berkshire Pig Society has decided to award prizes at the next Tring and Oxfordshire Shows. Mr. A. E. Scutt, Medmenham, has been elected member the Society.
A capital photograph appears in this week’s issue of the Farmer and Stockbreeder of Miss Alice de Rothschild’s Oxford Down yearling wethers which secured first prize at the Birmingham Show.
Mr. H. W. Bishop, of Pendley, near Tring, was one the cattle judges at the Smithfield Show.
References to the scarcity of labourers are becoming more frequent and pronounced. The country districts have evidently contributed with disproportionate generosity to the colours. The tale is the same from all counties. In the aggregate the number of recruits from rural districts may not be remarkable, but what makes the position so critical is that they have been drawn from class of workers already depleted through economic influences. Very few localities bad a surplus of labourers before the outbreak of war, and, consequently, every recruit has left a blank which it has been difficult or impossible to fill. The proportion of young men engaged in farm work is in normal times smaller than could be desired, and this makes the loss of those who have gone on active service all the more pronounced. The fact that many of them were horsemen makes it less easy to fill their places, casual workers, rule, having had little experience with teams, either in the stable or on the land. Farmers declare that the question of increasing the acreage of wheat has been settled for them. They say that they could not have sown an additional acre even if it had been their intention to do so. The most fortunate of them have found it no easy matter to cultivate and drill the normal breadth of wheat and beans, while some have been so seriously affected that their field work has fallen into arrears, and there is little prospect of being able to improve their position. One result of the exodus of farm hands has been that farmers or their sons have had to take charge of the teams, which may mean partial neglect of business by the former and the inability of many of the latter to serve their country, as it was their wish to do. In the interest of the nation quite as much as in that of the industry, it is of the utmost importance that "business as usual” should be the motto in agriculture. Indeed, it would well if at such a time efforts in the production food of should redoubled, but under present conditions many are finding it a hard task to maintain a normal course. — The Field.
Baptist Chapel. — A lantern lecture was given in this Chapel Tuesday by the Rev. E. J. Whitman. The subject selected was “The life of Christ.” which was illustrated by beautiful slides. The large congregation listened with intense interest to the remarks of the lecturer. Suitable hymns were sung.
LOCAL ROLL OF HONOUR.
The following a complete list the men from this parish serving in H.M. Forces, made up to Dec. 10:
Edward Bartlett. Royal Navy;
Herbert Blood, Northamptonshire Regiment;
Herbert Beasley, despatch rider. K.A.;
Jesse Carter. Oxford Light Infantry;
William Gates. Royal Navy;
William Gregory. Herts Territorials;
Paul James Jeffery and Frederick Johnson. Kitchener's Army;
Edward Oakley and Arthur Oakley. Herts Territorials;
Bertie Oakley. Oxford Light Infantry;
Charles Newton Army Service Corps;
Charles Richards and Thomas Sanders, Royal Field Artillery;
James Smith. Royal Garrison Artillery;
Harry Smith. Royal Field Artillery;
Ernest Wright, Royal Horse Artillery.
HAULAGE. - To Contractors, Timber Merchants, Millers, Brewers, Farmers, etc., HAULAGE by STEAM TRACTOR at Reasonable Prices. - Apply J. HONOUR & SON, Ltd., Tring.
WANTED, PAIR and SINGLE HORSE DRIVERS for Halton Camp; must be temperate and good workers; lodgings found and 30/- week. - Apply, JAMES PUTMAN, Aylesbury.
[HALTON] ... The numbers at the Halton Camp have considerably decreased this week. The Engineers are really the only ones “in command of the situation;" but on Saturday a large contingent were sent away, and are now billeted in Princes Risborough and the immediate district. This has resulted in considerable diminution of the soldiers frequenting Wendover. But there is still much activity displayed. Each day some 700 workmen arrive by special train from Marylebone,. and the work of erecting the huts is being pursued as rapidly as possible. The traffic to the camp is still very great, the quantity of timber conveyed from the trucks at the station being enormous. The continual heavy rains have, if anything, added to the wretched conditions that prevail, and the roads in the vicinity of the camp are almost impassable to anything but heavy motor vehicles. ...