Tring in War Time, 1914-1919
Extracts from the Bucks Herald of 2nd January, 1915
Edited from British Newspaper Archive
The section headed "TRING in 1914" starts with the words "The most memorable year which this generation has known or is likely know. has just come to an end. Tring at the beginning of 1914, was an obscure little country town, pursuing its quiet, uneventful way. To-day it is a centre of military activity." and much of the current week's news is typical what one might expect of an obscure little country town. The Churches did what churches do at Christmas, the local Slate Clubs paid up, three girls passed their music exams. Lord Rothschild distributed hampers to the children in nearby Marsworth (just over the county boundary into Bucks). Hunting was still continuing as normal, S.C. Holdaway was selling a full range of Horrockses striped and plain flannelettes and you could buy Harrison's Hair Colour Restorer from A. G. Wright. And of course there was a funeral to report, Mrs Percy Mead having died at her home in Gubblecote.
While the soldiers were still in town, and are mentioned in the review of 1914, the only current events described are the Christmas gifts of cigarettes to the soldiers in the two military hospitals, and the concert in the Tennis Court at Pendley Manor. Some of the soldiers seemed to have missed out on parcels from the mining towns in Northumberland - but to learn of this Tring problem you needed to read the Newcastle Journal.
While the military camp at Halton was in Bucks, the Division H.Q. was in Tring, but for the latest news relating to the poor state of the roads to the camp one has to look under the High Wycombe News.
Because the newspaper straddles the county boundary it is weak on more general news relating to Hertfordshire and the Bucks Herald did not mention the following report which appeared in a number of papers all round the country, such as the Liverpool Daily News:
The Postmastership. - Mr. Cole, from Birmingham, has been appointed postmaster of Tring, and hopes take up his duties early in the new year.
New Stationmaster. - Mr. Bradley's successor has been appointed, and is now in charge at Station. The new stationmaster is Mr. Sharp, of Nuneaton.
Slate Clubs.- "Sharing out" took place for most the Slate Clubs the week before Christmas. At the Victoria Club the dividend was 6s. and at the Swan 14s. 5d.
Technical Classes. - The wood-carving class will re-assemble on January 9th, and the drawing, carpentry, and Buckinghamshire lacemaking classes the following week.
Musical Successes. - At the recent examinations of the Associated Board of the R.A.M. and R.C.M.. the following pupils of Miss E. M. Maull. L.R.A.M., A.Mus. T.C.L.. were successful - Constance R. Fulks, Local Centre, harmony, intermediate grade; Alice M. Dye, Local School, grammar of music. Division 111.
Christmas. - At the Parish Church the feast of Christmas was observed with becoming solemnity, commencing with first evensong on the Eve.' The ringers ushered in the festival with a joyous peal at midnight. There were celebrations of the Holy Eucharist hourly from 8, and a choral celebration at 12. Carols were sung after evensong.
- At High Street Baptist Church there was good congregation Christmas morning.
- A service was also held at Akeman Street.
Gifts to Sick Soldiers. - On Christmas afternoon Councillors the Rev. C. Pearce and Messrs. R. W. Allison. Bentley Asquith, and T. H. Hedges visited the two military hospitals and distributed cigarettes to the inmates, and also gave the nurses boxes of chocolates. These gifts had been subscribed for by the townspeople as a Christmas gift for the strangers within the gate. The recipients were surprised and delighted with the present, and the generous and kindly feeling which prompted it, and several grateful letters of acknowledgment have been received. About 15,000 cigarettes were distributed, and these, as well as the chocolates, were all obtained through local tradesmen.
Soldiers' Concert. - A well-attended concert, for soldiers, arranged Miss Cockburn, was held in the spacious Tennis Court of Pendley Manor on the evening of Boxing Day. The outstanding features of a varied programme were the artistic violin playing of Miss Rhoda Thomas and the beautiful singing of Mr Golder, now a private in Kitchener's Army, but formerly a chorister at Southwell Cathedral. A popular item was a hornpipe, smartly danced by Scouts S. Barker and W. Geeves. The accompanists were Miss Cockburn and Mr. Herbert Hedges. At the conclusion of the programme Mrs. Williams tendered the thanks of the audience to Miss Cockburn for kindly organising the concert, and Mr. and Mrs. Williams were heartily thanked for granting the use of their tennis court.
DEATH OF MRS. PERCY MEAD.
A large circle of friends will learn with deep regret of the death of Mrs. Percy Mead, at her home, Gubblecote, Tring, on December 23rd. She was greatly beloved by all who knew her. The funeral took place Monday. Dec. 28. at New Mill Baptist Church, the Pastor, the Rev. W. W. Heading, officiating. The Rev. T. Percy George also took part in the service. The hymn "There land of pure delight" was sung, and "O rest in the Lord" and "I know that my Redeemer liveth" were sympathetically rendered by Miss Clark, the organist. The mourners were: Mr. Percy Mead, Mr. T. Hows (father). Mr. and Mrs. William Hows, Mr. Charles Hows. Mr. Fred Hows (brothers). Miss Nellie Hows, Miss Emmie Hows (sisters), Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Mead. Misses Alice, Mary, and Lucy Mead (sisters-in-law). Mr. Albert Mead (uncle). Miss S. Moores, Miss L. Moores (cousins), Mr. Walter Mead. Mr. Frank Mead (cousins), and Miss Smith (Luton). Amongst those present were Mr. W. Woodman. Mr. James Griffin, Mrs. W. Newman, sen.. Mrs. W. Newman, jun., Mrs. G. Bushell, the Misses Collins, and others. Wreaths were sent the following: Mr. Percy Mead; Eric and Duncan Mead. "Father, brother, and sisters; "Will and Bertha; Sue; "Will and Edith (Gamnel House, Tring): "Mabel and Frank (Clifford Hill) Alice, Ethel, and N. D. Dodwell; "Emily at Colmers, and May, Lucy, and Ada (The Cedars)"; "All at The Laurels" "Aunties (Luton)" ; "Cousins"; Mr. Thomas Grace and family; Mr and Mrs. G. Smith; Mr. Wells, Mrs Syrett, Mr. Harrowell, Mrs. Mills, Mrs. French-Ford; the employees; Mr Edwards and Mabel; Messrs. J. B. Bushell and Sons (New Mill); Mr. and Mrs. Woodman and family (Wilstone); "Her old friends Mrs Pestell and Donald"; "With deep sympathy from those that have received great kindness from those loving hands. Mr. Percy Mead desires gratefully to acknowledge the many kind enquiries and expressions of sympathy in his sad bereavement.
Christmas Holidays. The bellringers rang a midnight peal on Christmas Eve, and again at frequent intervals on Christmas Day. Services were held in the Parish Church, at which the Vicar, the Rev. J. J. Atkins, officiated. The interior of the church was prettily decorated with evergreens. Special hymns and carols were sung, the organist for the occasion being Miss M. Elliott. Lord Rothschild repeated his generosity of last year to the children of the village, each of them under 14 years receiving a Christmas hamper containing a cake, sweets, toys, a useful present, and a new shilling. Needless to say, his lordship's gift was greatly appreciated.
GREY HAIR permanently and speedily restored to its original colour by using HARRISON'S HAIR COLOUR RESTORER. It is not a dye, but by natural means acts as a restorative. Contains nothing injurious, and is beneficial to the growth and beauty of the Hair. In bottles, price 1s. 6d. (postage 3d. extra). Manufacturer, G. W. HARRISON. Hair Specialist. Reading. Sold by Chemists. Agent for Aylesbury. A. G. Wright; Tring, G. G. Jeffery; Chesham, J. E. Phillips, 36, High Street; Great Berkhamsted, H. Gibbs; Wycombe, R. T. Wylie.
Rural District Council
Highways Committee. - The report of this Committee stated that Mr. Grant had reported on the roads near Wendover and his interview with the Chief Engineer of the Roads Board. The Committee recommended the Council to undertake the work of repairing the Wendover roads leading Halton Camp, upon receiving the necessary undertaking of the Roads Board repay all costs.
The most memorable year which this generation has known or is likely know. has just come to an end. Tring at the beginning of 1914, was an obscure little country town, pursuing its quiet, uneventful way. To-day it is a centre of military activity. Soldiers are everywhere, in almost every home, and the life of the community is regulated, to a large extent, by the exigencies of military training. About the middle of September General Sir Edward Hutton, that distinguished soldier and experienced trainer of troops, fixed the headquarters of the 21st Division of the new Army in Tring. Men began to arrive from Pontefract and other depots in the North, and were billeted on the residents. After a time they went into camp at Mr. Alfred de Rothschild's park at Halton, which, with characteristic patriotism and unselfishness. had been placed at the disposal of the military authorities. The camp was found to be untenable, owing to the bad weather, so the troops were removed to billets in the surrounding district. The presence of between 2,000 and 3,000 recruits in Tring completely revolutionised the ordinary life of the place, but the residents generally rose to the occasion splendidly, and accepted the new condition of things as if they had always been used to it.
The Victoria Hall and the Elementary Schools were equipped for hospital purposes. So the residents cheerfully accepted the situation, and decided to dispense with public entertainments for a time. The school children were moved to the Church House, the Lecture Hall, and to other more or less unsuitable buildings.
On all hands there was a ready response to the call "Your King and Country need you." With few exceptions the young men joined his Majesty's Forces; others who were unable to do this enrolled as special constables; the ladies started to work for the soldiers at the front, and they all showed themselves anxious to do what they could to help at this time of crisis. A Branch of the Prince of Wales' National Relief Fund was started, and is being generously supported, and under the auspices of a small committee hospitality is provided for a family of Belgian refugees.
Turning to ante-war times, the record of the town's doings is very much like other years. There was a certain amount of political activity. The Unionists held a smoking concert in February, an anti-Home Rule meeting the same month, and a garden fete at Pendley Manor in July. Mr. Hedley Le Bas, the prospective Liberal candidate for the Division, announced his retirement, owing to ill-health, towards the end of June.
At an election in February to fill a casual vacancy on the Board of Guardians, Mr. E. Houchen was returned.
At Easter a Church Council was formed to deal with the finances of the Parish Church and other matters, and a free-will offering scheme for diocesan purposes was inaugurated. A Ruri-decanal missionary festival was held in Tring in May. On Trinity Sunday the Rev. Guy Beech took up his work as assistant curate of the parish. In March the Rev. Charles Pearce, the doyen amongst Free Church ministers in the district, celebrated his 40th anniversary as Pastor of High Street Church. In the same month the Rev. T. Percy George accepted a pastorate at Hemel Hempstead, and was succeeded at New Mill, after a very brief interval, by the Rev. W. W. Heading. The Tring Horticultural Society held its annual exhibition on August Bank Holiday, and on the following Thursday the Tring Agricultural Show was held. The attendance at both was seriously affected by the war cloud which was then lowering over the land. The various societies have continued their work on the usual lines. The Choral Society gave a concert in February, and the Y.M.C.A. gymnastic display on Shrove Tuesday. The Troop of Boy Scouts arranged a concert in the spring, and had their usual camp in August. The Tring Park Cricket Club and the Bowls Clubs had successful seasons. A fete behalf of the local medical charities was organised by the Tring Entertainment Committee, and most successfully carried out on June 10th.
Mr. T. Chuter, the postmaster, has left Tring, on his retirement from the service, and Mr. C. W. Bradley, the L.N.W.R. station master, has been transferred to Cambridge. The horse 'buses ran by the Tring Omnibus Company have been replaced by motor 'buses belonging to the Railway Company, which have provided more rapid, if not more reliable, communication between the station and the town.
The deaths during the year include Mr. Thomas Glover, Jan. 9; Miss E. Grace, Jan. 20; Mr. G. Sallery, Mrs. Jesse Wright, and Mrs. William Brown, in March; Mrs. Frank Grace, May 8th; Mr. Joseph Lewis; Mr. Gilbert Grace, Sept. 13; Mr. Alfred Cannon, Sept. 22; Mrs. Herbert Grange, Nov. 16: Dr. Brown, Mrs. Percy Mead.
SPORTING. HUNTING APPOINTMENTS.
LORD ROTHSCHILD'S STAGHOUNDS.
Monday next ...... At Aston Abbotts.
THE BICESTER HOUNDS.
Tuesday next ...... At Lower Heyford.
Thursday ...... Edgcott.
Saturday ...... Astrop.
THE WHADDON CHASE HOUNDS.
Tuesday next ...... At Addington Lodge Gates.
Saturday ...... Great Linford.
SOUTH OXFORDSHIRE HOUNDS.
Monday next ...... At Clare Cross Roads.
Friday ...... Stanton St. John.
OLD BERKELEY HOUNDS.
Saturday (to-day) ...... At Tower Hill, Chipperfield
THE OAKLEY HOUNDS.
Saturday (to-day) ...... At Emberton. (Bye-day, at 12).
Monday next ...... Moulsoe.
Thursday ...... Knotting Green.
For Photographs of all Kinds, please go to or send for J. T. Newman, Berkhamsted, gold and silver medallist. N.B. - Distance no object. Telephone, No. 17.— [Advt.]
COMFORTS URGENTLY REQUIRED AT TRING.
The 12th (Service) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers composed 1,200 miners from Northumberland. Three hundred of these men form C Company, under the charge of my brother. These men are greatly in need many necessities, such mitts, shirts, gloves, socks. mufflers, and underclothing. Many good-wishers outside of the Newcastle district are contributing such articles as I have mentioned above, and they are very thankfully accepted by the men. For some reason or other the district from where the men were recruited seems to be contributing absolutely nothing towards their comfort, probably not being aware of the actual conditions prevalent. I am sure the conditions were known in Northumberland many comforts would be willingly and speedily offered. I believe (although I cannot state with authority) that a number of the men will be proceeding to the front during the early part of January, and, therefore any help which may be forthcoming should be rendered without delay. Anything sent will be carefully and judiciously distributed amongst the men if addressed Captain Graham Pole, 12th (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, Tring, Herts. I hope that your kind endeavours to help these men will meet with an instant and ready
(Capt.) R. GRAHAM POLE.
Newcastle Journal, Wednesday 6 January 1915