Tring in War Time, 1914-1919
Extracts from the Bucks Herald of 9th January, 1915
Edited from British Newspaper Archive
While the Headquarters of the 21st Division was in Tring, most of the Division was stationed in Bucks and that the Bucks Herald was based in Aylesbury and that most of its readership lived in Bucks. As a result general news, which affects Tring, is often reported under the Aylesbury section or as general news.
For instance the section "The Troops at Aylesbury" describes accounts of troop training, and changes affecting the 21st Division, almost certainly apply to Tring. Agricultural Notes discusses problems caused by the weather, rail transport, and labour shortages which would have affected all the farms in the area. Gardening in War Time is also of general interest - and appears to be publicity for Sutton's Seeds. However it would seem that the plans for Entertaining the Troops in Aylesbury were went further that any New Year events in Tring although the National British Women's Temperance Association opened rooms next to the Post Office which were appreciated by soldiers billeted in the town.
Much of the local news was related to the Day of National Intercession, and other church news, with the Rev C. Pearce being asked by the army to act for soldiers of the Wesleyan and Congregational churches. Miss Phoebe Lyndhurst was singing at the Gem Picture House (which also showed some films!) while the International Stores (then in the shop now occupied by Lloyds Pharmacy in the High Street) has a large general advert which changed every week. The Parish Council at Wigginton thanked Mr Rowe for building a new post office.
And finally, on New Years Eve, Alec Charlton, a private in the 12 Northumberland Fusiliers, billeted at Tring stole a bicycle lamp, valued at 1s. 6d., belonging Ernest Blake, platelayer, of Pitstone, from a bicycle at the Duke of Wellington at Marsworth. He pleaded guilty saying he was a fool to take the lamp and in consideration of good character from his officer, was sentenced one day’s imprisonment.
The Pictures. - A good programme is announced for next week, beginning Tuesday evening. There will be no show on Monday night, Jan. 11, as the quarterly meeting of the Co-operative Society will be held in the Unity Hall on that date.
Working Men's Christian Association. - The second half of the present session of the Friday evening's men's meeting commenced on New Year's-day. The president, Mr. Edward Wright, was in the chair, and gave the address. His subject was "Prayer, Praise, and Testimony." There was a good attendance.
The Rev. C. Pearce. - Writing in the Free Church Magazine, Mr. Pearce says: "I have an earnest request from the Army Board of the Wesleyan Church to look after all the Wesleyan soldiers in the town, and a similar request from the Congregational Union on behalf of their members. I would like to be a personal friend to all."
Church Sunday Schools. - On the last Sunday in the old year, at the close of the children's service, rewards were distributed to those children who had obtained the highest marks in connection with the general work of the schools, as well as to those who specially distinguished themselves in the Catechism paper work. Mrs. Williams kindly made herself responsible for the Catechism prizes, and 57 children obtained over 200 marks out a possible 460 for papers on the weekly catechising.
Soldiers' Rooms. - The soldiers billeted in the town appear to appreciate the privileges afforded by the rooms next the Post Office, which are opened each evening for their convenience by the local branch of the National British Women's Temperance Association. Here the men meet to spend a quiet hour, to write their letters, or to partake of light refreshments, which are provided at very reasonable prices. On Sunday evening a Gospel meeting is held, and is well attended. A piano is greatly needed for the rooms, and the committee would very be grateful for the loan of one. If anyone has an instrument they would care to lend, they should communicate with Miss Alice Grace, the president, N.B.W.T.A., or Mrs. W. H. Wright, the hon. secretary.
Akeman-street Baptist Church. - The Old Year. In the January number of the Free Church Magazine it is stated in a review of the past year: "In our Church we have had our sadness, we have lost many dear friends, who have been called to rest from their labours, notably our beloved late S.S. Superintendent and Deacon, Mr. Thomas Glover. But has it not been a year of mercies too? We have had opportunities for service perhaps greater than ever before. We have been kept together as a Church, working with one aim and object. Our pulpit has been supplied by faithful men and true, and we have been built up on our most holy faith. Surely our mercies have exceeded our sorrows, both in our Church life and in the world outside."
The New Year. - The close of the old year and the beginning of the new was unmarked by any public celebrations. Many of the soldiers showed a disposition to observe the event in the manner to which they had been accustomed in their northern homes, and congregated at various points in the town for that purpose. But the military police sternly discouraged all such demonstrations, and ordered the men to their billets long before midnight. Peals from the bells in the Church tower marked the passing of 1914 and the advent of 1915. The Rev. C. Pearce conducted a watch-night service at High-street Church, and, in accordance with a very old custom, the congregation came out into the street and sang a verse of "All hail the power of Jesus's Name" front of the Church just after midnight.
C.E.T.S. - This Society held a "social" in the Church House on Tuesday. About 40 members and friends were present, and an enjoyable evening was spent. Regret was expressed at the absence of Mr. W. Brackley, the energetic secretary, through illness.
Parish Council. _ At the meeting held on Saturday, Jan. 2, there were present: Messrs. E. Grange (chairman), F. Coker, G. Rowe, S. Rowe, the Rev. H. C. Finch, and Mr. F. Kingham (clerk). - The following resolution, proposed by Mr. E. Grange and seconded by Mr. F. Coker, was carried unanimously "That the Council wish to place on record their appreciation and thanks to Mr. G. Rowe for building a new post office at Wigginton, which they consider will be a great convenience to the public."
Nearly the whole men billeted in Aylesbury have now returned from furlough, and work proceeding earnest. The bad weather of the past week has considerably interfered with field operations, but Companies have been taken for useful route marches on the excellent trunk roads the in Vale. Musketry training, Swedish drills, and other useful drills that make for efficiency have been vigorously pursued; whilst daily parties have been drafted to Wendover to assist in cutting out the fine shooting ranges which are being prepared. The erection of hutments and road construction proceeds apace, although the heavy state of the roads makes transport difficult. During the week a nightly roll-call has been commenced for the Northumberland Fusiliers at 9 p.m., and they have fallen in with the new order with alacrity. The Yorks assemble for roll-call half an-hour later, and 10 o'clock the men are for the most part in their billets. The Fusiliers have been informed in orders that the 14th Batt. Northumberland Fusiliers has been selected as the pioneer battalion of the 21st Division, and they will trained for the duties pertaining to such distinction. The Territorial Reserves continue to maintain the excellent progress they have made from the start, and the manner in which they carry out their drills and marches reflects credit on officers and men alike. They enjoy the advantage of tuition by well-trained and experienced non-commissioned officers. There have been rumours' during the week of the impending departure of the men of Kitchener's Army from Aylesbury billets, but on enquiry we are informed that the time is not yet.
Very stormy weather has prevailed of late, and the month of December is described as the wettest on record. In some places a total fall of 6.34 in. is reported to have taken place during the month. Disastrous floods have occurred, and work has been brought standstill Between. Aylesbury, Weedon, Whitchurch, Waddeedon, etc., there are acres land under flood, while in the north and south of the county the conditions are even worse. Threshing of corn has been interrupted, and the short supplies have tended to further advance in prices. Wheat increased several shillings during the week, and on Saturday a top price of 52s. was quoted some of the country markets.
In view of the difficulties and delays which are liable to arise under present conditions in the transport of goods by rail, the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries consider that farmers would be well advised place their orders for fertilisers and other farm requirements as to allow ample time for delivery.
Complaints have been made by some our Bucks agriculturists as to the shortage of labour, but this is peculiar to no district. It appears to be very general, and has been accentuated by the briskness of recruiting in rural neighbourhoods. The immediate cause of this scarcity is the need of the Army, but there are more deep-seated reasons, amongst which is the educational system, which is not suited to the country districts, the low wages in some neighbourhoods, and the superior attractions of the towns. The labour question must dealt with very seriously immediately: otherwise we shall be into the spring months with, as so many farmers complain, inadequate resources for working the land. From the point of view of food production, we use every ounce of wheat and every pound of beef that the land can grow; but if farmers are short-handed. then they cannot undertake the necessary duties, and cropping must suffer. This is matter to which the Government should give its active assistance. — Chamber of Agriculture Journal.
The Board of Agriculture and Fisheries give notice to farmers and owners of horses that in order encourage the breeding of horses, the War Office have issued instructions to their purchasing officers avoid, as far as possible, the purchase of mares, and on no account to purchase by impressment any mare whose owner signs a declaration that will use her for breeding next service season.
The observance of last Sunday as the day appointed for Intercession on behalf the Nation and Empire in the time of War" was not confined to one denomination, but a common spirit and impulse bound together the worshippers in every Church and Chapel in the town. The attendance at the services was disappointing. At the evening service there was a large congregation at the Parish Church, but in the morning the attendance was rather below the average of an ordinary Sunday. From what can learn, the same was true of other places of worship. In spite of all that has taken place since war was declared, it is doubtful if the people here realise the seriousness of present crisis, or appreciate the solemn issues to the nation involved in it.
The "Form of Humble Prayer" issued under the authority of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York was used at all the services at the Parish Church. The hymns, too, were selected with special reference to the occasion. The ringers, acting upon a very generally adopted suggestion made in "The Ringing World", rang muffled peals, morning and night. The altar was vested in penitential purple, and the musical part of the service was of a befittingly sombre character. After the third collect at Matins the Vicar ascended the pulpit and read the introductory address from the authorised form of service, in which is described "the opportunity which is now given us in this solemn hour of our nations history to join together in making supplication and intercession our Heavenly Father and Almighty King," and "the things for which we may rightly present our petitions" are set forth. Then, kneeling at the faldstool, the Vicar conducted the devotions of the congregation. Prayers for deliverance from sin, for pardon and spiritual renewal, for our King and country and for our Allies, for our Army and Navy and those of our Allies, for all sufferers through the war, for those who fight against us and the speedy triumph of our cause, were offered, and the special devotions concluded with thanksgiving for mercies already received. At Evensong the Rev. H. E. U. Bull conducted the devotions and preached. The collections throughout the day were devoted to the Red Cross Society and the Order of St John of Jerusalem. The amounts collected were - At the Parish Church, £41:9:4 at St. Martha's £2:0:4:- at Hastoe Room, £1:16:1; and at New Mill Schoolroom, 7s 6d. Total £45:14:3.
At the High Street Baptist Church the day was observed, and the liturgy drawn by the Free Church Council was used and special hymns sung. The Rev. C. Pearce referred to the ordeal through which the nation is passing, and urged the necessity for penitence and prayer.
At the Roman Catholic Church of Corpus Christi, a service of intercession was conducted in the afternoon.
New Year Day was as far as possible observed by the sturdy soldiers in Aylesbury as a holiday, though hundreds of them were disappointed not being able to get off duty till early afternoon. In the evening many of them attended a concert arranged in the Town Hall by the Entertainment Committee of the C.E.M.S., the Vicar, Mr. G. V. Lnight (chairman of the committee), and Mr. C. Chase (secretary), with the loyal support of the committee, providing an enjoyable programme. Mr. T. Held kindly lent plants for decoration, and Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs provided refreshments; whilst Colonel Horwood, Mr. C. C. Chilton, Dr. J. C. Baker, Mr. T. W. Lepper, and Mr. A. E. Watts subscribed to assist in defraying the general expenses. The duties of stewards were undertaken by Messrs. P. Marshall, - Humphries, J. Pearce, - Moore, and W. H. Bunning. The items of the programme were thoroughly appreciated, all the artistes being well received. Mr. Percy Moore rendered invaluable service accompanist. The Regimental Band of 10th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment (by kind permission of Colonel A. de S. Hadow, commanding), attended and played two marches. Other items were —Humorous songs, Mr. Stacey (London); songs. Miss F. Beechey, Mr. W. Hf. Allen, Mr. H. T. Barlow, Mr. G. How, Mr. W. Fellows, Mr. W. Palmer, and Mr. B. Hailes; recitations. Miss Hedges (Stoke Mandeville); duet. Messrs. Fellows and Palmer; quartets, the Carillon Quartet (Messrs. W. Palmer, G. How. W. Fellows, and P. Moore).
On Wednesday evening the troops were entertained at a concert in the Y.M.C.A. premises. Mr. A. O. Wright was responsible for the interesting programme presented, each part of which opened with cleverly executed pianoforte solos Miss Eva Samms; violin solos were well by Mr. T, H. Theobald; and songs, which were heartily appreciated, were contributed by Miss Richings. Miss G. Cannon. Messrs. F. Taylor. D. A. Davies, and Private A. R. Slater. Mrs. A. 0. Wright was the efficient accompanist.
One effect of the great war has been to considerably curtail supplies of fresh vegetables and flowers which have hitherto regularly reached this country from the Continent, and if our requirements in horticultural produce are to fully met British gardens will be taxed to their utmost capacity for some time to come. In these exceptional circumstances special interest attaches to the publication of “Sutton's Amateurs Guide in Horticulture,” a copy of which for 1915 has just been received. Vegetables naturally occupy the foremost position, and the descriptive and illustrated lists of their fine Produce will prove a practical aid to those who desire to crop their land profitably yet economically. The flower seed section will be read with profit by all who desire effective displays in beds and borders, and a constant supply of cut flowers. Those responsible for the upkeep of lawns, golf courses, cricket grounds, etc., will find the particulars of seeds and grass specialities of much utility. Lists of perennial plants, including climbers, and horticultural and golf requisites, complete a comprehensive work, copies of which are sent free to regular customers. The published price is 1s.
Petty Sessions, Monday, Jan. 4.
Present. - Lieut.-Col. A. Finlay (in the chair), Col. P. B. Giles, and Mr. P. C. E. Lovett.
Re-appointment. - Mr. H. Riddle was re-appointed for the ensuing year as the Probation Officer for the Linslade District.
Theft by a Soldier. - Alec Charlton, a private in the 12 Northumberland Fusiliers, billeted at Tring was charged on remand with with stealing a bicycle lamp, valued at 1s. 6d., belonging Ernest Blake, platelayer, of Pitstone. on Dec. 31. - Prosecutor stated that on the night of Dec. 31 he left his bicycle, with lighted lamp attached, in the passage the Duke of Wellington at Marsworth. Shortly afterwards defendant and another man came into the tap-room, but owing to his condition defendant was refused drink by the landlord’s son. and he left the house. A few minutes later the landlord’s son told witness that his lamp was gone. He went after the defendant, and when he caught him up the bicycle lamp, which was still alight. dropped from his coat. — Albert Tooley. of the Duke of Wellington, deposed to refusing the defendant drink. He afterwards saw him take the lamp from the bicycle and put it under his coat. — P.S. Neal said that when taken into custody the defendant said he was a fool to take the lamp. Defendant pleaded guilty, and in consideration of good character from his officer was sentenced one day’s imprisonment.