Friday, December 19, 2014

Tring at War - Latest News 19th December, 1914

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 adverts 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???]

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