The reminiscences of John Bowman, a former Tring postman . . .
The district nurse, Miss Girardet, has resigned and is presently nursing at the military
hospital on Wandsworth Common. She has been thanked for her 17 years service to the community. Miss Green has been appointed in her place.
The 21st Division are now in France and have been in action around Loos/La Bassée.
Halton Camp is now the training facility for the East Anglian area.
Gallipoli has been evacuated. A combined force of French and British troops, have occupied Salonica and have moved into Thessaly and Macedonia, in support of the retreating Serbian army. The Kitchener battalions of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry are part of the force. A number of local men are in these battalions. The casualty lists are depressingly long. Almost every family, locally has either lost a relative, or had news of one wounded or taken prisoner.
The production of shells and ammunition is being co-ordinated by the government. The shortage in 1915 was felt by our armies on the Western Front, and is no doubt the main cause of our failure to progress militarily.
1916 saw the National Service Act coming into operation. This allowed the direction of the work force as required for the war effort. Local tribunals were established, which allowed exemption for men with large families, men and women who held essential jobs and men running family businesses and farms. The pronouncements of the tribunals were not always acceptable, and recourse to an appeal board was often sought.
The shortage of food, due in part to the German submarine warfare is having a serious effect on the population. The licensing laws were changed, with pubs having restricted opening hours. These restrictions remain virtually to the present day.
HMS Hampshire, a cruiser, was sunk north of Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands on June 5th 1916. She had on board, Lord Kitchener and a delegation, which were on their way to Murmansk in Northern Russia to meet the Russian Imperial Command. Lord Kitchener's body was never found. However, Able Seaman Stanley Collier, one of the crew, was recovered from the sea and buried in the military cemetery on the island of Hoy. He was a Tring man and is commemorated on the Tring war memorial.
The Chiltern beech woods were being cut down to provide timber for the trench systems in France. Three forestry engineer units were at work in the area, one being from Australia. The consumption of timber was so great at the front that a special port facility was built on the river Seine, at Rouen, solely for the handling of timber.