First World War Timeline
April to July 1919
Based on local newspaper research in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent.
[Notes in square brackets have been added by the compiler to clarify, where needed, and to set the local event in a national context.]
Compiled by local historian Stuart Antrobus.
4 April 1919
P5 (Col 6)
'Progress with Peace Celebrations: ...For the Children's Entertainment Sub-Committee, Miss Etchells said the heads of all the Schools in Bedford recommend a united demonstration by all schools in the town on the first day, and the elementary scholars should have a tea... After tea the children would go to the Parks for entertainments... The Procession Committee ...proposed a naval and military procession in the morning of the first day, including the troops stationed in the town... The civil procession on the second day after the service... The Decorations Sub-Committee recommended an appeal be made to the inhabitants... The Sports Committee... The Band Committee... The River Fete Committee... they would be glad to see representatives of the Scottish Division back in Bedford...'
11 April 1919
P6 (Col 3)
'Dr Harding's Last Concert for the Troops: When in the early days of the Scottish occupation, in 1914, Dr Harding and the Borough Recreation Committee initiated the Sunday evening concerts in the Corn Exchange for the Troops, no one dreamed that they would have four and a half years uninterrupted run... should come to an end on April 27th... on the morrow he celebrated his 30th anniversary as Borough Organist and organist of St Paul's Church.'
P7 (Cols 5-6)
Advertisement, with trench photo and portrait of the individual solider who is promoting Phosferine: 'Private A.J. Walker, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force... the trouble started in Gallipoli, where we were all more or less run down... I tried Phosferine, and that proved the turning point; after a couple of weeks I was well on the mend, and finally regained my normal health...'
18 April 1919
P1 (Cols 6-7)
Advertisement 'Bedfordshire Victory Ball: St. George's Day, April 23rd, 1919: The Committee desire to give notice that all the Tickets have been sold... Victory Ball – Second Night: Thursday April 24th: In aid of the Proposed Convalescent Home...'
P7 (Col 4)
'Mr Kellaway On The Political Situation: A Message To Women Liberals:... The Women's Emancipation Bill which secures equal status for women before the law, a reform for which they have been contending for many years, has been accepted by the Government.'
P8 (Col 4):
'Public Notice: National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers:... formation of Shefford and District Sub-Branch... it is hoped that all discharged sailors and soldiers resident in Henlow, Shillington, Stondon, Clifton, etc., will join us at once.'
25 April 1919
P6 (Cols 3-5)
Two photos and report 'Presentation Of Medals To R.E.s: Close upon forty Warrant Officers, NCOs and men, principally of the R.E.s [Royal Engineers] received medals at the hands of Brigadier–General Godfrey Fausett, on Thursday, in Bedford Park.'
2 May 1919
P5 (Cols 4-5)
Three photos and report on the march of Bedfordshire Regiments soldiers through the streets, church service, civic reception, lunch and banquet: 'Welcome Home! Bedford's Warm Welcome for the Bedford: The Mayor Presents Laurel Wreaths'
9 May 1919
P6 (Cols 4-5)
Photo and report: 'Disabled Soldiers Make Boots' about men no longer able to carry out their pre-war occupations because of injury, undertaking a 12-month course on boot making and repair at a Training Centre established by the Bedford War Pensions Committee.
16 May 1919
P7 (Col 4)
'Smallholdings for Ex-Service Men: ... an order for the compulsory purchase of 108 acres of land at College Farm, Roxton...'
23 May 1919
P8 (Cols 1-2)
Public notice: 'Corn Production Act, 1917: Agricultural Wages Board (England and Wales): Order varying the Minimum Rates of wages at present in force for Male Workers of 18 years of age and over...'
30 May 1919
P8 (Col 3)
'Discharged Soldiers On Parade: ... "This meeting protests against some employers of labour in giving preferential treatment to 'dilutees' [ women replacing men but on lower wages, often brought about by the breaking down of complex tasks into simpler activities which non-skilled workers could easily carry out] and others who have never served in the forces of the Crown; and calls upon the Government to at once introduce legislation dealing with the employment of ex-servicemen"... The Federation in Bedford had 1700 fully paid-up members...'
6 June 1919
P6 (Col 3)
'Correspondence: One Point of View:... Who wants to celebrate the Peace? What of the widows, orphans and disabled men? Have the promises made to the men who volunteered and fought been kept? Is Bedford free from needy, discharged men? Let the Peace Celebrations Committee carry on if everything is as it should be with those whose sacrifices have made Peace possible. Should there be one amongst them down and out then it is scandalous to waste money on decorations and fetes. There was plenty of flag waving in 1914 and afterwards by those who were slim enough to keep out of the services, and now they want to be at it again. It is so much easier than fighting and suffering.'
13 June 1919
P 2 (Col 4)
Appeal by the Mercantile Marine Service Association: 'Is It Nothing To You? ...that the shores of your country remained inviolate – undefiled by the foot of the invader? ...that the enemy's endeavours to save you were brought to nought?...the obscure heroes of our Mercantile Marine... "During the year no fewer than 2,457 merchant ships have been sunk under their crews by enemy action, and additional fishing vessels, a total of 3,147 crews left to drift. The merchant service has lost over 15,000 men"... Give of your substance – as they gave their lives for you.'
P6 (Col 1)
'A Few Words to employers: There are many men who fought hard for you who are ready to work hard for you. They are waiting now for jobs you have, or will soon have, open. Some of them are receiving Out-of-Work pay at the Employment Exchanges. They would rather work. You can help the great resettlement in industry which is now in progress...'
20 June 1919
P2 (Cols 3-5)
Photo and description of Homewood, Bedfordshire's Convalescent Home' [continued from previous weeks].
P5 (Cols 5-6)
Two photos and report: 'The 2nd Bedfords Return': The return of the 2nd cadre of the Bedfordshire Regiment to their Kempston Barracks.
27 June 1919
P4 (Cols 6-7)
Savings advertisement 'The Victory Loan Campaign – Bedford's Great Effort – Nearly £45,000 raised first week, as you help towards the £200,000 for Bedford's Total. As your thankoffering for Peace, buy Victory Bonds, of Funding Loan or War Savings Certificates...'
P7 (Cols 1-2)
Public notice 'Bedford & District Chamber of Trade. The first General Meeting will be held at St Cuthbert Hall... July 9th 1919... Merchants, Professional Men, Teachers, Property Owners and others interested are invited to attend.'
4 July 1919
P7 (Col 3)
'Notes of the Week: The quietness with which the news of the signing of the Peace Treaty was received in Bedford accorded well with the mood of most of us, a mood of intense relief and thankfulness.'
P7 (Col 5)
'Bedford Peace Celebrations: The Children's Day:... Thursday July 3rd - great thanksgiving service... 7,000 voices singing... the playing field of Bedford School... tea for 4,600 primary school children ...entertainment in the Park
P9 (Cols 1-5)
'Bedford and the Peace Treaty'. Thanksgiving services at the various churches in town.
11 July 1919
P7 (Col 5)
'Notes of the Week: The Peace Day Celebrations in Bedford, it appears are to be organised by the military. The official Committee appointed by the town carried out the Children's Celebration very successfully last week but felt unable to make any proposals for July 19th in view of the lack of funds and the attitude of the town, so far as it could be ascertained.' More (Col 5) re the plans of the military.
18 July 1919
P5 (Cols 2-3)
'Bedford County Hospital Convalescent Home Fund Week, opens Saturday next, at 8pm'
25 July 1919
P5 (Cols 3-4)
Nine photos: 'Joy Day In Bedford' show the crowds in the High Street and Russell Park celebrating Peace Day on Saturday 19 July [Celebrated throughout the United Kingdom] Full report on P6 (Cols 1-2).
P7 (Cols 3-4)
Photo: 'Bedfordshire's second airship which made a most successful flight a fortnight ago being hauled into its shed,' plus photo of Lieut. Colonel W.C. Hicks, the Commander of the R32.
Page last updated: 1st May 2014