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First World War Timeline
April to June 1915

Places > Bedford > First World War > First World War Timeline

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.

2 April 1915

P5 (Cols 2-3)
Cartoon by Private Stewart Knock 'On a Route March: The Eighteenth Mile', showing a soldier out on the road with a rifle and pack which seem to outweigh him.

9 April 1915

P7 (Cols 3-4)
'Pictures of the Highland Games' (6 photos plus a cartoon by Private Stewart Knock) re Sat 3 April 1915 & Mon 5 April 1915 sports competitions.
P7 (Cols 5-6)
'The 7th Gordons' Games' held on 31 March on the Bedford Modern School ground.

16 April 1915

P7 (Cols 5-6)
Scottish military cartoons: 'Sick Parade' by Private A. Thorpe & 'A Caber Competitor's Nightmare' by Private Stewart Knock, in Bedford, plus one from Trooper Tom Pollock of the Bedfordshire Yeomanry Reserve, 'recently employed in making trenches'- 'The Pig and the Yeoman's Kipper'.

23 April 1915

P4 (Col 5)
'General French Praises the Bedfordshire Regt: At the inspection of the Bedfordshire Regiment on the 10th. Inst., General French addressed them in the following terms: - Men of Bedford, I have come here to-day to tell you how deeply indebted I am to you for the work which you carried out at Neuve Chapelle. I know what you have done. I know the losses you have suffered... I know that no regiment pushed forward more gallantly than the 2nd Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment. The work that you have done is of the first importance.'
P7 (Cols 5-6)
Cartoons: 'Preparatory to Leaving Bedford: Just a little fatigue work' by Private Stewart Knock of the 6th Seaforths and 'The Route March' by Private A Thorpe of the 6th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
P7 (Cols 5-6)
3 photographs: 'Irish Transport Company in Goldington Avenue'; Liverpool Irish of the 1/8th Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment in area of St Peter's Church, marching through Bedford; 'Gordons Attend the Kirk' 5th Gordons at St Martin's Church, with the Battalion Band.

30 April 1915

P7 (Cols 2-3)
'Respirators for the Troops'. Letter to the Editor from William Machin at the Town Hall, on behalf of the Bedford Borough Recreation Committee, in response to the appeal by the War Office, promising a gift of 20,000 respirators [illustrated by a photo showing the official design] and appealing to residents of Bedford and the county for help in making them and for donations towards the cost. [A million home-made respirators were made in Britain in one day, virtually all of which turned out to be useless.]
P7 (Cols 2-3)
Cartoon by Private Stewart Knock about the dilemma of a soldier 'Packing Up' who has been sent so many items from his supporting family and friends, yet having to obey the Army Order that 'No kitbags will be allowed to be taken' when he heads off to fight: 'Save me from my friends!'
P11 (Cols 4-5)
'Presentations at the Corn Exchange': anticipating the imminent departure of the Scottish regiments from Bedford in the coming week, there were speeches by both sides. The Mayor said that 'the whole town had come to look on the soldiers as part of their town. Friendships had been made which would last for many years, and when they went to the front the eyes of all Bedford would be upon them, feeling confident that they would give those Germans something to remember. Bedford would rejoice with them in their victories and grieve with them in their losses, hoping that they would come back to the homes they had left for the honour of the country (applause).'

7 May 1915

P7 (Cols 3-4)
Photo provided by a billet-mother of five Scottish soldiers apparently in one bed 'recovering from inoculation'.
P7 (Cols 3-5)
Photo of crowds, with individuals on bicycles, following the Scottish soldiers as they march along the Promenade [the Embankment] on the previous Saturday afternoon.
P7 (Cols 4-5)
'Welcome the Coming, Speed the Parting Guest:... peaceful and forlorn have been the streets of Bedford in the early part of this week... [after the departure of the Highland regiments] but two battalions of the Welsh Regiment came up from Royston on Wednesday. One had a fine band, and the other a grand Male Voice Choir.'
P7 (Cols 3-4)
Photo: 'A Regiment of Fair Respiration Rollers': showing long tables in the Corn Exchange with women volunteers producing respirators for soldiers. Photo: 'Recreation Committee and Respirators' showing Miss Walmsley and the men of the Recreation Committee with large boxes of respirators destined for use by the Highland Division and the Bedfordshires.
P11 (Cols 1-7)
Full-page map and list of town facilities (plus adverts for eating places), entitled: 'Welcome the Coming Guests' [Large street map showing the location of facilities and the rough distance from the two main railway stations, Midland & London and North-Western]

14 May 1915

P7 (Col 3)
'Bedfordshire Prisoners of War'. Letter to the Editor: 'We desire to appeal through your columns on behalf of men of the Bedfordshire Regiment who are Prisoners of War in Germany. No Regiment in the Army has fought and suffered more gallantly than the Bedfordshires. They have been in the thickest of the fighting and have, at least twice, been publicly thanked for their gallantry by the Commander-in-Chief.
'A certain number of men, wounded or cut off from their comrades, have been carried off into Germany as Prisoners of War. It has been found possible, through an organisation in London... to send parcels of comforts, tobacco, etc., to those men, and we ask for subscriptions from the county towards a Fund to enable this to be done regularly and systematically.'
P7 (Cols. 5-6)
'The Welsh Artillery': two photos – ' A Few of the 2nd Mon[mouthshire]. Battery'; 'Ammunition Column Horses at Dinner'.
P9 (Col 3)
'HM The King and the Bedfords' A letter from Mr. W. Cogan quotes a letter he has received from Buckingham Palace regarding the grievous loss of three sons serving in the Bedfordshire Regiment:' It has been brought to the King's notice that you have had four sons and a son-in-law in the army. Three of whom have been killed, while the fourth has been severely wounded.' [Private Cogan was recovering at Bedford Barracks].
P11 (Cols 2-4)
6 views of 'The 1/5th Bedfords at Work'(training at Norwich): the Field Kitchen, 'Charging the Heights', The Signal Section, Major Brighten Comments on the Morning's Work, At Drill, The Band.

21 May 1915

P6 (Cols 3-5)
Recruiting notice: 'For King and Country: Men of Bedford: are you doing your duty? It is Imperative Duty of every man to serve his Country at the present time, and there is some duty everyone can perform [four age categories given on the left, with what they should be doing listed on the right]... Is Your Conscience Clear?; If not, join now!...God Save the King!'
P7 (Cols 4-5)
'Wounded Bedfords' Departure': a photo of the march through the town of Bedfordshire Regiment soldiers who had been wounded and were 'now very fit'.
P9 (Cols 1-2)
'Trade Announcements: The Price of Meat: Important Meeting of the Bedford and District Master Butchers' Association' [A price list adopted for types of beef, mutton, lamb, veal and liver.]
P11 (Cols 1-2)
'The Bedfordshires Filmed': a report, and two photos, on the documentary narrative filming, by Mr. W. N. Blake [of Bedford] of the Bedfordshires at the Ampthill Park Barrracks, to illustrate the life of a service Battalion for showing in local audiences at the Empire cinema, Bedford.

28 May 1915

P5 (Cols 22-3)
Two photos of 'The Welsh A.S.C.': with their horses in the Bedford cattle market grounds.

4 June 1915

P3 (Cols 5-7)
Braggins & Sons advertisement: 'Help The Local Belgian Refugees: ... Every three pairs of "Jason" Stockings you buy here means one additional pair free in your name to the Belgians.'
P4 (Col 6)
'Notes of the Week': editorial regarding the national debate as to whether the country can continue to wage war relying solely on a voluntary service in the armed forces or whether compulsory military service needs to be introduced.

11 June 1915

P3 (Cols 4-7)
Pictorial advertisement, with a large line drawing showing a German Zeppelin airship dropping bombs on houses: The British Dominions General Insurance Co. Ltd 'Your fire policy does not cover damage from Act of War! Zeppelin aids' – offering a Special Aircraft Policy.
P4 (Cols 4-5)
'Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Flag Day, June 19, 1915: Appeal for horses at the Front, Visit of Lady French who will make a special appeal to Bedfordshire for providing another base veterinary Hospital for British sick and wounded British horses at the Front.
P6 (Cols 2-4)
Photo: 'Bedford's Welcome to the Bedfords': 1/5 Bedfordshire Regiment welcomed in St Paul's Square by the Mayor of Bedford.

18 June 1915

P7 (Cols 5-6)
Two photos of Welsh Division soldiers relaxing at Newman outdoor swimming pool: 'At Newnham Cool'.
P9 (Cols 6-7)
Announcement: 'The Beds. Times for the Bedfordshire Regt.: The proprietors of the Beds. Times and Bedford and County Record have made arrangements, which have now commenced, to send 50 copies of each of these papers to the men of the Bedfordshire Regiment at the front... '

25 June 1915

P4 (Cols 4-5)
'Steamboat Trips on the Silvery Ouse Bedford: The steam Launch – "Lodore" which has been re-built and re-decorated, and certificated by the Board of Trade, is now weekdays... Each stage 2d [1p] or 6d [2 1/2p] the whole journey [Whitbread Avenue and Queen's Park to Bridge Steps then Newnham Bridge and return].

Page last updated: 1st May 2014