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First World War Timeline
January to March 1916

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.

7 January 1916

P4 (Cols 4-5)
Notice: 'You Can Enlist To-day VOLUNTARILY but to-morrow ??????? Join now. The 5th Bedfordshire Regiment, 46 Gwyn Street, Bedford.'

14 January 1916

P5 (Cols 1-4)
'Entertainment of Troops at Bedford, Kempston and St Neots: The plans of the Borough Recreations Committee for the seasonable entertainment of the 6/8th Welsh Division materialised this week, sufficient money having come from the people of Wales and Cheshire to give refreshments and a series of high-class entertainments to some ten or eleven thousand troops in Bedford, Kempston and St Neots...commencing on Tuesday evening there were about two thousand men entertained each evening in the Bedford Castle Rink, and about 600 in the Corn Exchange, for four nights, concluding on Friday.'

21 January 1916

P4 (Col 3)
Advertisement: 'Mourning Dyed in 48 hours. Beautifully finished and ready for immediate wear. Address parcel with instructions to M. Smith & Co., Garment Dyers. 3 George St., Luton'.

28 January 1916

P5 (Cols. 2-3)
'The First Derby Boys To Leave Bedford' [Lord Derby. Director-General of Recruiting from 11 October 1915. Conscription was finally introduced on 1 March 1916. Three million Britons volunteered to fight in the Great War and a further 2.3 millions were conscripted] Report and photos of 19 & 20-year olds of the Bedfordshire Regiment, in their khaki uniforms, leaving Kempston Barracks for the LNWR station, en route to France.
P5 (Cols 2-3)
Photo: 'Prisoners of War in Germany' a group of British soldiers interned at Hamelyn, including a Kempston man, Lance–Corporal Austin, taken at the Battle of Mons.

4 February 1916

P7 (Col 4)
'Correspondence: Local Tribunals: letter to the Editor: ...I recently appeared before the local Tribunal, and was struck by the fact that most of its members were belonging to one class of work only, i.e. farming...they cannot fully appreciate the position and value of trades or professions other than their own. How can they? I submit, sir, that a variety of trades should be represented, and the local trades Council be asked to supply a representative.'

11 February 1916

P5 (Col 2)
'Bedford Borough Recreation Committee for the Troops: Second Report: From January, 1915 to January, 1916: Summary... the opening of 47 Recreation Centres for the Troops of the Highland Division. The arrangement of over 600 entertainments by the voluntary help of 17 concert parties, 6 civilian and 2 military bands; also lectures, games, lending libraries, savings banks, hot baths in private houses, free writing facilities and materials, the washing and mending by voluntary helpers numbering over 500, also the great Hogmanay Supper for over 12,000 troops.'

18 February 1916

P1 (Col 7)
Cinema advertisement: 'The Empire [Cinema]: War Pictures of the British Army'.
P1 (Col 7)
Advertisement for fund-raising event: 'Food for Starving Belgians in Belgium, Town Hall, Bedford, Friday, February 25, at 7. Grand Concert'.
P5 (Cols 2-6)
'The 3/5th Bedfords at Halton Park: Happy Hours at Hilly Halton' 4 photos showing bayonet training in north Buckinghamshire.

25 February 1916

P5 (Col 5)
'Women's County War Agricultural Committee': a list of women from around the county nominated by Lord Selbourne, President of the Board of Agriculture, to serve with Mrs Whitbread as Chairman.

3 March 1916

P5 (Cols 1-3)
'Cases at the Tribunals: Bedford Borough' Appealing against being conscripted into military service, claiming that they are doing essential work on the Home Front.

10 March 1916

P5 (Cols 1-3)
Photo: 'Bedford Boys Among The Pyramids' – a formal group photo of members of the 1/1st Signal Company, East Anglian Royal Engineers in the Land of the Pharoahs, in front of the Sphinx, with the Pyramid of Khufi in the background, at Giza.

17 March 1916

P5 (Cols 2-6)
'Bedfordshire Appeals Tribunal' held under the Military Tribunals Act, 1916.'Conscientious Objectors...much of the time was taken up in careful consideration of cases of conscientious objection. All of the applicants were refused, but some of the applicants were passed for non-combatant service only'.

24 March 1916

P5 (Col. 1)
'Bedfordshire Officer's Air Fight: Two officers with Bedfordshire connections distinguished themselves recently in a fight over the German lines at a height of 8,000 feet. The pilot was Second Lieutenant Cyril N Seedhouse, the well-known Leighton Buzzard athlete... and his observer was H. B. H. Cox... Hugh Cox was Head [Boy?] of the Bedford Grammar School in 1912... The aeroplane was attacked by two Fockers but Seedhouse manoeuvred his plane so skilfully that Cox was able to get in such good practice that one assailant was driven off. The second then attacked and in this fight Seedhouse was wounded by a bullet in the back but pluckily continued manoeuvring until his assailant also drew off. By now Seedhouse was only partially conscious but he piloted his craft nearly 20 miles over enemy lines back to the aerodrome, where it was found that both pilot and machine were almost disabled. Lieutenant Seedhouse is now in hospital in England.'

31 March 1916

P4 (Col 7)
'Bedford Farmers' Union and Labour': a meeting of the Bedford Branch of the Farmers' Union sent a letter to Lord Selbourne, Minister of Agriculture, and other members of the government, regarding the serious state of agriculture owing to the shortage of labour. 'We know women can help, but only to a very small extent in the lighter work...and requests that Lord Selbourne give 'instructions to the Military Authorities that no further expert or ordinary labour be taken from the land or the results will be appalling'.

Page last updated: 1st May 2014