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First World War Timeline
January to March 1917

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.

5 January 1917

P5 (Cols 3-4)
Photo: soldier with only one leg, with examples of framed needlework: 'Bedfordian's Skilful Needlework: Many wounded soldiers have taken up needlework to help them to while away the time and some have displayed remarkable skill... Drummer Lett is the eldest son of Mr. William Lett of 32 Castle Lane Bedford... He joined the Army at the age of 15 1/2, and has been wounded three times.'

12 January 1917

P5 (Cols 1-3)
'More Camp Sketches' by Ernest P. Burge, showing life at an Army camp, through humorous cartoon sketches.

19 January 1917

P5 (Cols 4)
'Bedford Post Office Roll of Honour: Just inside the door of the public office at the Bedford General Post Office hangs a very artistic souvenir, which Mr. F. Lewin, the Postmaster, and his staff have obtained by subscription among themselves. This is the Roll of Honour, comprising sixty names of members of the staff of the Bedford Post Office who have joined Her Majesty's Forces since the war began. Three of them have given their lives.'
P7 (Cols 2-4)
Group photo of female hospital staff 'The staff of the Divisional Hospital, Ampthill Road, Bedford: The hospital which has been running for one year and ten months, is worked by Voluntary Aid Detachment No. 6 Bedfordshire, who are now augmented by members of V.A.D. No.2 Bedfordshire...'

26 January 1917

P5 (Cols 1-2)
Photo: 'Books for Bedfordshire Boys: This is as a result of our appeal for books and magazines for members of a Signal Co. R.E. [Royal Engineers] (all Bedfordshire boys) in Egypt'.

2 February 1917

P1 (Cols 6-7)
Cinema advertisement including a sketch of the new military machine: The Palace: "Advance of the Tanks!!"
P5 (Cols 1-2)
'To Victory': Cartoon sketch by Ernest P. Burge, of a farmer, with a sack of potatoes on his back, riding a pig at speed over ground labelled 'Agriculture' reminding readers of the essential role of food production in winning the war.

9 February 1917

P5 (Col 3)
Studio photo: 'Mr Frank Wild Received By The King': The Ampthill Antarctic explorer, who took part in the expedition to the South Pole with Shackleton, met the King on Tuesday 6 February at Buckingham Palace.

16 February 1917

P5 (Cols 1-2)
Photo of 5 young women in factory uniforms including mob caps: 'Girl Gauge Makers': war workers who have to work to an accuracy of 1/10,000 part of an inch.

23 February 1917

P4 (Cols 5-6)
Notice issued by the local War Savings Committee: 'Have you helped the "big push" that has started, by putting all the money you possibly can behind it? The more you lend – the sooner the War will end. Over 65 Associations are already working in Bedford, with over 3,000 members'.

2 March 1917

P5 (Cols 2-3)
Group photo showing some Bedfordshire 'Yeomen "Somewhere Abroad"' with individual names given.

9 March 1917

P5 (Col 7)
Letter to the editor regarding the rationing of food: 'So we are to be rationed. The treatment may be beneficial for the obese, but what criminal injury will be inflicted upon growing boys and girls, alas! For the physique of the coming generation. Nothing is mentioned of the too numerous carnivorous pets – dogs and cats. Are these in great numbers so necessary for the welfare of the nation?... In the near future when one walks feebly round, with tightened belt, and sees dogs waddling with fat, how one will wish they were fit for human food.' Signed 'HouseHusband'.

16 March 1917

P7 (Col 3)
'Men Under 31: Exemptions Reviewed: the Bedford Borough Tribunal on Tuesday spent the day in reviewing exemptions granted [previously] to men under 31 (not classed B3 or C3) in accordance with recent orders... the first cases were dentists in the town... industrial insurance agents... four men in the County Council Highways Department... grave diggers...'

23 March 1917

P5 (Col 3)
'National Service: The "Unwanted" Wanted At Last: When the war began... when the bands played and the boys sang... there were still sad faces to be seen... men, who for one reason or another could not join up... To-day there is no longer any excuse... There is not a man in the land between the ages of 18 and 61... who has not the chance to say to himself when the war is over... I did my best. I offered myself... unreservedly to my country... If he does not fill in that form he will never be able to say with a clear conscience when the war is over "... I did my best towards Victory".'

30 March 1917

P7 (Col 3)
Extract from a speech which had been given by Mr. F Kellaway, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Munitions at an exhibition of Women's Work at the Royal Colonial Institute, London: "America, the greatest and the youngest of democracies is ranging herself side by side with the nations which have been defending the cause of liberty in Europe... The Exhibition proves that there is hardly any limit which can be put to the possibilities of women in industry... We have exploded the idea that women cannot perform heavy manual labour out-of-doors.'

Page last updated: 1st May 2014