First World War Timeline
July to September 1917
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.
6 July 1917
P4 (Col 4)
Notice from Bedfordshire War Agricultural Executive Committee: 'Soldiers for Farm Work: The War Office have placed at Kempston Barracks a number of soldiers who are now available for farm work.'
13 July 1917
P1 (Col 7)
Employment advertisement: 'National Service Committee, County of Bedfordshire:... Women and girls between the ages of 20 and 40 are required at once to do general clerical work at the bases in France... Successful candidates will wear khaki uniforms, live in hostels under comfortable conditions, and receive payment at fixed rates.'
P4 (Col 7)
'Preventing Disabled Soldiers From Drifting To The Workhouse'; debate at meeting of the town's War Pensions Committee.
20 July 1917
P6 (Col 1)
'Local Topics: ...Some comparison has been set up between the severely utilitarian appearance of the Workhouse gardens and the frivolous gaiety of the riverside promenade. But the garden of the Poor Law Institution is the proper place to grow vegetables as there are people who eat vegetables in the House of Industry. And the Embankment is the proper place to adorn and beautify because it is the recreative resort of the people.'
27 July 1917
P4 (Col 7)
'Agriculture and the Army: New instructions have been issued by the Local Government Board to Tribunals as to agricultural cases... because of the special responsibility placed upon County War Agricultural Executive Committees. It was urgent that there should be a large increase in food production of the country... they should be given the right of claiming the retention of men in agriculture ... providing that the agricultural labour be put to best use, and that any surplus labour on a farm would be removed to another farm where it was urgently required.'
3 August 1917
P5 (Col 4)
'Women's Farm Competitions: Bedfordshire was among 12 counties represented at the Women's Farm Competition held at Bishop's Stortford, on July 25th. Two competitors, out of the five entered from this county, did well to carry off three prizes, seeing that there were 340 competitors and 1,050 entries. Miss Jean Black was successful in the competition for poultry killing and plucking. Miss Daphne Burrows ...succeeded in winning two prizes, one for milking... and another for harnessing cart-horses.'
10 August 1917
P5 (Col 7)
Notice re salvage campaign to reduce paper wastage and recycling: 'Do Not Waste Paper: Every scrap of paper from your daily or weekly newspaper to the paper your parcel is wrapped in, has a distinct monetary value, and, if saved and given to the collector (a Girl Guide or Boy Scout) will materially assist the Bedford Charities... Save your Waste Paper.'
17 August 1917
P7 (Cols 5-6)
Advertisement by Consumers Tea Co. 'We have the first consignment ever seen in Bedford of Molasses, 6d per lb. ... Please send your own jar... Give it to the Children on Bread – they just love it!'
24 August 1917
P5 (Cols 2-3)
Cartoon ('Another Clever Sketch') by Ernest P. Burge, Bedfordshire Regt. 'After the Fray, Bruge, Belgium, 1917' showing a cheerful English soldier, cigar in mouth, striding home with two handfuls of small iron crosses, indicating how many German soldiers he has killed.
P6 (Cols 1-2)
The people of Kempston have good cause to be proud of the success of their War allotments, which were brought into being, somewhat hurriedly, by Kempston Urban District Council, in the early spring... With very few exceptions, the allotments are extremely well cultivated, and the tenants are to be congratulated on the results of their labours.'
31 August 1917
P7 (Cols 1-3)
Notice from International Stores: 'Sugar Distribution to our Regular Customers: After December 30th, 1917, Sugar will be distributed to the Public in accordance with the Rules of the Food Controller. A card will be issued to each Householder by the Local Food Committee, and supplies will only be obtainable by the holders of such cards. Application for the Sugar Card must be made on a form which will be issued through the Postal Authorities during September.'
7 September 1917
P6 (Col 3)
'A cheap Food: National Importance of Rabbits: ...on Saturday... perhaps the biggest show of rabbits ever seen in Bedford... was held at the Town Hall... The animals are judged largely from the point of view of their meatiness and smallness of bone... what a rabbit consumed was practically waste and there was hardly a house but could feed one or two... A rabbit went a long way in a poor man's family and it cost very little to keep.'
P8 (Col 4)
Photo & report: 'A brave Bedford Girl to Receive Medal of British Empire Order: Lost a hand and returned to work: Of the eleven heroines of munition works who are to receive the Medal... two are Bedfordshire girls... Miss Lily Smith,... of 35 Allhallows, Bedford... is but nineteen years of age, a fine type of British womanhood, and a living proof... that the humblest home can produce women as deserving of honour as those of the more exalted in rank...the announcement ran: "For devotion to duty. She received injuries at a filling factory which resulted in the loss of her hand". Bedford's heroine [later] went back to her work.'
14 September 1917
P5 (Cols 5-6)
Photo and report 'Marriage of Miss Dorothy Sell and Lieut. R.F.Tindal: A wedding of considerable interest took place at Goldington Church... the couple are well known in Bedford. The bride... since the outbreak of war has devoted considerable time and trouble to the organisation of concerts for the troops in Bedford... the bridegroom is a member of the R.F.C. [Royal Flying Corps] which has been stationed just outside Bedford since October  and by his geniality has already made a host of friends in the town.' [Weddings in military uniform became the norm for the majority of bridegrooms during the First World War].
21 September 1917
Advertisement, with photo of glamorous woman, promoting a 'Great New Serial Story' of wartime adventure in Lloyd's News on Sunday September 23rd: ' "The Girl Who Fought The Kaiser: Great War Romance of Love and Mystery:... Kidnapped on the outbreak of war for discovering the centre of the German Espionage System in England.'
28 September 1917
P4 (Col 3)
Notice from the grocer, Dudeney and Johnston, Ltd.: 'Delivery Charges: The Prices of many of the principal Articles we sell are now fixed by HM Food Controller at Cash Over Counter rates... we appeal to our customers to carry away Light Purchases whenever possible; to bring suitable bags or Carriers; to return Parcelling Papers, Bags and Wrappers for further use... This will economise labour and dispense with the wasteful use of wrapping materials.'
Page last updated: 1st May 2014