First World War Timeline
October to December 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.
5 October 1917
[Return of newspaper to its previous large-page size after reduction in size of pages from 13 April onwards.]
P5 (Cols 1-2)
'Bedfordshire Men Interned in Switzerland: Among the sick prisoners of war the Germans have sent to Murren, Switzerland after a long spell of suffering in a German camp are these from Bedfordshire [list given]... Pte. Beeby... wrote cheerfully of his life in Switzerland as a contrast to the fearful experiences he passed through whilst in German... We understand that ...Pte Booby has returned to Bedford.'
P5 (Col 5)
'Bedfordshire Blackberrying: Better weather favoured the third week of the school-children' s efforts to pick blackberries for jam for Tommy [soldiers] and Jack [sailors], and about 10 tons were sent to the various forwarding stations by the head teachers of the County Elementary schools.'
P6 (Col 3)
'The Dearth of Houses in Bedford: ...there is an unprecedented demand in Bedford for housing of all classes except the largest... the principal cause is that building has been practically at a standstill during the war but the usual margin of unoccupied is wiped out by military occupation. Engineering works have been extended and new ones started and a great many workmen have come into the area.'
12 October 1917
[The newspaper's size has reverted to the smaller page size experienced earlier in the year.]
P3 (Cols 6-7)
Government recruiting notice: '5000 Women Are Wanted Every Week For The W.A.A.C. [Women' s Auxiliary Army Corps] for work with the Forces at Home and Abroad. The Royal Air Corps requires immediately 500 Sail Makers to make and repair Aeroplane Wings – Good Needlewomen who can use the sewing machine. 150 Storekeepers (Class 1) and women for engineering and other work...'
19 October 1917
P3 (Cols 6-7)
New series of Rowntree's Elect Cocoa highlighting Women Workers, showing a drawing of a female window cleaner: 'It's only when you are working hard, as I am, that you know what a cup of Rowntree's for supper really means. It puts the strength back into you and it refreshens you up wonderfully.'
P6 (Cols 5-7)
Notice issued by the National War Savings Committee 'Facts about National War Bonds' encouraging savings with the Government to help it pay for the war.
26 October 1917
P5 (Cols 2-4)
Photos with caption: 'Our Day in Bedford: Bedford is to be warmly congratulated on having subscribed the magnificent sum of £1,064. 9s. 2d for the Red Cross.'
2 November 1917
P7 (Cols 5-7)
International Stores advertisement: 'Drink Coffee for Breakfast. During the next few months there may possibly be a shortage of Tea. It is one of the little inconveniences we must suffer on account of the war, but the difficulty can be overcome by drinking Coffee instead of Tea.'
9 November 1917
P3 (Cols 1-2)
Advertisement by Hope Brothers, outfitters, 91-93 High St: 'Winter Overcoats... Anticipating the very serious shortage in wool and woollen goods this Autumn, we secured an extensive stock... we are again giving our customers the full advantage in price of our buyer' s foresight.'
P5 (Col 3)
'The Duke of Bedford' s Gift: The Duke of Bedford has offered to the Board of Agriculture 225 acres of land at Ampthill under the Sailors and Soldiers (Gifts for Land Settlement) Act, 1916. The only condition imposed on the offer is that, in selecting the men for the occupation of this land, a preference should be given to Bedfordshire men who have served whether in the Navy or in the Army during the present war.'
16 November 1917
P5 (Col 2)
'Beds War Agricultural Committee: Growth of Brussel Sprouts: ...it is desirable, in the interests of increased food production, that the growth of Brussels sprouts as a main crop in 1918 should be, if not entirely prohibited, at least greatly restricted...'
P6 (Col 4)
Advertisement for Bovril under an anchor device, headed ''Food Economy" with "National Safety" underneath: 'Save Food : If you cut down on your food by one-fifth... you can still obtain the same amount of nourishment as before ... the addition of a small teaspoonful of Bovril ... before meals leads to a more thorough digestion and assimilation and this saves food.'
23 November 1917
P5 (Col 6)
'Memorial Windows At The Catholic Church' to nearly 30 officers and men from their congregation who had died serving in the war.
30 November 1917
P4 (Cols 6-7)
'Bedford Food Production Committee' s Utility... Rabbit Show, to encourage the Breeding of Table Rabbits, thereby increasing our Food Supply... Town Hall, Bedford, December 22.'
7 December 1917
[Back to full page size format]
P1 (Cols 6-7)
'Bedfordshire Territorial Force Association: County Motor Volunteer Corps: Motor Car Owners Wanted to enrol in above Corps.'
14 December 1917
P4 (Cols 5-7)
'Mr Winston Churchill And Mr Kellaway on War Aims' . Report on the postponed public meeting at the Corn Exchange which was held on Monday 10 December 1917. Churchill stated that our war aims were that those who had committed crimes like the tamping down of Belgium... the sinking of the Lusitania, and atrocities too numerous to recount, shall not profit from them, shall not emerge from the struggle stronger than they began... that Prussian militarism shall come out of the c onflict abased and not exalted, condemned and not fortified... our wars aims are reparation, restoration, and security.'
21 December 1917
P7 (Cols 1-2)
Advertisement by Nicholls & Son, St Mary' s Sq., Bedford 'Gas Propelled Vehicles: We have now made the necessary arrangements for fitting Gas Containers to Private and Commercial Vehicles...'
28 December 1917
[Back to reduced page format]
P5 (Col 3)
'Bedford Gas Light Co.: Shortage of Gas: appeal to Consumers... The present output for munition purposes is so great... the public are asked to economise in every way in their power in domestic use of gas during the National emergency... The private use should be about one quarter less than in pre-war times.'
Page last updated: 1st May 2014