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First World War Timeline
October to December 1918

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.

4 October 1918

P6 (Cols 2-3)
Public letter from F. Kellaway, M.P., Minister of Munitions of War, replying to the Chairman of Bedford Divisional Liberal Association, offering him to become the prospective Coalition Candidate for Parliament at the next general election: '... our people are not thinking of the polling booths. They are thinking of the battlefields and what shall come after... The quiet courage with which our people have borne the horrors and bereavements of the war will shine in history. But the grit and determination of the nation will be even more be severely tested when we have to decide the terms of peace... It will be a peace to which the whole world of free peoples will be parties. It may well affect profoundly the lives and fortunes of our children for many generations to come, their economic condition, their industrial position and even their political constitution.'

11 October 1918

P3 (Col 2)
Advertisement for Mackintosh's Toffee, showing a smiling British soldier holding an enormous tin of their sweets: ' "An Army marches on its stomach" Mackintosh's Toffee de Luxe feeds, nourishes and sustains. It satisfies that "craving" caused by strenuous work. It is the British Army's Toffee Ration.'
P5 (Cols 4-6)
Photos of soldiers lined up to receive medals from the General Office Commanding the Eastern Command, Lieut.-General Sir C. L. Woolcombe, in Russell Park on 3 October 1918. They included three 'Brave Bedfords' who gained the Military Medal.
P6 (Col 2)
Advertisement placed by the Coal Mines Department, Board of Trade, encouraging people to fit firebricks in their grates so as to minimise the amount of coal used to successfully heat a room: 'Victory Grate: An actual Test:... A fire kept going... 7 hours in all... used... not quite half an ordinary coal scuttle... but the temperature during the whole time... on a cold day, was comfortably warm.'

18 October 1918

[Revertion to full-page format]
P5 (Col 5)
'Bedfordshire War Agricultural Committee: '...German Prisoners: As a result of representations made to the Food Production Department, 20 camps have been established at convenient centres throughout the county for German Prisoners' Migratory Gangs. There are ten prisoners in each camp who actually work on the land. In addition there are two guards but the guards perform no agricultural work, except by arrangement with the farmer. These camps are, of course, in addition to the permanent German Prisoner Camps, which have been established at five centres. The Migratory Gangs of German Prisoners were only loaned to the county for the corn and potato harvests. Every effort will be made to retain them as long as they are required by the farmers.'

25 October 1918

P7 (Cols 1-2)
Appeal from the National Egg Collection for the Wounded: 'Eggs for the Wounded: One Million Needed Every Week... Boxes supplied free on loan. Eggs can be sent free to our Central Dept., by passenger train... Write your name and address on the eggs you send with a little message of comfort for our brave boys who have been wounded for your sake. You will perhaps receive a letter from a wounded Tommy in return thanking you for your kind thought.'

1 November 1918

P6 (Cols 2-4)
Photo & report: 'Food Production Show In Bedford.'
P7 (Col 7)
Appeal by the Church of England for 5 Million pounds to provide a Central Fund to enable it to 'save the nation's soul amidst the materialistic influences of industrial and commercial reconstruction: 'The Church and National Reconstruction: The great National task for which the Nation will look to the Church after the war – the work of Spiritual Reconstruction – cannot be done with the funds which only too inadequately support the Church work now... The Church must be provided with a Central Fund NOW while there is time to use it... for... its alleviative agencies and its social work... school maintenance. Inadequate equipment in ill-adapted buildings... totally insufficient salaries.''

8 November 1918

[Smaller page-size format for this edition]
P5 (Col 2)
Editorial 'Notes of the week': '...The debacle begun by Bulgaria's surrender on Sept 29 and continued by the submission of Turkey on Oct.30, and Austria-Hungary on Nov. 4 is approaching the inevitable end... .It is the most impressive finale to the greatest tragedy the world has yet seen, and the Allied armies appear as the instruments of inexorable Fate bringing doom upon the broken and retreating foe.'

15 November 1918

[Large-page format again]
P4 (Col 5)
Editorial: 'PEACE!: There was no mistaking the dominant note in Bedford's reception of the news that the Armistice was signed [announcing a ceasefire from 11am, 11 November 1918] and the long agony of war was ended. A thrill of profound thankfulness ran through the town. Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory was in many men's mouths, and in many more men's hearts. Those who have watched the long night through know what the coming of the dawn means, and all of us shared in that sort of experience on Monday morning [11 November 1918]... the peril which threatened us and all mankind has passed. The shadow which fell upon the world in August 1914 has gone. Never again, we hope and believe, will civilisation, liberty, justice, and all that makes life worth living be threatened again as it was when Prussian militarism drew the sword and cast the torch of war among the peoples of Europe... It is the dawn of a new day... and all the Allies... must stand together... and "greet the unseen with a cheer".' P4 (Col 3): 'A Great Thanksgiving Sale: British Farmers' Red Cross Fund: Saturday Nov. 23rd 1918: ...War Trophies Exhibition... What can you lend to this?'

22 November 1918

[Smaller-page format]
P7 (Cols 6-7)
Advertisement by International Stores: 'Peace, longed-for and fought-for, has at last arrived. But the plenty of pre-war days will not return yet awhile. Rationing must remain in force for some time...'

29 November

[Large-page format]
P4 (Cols 5-7)
'Parliamentary Election Address [by F. Kellaway, the current M.P.] : Eight years ago I was elected as a Liberal to represent the Borough of Bedford on Parliament... a great part of Europe is now under the influence of Bolshevist doctrines... The best way to fight Bolshevism is by political liberty and fearless social reform... I hope that the electors of this constituency will do me the honour of returning me once more... to help win the peace.'
Parliamentary address by Henry Burridge, standing as an Independent Coalition candidate: 'I would desire to lay special stress on the necessity of ensuring that those civil liberties which under the Defence of the Realm Act were willingly surrendered by the citizens of this country shall be fully restored... '
Parliamentary address by the Labour Party candidate, W. T. A. Foot: '... Being employed as an electrician by a railway company, I have practical knowledge of the struggle we workers have to obtain even a bare existence, and I know only too well the bitter disappointments and the dreary uphill struggle of the masses in their attempt to improve the lot of themselves and of their families. For over a century you have been content to leave your political destiny in the hand of either Liberals or Tories, who have miserably failed to live up to the promise they have made when seeking support at election time... A strong Labour party will be a bulwark against revolutionary disorders of the most violent kind, as well as against reaction in whatever guise it may appear...'
P7 (Cols 2-3)
Appeal on behalf of St Dunstan's by the Blinded Soldiers and Sailors' care Committee: '... Peace... at... this long-awaited moment with its joyous news of peace, there should be made a Peace-Offering to men who will not see the joy to which every face will bear witness – the heroic soldiers and sailors blinded in the War.'
P7 (Cols 6-7)
Advertisement for Bovril: 'Influenza: Bovril Ltd., wish to express regret at the shortage of Bovril during the recent Influenza epidemic...
[Between January 1918 and December 1920 there was a world-wide influenza pandemic which infected 500 million people and led to the death of anything between 40 million and 100 million people worldwide, and over 250,000 in the UK]. It is suggested that those consumers who have a stock of Bovril should avoid purchasing at present, and thus leave the available Bovril for those who have more pressing need of it at this critical time.'

6 December 1918

P1 (Cols 6-7)
Picturedrome cinema advertisement: 'My Four Years in Germany by Ex-Ambassador Gerard... Impressive, Instructive and Inspiring... Every Day Next Week...'
P3 (Cols 6-7)
Advertisement ' Peace-Time Savings: Why it is still a patriotic duty... Keep on Buying War Savings Certificates ...£1 for 15/6... '
(Cols 6-7)
Advertisement: 'Remember the Daily Chronicle's unrivalled War Service: Hostilities are over: the peace is in the course of settlement. The great story of how the world is reshaping itself is being told day by day in the "Daily Chronicle" with the same fullness, authority and interest as was the great story of the War itself... Special Correspondents are in all the allied and Neutral capitals – they will be in those of our Enemies as early as possible – and every Evening are cabling ALL important news from the countries for the following day's paper.'
P4 (Cols 3-4)
Advertisement: 'Motor Cars / Lorries: Orders Are Now Being Accepted for Early delivery... Nicholls & Son, Bedford Carriage & Motor Works... St Mary's Square.'
P4 (Cols 5-6)
Electoral advertisement by F. Kellaway MP 'To the Electors of the Bedford Division, Ladies and Gentlemen, - If you return me to Parliament as the Coalition Member my Policy will be:- 1. Make the Germans Pay; 2. Punish the Criminals from the Kaiser downwards; 3. Send back the Enemy Alien; 4.The League of Nations; 5. Generous Treatment of Soldiers, Sailors and Dependents; 6. Freer Access to Land and Security of Tenure; 7. Increased Production based on High Wages; 8. Abolish Restrictions under Defence of the Realm Regulations; 9. State Help for 500,000 Houses.'

13 December 1918

P6 (Cols 1-2)
Liberal Party advertisement 'How To Use Your Vote; We have won the war for national liberties and human rights... LIBERALISM stands for (1) Justice for those who fought for us by land and sea and air... Every man who was Fit to Fight is Fit to Pension if he has been wounded and disabled. (2) Equality of Opportunity. Better wages with a minimum Standard rate; Better Hours of Work; Better Houses; Easy access to the Land; Restoration of Trade Union Conditions; National Control of Monopolies; National Public Health Service; ...Women's opportunities (3) Freedom. A League of of Conscription in Peacetime... Free Trade. A Free House of Commons and no "Tied" Members. Self-Government for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to manage their own affairs... A Liberal triumph would be the greatest security for the ordered development of reconstruction in these Isles...'

20 December 1918

P1 (Cols 6-7)
Notice 'Rubber Salvage... Give your "scrap" to the nation. Do not throw it away, or let it remain idle, however small it may seem. The Ministry of National Service has asked the Red Cross Society branches to organise this salvage. The proceeds will be given to the Society. THE NAVY AND ARMY WILL BENEFIT.'
P3 (Cols 6-7)
Advertisement by Cadbury, Bournville: 'Milk Shortage: While milk is scarce, take Cocoa, which is both food and drink – a fragrant and refreshing beverage, rich in strength-giving properties for nerve and body: Bournville Cocoa'

27 December 1918

[Small page size format]
P4 (Col 5)
Advertisement by the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd.: 'Co-Operation Helped Consumers During the War... kept open the places of all who joined the Colours; and paid over £600,000 to make up the wages of the 6,000 employees who enlisted: Co-Operation will Help Housewives in Peace Time... 6,000 Co-Operative Shops... Careful Housewives Know the Value of Co-Operation as a System of Trading.'

Page last updated: 1st May 2014