Monday, 19 February 2018

Bedford Soldier in Court on Bigamy Charge

Pavenham, c.1912 [Z1306/87/5/5]

Tuesday 19th February 1918: Albert Victor Herbert, a soldier from Bedford, has appeared at the Maidenhead Police Court on a charge of bigamy. His wife Agnes, the daughter of Thomas Clare of Pavenham, said she married him at the Bedford Registry Office in 1911 and they had two children. Her husband was home on leave last July and wrote frequently. Mabel Haynes, of Norfolk Park Cottages, Maidenhead, said that she met Private Herbert when his regiment was stationed at Maidenhead in January 1916 and started walking out with him. After hearing rumours that he was a married man she questioned him and he denied it. When he went to France he wrote her a letter every day. When the rumours that he was married were repeated he advised her to write to a “Mrs Childs” at Willesden, who told her that Private Herbert was an old friend and a “straight man”, who had been married but was now a widower, his wife having died in childbirth two years ago. After this they arranged to marry on December 22nd last year. The “married man” rumours still continued, and he gave a document supposedly signed by a lieutenant of his regiment certifying that “Herbert was not a married man, as has been stated”. They finally married at Maidenhead Parish Church on 30th January. She stayed with him at Maidenhead for some time before he left for Hitchin, ostensibly to get his discharge; he had since visited her occasionally. Private Herbert was refused bail and was committed for trial at the Assizes. The Mayor remarked on the fact that he gave his age as 21 at the first wedding and 22 at the second, six years later!

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 22nd February 1922

[1]  Albert Victor Herbert was found guilty of aggravated bigamy at the Berkshire Assizes on 4th June 1918, and was sentenced to prison for 12 months. 

Monday, 22 January 2018

Butter and Margarine to be Rationed

North Street, Leighton Buzzard c.1900, Leighton Institute on the right [Z1432/2/1/28/43]

Tuesday 22nd January 1918: The following notice has been published today by the Leighton Buzzard Food Control Committee:
In order to avoid QUEUES and the undue and unequal purchase of BUTTER AND MARGARINE the Leighton Buzzard Food Committee have prepared a COUPON SCHEME, which will come into force on 28th January 1918, and under which no person will be able to obtain more than one supply (based on the number in the household) in any week. A RETAILER WILL NOT SUPPLY ANY PERSON WHO DOES NOT PRODUCE AN OFFICIAL COUPON. 
Coupons will be issued at the INSTITUTE, NORTH STREET, between 9.30 and 12.30, 1.30 and 4.30 and 5 to 8 p.m. from MONDAY 21st JANUARY, until STAURDAY 26th JANUARY 1918. 
The Coupon must be presented to any Retailer, who will supply the applicant if he has the material in stock. There is, however, no guarantee that the holder of a Coupon will obtain a supply, but the available stocks will be distributed as equally as possible.
 Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 22nd January 1918

Friday, 19 January 2018

Communal Kitchen at Bedford

Dudeney and Johnston Ltd, 34 High Street, Bedford 1911 [Z1306/10/33/67]

Saturday 19th January 1918: Communal kitchens have been set up in many parts of the country to help to alleviate the food problems caused by the war. This innovation has now reached Bedford, where a communal kitchen has been set up by Messrs. Dudeney and Johnston. The success of this initiative has far exceeded expectations, and large numbers of both middle and working class people are taking advantage to this opportunity to obtain a well-cooked meal at minimum cost. A large variety of foodstuffs is used in the kitchen where the meals are prepared, and with the use of advanced cooking methods cereals and the more easily available foods are converted into appetising and nutritious meals. There is currently no room for the kitchen’s customers to eat on the premises, but it is hoped that next month the company will be able to provide a large room where indoor meals can be eaten. For economy and to save time customers would be their own waiters, with a nominal charge made for the use of utensils. Once the success of this scheme is more widely known it seems certain that it will be copied by other firms.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 25th January 1918

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Luton Man Captured in France

Prisoners of War in Germany [Beds Times]

Wednesday 16th January 1918: Mrs Davies of 9 Bailey Street, Luton, has received a letter from her brother, Private H. J. Broome of the Middlesex Regiment informing her that he was captured on November 30th and is now a prisoner of war in Germany. He writes:
“There is no need to worry about me, as I am quite safe and looked after well. I am not alone by many hundreds. Do not send any parcels as I have already received one, and we often get one from the Red Cross … I was not with the battalion when I was captured, but with the Royal Engineers on fatigue. We are all together in one camp for a month’s rest, and do not do any work, but just look after our own huts and cots. We do have a good night’s rest in comfort and peace – no “whiz-bangs” and “coal-boxes” flying about and knocking pieces out of us. Well, sister, it is worth pounds to be in a clean, warm bed and not in danger, but being away from home and everybody we know well, there it is. Let us hope the war will soon be over”.
Before the war Private Broome was employed on the Luton Corporation Tramways.

Source: Luton News, 24th January 1918

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Leighton Buzzard's Milk Delivery Dispute Continues

Horse-drawn milk cart from Eli Boarder’s dairy, Leighton Buzzard, c.1900 [Z1432/2/8/3/5]

Monday 14th January 1918: The delivery strike by milk retailers in Leighton Buzzard which began on December 1st is still continuing and appears to be no closer to a resolution. On January 8th the Executive Officer of the Leighton Buzzard Local Food Control Committee wrote the following letter to the milk dealers of the town:
“It having come to the notice of the local Committee that certain people (old persons and invalids) are suffering considerable hardship through the non-delivery of milk, it was decided to prepare a list of such people and approach the milk dealers of Leighton Buzzard to see if some arrangement cannot be come to by them to alleviate the distress of the persons named and for delivery of milk to the same. If such an arrangement can be made the local Committee will make full enquiries and submit the names to the Association of Local Milk Dealers.”
 Mr. H. Rivers of the Leighton Dairy then responded on behalf of the retailers:
 “In reply to your letter of the 8th, we quite agree with your Committee as to the inconvenience and hardship. It is not only to the infirm but also to the general public. But we think your Committee has lost sight of the greatest hardship of all, that in fixing the price of milk at 6d per quart they were taking the living away from the retailers, mostly working men and women. We know quite well that it costs the townspeople quite 7d. a quart by the time they have paid for the fetching, and they cannot always get it done then. The best arrangement we can suggest and the fairest to all, would be for your Committee to alter their price to 7d. per quart, for they know, and the public, too, that for the retailers to pay 1s. 9d. a gallon and sell at two shillings – it cannot be done.”
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 15th January 1918

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Bedford Boy Scouts

Procession of Cub Scouts in High Street, Bedford, May 1918 [Z1306/12/7/9]

Friday 11th January 1918: The Bedford Local Association of Boy Scouts has held a meeting at which reports were given on the progress of the organisation since the beginning of the war. Since 1913 numbers have increased considerably, from 92 to 145. The “school” section of the 1st Beds Troop (the “Onesters”) grew rapidly and was made into an independent troop, taking on the redundant 2nd Beds number; a Troop of Scouts was also formed at St. Cuthbert’s which was registered as the 65th Beds Troop. Three packs of Wolf Cubs have been formed, connected with the 2nd, 60th and 65th Troops; at the last census they had 37 members.

Eighty-six Old Onesters are currently serving in the Forces and five have been killed. The 2nd Beds Troop does not yet have a Roll of Honour as all the Scouts are still school aged. Other Troops, such as the 22nd Beds (Nonconformist) and the 60th Beds (St. Leonard’s) have struggled due to the loss of officers who have enlisted. St. Leonard’s Wolf Cubs has lost members since last year’s census after their room was commandeered by the military. War service carried out by the Scout Troops is very varied and has included bridge building, canteen and military orderly work, egg collecting, messenger duty, and acting as patients for first aid classes.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 11th January 1918

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Luton Man with the United States Army

Fred W. Cannon [Luton News]

Wednesday 9th January 1918: Fred W. Cannon, whose father lives at 54 Cobden Street, Luton has written to the Luton News of his experiences with the United States Army in California:

“Since leaving Luton eight years ago my experiences have been many and varied. Starting in as a railroad man, I have been successively farmer, dining car cook (between Chicago and Buffalo, New York, and later through the Western States), hotel clerk, steel worker, miner, travelling salesman, and, last but the most important, a soldier in the grand an glorious Army of the United States. The last-named is the greatest experience of all. Whilst working in San Francisco last June President Wilson’s clal for volunteers was sent forth, and with hundreds of others I heard and went. Joining in this city on June 30th, I received my first insight into Army life, and was sent to a receiving barracks called Fort McDowell. This fort is situated on an island in the San Francisco Bay, and commands a wonderful view of the world-renowned Golden Gate, which is the entrance to the bay. A little to the east of the island in the Island of Alcatraz. This is nothing more than a rock pile, out in the bay, but upon it stands an imposing stone structure. This is the military prison, or, as it is termed here, Disciplinary Barracks.

After two weeks spent at Fort McDowell, I was sent to the Presidio of San Francisco, and there assigned to a field hospital. Then my real instruction began, and we were all kept pretty busy for eight hours a day. After being given foot drill for about two months we were started on litter, or in English, stretcher drill and first aid. About this time we received orders to move, and needless to say, we were all greatly enthused over the prospects, as we thought, of going to Europe. Imagine our chagrin, then, when it became known that our destination, instead of being to some Atlantic port, was another camp in California. However, this is an ideal spot and an ideal climate. We are living in tents that are lighted by electricity and heated by little stoves, which make them very comfortable. A few months ago, where this camp now stands were flourishing ranches, but now it is a regular city, with accommodation for about 40,000 men. This is but one instance of America’s gigantic preparations, and I am sure she will continue them until the victory is complete and German militarism is a thing of the past. Profiting by the mistakes of England in not using conscription until her fighting men were greatly reduced in numbers, she is building up an Army of millions, and when American troops get started I am inclined to believe that von Hindenburg will retract his statement that ‘America need not be reckoned with’.”

Source: Luton News, 10th January 1918