Wednesday, 31 December 2014


6th Argyles billeted at an unfurnished house in Rothsay Road [X414/162]

Thursday 31st December 1914: This year the New Year in Bedford is to be Hogmanay and all the Highlanders stationed in Bedford. Tonight the troops who are billeted in unfurnished houses will be fed simultaneously in eighteen public halls, huts and tents. Tomorrow the remainder of the Scottish soldiers will have their turn. The organisation of the New Year celebration has been carried out by Mr Machin, the Secretary of the Borough Recreation Committee. No less than 400 stewards and 300 entertainers are expected to take part, most of whom are giving their services free. The cost of the feast is expected to be at least £1000, most of which has been sent from Scotland although some local contributions have also been received. The fundraising was managed by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, the editor of the Aberdeen Journal and the Provost of Elgin, the first two of whom have travelled south for the occasion. 

The suppers are to take place at 6.30 and are to follow a prescribed order. Each will begin with the National Anthem, followed by a welcome by the Chairman and grace said by the Chaplain. After the meal at 7.30 the Chairman will propose a toast to His Majesty the King and the Vice-Chairman will propose “Our Scottish Hosts”. The toasts will be followed by a concert and the distribution of cigarettes. The suppers will end at 9.15 with Auld Lang Syne and God Save the King. No alcohol will be served and the military authorities have ordered all licensed premises to close from 2.30 p.m. both today and tomorrow.

Source: The Highland Division at Bedford: An Illustrated Souvenir [X414/162]; Bedfordshire Times 1st January 1915

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