Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A Surprise Catering Inspection for the 5th Bedfords

Camp Kitchen at Stopsley, 1914 [Z1306/75/16/4]

Thursday 18th March 1915: Two Luton men who deserted from the 3rd Bedfords last Christmas complained in court that there was not enough food for the soldiers and for some weeks there have been rumours that the men of the 5th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment at Bury St. Edmunds are being poorly fed. As these rumours are likely to have a negative effect on recruiting unless they can be disproved. The Mayor of Luton, Mr H. Inwards (secretary of the South Beds Recruiting Committee) and Mr Murry Barford (a committee member) paid a surprise visit to Bury St. Edmunds yesterday to see for themselves how the soldiers are being fed.

When the Luton party arrived in the town they went immediately and without warning to the Skating Rink, where all the catering is done and where the battalion have their meals. Dinner was being prepared and they were able to thoroughly examined the joints, vegetables and puddings which were being cooked. They also inspected the bacon, cheeses, jam and other provisions in the stores, and were thoroughly satisfied that there is no cause for complaint about the quality of the food. When the men sat down to dinner they circulated among them and enquired whether they had any complaints. Again they were left in no doubt that the food is both excellent in quality and ample in quantity.

One company was involved in an exercise which meant they were not able to attend dinner, but the battalion is equipped with four travelling kitchens and one of these was out with the company, allowing them to receive the same hot dinner as that served to the rest of the battalion. The inspecting party were informed that the procedure for serving meals at the depot had been greatly improved and further improvements were planned to make sure there was no chance that food supplies would be distributed unequally. The Luton group left convinced that the only grumblers were a few men who appeared to forget that it was war time, and that they might not receive all their home comforts while in training.

Source: Luton News, 18th March 1915

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