Sunday, 29 April 2018

Bedford Waste Paper Collection

Tuesday 30th April 1918: Mrs. G. T. Willaume, Secretary of the Bedford Waste Paper Collection scheme has posted the following notice:

“In view of the Great National Need of Paper, Householders are begged to put aside all Waste Paper found during Spring Cleaning – Newspapers, Torn Letters and Bills, Books and Magazines, Brown Paper, Wall Paper and Cardboard – and on receipt of a postcard to “Waste Paper”, 39 Shakespeare Road, arrangements will be made to collect it. Profits to go to Bedford Charities.”

Source: Bedfordshire Times 3rd May 1918

Friday, 27 April 2018

News from Eaton Bray

High Street, Eaton Bray c.1905 [Z1306/39/2/2]

Saturday 27th April 1918: News has been received in Eaton Bray of two deaths, a prisoner and a wedding. Mr. Lewis Ruffett has been informed that his son, Private Fred Ruffett of the Bedfordshire Regiment was killed on 24th March, only two weeks after returning from leave. Private Ruffett had enlisted under the Derby Scheme in February 1916 and was sent to France in April 1917. His brother lost a leg in France eighteen months ago. Corporal Charley Chanin of the Lancers was killed in action a day earlier, on 23rd March. Corporal Chanin enlisted at the beginning of the war and served in Ireland during the 1916 rebellion. The mother of Lance-Corporal William Neville has received a card from her son telling her that he is now a prisoner of war at Cassel, in Germany. He was the first man from the village of Eaton Bray to join up, in September 1914.

Happier news comes from Canada, where Miss Annie Hebbes, the second daughter of Mr. J. A. Hebbes of Eaton Bray has marries Mr. H. G. Tice of Truax, Saskatchewan. The wedding took place at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on 22nd March. The bride’s brother, who has been farming in Alberta, Canada for some years was present. The new Mrs. Tice was formerly the assistant matron at Leighton Buzzard Workhouse.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 30th April 1918

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

A Missing Soldier and a Returned Prisoner-of-War

King George Hospital c.1915-18 [Wikimedia, from Wellcome Images under CreativeCommons Attribution 4.0 International license]

Thursday 25th April 1918: There is much sympathy for Mrs. W.A. Smith of 91 Church Street, Luton, who is undergoing a double ordeal of grief and anxiety. Her husband, Private W. A. Smith, has been serving with a machine gun corps in France and was last heard from on March 18th. Private Smith’s father, who lived at 47 Vandyke Road, Leighton Buzzard was then dangerously ill, and the police wired to Private Smith to try to get him leave. However he had still not arrived by April 12th, when his father died, and just a few hours later news arrived that Private Smith was wounded and missing. Nothing further has been heard, and Mrs. Smith would be grateful for any further information. Her husband has been serving in the army for two years.

Much better news has been received in Dunstable, where friends of Private  L. H. Durrington of Messrs Durrington and Sons, High Street North. Private Durrington, who was serving in the Royal Fusiliers, has been a prisoner of war in Germany for five months. It was known from letters and cards received that he had been wounded in the leg but there was nothing to suggest he was likely to be released. Last week the news arrived that he had been repatriated and was in King George’s Hospital, London.

Source: Luton News, 18th and 25th April 1918

Monday, 23 April 2018

Message Thrown from Train on a Spoon

Leighton Buzzard Station c.1915 [Z1306/74/1/4]

Tuesday 23rd April 1918: A Linslade woman heard yesterday that her husband had been buried alive inside a dug-out and had been reported as a casualty. Very shortly afterwards a neighbour arrived with a note from the soldier husband tied to a spoon; this had been dropped from a hospital train and found by a railway platelayer who was a near neighbour. Although he did not know his destination, realising that the train on which he was travelling would pass through Leighton Buzzard station the soldier had taken this unorthodox opportunity to send news to his wife. 

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer 23rd April 1918

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Newly Married and Decorated Bedford Soldier Killed

Ernest Fulford

Sunday 21st April 1918: With intense fighting continuing on the Western Front news of local casualties continues to arrive with terrible frequency. These include Bedford soldier Sergeant Ernest Walter Fulford of the Royal Engineers, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal on 28th December 1917. On 16th January while home on a short leave he married Miss Edith May Whitmore at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Bedford.  Sergeant Fulford was born in Bedford and educated at the Goldington Road Schools. Before the war he worked at the Goldington Road Steam Laundry as an assistant engineer. His parents live at 116 Bower Street and his wife at 6 Greenhill Street. Sergeant Fulford was killed by a shell. His commanding officer wrote to his mother that “I have always regarded him more as a friend rather than as my sergeant. He was a very fine character, keen, brave and conscientious. His death is a personal loss to all who knew him.”

Source: Bedfordshire Times, 19th April 1918

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Overcrowded Classes at Leighton Buzzard Boys School

Beaudesert Boys’ Council School 1913 [Z50/72/21]

Friday 19th April 1918: Bedfordshire Education Committee has received a report that the number of scholars registered in the fourth and fifth classes at the Leighton Buzzard Boys’ Council School is more than sixty, the maximum permitted in a single class. The school managers, after discussion with the headteacher, have submitted that the class sizes are unavoidable and have been caused by the number of children who have arrived in the town from air raid areas. As these children had already been attending fourth and fifth classes in London they had to be put into the same classes in Leighton Buzzard. On 28th May last year there were 63 pupils in class four and 67 in class five, and on October 10th classes three, four and five all had more than sixty scholars. It was accepted by the Committee that the headmaster, Mr. Currie, had arranged things in the best way possible – to put pupils into classes for which they were not suited when the large numbers were only temporary would have been absurd, and the headmaster could not refuse admission without reasonable grounds. The Education Committee therefore decided to inform the Board of Education that they believed that in the circumstance this temporary breach of regulations was fully justified.  

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 30th April 1918

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A Luton Soldier's Narrow Escape

Wardown House, Luton 1914 [Z1306/75/8/2]

Wednesday 17th April 1918: Drummer J. W. Hyde, of 32 Ridgway Road Luton and a former member of the Salvation Army Band, has written to the Luton News from Wardown Military Hospital where he is now a patient:
“Sir, - You will remember me asking, through your valuable paper, for a cornet (about a year last Christmas). Well, I got one all right. I am very pleased to be here, as it is just like heaven, although it was hell that I went through to get here. I was with my battalion just before Wancourt, a few miles to the right of Arras, but our flanks dropped back, compelling us to retire immediately behind Wancourt. Well, I shall never forget a fortnight yesterday. “Jerry” opened out his barrage at about 3.15 a.m. and kept it up until 3 in the afternoon – that is, when I left, as he was right on the top of me by then. So we got ready and destroyed all our letters etc., as best we could, although I think he got the mail and everything, including a nice large parcel I had received and not even opened. But, as Providence would have it, I saw one making a dive for it, so I ran with him. Ah! I shall never forget that run from Wancourt to Neuville Vitasee – all open ground, and I ran through a barrage of machine gun fire on my left and right front, and also behind (because, as I say, both our flanks by this time had dropped back and we did not know it), and also a heavy barrage of all kinds of shell. Although the bullets whistled through my legs and by my head and all around me, nothing touched me, only that I got gassed and had shell shock. But I managed to bring a wounded man down with me for about four or five miles, and we were shelled all the way, with about fourteen Boche planes over our heads firing at us also, so the shooting could not have been very good. I landed at the base after visiting about three hospitals, was taken to Cambridge, and now they have kindly sent me to Wardown, and I am being looked after lovely; in fact, as I have already said, it’s like heaven. I have heard from one of my unit, who didn’t happen to be in the trenches at the time, and he tells me that I and one more (who is wounded and in “Blighty”) are the only two left, so you will see how lucky I was.”
Source: Luton News, 18th April 1918

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Luton Airman Receives Military Cross and Bar

Paul Ward Spencer Bulman

Sunday 14th April 1918: Rev. Thomas Bulman, the Vicar of St. Paul’s Luton, has received the following letter from the commanding officer of his son, Paul Ward Spencer Bulman:

“It is with the greatest possible pleasure I write to inform you that yesterday the great news came through that your son Paul has been awarded a bar to his Military Cross. He has more than earned it by splendid work, especially during the recent operations. My heartiest congratulations to you and yours.”

This means that within the last six months Captain Bulman has been mentioned in dispatches, awarded the Military Cross, promoted to Captain, and has now been awarded a bar to add to the Military Cross. Captain Bulman is serving in France with the Royal Air Force as Flight Commander of a squadron.

Source: Luton News, 11th April 1918

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Soldier's Wife to be Evicted

Vandyke Road, Leighton Buzzard 1914 [Z1306/72/13/1]

Thursday 11th April 1918: An application for the eviction of soldier’s wife has been heard at Leighton Buzzard Police Court this week. The court was told that Samuel Chibnall bought two houses in Vandyke Road in 1917, a four-roomed house for his own use and an eight-roomed one. As he was unable to find tenants for the large house he moved into it and let the smaller one. He recently decided to sell the larger house for financial reasons, and now wants to live in the small property. He had therefore served notice to quit on the tenant, Mrs. Laura Breden. He had let the house to her on the understanding that it was likely to be sold, and before he decided to sell the larger property he had heard that she intended to move to be nearer to her mother. He knew that Mrs. Breden’s husband was fighting in France, and that she had two young children, so had given her a fortnight’s notice even though she was only a weekly tenant, paying four shillings a week. He had also offered to sell the house to her and her husband, but they were not able to buy it.

Mrs. Breden said she did not know the house was for sale until she had lived there for some time. If she had known, she would not have taken the tenancy. There was a shortage of houses in Leighton Buzzard due to the large number of men coming to the town to work at Morgan’s, and it was impossible to get another house. Her solicitor asked the court to dismiss the notice to quit – under the Courts Emergency Powers Act the court had absolute discretion to do so. Mr. Chibnall had sold his house over his own head and now wished to turn out of her cottage the wife of a man who was serving in France. The magistrates however made an order that Mrs. Breden should give up possession of the house in two calendar months.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 16th April 1918

Monday, 9 April 2018

Shopkeepers Fined for Selling Overpriced Sweets

Leighton Buzzard High Street c.1900 (Wood and Company cooks, caterers and confectioners at number 44) [Z1432/3/1/2/13]

Tuesday 9th April 1918: An unusual case was heard today at the Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessions court, where four defendants were charged with selling sweets at prices exceeding those allowed under the Sugar (Confectionery) Order 1917. Joseph Wood of Messrs Garner, Wood and Company, Leighton Buzzard, was said to have overcharged Superintendent Matthews for fruit bonbons on March 28th, Susan Parsons and Mary Read for toffee on March 30th, and Oliver Osborn for sugared almonds, also on March 30th. All four pleaded guilty. Superintendent Matthews said that while the Order had at first been strictly observed, a number of shopkeepers had raised prices and overcharging had now become widespread. Mrs Osborn [sic] said she had put her prices up because the wholesalers had charged more. Joseph Wood was fined £1 and the other three defendants ten shillings each.

Source: Luton News, 11th April 1918

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Bedfordshire Motor Volunteer Corps

Officers of the Bedfordshire Motor Volunteer Corps

Sunday 7th April 1918: This weekend has seen the Bedfordshire Motor Volunteer Corps taking part in a highly successful camp. The Corps was formed about three months ago, and this is the first time they have paraded as a whole. The Corps is divided into four local sections under the overall command of Captain Frederick Ray: Bedford; Luton; Biggleswade and Sandy; Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard.

The camp has been held in the west end of Kempston at Rushey Ford Farm, which was purchased by Captain Ray last September. The units reached the camp on Friday evening and enjoyed a fine, but cold, night sheltering in either covered vans or a large barn. In the morning hot cocoa and a biscuit were served at 6 a.m. before the Corps paraded for a short march and physical exercise. After a day of parades an excellent evening concert was held in a barn. A toast was given to “The Officer Commanding” who congratulated the Corps on their excellent attendance, despite the camp causing many of them to give up their most profitable day’s work of the week. He particularly commended the Biggleswade section, from which 43 out of 45 members were present.

After settling down for the night a successful emergency mobilisation was staged. Within three minutes of the alarm sounding the men were on parade, and in a few more minutes the transport vehicles were on the move through the darkness. This morning the Corps attended a church parade in front of the house. Training carried on over the weekend has included mechanical training and lectures in map reading for dispatch readers.

Source: Bedfordshire Times, 12th April 1918

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Luton Mons Veteran Gassed

The Place Leopold in Mons [Z1247/5]

Thursday 4th April 1918: Mr. Frederick Budd of 54  Lea Road, Luton, has heard that his son, Lance-Corporal Frederick V. Budd of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, has been badly gassed and is now recovering in a Scottish hospital. Lance-Corporal Budd is a regular soldier who joined the Connaught Rangers seven years ago. At the beginning of the war he volunteered to serve with a cyclist corps in dangerous conditions. Although his corps suffered high casualties he survived the retreat from Mons safely. He served through the Irish rebellion, then returned to the trenches. He suffered two slight wounds, and a more serious wound to the knee from a shrapnel shell last October. Very few of the Old Contemptibles who fought at Mons are still on active service.[1]

Source: Luton News, 4th April 1918

[1] Emperor Wilhelm II was reported to have called the British Expeditionary Force of August 1914 a “contemptible little army”. Hearing this, survivors of the early battles took to calling themselves the Old Contemptibles.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Restrictions on the Use of Gas and Electricity

Dunstable Street, Ampthill c.1907 [AU46/4w]

Tuesday 2nd April 1918: A new order restricting the consumption of gas and electricity has come into force today. The rules introduced include:
  •  No light is to be allowed in shop fronts unless approved by the police as necessary for serving customers inside the shop, or to illuminate a small sign indicating the shop is open.
  • Inns, hotels, restaurants, and other public eating houses are not to provide hot meals between 9.30pm and 5am, with the exception of railway canteens, meals served to travelling soldiers and sailors, and certain private canteens.
  • No gas or electricity is to be allowed in places of entertainment between 10.30pm and 1pm the following day, except for cleaning and rehearsals to which the public are not admitted.
  • The “five-sixths restriction” on gas and electricity applies to London and a number of other counties including Bedfordshire. This states that “No person shall consume or cause or permit to be consumed in any one quarter of a year on any premises of which he is the occupier more than five-sixths of the amount of gas or electricity which was consumed on the same premises during the corresponding quarter of the years 1916 or 1917, whichever was the greater”.

 Source: Luton News, 28th March 1918