Stories of people across Bedfordshire told in commemoration of First World War centenary

Female workers at Royal Airship Works, Cardington.
Female workers at Royal Airship Works, Cardington.

The story of the people of Bedfordshire during the First World War is being told in two new online series.

To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, the Bedford Borough Council’s archive service will posting daily reports exactly 100 years after the events they record.

The first blog will look at individuals and events across the county of Bedfordshire through newspaper style reports, illustrated where possible by contemporary photographs.

The war itself was never far away. Although the focus is the Home Front some of the news received by the people of Bedfordshire from friends and relatives in the forces will also be included.

The second blog will narrate the reality of the soldiers’ war, with daily reports from the Front Line in the style of a modern war correspondent. It will concentrate heavily on the experiences of the Bedfordshire Regiment and will include a daily Roll of Honour naming all the officers and men of the Bedfordshire Regiment and Bedfordshire Yeomanry listed as killed on that date. This is being compiled using the Commonwealth War Graves Commission online search facility and Soldiers Died in the Great War.

Sources for both blogs will be local newspapers, particularly the Bedfordshire Times (forerunner to today’s Times and Citizen) and the Luton News, together with material held at the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service.

This includes the war diaries of the Bedfordshire Regiment and other regimental records, individual diaries, letter collections, the records of local committees and organisations, and the archive’s extensive photographic collection. The blog will be published each day at 7 am and will run until November 11, 2018.

The service is also working with schools to produce resources to enable them to use the blogs in assemblies and lessons. These will include video conferencing sessions which allow pupils to meet a Bedfordshire housewife and a World War One war correspondent.

Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson, said: “The information held by the Bedfordshire and Luton Archive and Records Service is an invaluable resource for showing what life was like during the First World War. These blogs will highlight what life was like on the front line as well as the struggles faced by those back at home. Bringing this material to a blog will open up these stories to new audiences.”

The blog addresses are: