Be Honest with Yourself, 1915 © IWM (Art.IWM PST 5068)


National & Nottingham 1914 – 1918

by Miriam Jackson

Quick links to years : 1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918

Date National events Nottingham events




No real public expectation or preparation for war. UK and Nottingmam more concerned about the Irish situation, Votes for Women, also some industrial unrest.  Some covert military preparation but only a small standing colonial army, with little understanding of modern European war – when war is declared –most think it will be ‘over by Christmas’ – much entertainment stops

JUNE 1914


Suffragette post box protest – black ink poured into some post boxes


Visit of King George V & Queen Mary to Market Square– first since 1642. Streets & buildings hung with bunting, key vantage points @ £1 –25/-  20,000 children at Forest. Visit Morley’s hosiery, Birkin’s & Adam’s lace factories. Arrest of Eileen Casey a suffragette for attempting to blow up the King


Franz Ferdinand killed in Serbia – heir to Austrian throne


Suffragette protest in St Mary’s, others attempt to burn Papplewick Hall

JULY 1914


Annual Horticultural Show in Arboretum, with Police & Royal Artillery Bands

16 – 30th

Annual Lawn Tennis competition in the Park


Conference on deteriorating situation in Ireland


Territorial army / Robin Hoods 4500 men at annual training camp at Hunmanby


British troops fire on Irish volunteers in Dublin, 3 killed


Austro-Hungarians declared war on Serbia

Trial of Eileen Casey at Guildhall, ‘This will go on until women have the vote’

  • suffragette protests by WSPU members


Bank Holiday

Worsening European situation - war seen as possibility fear rising

Theatres, Music Hall, Cinemas busy- Fred Karno’s ‘The Steam Laundry’ playing to packed houses at Empire. 10,000 in Mablethorpe, 20,000 in Skegness. Concerts in Arboretum. Early problems with food supplies, hoarding & price rises


Rail services in London suspended – troops being moved

‘Europe is marching into a state of war.’ Nottm. Evening Post


Germany invades Luxembourg – fighting on western front

County Cricket Championships between Nottm and Kent, at Trent Bridge


Germany declares war on France and invades neutral Belgium

Robin Hoods (territorials) recalled from Hunmanby, arrived at Victoria Station marched to Shakespeare Street – huge crowds. Germans begin to leave city.


UK declares war on Germany

Notts. cricket captain Arthur Carr called up during match at Oval, finished innings then joined his regiment in Dublin. Horses at Shipstone’s called on.


Proclamation of Mobilisation

 Reservist soldiers recalled, billeted in Drill Hall, Mechanics & Victoria Hall. Medical Corp in Picture Palace, Hussars in Albert Hall, Officers in Victoria Hotel, Royal Artillery at Notts. Co. ground. Many men volunteered loss of staff at various works e.g. factories, trams, buses, trains, PO. German club Deutscher Verein– 8 - 10 St Ann’s Well Road- closed


Kitchener’s Call to Arms – 100,000 more men aged 19 - 30

Black Dyke Band Concert & Jovial Jollies at Colwick Park.  Railway excursions cancelled to help with troop movements. Trinity Square Recruiting Office very busy. German reservists arrested, released but had to report daily at Guildhall


Banks reopen after bank holiday – issued £1 & 10/- notes = emergency measure to keep gold & prevent run on banks. Much sport stops as men join up

224 horses taken from owners for army use. Colwick Racing cancelled. War Office requisitioned buildings at Trent Bridge for a VAD hospital Motor vehicles from Shipstone’s requisitioned


DORA - Defence of the Realm Act- to give Gov. powers over all aspects of individual life. Recruitment of Scouts to train for emergency e.g. guarding bridges, messengers

Banks in Nottingham received first £1 and 10/- notes Appeal in paper by Ethel Lillian Birkin, & Claire Birkin of Birkin lace family, on behalf of British Red Cross in Notts. for help and for nurses -  expected to equip and take charge of 1,000 beds for the wounded


Football Association -FA say that matches should continue To provide a diversion and to raise money for war relief

Robin Hoods marched out of Nottm. to Derby barracks, crowds see them off. Arrest of Max Kuhner a German commercial traveller of Wellington Circus – On basis of plans, maps and a revolver he had – Released on 15th


UK declares war on Austria-Hungary – Germany’s allies DORA gains royal assent


Relief Office opens at Gospel Hall, South Parade, dealt with 1158 women by 17th August, issued coupons for groceries, milk etc. Shilling fund for relief set up donations from Players, Boots, Duke of Portland


British Expeditionary Force begin to arrive in France at Western Front

Hosiery & lace factories on short-time or shut –many women thrown out of work by skilled men leaving affecting their support roles; & no supplies from Belgium

17 – 22nd

Belgian Gov left Brussels for Antwerp. Streams of refugees leaving, some come to UK

Belgian refugees start to arrive – early sign of the war The Arcadians at Theatre Royal, Geo Robey at the Empire, His Love for an Actress at Grand. Globe at Trent Bridge, Regent Hall on Mansfield Road and Scala in Market Street gave their takings to war relief


Notts. FA agreed to play a practice match for war relief


Germans enter Brussels

22nd /23rd 24th

Battle of Mons – first British battle - over 2000 casualties at retreat


Relief Office moved to larger base at Congregational Church hall in Castle Gate 1300+ women queuing weekly for relief. Board of Guardians give wing of Bagthorpe Workhouse for VAD hospital Local Dr’s agree to take on work of Dr’s joining army + help with VAD training


Evening Post rally young men to join up,


1st cash payments from National Relief Fund

Start of VAD training. Over 2300 men volunteered to fight throughout August



Magdala amateur football club – 60 men join up at Welbeck Hotel


Agree to set up a City Battalion-420 men by 12th but slow progress

5 – 12th 14 – 28th

Battle of the Marne - Allied victory Battle of Aisne stalemate – shortage of heavy weapons

‘Pearl Girl’ musical at Theatre Royal with May Tomlinson– orchestra struck up patriotic songs


Sherwood Foresters (professional) arrive in France


Council vote £32,700 for public works (libraries, schools) to relieve unemployment


Local relief fund wound up as National Relief Fund operating. Last week of September 2893 grants given out


Great Recruitment meeting at the Albert Hall – Albert Ball signs up


Recruitment at Bulwell Forest


Fund for arriving Belgian refugees raised £1500. Houses clothes, coal and household items given


600 blankets for troops collected at Guildhall


Council had to back down and Goose Fair went ahead


Wounded begin arriving


News of death of first local soldier -Corporal William Stevens, lived in Lenton – 54 wounded arrive


Launch of Queen’s Work for Women Fund – to find work For single and unemployed women

At 12 Short Hill emergency workshop – 80 women. Needle work & clothing depot set up on Bridlesmith Gate, knitting & sewing for troops for winter

Ottoman Empire allies with Germany and Austro Hungary

Various VAD hospitals set up and volunteers trained


1st full military funeral – Sidney Martin in General Cemetery


Home Office requirement for ‘aliens’ to re-adopt original names

Germans, Austrians & Hungarians arrested - daily reporting at Guildhall, by 22nd Oct all interned at Wakefield

19- 22nd Nov.

First Battle of Ypres

21st wounded Belgian soldiers arrive at Clinton Terrace VAD hospital


100 wounded arrive at General Hospital, Park Row


700 free school dinners daily. Campaign for Christmas boxes to Notts. soldiers


‘The Battle around Dixmude ‘at The Picture House on Long Row


200 more Belgian refugees arrive


8500 had enlisted. 100 more wounded arrive



Recruitment at Victoria Baths


120 Belgian refugee children entertained at Albert Hall, + 300 adults in gallery


Servicemen’s club set up in Wheeler Gate. YMCA appeal for funds to set up Huts @£300 for rest, recreation & entertainment of soldiers

‘Pack up your troubles ‘wins war song competition

Notts. Temperance Tuba band play concert on Forest for Belgian refugees


Germans & British sing carols & play football in No Man’s Land

Account of Christmas at the front in Evening Post by local soldier


‘Little Boy Blue’ panto at Theatre Royal. Grand Theatre ‘dark’ until Boxing Day, when ‘Apple of Eden’ played. Hippodrome had a seaside revue. Empire – ‘Miss Paris in London’ another revue. Christmas Carol screened at The Picture House, other cinemas and music halls busy. Lots of rail excursions &holidays. Notts. Forest played Derby on Boxing Day. Prices up by 20%, food shortages & queuing


Realisation that war in France wasn’t going to be over quickly. Attempt to defeat German’s allies Ottoman empire at Gallipoli proved disastrous. Volunteers drying up; need to recruit and train more men for army, produce more & better artillery, increase food production – i.e. fully gear up for war and deal with shortages, shell crisis, lack of men. Nottingham Guardian’s motto for Year ‘Be strong’



National Day of Prayer

All Notts. churches took part, Appeal for mouth organs for troops.


DORA regulations brought in, policed by army, limiting individual freedom to safe guard people and support war effort

Licensed premises within 3 miles of city opening restricted, beer weakened, No Rounds/‘treating’, lights out by 10.30 etc Affects all entertainment venues, protests from Licensed Victuallers -why in Nottm. why not Leeds or Birmingham? Decision to recruit a Battam regiment – any man over 5ft


Extended DORA restrictions to include Bulwell, Gedling etc

25 /26th

20 wounded soldiers arrive at Midland Station, taken to Trent Bridge Pavilion VAD hospital –welcomed by large crowds


Agreed would be no annual cricket Championship



Coal shortage. Food prices up 50% -pressure for higher pay.

City Co. had stock piled coal but situation still difficult as many miners had enlisted, also short of wood for pit props and wagons


Start of Gallipoli naval campaign against Ottoman empire

Trams and buildings to dim lights by 9 – hit entertainment places


Early warning system re air raids put in place. Large numbers of troops to be stationed in Nottm. = reason for strict DORA requirements

MARCH 1915


5 – 6000 troops arrive at Eagle Works billeted at Mechanics Hall, Victoria Hall, Arboretum Rooms and private homes


1000 more soldiers arrive


King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry arrive - here for approx. 6 weeks. Billeted at Seeley Rd, Ropewalk & Norton Street schools. Clubs, institutes available to them

10th – 13th

Battle of Neuve Chapelle - victory but couldn’t be exploited shortage of artillery


Attempt by French & English to defeat Ottoman empire, Naval attack at Dardanelles – but beaten off

APRIL 1915


Temporary buildings erected with 150 beds at General Hospital grounds

22nd–25th May

Second battle of Ypres – chlorine gas used for first time Lung and eye damage many deaths, injury and blindness

Jump in recruitment in response to outcry over use of gas. Women’s Employment sub-committee set on 130 women + girls to make respirators


Major assault at Gallipoli + Australian + Indian troops

MAY 1915

Highest prices for beef in 30 years recorded at Cattle market. War Service for Women Movement set up in Nottm. - more women register for land work, bank clerks etc 25% of hosiery firms on Gov contract - socks, gloves


Crowds welcome injured from St Julien and Ypres at Trent Bridge VAD hospital


Death of Private Maurice Murphy from Dublin at General Hospital


Sinking of passenger liner Lusitania by a German U boat –

Fred Tyers, 333 Mansfield Rd drown on Lusitania, Death of Private Harry Smith from Bradford, -crowds line route to Gen Cemetery


Zeppelin raids in London and south east


Riots and attacks on German shops

Anti German feeling at attacks & window smashing of German shops e.g. Denner on Union Rd, Wagner in Hockley, Wagner in Carlton Rd, Hoffman in Sneinton St all pork butchers. Rioters at Guildhall, treated severely, remanded in custody


Ministry of Munitions set up, with Lloyd George as Minister to deal with the shell crisis – not enough or of good quality

JUNE 1915

Prep of 3 schools at Trent Bridge, Carrington & Sycamore Rd for more beds 60 members of Rowing Club join up -Turney Cup & annual regatta abandoned Women on telegraph counters, cleaning railway carriages


Battam Battalion left to train in Yorkshire –


Judge uses white gloves –no criminal cases to deal with

JULY 1915

National Registration Act - men & women between 15 –55 to register

City Co to register people 15 – 55 + their work. Hired Mechanics Hall & appealed for volunteers to help.  Rate rises add to difficulties. Council pay living bonus to employees earning less than 30/-. Women now on some Post rounds FA decide will be no internationals or cup ties. League on Saturdays but no pay, no cups or medals. No Hockey, no horse racing except at Newmarket


Recruitment march of 3000 men from Wollaton Park to Forest


WSPU demonstration in London for women’s right to serve. NUWSS, WSPU & WFL had called off their protests etc and swung to support war effort – Suffragette magazine Votes for Women becomes Britannia


120 surgical cases arrive from Dover direct to sidings at Bagthorpe VAD hospital 


Contracts from Ministry of Munitions begin to be awarded

Manufacturers begin to make munitions e.g. Raleigh - fuse production, lace manufacture - shells, Ericsson - field telephones, Boots - respirators. Players busy – smokes for soldiers. Huge factory at King’s Meadow Road for artillery. Shell factory agreed for Chilwell. More employment, higher wages & many women All Germans & Austrians between 17-55 not naturalised, interned

Bank holiday

Railways not offering excursion tickets but still many went to coast, others to countryside, picnics by Trent, no County cricket but match in aid of TB hospital


100 injured arrive at temp wards at Gen Hospital – crowds at Victoria Station


200 women enrol at Derby Rd Hospital supply depot -supplying military hospitals


157 injured arrive for Bagthorpe Hospital



Women taken on by tram company as conductresses. Women window cleaners in khaki jackets and trousers appear

25th Sept – 13th Oct

Battle of Loos

30th -160 injured arrive from Loos battlefield for Bagthorpe Hospital



Shortage of recruits leads to Lord Derby’s recruitment scheme

351 injured arrive


Goose Fair suspended by the Council.

Special Sunday cinema show to raise £30,000 for ambulances

2 – 5th

3day recruitment rally - cinemas show recruitment films, visits to men at home


 Appeal for Comforts for Soldiers Fund by Claire Birkin – her husband Charles, commanding officer of Robin Hoods, had given £250. Aimed to raise at least £1,000 - £1,500. (Evening Post, Sat 9th Oct 1915)


Appeal for 1915 Christmas Fund – aim = £8000 for Notts. soldiers


1596 men enlisted – greatest number since August 1914



Increase in hospital beds from 574 to 746


Many more soldiers arrive in city taking numbers to 12,000 Various parties for wounded, refugees and poor.

Hippodrome & Empire jointly gave Christmas party for 500+ poor children Enjoyed Christmas beef dinner, entertainment, Christmas card, orange & sweets.


‘Robin Dinner’ for 1200 poor children- roast dinner and plum pudding at the Mechanics then Punch & Judy


Evening Post reported a ‘dull’ Boxing Day –travel & lighting restrictions, food & fuel up in price; football match between Forest & Sheffield had 10,000 crowd. Old King Cole at Theatre Royal, started on Boxing Day twice nightly, Cinderella at the Grand, ‘Beauties’ a revue at the Empire & All Variety at Hippodrome.


Finally, able to field a continental sized army, 2,500,000 recruited and trained, realise need for conscription, huge losses at Battle of Somme, food shortages, price rises, work pressures, Restrictions dominate life -mood bleak



1st Bill to introduce conscription – met with many objections

DORA - Entertainment tax introduced raised ticket prices By 25% - 50% and generated income for the war

Raleigh have switched from cycles to munitions employing 2000 mainly women. Food shortages. 10,138 meals provided for children of families in difficulties


First shells filled at Chilwell - 7000 daily by April


Gallipoli campaign ends in Allied defeat


New DORA lighting restrictions introduced impact leisure activities.  Shops close & lights out at 7pm, by 10.30 electricity cut off to city, and traffic stopped


Picture House showing army in France & Destruction of a German Blockhouse

21 – 26th

Tank week – to raise money for tanks


Women’s National Land Service Corps formed – later Women’s Land Army


City Council set up a Tribunal to examine exemptions from military service


Captain Charles Vickers VC in city -  crowds greet him

21st–18th Dec

Battle of Verdun begins

Private Caffrey VC returns

MARCH 1916


Gov calls up first married men 25 - 41

Very cold winter weather – shortage of coal despite 6 mines close to city


1st woman taxi driver causes quite a stir – Alice Astill paid TU rate for job

Protest meeting of 1500 married men – unfair when large numbers of single men

APRIL 1916

New & reduced list of reserved occupations

First women taken on as crane drivers at Chilwell, then filling shells – ‘Canaries’


New National Union of Married Men meet PM – single men to be called up first

Agitation about call up of single men first


Robin Hoods/Sherwood Foresters sent to Dublin to help with Easter Rising little fighting experience - 3 officers +15 men killed others injured

MAY 1916


2nd conscription bill - all men 18 - 41


Full military funeral at General Cemetery for Lieut. Perry killed in Dublin


Matinee at Hippodrome organised by Claire Birkin, for disabled soldiers and sailors. Lady Churston, ‘as Miss Denise Orme sang ballads …and Mr. John Clarke, the gifted Nottingham tenor, sang the great aria from Pagliacci with impressively dramatic effect.’ Nottm Evening Post.


DORA - British Summertime introduced –to maximise working hours

Increase in price of meat & food– many supply ships being sunk by German U boats

Whit holiday postponed, schools to open & parents work


Battle of Jutland begins – only major naval battle of WW1

JUNE 1916


HMS Hampshire sunk, Lord Kitchener dies

Memorial service for Kitchener, on 10th June in St Mary’s

JULY 1916

1st – 18th Nov

Battle of Somme begins 19,240 dead, 38,230 injured on day 1

140 Nottingham men killed and many injured


Hospital train + 301 men -  all VAD hospitals used War Savings Week/ 2 weeks – stall in Market Sq to get people to invest in the war effort – Nottingham was only place in country to do this


136 wounded arrive


War weapons week



Flag day for Soldiers & Sailors Help Assoc - £1000 raised Cricket match Police specials v soldiers at Trent Bridge for Pavillion hospital

7/ 8th

Bank Holiday postponed – 11/4 pay

Mayor John Small, appealed for people to go on working. No rail excursions, no hot meals on trains. Overall prices up by 65% --real hardships - demos in Market Square. Some wage increases

Boys help bring in the harvest being put up on various estates for 3 weeks


Sinking of HMS Nottingham


Injured/ disabled men issued with silver discharge or wounded badges to wear showing they’d been honourably discharged

National Union of Women Workers (NUWW) conference held at Mikado café With dancing, whist and entertainment Police & army round up men evading military service = ‘Combing out’ of various workplaces, Theatres Raids eg Empire, Royal to check for evaders


First British use of tanks at Battle of Flers- Courcelette


1st DORA prosecution for ‘treating’ – Elizabeth Collins – fined 10/-


Zeppelin attack 3 fatalities, houses on Arkwright St and Newthorpe St


Introduction of convoys to protect shipping and supplies Approx. 20% of merchant ship had been sunk

Gun week. Women’s football popular –Chilwell Munitions with large crowds watching



Appeal launched for Christmas gifts for soldiers – aim for £14,000; raised by Mid Dec and parcels sent off


Duchess of Portland unveiling several street memorials


Battle of Somme ends - 350,000+ casualties


Nottm Society of Artists Art Fair to raise funds for Red Cross & troop concerts



Minister of Food Control re prices, supply, rations


Visit of George V to Chilwell


Battle of Verdun ends -  longest single battle of WW1


Dick Whittington at Grand, Hyson Green with principal boy & Dame played by women. Little Miss Muffett at Theatre Royal with Mariott Edgar as Queen


Low point of the war for both soldiers and civilians- no real-prospect of victory, food & other shortages, high prices, queuing, fund-raising + casualties and fatalities, supplies torpedoed, strikes -real hardship and despair


Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp set up Western Front very quiet

Endless food price rises.


Increase of 50% in rail fares,

Land Cultivation Committee put land to cultivation even at Nottm. Forest ground

Women’s branch of Board of Agriculture established

100 wounded soldiers arrive at Low Level station


171 wounded arrive – many suffering from trench foot


191 wounded arrive – 127 Canadians. - Need for more beds. Schoolroom for Belgian refugee children opened on College St.

13 Jan/16 Feb

New War Bond issued

Main Post Office on Queen Street very busy


Food Controller –voluntary food rationing

Midland Railway now employ 6300 women before war only 1400


Flight Commander Albert Ball given Freedom of Nottingham –Exchange Hall


National Service meeting at Albert Hall

MARCH 1917

Women’s Land Army established –over 18’s recruited, trained for 4 weeks & then worked on land for 20/-

The Tribunal interviewing 1300 monthly re exemption from service 200 wounded arrive


Raid on the Grand – actor playing in Mormon & the Maid arrested

Late March 

Food Controller -2 potato free days, 2 meat free days etc voluntary rationing introduced. Communal kitchens set up

potato shortage at famine proportions. Very cold winter – little coal. Communal kitchen at Salvation Army Hall in Sneinton


National Service Week – to recruit for men & women for various war work Women from WAAC sent to France for 1st time

APRIL 1917


US enters war on Germany – because of attacks on shipping

Agitation for wage rises

9th–16th May

Battle of Arras - gains then stalemate

473 merchant ships fell to U boats – serious food shortages

300 wounded arrive


Berridge Road school requisitioned as a hospital


Tribunal suspended activity in protest re demand for army for men on whom local businesses relied. Gov intervention to return to business

MAY 1917


King George signs proclamation about cutting bread consumption – 1 week later reported considerable reduction


Gov Commission set up - worried over unrest, 6 million days lost to strikes – ordered arrest of strike leaders for ‘impeding war production’ under DORA.


Actor playing in ‘Would you believe it’ at Grand arrested

29th Whit

Improvements in food supplies

Great Patriotic Fair in Market Place aimed to raise £20,000 raised £31,000 -pageant at Arboretum, entertainments in Castle

JUNE 1917

Food Controller fixed prices and took over supplies & distribution

Mothercraft exhibition at Albert Hall. ‘Food at Home’ exhibition in Prudential Buildings on King St, school exhibitions, speakers at Theatre Royal & Hippodrome


National mourning for Albert Ball

Confirmation of death of Albert Ball on May 7- hero, MC, credited with 44 combat victories. Memorial service on 9th –crowds attend


Heavy bombing raid on London


Bill introduced to give women the Vote – 385 for, 56 against- only at 30, despite critical war work of younger women

JULY 1917


Garden party in St Barnabas grounds for Belgian refugees


Women Drs examine women volunteering for WAAC clerical work in France Timber corps etc


3 POWs escaped from Donnington Hall – quickly re-captured


Footage of Battle of Arras at Long Row Picture House

31st -10th Nov

Passchendaele -1,700,000+ men fighting in France

Scout rally of 1200 at Trent Bridge


Bank Holiday

Exodus of workers to coast for Bank Holiday. Some lace factories etc closed for week others for Mon + Tues. Skegness ‘not been so full for 20 years’

Early August

Gov commission on industrial unrest & fixing food prices, relaxed some drink stipulations and limit hours worked by unskilled so could not earn more than skilled workers


Sugar rationing introduced


107 wounded arrive

August - Sept

Robin Hoods active at Ypres


Bread tax – wealthier paying more to subsidise so that Poor could afford bread. New National Insurance act- provision for discharged men with a disability – Ministry of Pensions to provide an allowance

Corporation workers ask for 2nd rise of year already had rise of 3/- per week


YMCA – hut appeal – to create a refreshment room at the station for ‘our boys’


Women’s Royal Naval Service set up


Allenby’s capture of Jerusalem


People urged public to avoid all train travel

Scuffles broke out in shops on Long Row

‘There’s a Girl for every soldier, song featured in 18 pantos


Party of Red Cross nurses including 2 from Nottingham leave to work in a hospital in Egypt

Annual Christmas present fund to raise £8000


County & Forest play each other at the city ground, Harmonic Society sang the Messiah, Revue’ Bric a Brac’ instead of usual Panto at Theatre Royal

Several hundred children of soldiers & sailors given dinner and entertained at Hippodrome. All military hospital held festivities


2 Nottm. VAD nurses drown when SS Osmanieh was torpedoed in the Med -Catherine Ball & Winnifred Maud Brown, daughter of the City Engineer


Everyone hanging on with grim determination, food and coal shortages, endless queuing. Demand for more men, older & younger Now called up. Flu pandemic in July. However, August proved to be the beginning of the end of the war


632 POW’s released


82 Notts POW’s re-patriated welcomed by Mayor and crowds with gifts etc – taken to Bagthorpe and Albert Hall


Rationing introduced in Nottm by Food Committee City’s Land Cultivation Committee reported large increase in land use


Nottm.’s 1st national communal kitchen in Prudential Buildings (King St) Soup 2d, Irish stew 4d, fish pie 3d, ginger pud 3d Angry scenes in Market Place because of food shortages


Fundraiser for YWCA scheme for providing huts for WAAC


Votes for all women over 30 – and men over 21 Partial victory but denied many women who had worked in munitions etc


2nd communal kitchen on St Ann’s Well Road


Nottm.Tank Week-  tank 119 on show, War Savings bonds & certs on Sale Theatre Royal Panto stars sang & joked with crowd raised £2,750.075


Memorial service for drown VAD nurses at St Peter’s church Annual National Labour Party Conf held at Albert Hall



Gov announce food rationing- meat, sugar and butter/margarine but not bread

12 more communal kitchens set up throughout February

MARCH 1918

March - July

Troop numbers at an all-time low – German offensive on Western Front – heavy casualties, disaster and withdrawal


 Robin Hood’s -26 officers and 629 men lost –many from Notts. Sherwood Foresters- similar attack 680 men injured. City in mourning

APRIL 1918

New ‘combing out’ of industry both older & younger men called to fight – also miners, teachers, ministers etc

 Injured begin to arrive from Western Front


RAF founded – combination of Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. Women’s Royal Air Force set up WAAC becomes Queen Mary’s AAC

Lamcote House, home of Claire Birkin in Radcliffe on Trent, opened as a VAD hospital for Officers

Appeal for increased munitions production – threat of strikes but agreed to work through Easter


Skating on the Grantham canal

MAY 1918

Huge increase in production, replaced losses of March offensive


Mayoress opened 20th communal kitchen in Nottingham


Empire Day 

Schools took part – songs, drills, empire tableaus

JUNE 1918

Outbreak of flu – mild initially


All records broken at Chilwell fill 46,725 shells in 1 day

JULY 1918


Pause in fighting – both sides exhausted. Re-equip &regroup

Chilwell munitions explosion – 134 killed including 25 women


Production resumed at Chilwell


34 unidentified bodies buried in 2 mass graves in Attenborough churchyard


9 The Ropewalk opened as additional 60 bed hospital


Chilwell Inquiry set up - didn’t identify cause or make any recommendations

War Weapons Week – raised £1,376,945 Flu cases increasing


Bank Holiday

Introduction of National kitchens providing cheap and cheerful meals – also many work canteens introduced

2nd Patriotic Fair – usual crowds at the seaside, especially Skegness


Ellerslie House on Gregory Boulevard opened for paralysed soldiers


New Education Act- school fees abolished in elementary schools & leaving age raised to 14 and LEAs empowered to help supply nursery places, teacher salary increases etc

Flu seemed to be over


123 wounded soldiers arrived


Several collieries on strike for higher wages


Strike threats from rail & postal workers In France, British break through the Hindenburg Line & advance


Claire Birkin organised an afternoon performance of The Passing Show 1918 by the entire company with Miss Ella Retford, the star. Some 3,400 ‘boys in blue’ present, with many nurses and V.A.D. workers; 29 hospitals were represented, including all local institutions and in addition Southwell, Welbeck, Eastwood, Ilkeston, South Wingfield, Eaton, Radcliffe, and Lamcote House (officers)…Nottingham Post



Pace of advance quickened, no more trench warfare, fighting in open. Unexpected. General Allenby successful in Palestine against the Turks, Bulgaria asked for an armistice. Turks collapsed in Mesopotamia & Austria surrendered to Italy. Return of ‘killer’ flu

 160 injured arrive

First Nottingham death from flu, 100’s caught it, schools & workplaces struggle to stay open, many die


12,500 tons of currants, raisins & sultanas for Christmas puds

Week ending 27th Nov 287 flu deaths. Schools closed


Armistice – hostilities to cease at 11a.m. Lighting restrictions lifted, recruitment ended, Food situation began to improve slowly

Celebrations in Market Square, flags, bunting, colliery bands etc Workers and children pour out on to streets to celebrate. Many factories Gave workers rest of the day off. But many pubs shut fearing drunkenness


283 injured arrive


Gov decided those to be demobbed or discharged from factories etc should receive certain benefits Women first to be dismissed by year end 750,000 had left


377 deaths from flu –peak of epidemic


Victory Guns Thanks Giving week - £1,500,000 raised for cost of war


Design for tombstone of those who had died revealed 


First men released from army arrive back in UK

Family and local plans for memorials made


General election & allowing women to become MPs Women voted in Large numbers

Nottingham City’s ’s first Labour MP Alan Hayday elected, also a Labour MP in Broxtowe


Panto - Babes in the Wood, at Theatre Royal, Cinderella at Grand, variety show- Zig Zag at Empire, Rejected Remounts a comedy at Hippodrome


Over 5370 Nottingham men had been killed, many more injured and disabled, the flu had also killed 1400 people. Red Cross in Nottingham celebrate the end of the war on 19th March with a ‘great gathering of workers’ in Albert Hall to ‘celebrate the happy termination of the work which they have so nobly performed’ Nottm Evening Post. VAD hospitals begin to close and Peace celebrations were held on 19th July on Victoria Embankment. Women were demobilised from their wartime work going on the dole – £1.5s- or getting other roles on lower/ women’s wages, Many would not have benefitted from the 1918 act which had only given women over 30 the vote; so many young women who had worked very hard, lost loved ones, put up with shortages etc would have wondered if it had all been worth it.

© Miriam Jackson 2017

  1. Main Image: Be Honest with Yourself, 1915 © IWM (Art.IWM PST 5068)
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