When we think about the 1914-18 War, we tend to focus on memorialising the dead. However, the 1914-18 War probably had a greater influence on the world we inhabit today than any other war before or since. It is generally recognised that the speed of technological advance increases at times of war. But the 1914-18 War heralded a significant shift not just in technology but in science (particularly medicine and personal hygiene), culture (both written and art) and society (accelerating universal suffrage).
The Centenary of WW1 off ers an opportunity to recognise that seismic shift in society and reflect on the contribution that not only those who gave their lives but also the soldiers that returned.The Royal British Legion (RBL), with generous grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council for England and Bedford Creative Arts along with the support of the British Museum, Bletchley Park and the Imperial War Museum is providing an opportunity for the community of Bedford to engage with this reflection through cultural and educational events that commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the 1914-18 War.
‘What then was war’
– An evening of Music and Poetry The RBL has been collaborating with representatives of No Loss Productions, Bedford Creative Arts, Bedford Choral Society, Bedford Arts Choir and composer Sophie Viney to create an evening of poetry and songs from the Great War; and new music and words inspired by wartime experiences.
8 November 2014 7.30pm, St Peter de Merton with St Cuthbert Church, De Parys Avenue, Bedford. Tickets £8 (£6 conc).
A series of talks will take place during 2014-15 to consider the impact the War had on society.
- Ungentlemanly Conduct – Listening to the enemy in WWI– 24 November 2014 – Mike Chapman.
This talk looks at incidents such as the sabotaging of German undersea cables and the “Zimmermann Telegram’ to illustrate how that later success owed much to lessons learned from the interception of communications traffic, code breaking, interpretation and the discrete use of the intelligence gained in the Great War.
- Creative and Destructive Forces – how WW1 changed ordinary lives – 26 January 2015 – Philip Sawford
War changes society and sometimes leaves us with positive outcomes. This talk looks some of the developments in WW1 that altered people’s lives for the better.
- Development of wireless radio – 23 February 2015 – Ben Allen and Elaine Richards
This talk looks at the development in wireless technology and how radio operators returning after the war used their new found skills.
- The Indian Army – 23 March 2015 – Sadu Singh Gill and Amrik Singh Jamu BEM.
Soon after the declaration of War, several Expeditionary Forces of the Indian Army were deployed to diff erent war zones including Europe, Africa, Mesopotamia and the Middle East. This talk explores the important contribution that the Indian Army made to the WW1 effort.
The venue for each of the talks is The Great Hall, Bedford School, De Parys Avenue, Bedford MK40 2TU commencing at 7:30pm and each will last about an hour. Tickets are £5 (£4 conc) Entry is free to those who are in full-time education but tickets must be obtained.
A further six talks are being arranged for a Winter 2015-16 series to cover other topics and in this way the RBL and its partners will hand on their offering to the legacy of WW 1 to future generations.
The Royal British Legion is best known for the annual Poppy Appeal.It delivers welfare work all year round and is the national Custodian of Remembrance, organising Parades and Services throughout the country in November. Although formed soon after the end of WW1, the Legion is as relevant as ever in this Centenary year of the outbreak of the War as servicemen and women and their families continue to make sacrifices in the service of their country on foreign soil.
If you are interested in joining the Royal British Legion* or if you are a benefi ciary who needs help, please call our Contact Centre on 0808 802 8080 8am-8pm or visit the RBL Pop-In Centre at Bedford Central Library. Sessions are held on the second Wednesday of each month between 1pm and 4pm.
*If you agree with the principles and ethos of the Royal British Legion (Welfare, Remembrance, Comradeship and Representation) you do not need to have served in the Armed Services to join.
The Bedford and District Branch of the Royal British Legion Parade and Service will take place at 11:00am on 9 November 2014 at the War Memorial on the Embankment. Bedford Pipe Band will lead the Parade. Bedford Town Band will be performing a medley of tunes in Harpur Square from about 10:30am.
All Tickets from Central Box Office (Bedford Tourist Information Centre, Old Town Hall, St Paul’s Square Bedford MK40 1SJ)
Tel: 01234 718112.
F: Bedford and District Royal British Legion