Summer and Autumn 1916 in Thetford

During the summer and autumn of 1916,the effects of the war were continuing to be felt by Thetfordians. Florence “Florrie” Clarke, Thetford Town Crier and Bill Poster, was appointed on 2nd August 1916. Her father (the Town Crier) had been conscripted into the army in July 1916 but , in order to train his 15 year old daughter, had had his military service put back for a short time. The Mayor of Thetford said “We are pleased you have been so patriotic as to train your daughter to do your work while you are serving your country.”

Women also went round the town with the King’s Proclamation to try and get people not to eat as much bread and not to use flour for making pastry. A cap on the price of certain foods was put into place, as were checks to stop retailers and others from hoarding food, such as bread,flour and meat.

At a quarterly meeting of the Town Council in August, a circular was read from the Home Office, asking people to support the businesses of men who had joined up, as this could effect their businesses. It was agreed that the contents of the circular should be publicized in local newspapers and bills should be obtained for shop windows.

By the end of 1916, the Volunteer Act 1916 had been passed which obliged members to remain in the Volunteer Training Corps until the end of the war.Many of the original members of the Thetford V.T.C. had remained, with several new recruits, and it was hoped that active men over military age, and those exempted from military service, would join, as the V.T.C. was recognized as one of the defence forces of the country.

The completion of Thetford Camp meant that fewer soldiers were billeted in people’s houses than before, resulting in less contact between troops and civilians. During the summer and autumn of 1916, there were fewer concerts in the Town Hall and other entertainments, such as military bands playing in the town, than in previous years.

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