The Defence of the Realm Act, also known as DORA, was introduced in August 1914 for ‘securing public safety’. Additions were made to the law throughout the war and included regulations on lighting, food wastage, flying a kite, lighting a bonfire and ringing church bells. The law even limited buying rounds of drinks in a pub!
In response to food shortages, voluntary rationing was introduced in February 1917. Doncaster residents began growing their own food, an initiative the Doncaster Gazette referred to as ‘the cult of the cabbage patch’. Food economy committees organised cooking demonstrations of wartime recipes such as one held at Mexborough Secondary School in early 1917. Shortages continued however, and compulsory rationing was introduced a year later. Click here to view some of Grandma Abson’s First World War recipes.
Dr Goode defies DORA
Dr Edwin Thomas Goode was called in front of the Borough Police Court in May 1916. Dr Goode had been attending his patients and was caught driving along Warmsworth Road with his lights on at around 12.30 a.m. Special Constable Herbert Hargreaves had received instructions to take air raid action and have all lights extinguished on his beat. Goode had been told by three different police officers to turn his car lights off, but instead he turned them off, drove a short distance and then put his lights back on!
In the witness box, Dr Goode stated that he was ‘between the devil and the deep sea’. He did not want to risk his patients’ lives, nor cause an accident by driving in the dark. The Chief Constable replied ‘if too much light means an air raid, there is going to be a greater loss of life than involved in a medical patient.’ The magistrates called it a very serious case and Dr Goode was fined.
Towards the end of the war, school dinners were introduced across the country to ensure school children received a good meal, and didn’t miss school to join food queues. Mexborough Secondary School had introduced this practice before the war, and may have been one of the first in the country to introduce school meals.