Watching British TV quiz show QI last week, there was a question about a Defence of the Realm Act, which was passed in Britain in August 1914 and gave the government wide-ranging powers during the war period. I was very excited because I actually knew one of the answers (not a regular occurrence!). This was because the act, or more particularly, the licensing laws it introduced, was mentioned in a book I\'ve been working on, Military Misdemeanours, which looks at military mishaps and scandals of history. The story in which it is mentioned is actually about the introduction of cocaine to Britain during WWI by Canadian soldiers, but anyway... ;-)
In fact at first glance, many of the provisions of the act look rather odd: there was to be no flying of kites, no feeding of wild animals, and alcoholic drinks were watered down (and you could now only drink in a pub or bar for two and half hours at lunchtime and three hours in the evening rather than any time between 5.30 am and midnight as previously). Whilst I\'m sure there were good reasons behind all of these, I can only imagine how bemused and irritated most people must have been when they first heard about it. I\'m sure one of the most confusing new rules was the introduction of British Summer Time for the first time. I don\'t need to imagine the confusion it would have caused - I have missed enough appointments to know about that one!
However, did you know that in WWII, they had Double British Summer Time? The country went onto British Summer Time permanently throughout the war, and in the summers, went forward a further hour, to Double British Summertime. Then after the war it all got shifted back. This was all to ensure the daylight hours were used as efficiently as possible, but I can\'t help but wonder how many hours of work were lost because people had just given up trying to tell the time? I just know I would have been utterly confused and no help at all to the war effort, so I\'m thankful that when I, again, forget to change the clocks, the only consequence is that I\'m unfashionably late for lunch!
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