Diary: Is son wounded, dead or prisoner?

Stories from The Luton News, January 14th, 1915

The mystery of the whereabouts of Pte Cyril W. Worboys, of the 10th (Prince of Wales's Own Royal) Hussars, after he was wounded at the front on October 17th has now been partly solved, thanks to unremitting inquiries by his mother, Mrs Bray, who lives at 12 Alfred Street, Luton.

Her son, who is 24 years old, enlisted in the Bedfords seven years ago, and less than a year since to transferred to the Hussars. As a boy he attended Surrey Street School.

It appears from a letter which his mother has received from Captain J. C. Stewart, adjutant of a Red Cross hospital, that Pte Worboys was badly wounded in the stomach while on advance guard and had to be left in the charge of a Belgian farmer at a village which, however, was almost immediately captured by the Germans, bbut recovered by the Allies in equally short time. The regimental ambulance was sent forward to fetch Pte Worboys but he had disappeared, he had evidently been removed by the Germans.

A fellow Hussar who was wounded at the same time wrote: "Your son was seriously wounded...and we were not able to carry him back with us. Our major said it would be very dangerous to move him as he was so seriously wounded. If he is still living he will be in Germany as a prisoner."

[Commonwealth War Graves Commission records show Pte Cyril William Worboys, 11295, died on October 17th, 1914, and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres. His mother Emily had remarried following the death of his father, Arthur.]

  • New plant at the extended Luton Electricity Works was expected to be running on test by Saturday afternoon and to be in full use next week. However parts were still awaited for a coal elevator that would mean the plant would have to be fired by hand. Local manufacturers involved in war contracts had been concerned at not being able to receive the power they needed, but it was expected that demands would now be met by the new plant working at full capacity.

  • Mr Athur Staddon, who has been instrumental in sending some thousands of cigarettes to Bedfordshire men at the front, has received a postcard from Qmr F. H. Osborne, of the 2nd Bedfordshire Regt, with a request for socks. He wrote: "I can assure you if Luton could supply 100 pairs per week not one pair would be wasted, and you'd have the heartfelt thanks of 1,000 men to remember it by. This is the most difficult problem today - the Germans are only a secondary consideration."

  • Latest recruits to the Regular Army who enlisted at the recruiting office at Luton Corn Exchange: G. Bozier, A. Cox, G. Crosby, F. C. Dray, A. Facer, G. Godfrey, J. Jeffs, A. Morton, H. Newbury, J. Olney, H. H. Strange, G. Walker.

  • Major-General C. St L. Barter, commanding the 2nd London Division, came to Luton to inspect the 23rd Battalion, County of London Regiment, which has been quartered in the town for some time. Following the inspection at the Luton Town Football Club ground, the battalion marched via Ivy Road into Dunstable Road, where they marched past the General and his staff.

  • Colonel H. T. Fenwick, lately commanding the Royal Horse Guards, has been appointed to and accepted the position of Second-in-Command of the Footballers' Battalion.

  • Capt W. McC Wanklyn, Sanitary Services (Army Medical Services), who for a short time last summer was Acting Medical Officer of Health for Luton, has been appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Medical Services, North Midland Division.

  • The Midland Railway have issued a new timetable, operating from January 11th. The most important alteration as far as Luton is concerned is the discontinuance of the City Express leaving Luton at 1 pm. By way of substitute, a fast train from Manchester will stop at Luton at 12.55 and arrive at St Pancras at 1.30.

  • Members of the Luton Red Cross Band and friends met at the Bandroom on Monday evening for their annual dinner and social gathering.

  • Several soldiers appeared before Luton magistrates for being absent without leave. Among them on Monday was Pte William Sims, of the Royal Engineers, who had already appeared before the court in similar circumstances on November 28th. In all cases the men were remanded for a military escort back to their regiments.

  • Luton industries generally have responded splendidly to the call of the nation, not least those of Messrs J. W. Green Ltd, the well-known Luton brewers. Thirteen employees have joined the colours, namely Sgt C. Blake, Cpl C. Smith, Pte W. East, Pte P. C. Hill, Pte E. Mitchell, Pte T. Richards, Pte W. Webb (reservists) plus recruits J. Aylott, H. Cheshire, J. Fisher, J. Janes, P. Thurlow and F. Smith. Pte East has returned to the front after recovering at home from wounds, while Pte Mitchell was invalided home with frozen feet.

  • A copy of a report of HM Inspector on a lack teaching of singing and a suggestion that a properly qualified teacher should be appointed at the Modern School failed to bring action from the Luton Education Authority. Deputy Mayor Alderman H. O. Williams said it was rather late in the year to make an adjustment to timetables to fit in another subject. The matter would be dealt with in the future.

  • A School Health and Attendance Committee report that a half-time dentist should be appointed to care for schoolchildren's teeth was adopted by the Education Committee, and there was concern over the number of children "evading the law" by not attending school as, unlike some other authorities, there was no special canvass to see how many children there were in each Luton house and whether they attended school.

  • The Bedfordshire Historical Record Society had just issued its second volume, a 300-page document that included a history of Luton Markets and Fairs, compiled by treasurer Mr William Austin. He had traced fairs in Luton from Saxon times to the recent acquisition of markets and fairs by Luton Corporation. He included a statute fair riot in September 1800 when soldiers were attacked trying to arrest a drunken fellow named Nicholls whom they claimed had enlisted.