Diary: YMCA winter hut opened on Moor

Stories from the Saturday Telegraph, November 28th, 1914

Last night the new building which has been erected on the Moor for the winter work of the YMCA among the troops in Luton was formally opened by the Mayoress, Mrs W. J. Primett.

The building takes the place of the marquees, where good work has been done for nearly four months, but which were hardly adequate to meet the storms of winter. It is constructed with wooden sides, lined on the inside with striped canvas, and the roof is of specially prepared canvas. It has a wooden floor, raised slightly above ground level, and stoves are installed for heating. The cost of this new building, which is 100 ft and 80ft, has amounted to £300.

  • At Stopsley, Lady Wernher has offered to lend the YMCA the use of the Old School following a request from the military authorities for similar, though smaller, facilities there for Artillerymen.

  • In three companies the Reserve 5th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment left Luton this morning for their headquarters at Bedford, where they will continue their training. There was a little send-off ceremony yesterday in the drill hall at the old skating rink in Park Street. About 300 men were on parade.

  • The removal of the recruiting office for the Regular Army from Park Street to the more central position of the Corn Exchange has had a capital result. The recruiting this week is 20 per cent better. Recruits for the Regular Army and Special Reserve and also for the 5th Battalion Beds (Territorials) may now enrol at the Corn Exchange.

  • Recruits for the 5th (Reserve) Battalion, Beds Regt, this week include: W. Ansell, H. Andrews, S. Brooks, E. Brooks, W. G. Bygrave, J. J. Beaver, A. Brown, A. Brightman, H. A. Bushby, J. Brown, W. E. E. Canderton, A Cardwell, F. Craft, F. Dole, F. Dudley, C. Dulimore, S. W. Dunham, A. Eaton, N. Edwards, A. T. Evans, W. Franklin, A. Flitton, F. Goodman, W. C. Hills, A. Howard, P. E. Hurst, H. S. Jenkings, S. Lack, W. Lee, A. Morris, F. Morris, T. Read, S. Scales, W. Smith, S. Smith, F. D. Smith, G. Smith, A. Titmus, A. Toyer, W. Toyer, J. Wilson, L. Williamson, L. Wise, R. Wood, G. C. Wood.

  • Mrs K. Harris, of 2 Cromwell Road, Luton, has four sons at present serving with the colours. Lieut C. Harris, of the Royal Field Artillery, who was promoted from the ranks two years ago, is in France with the Expeditionary Force. The other sons are Trooper F. G. Harris (Herts Yeomanry, Cairo), Trooper S. A. Harris (Beds Yeomanry, Hatfield Peverall) and Gunner A. A. Harris (Lincoln Artillery, which has just left the district).

  • An old Christ Church schoolboy has obtained a commission as Lieutenant. Mr E. J. Hobbs enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regt, six years ago and has seen service in Malta and Egypt. He has been transferred to the Royal Sussex Regt.

  • Belgian Flag Day in Luton opened with very brisk business, and by nine o'clock the workers had so depleted their trays that the captains were round at the central depot, Prudential Buildings, for more flags. But by 10 am the rain was beginning to interfere with things, and in the depressing weather the workers found business slowed down considerably. The schoolchildren responded nobly on Friday, the effort in the Luton schools producing the remarkable total of £31 0s 6d, between 7,000 and 8,000 tiny flags at one penny each being sold.

  • The inmates of the Luton Workhouse had a pleasant time on Thursday afternoon. By the kind permission of Lord Herbert Scott, the band of the 23rd County of London Regiment attended and played on the lawn from three o'clock until half past four. During this time such of the inmates as were at work were permitted to leave their tasks and join in the audience.

  • One of a pair of horses attached to a waggon of the 23rd Londons started to run away just on entering Mill Street from the Midland Road bridge end this morning. The driver did his best to pull them up and managed to avoid one waggon. But before Sgt Plummer, who was riding his horse in the middle of the road, could get out of the way, the runaway pair knocked both him and his horse over in the road. Unfortunately, the sergeant fell in front of the waggon, a wheel of which went over him. Sgt Plummer was treated at a nearby doctor's surgery before being taken by military motor ambulance to the Bute Hospital.

  • The Bedfordshire branch of the RSPCA was appealing for donations to its "Sick and Wounded Horses Fund" for which a special account had been opened at Barclays Bank. To date 21,000 horses with the British troops had been treated at the front.

  • Toy making, a new village industry, has been started in Bedfordshire, and a Central Toy Depot established at St Paul's Square, Bedford. Teachers have been trained by an expert to various centres throughout the county.

  • Miss Naina Haye, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs J. Johnstone Haye, of Kingsacre Hill, Luton, was married by special licence at Salisbury on Thursday to Captain Andrew Meikle, of the 10th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. The bride was recently an active worker with the Belgian Refugee movement. [A 1915 directory gives the address of the James Johnstone Haye as 69 London Road, Luton]

  • On the football pitch, Luton lost 2-0 to visitors Millwall in their Southern League fixture. Luton were referred to in reports as the "Strawhatters".

  • The British Medical Journal advocated having short men in the Army after stating its belief that 30,000 recruits had been lost in the last few weeks due to the existing height standard. Said its report: "Short men occupy less room in transport, they find cover more easily, and offer a smaller mark to bullets and shrapnel; they are better sheltered in the trenches, and require to dig less deep trenches to protect themselves. It takes less khaki to clothe them and less leather to boot them."

  • A Blue Book issued last week gives a total of 7,238,547 men between the ages of 15 and 42 in England and Wales."

  • Pte Kirk, of the 1st Battalion, Beds Regt, described how he had ridden his luck during the "hell on earth" of being in the firing line at Ypres on November 9th. He said:"I've got a bullet through my hat, one through the handle of my trenching tool, one through the side of my bayonet, one through the leg of my trousers - and they couldn't hit me. Rotten shots."

  • And finally, a man's best friend story. A month after Pte Brown, of the 1st North Staffordshire Regt, went with his regiment to the Continent in August his Irish terrier named Prince disappeared from home. Then last Thursday Mrs Brown got a letter from her husband in which he said: "I am sorry you have not found Prince, and you are not likely to while he is over here with me...a man brought him to me from the front trenches. I believe he came over with some other troops. Just fancy his coming and finding me."