Despite the unfavourable weather and other drawbacks, the parishes of Leagrave and Limbury co-operated in their Peace celebrations on Saturday, and a most successful day was spent, reported The Luton News (Thursday, July 24th, 1919).
No pains were spared by the many helpers to ensure the smooth working of the very complete programme, and a gratifying result was seen in many affirmations of the large concourse of people who gathered in the Commer Cars Field (Blackwell Estate) that the proceedings had been most enjoyable.
The chief features of the rejoicings were the procession, sports (arrange in the afternoon by Messrs Hewlett & Blondeau, of Omnia Works and in the evening by the Celebrations Committee), scholars' concert and the dancing, whilst a happy spirit was infused into the various events by the excellent service rendered by Mr S. D. Bell's band of 15 instrumentalists. They headed the procession, accompanied by some of the items in the concert, and also supplied the music for dancing.
An elaborate programme and souvenir was prepared for the occasion, features of which were the list of of the parishes, numbering 320, who had served with the Forces during the war, those who made the supreme sacrifice, a brief history of the war, important dates and information concerning the war and the peace, photographs of our leaders, and all particulars of the day's doings.
With reference to the returned soldiers, it may be mentioned that it has been proposed, if the necessary funds can be raised, to entertain all the ex-servicemen to a dinner and smoking concert in the neat future.
Mr E. W. Way was sports secretary, Mr A. D. Cleaver, general treasurer, and the marshals of the children were the Misses E. Nears, C. Kingham, B. Allen and Mr P. E. Mitchell. Dr Rollings was to have performed the duties of starter at the races but, he being unable to attend, Mr Mitchell undertook this important part of the work.
The judges were: Mr and Mrs FitBiggs, Mr and Mrs Smyth, Mr Harvey and Mr Los, and the following were stewards etc: Misses Deuxberry, Hinds, Hulbert, Barkway, Lingham, Potter, D. Smith, W. Smith, E. Taylor, Mrs Hyde, Mrs Richardson, Mrs Harvey, Mrs Los, Mrs Mitchell, Mr and Mrs Brooker, Mr and Mrs Field, Mr and Mrs Freeman, Mr and Mrs Graham, Mr and Mrs Healey, Mr and Mrs Hull, Mr and Mrs Lovett, Mr and Mrs Maidment, Mr and Mrs Major, Mr and Mrs Smith, Mr and Mrs Way, Rev S. H. Collins, Messrs Andrews, Boyles,Blundell, Brown, Cain, Cooper, Dean, Faulkner, Fensome, George, Glenister, Horsler, E. Maidment, Panter, W. Panter, Pattison, Plater, Robinson,Sale, Ward, Watkin and Wingrave.
The proceedings commenced with the assembly at Norton Road Schools, whence the procession, including 600 scholars, marched to the Blackwell Field.
Prizes were given in connection with the various competitions arranged with the procession, as follows:
Decorated vehicles (any variety) – 1 Winnie Harvey (aeroplane), 2 Mrs Hyde (ambulance car), 3 Mr Major (decorated perambulator – 'Victory' and 'Peace'. Highly commended: Leonard Reeves (billy goat and chaise).
Decorated bicycle – Cyril Tuck.
Equestrian – 1 Miss D. Scott. Highly commended: Jack Harmer.
Best banner – 'Peace', Norton Road School.
Fancy costumes – 1 Norman Brown ('Victory'), 2 William Codling ('Charlie Chaplin'), 3 Mrs Randall ('Not Wanted'), 4 H. Newbery ('Bricklayer'), 5 Francis Graham ('Clown'), 6 Howard Barnes ('Indian'), 7 Dorothy Los ('Alsatian Girl'), 8 Vera Brooker ('Cupid').
Various kinds of races were held at the field, the method of running making an impressive sight. The young competitors were graded into five classes, according to age, and a selection from each class ran simultaneously down five parallel courses, each roped off from the others. Among the races were an amusing version of musical chairs played with flags, a funny Charlie Chaplin race in which the humorist displayed his many famous antics, and a tug-of-war in which Walter Woodham's team of four boys and four girls beat Reggie Hudson's side. During the sports Mr Codling (still as Charlie Chaplin) and Mr F. Graham, the clown, amused the crowd with their performances.
At four o'clock the children marched to the Omnia Works, where a splendid tea was provided. The Norton Road banner, with 'Peace' lettered in yellow and surrounded by laurel, headed the march to the Works. Mr Povey and the Omnia staff catered in excellent fashion, and all were delighted with the repast. Nearly a hundred children sat down the first time, and about 250 afterwards.
After tea, the Norton Road scholars sand, in French, the 'Marseillaise' for Mr Blondeau, and the 'Floral Dance'. Mr Bondeau congratulated the children upon their pronunciation, and thanked them for this pleasing little interlude.
On behalf of the teachers and scholars, Mr Mitchell proposed a vote of thanks to the employees of the Works, especially mentioning the good work rendered in connection with the sports and tea by Messrs Field, Harvey and Way. Mr Blondeau suitably replied, and three ringing cheers were given for the Omnia Works.
After this the happy party adjourned again to the field, where the scholars gave a concert. The hymn 'All People that on Earth Do Dwell,' and the Doxology, and also the National Anthem were joined in by the audience, the band accompanying. Other items were: Norton Road scholars – 'The Star-Spangled Banner' (America), 'La Marseillaise' (France); recitations – 'The Recessional.' ' Land of Our Birth' and ' Children of the Empire'; songs – 'The Empire Flag' and 'Land of Hope and Glory' by Miss B. Allen; song and dance – 'The Floral Dance; dances – 'We Won't Go Home Til Morning,' 'Hudson House,' 'Mountain March' and 'Cochin Chinn'; singing game – 'Cock-a-Doodle-Do'; pianoforte duet – 'La Mousme' by Mollie Lovett and Gladys Bates. 'The Floral Dance' was very effective, this having been arranged by the Norton Road scholars to suit the well-known music.
After further sports Mr Wingrave gave a short speech in which he thanked the authorities of the Omnia Works and Commer Cars for their kindness, and appealed to the residents for subscriptions towards the Peace Celebration Fund.
Mr Blondeau presented prizes to the successful competitors, and after this there was dancing until 10 o'clock, at which hour the day's festivities ended.
The winners in the juvenile races were – Percy Dibb, Nellie Taylor, H. Fensome, Elsie Buckingham, R. Littington, D. Hyde, Reggie Lane, Elsie Skinner, H. Smith, Dorothy Los.
The musical chairs winners included: Roderick Tew, Freddy Taylor, Kathleen Gunn, H. Scott, Albert Harradence, Wilfred Hawkins, Gladys Buckingham and W. Ward.
Winners of the skipping competition: Althea Goodwin, Annie Harradence, Doris Hyde, Teddy Little,, B. Broadley and Reggie Lane.
Tug-of-war (boys and girls): W. Woodham, C. Tuck, H. Newbery, J. Harmer, G. Fordham, R. Woods, M. Reed and G. Buckingham.
In the windmill race, Herbert Fensome, Doris Harmer, Teddy Ward and Nellie Taylor were the successful competitors.
Boys (over 14) race – A. Newbery, 2 J. Day, 3 J. Buckingham.
'Charlie Chaplin' race – Charlie Reed, Robert Crawford, Elsie Buckingham, Alan Smith.
'Capturing the Kaiser' – 1 L. Bowen (aged 10), 2 J. Golby (discharged soldier), 3 H. Pattison (16).
100 Yards Handicap for ex-servicemen and women: 1. A. E. Davis, 2 T. Hyde, 3 F. Bird.
The tug-of-war, Leagrave v Limbury and Biscot, was won by Leagrave – Messrs Hyde, Day, Dimmock, Osborne, Peck, Stokes, Chapman and Hull.
Winner of 'Distinguished Service' prize – Charlie Chaplin.
Other events were cancelled owing to the rain.
- Pages from the Leagrave and Limbury Peace Souvenir, including a roll of honour that does not tally with the names now on the war memorial in Marsh Road.