Luton inventor's work recognised

[From the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: July 5th, 1919]

Details of the surprises that were being prepared for Germany in 1918 are coming to light, and one of these is an invention by a Luton officer, Lieut-Col H. Newton DSO, of Meadowcroft, Studley Road[1].

The actual technical description of the invention is too complicated to convey anything to the majority of our readers, but it is a species of clutch relating to a new system of battlefield transport.

It was initiated entirely by Mr Newton, and we understand that in all probability it would have been not the least important of a number of new appliances with which it was expected to add vastly to the general discomfiture of Germany this year had not the armistice intervened.

Large contracts had been made to produce the clutch both at home and in America, as our own and the Allied commands had realised that by Mr Newton's system a great rate of progress would have been reached. It may be stated that, although the majority of these contracts have now been cancelled, the system has been accepted as a regular battlefield accessory.

Mr Newton is the London director of the well-known Derby firm of electrical engineers known as Newton Bros (Derby) Ltd, and problems of commercial transport are now engaging his attention. The firm are turning out large numbers of electric transport vehicles for municipal use in the collection of dust and refuse.


[1] Meadowcroft was the home of Luton dye manufacturer Ernest Augustus Barford and his wife Frances. Henry Newton had married their only daughter Beryl at St Pancras Church, London, while he was home on leave in April 1917. Beryl became an accomplished artist and musician.

Henry had founded the Second Army Field Workshops at Hazebrouck in northern France during World War One. He had enlisted in the Notts & Derby Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) and presumably met Beryl while the regiment was in training in the Luton area. His ingenuity in developing weapons led to him finishing the war as Deputy Director of Trench Warfare, working for Winston Churchill and developing an armoured personnel carrier. He was mentioned in General Haig's diary.