Luton WW1 diary: November 5th, 1914

Stories from The Luton News: November 5th, 1914

A start has been made with the erection of huts for military purposes in the Luton district, but whether there is likely to be a scheme on any large scale is not known. At present the huts are being put up in small batches to meet immediate requirements in different parts of the district.

For the Veterinary Corps, seven stables and four huts are being erected in the fields near the tram terminus in London Road, just opposite the entrance to Stockwood Park. These are being built by Mr C. Jeyes, of Windsor Street, who is also erecting eight stables and seven huts at Houghton Regis.

The huts are of a very serviceable kind. They are partitioned in side, and heating is provided by stoves. Electric light is to be installed in each case.

  • Yesterday it was announced that two officers of the Bedfordshire Regt, Lieut A. G. Cornh and Lieut C. E. G. Sharman, had received the Croix de Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, bestowed by the President of the French Republic with the approval of His Majesty, for gallantry during the operations between August 21st and 30th. Bombadier Charles Burkett, Royal Field Artillery, was mentioned in General French's despatches for bravery.

Bedfordshire National Reserve

  • An advert urged men who had served in the Army, Navy or Volunteer Forces to apply to be registered in the Bedfordshire National Reserve. They would be registered in two classes - ages 42 to 50 and 50 to 55 - and it was hoped to raise two more companies of Guards.

  • A £5,000 scheme for extending the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Spittlesea, Luton, was adopted at a special meeting of the Town Council on Friday evening. The question has been under consideration since 1911, and the recent outbreak of diphtheria made the demand for improvement even more urgent. Councillor Chapman said the present buildings and accommodation both for the staff and the patients was a disgrace to a town the size of Luton. If any other institution other than the Council's existed in Luton with such buildings and out-buildings, they would prosecute them for having unhealthy buildings. The laundry was "a rat hole" and there were two child patients in a bed.

  • The election of two representatives of the North Ward - the only ward in which there was a contest - took place on Monday, and the result was known about quarter past nine. Neither of the retiring members went to the poll. The poll was very small and the result was declared to be Stewart B. Hubbard (Conservative) 800 votes, James Bone (Liberal) 742, Willett Ball (Labour) 268.

  • The Belgian refugees now resident in Luton and neighbourhood spent a most enjoyable time in the King Street Congregational Lecture Hall on Friday evening, the host and hostess being Mr and Mrs J. Johnstone Haye. The object was to bring all the refugees into closer contact with one another, and thus build up friendships which would assist materially in helping to spend their stay in Luton as happily as possible. Both English and Belgians contributed to a miscellaneous programme.

  • On Tuesday, a military notice received in Luton intimated that as Bedfordshire is a "proclaimed area", no Belgian refugees could be allowed in the district. Such a notice completely upset the plans of the local committee, and for the moment all arrangements for accommodating the homeless Belgians were dropped. But inquiries yesterday established the fact that a mistake had been made somewhere, that "prohibited" areas had been confused with "proclaimed" areas, and that for the present there are no restrictions on Belgian refugees coming into this district.

  • Old Lutonians Mr and Mrs Fred Smart celebrated their golden wedding on Monday at their home in Harrogate. Mr Smart's father was a well-known builder responsible for the erection of the Corn Exchange, the Plait Hall and the King Street Congregational Church.

  • Dr W. M. Wanklyn, who recently acted temporarily for the Luton Town Council in the public health department, has been gazetted Captain in the Sanitary Officers Section of the Royal Army Medical Corps, Territorial Force.

  • A serious charge against the conduct of soldiers billeted in some of the public buildings of Luton was made at a special meeting of Luton Town Council on Friday evening. Town Clerk Mr William Smith said that in some places "absolutely wanton damage" had been done.

  • The Army Council has sanctioned the formation of a training establishment in Ampthill Park to be known as the Bedfordshire Training Depot, and it will form a unit of the Bedfordshire Regiment. Colonel The Duke of Bedford ADC will be in command of the camp. Men will be enlisted for the colours for three years or for the duration of the war. Height 5ft 4in, chest 34.5 in.

  • Sunday marked the closing of a half a century in the life of the King Street Congregational Church. On the first Sunday in November 1864, 61 of the original members gathered at the Town Hall for the opening service of the church. That was before the King Street church was built, but there are still many of the descendants of those who assembled at those services who are associated with the church today. The congregation continued to worship in the Town Hall for about 18 months until the King Street premises were built.

  • A solicitor for Wardown former owner Mr F. C. Scargill, now resident in Ireland, was instructed to make enquiries respecting a sideboard left by him in the dining room when the property was sold, as he would like to purchase it. Alderman J. H. Staddon, Chairman of the Parks Committee, said the Borough Engineer had told his the sideboard was fixed to the building, and it would cause a great deal of trouble and expense to shift it and replace the structure.

  • The ninth annual members' show in connection with the Luton Cage Bird Society was held in the Red Cross Bandroom yesterday. There was a large number of exhibits and the quality of the birds generally was very good. The usual open show was not held this year on account of so many of the public buildings being taken by the military.

  • The first Australian Contingent which is coming over to take a hand in the war includes a number of men who are natives of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. And a letter from a former Luton man with the Toronto contingent of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force, now training on Salisbury Plain, said it appears that several Bedfordshire men who have settled in Canada have come home to take their part in the fighting.

  • During the past week the following have enlisted at Park Street, Luton, for service in the Regular Army or Special Reserve: H. Allen, D. Cooper, F. Cooke, S. Cooke, W. Day, F. Farr, C. Fountain, B. Hayward, G. Hayward, H. Howkins, W. Impey, G. Kitchener, E. Minard, H. Oliver, W. Scott, F. Smith.

  • A deserter from the 3rd Battalion, Beds Regt, stationed at Felixstowe, who had been given up by his father at midnight on Saturday admitted he had deserted and destroyed his uniform. He was remanded for military escort, as were an absentee from the 5th Battalion, Beds Regt and two from the 1st Lincoln RFA who were also charged with being deserters.

  • The Luton Electric Supply Undertaking has a magnificent record behind it, but all previous achievements were easily surpassed last year, when over one-and-a-half million units were added to the output, and £1,658 to the surplus profit.Manchester Street shops plan

  • A sketch was printed illustrating four large roomy shops nearing completion in Manchester Street, between Gordon Street and Lancrets Path. Five old cottage shops on the site had been demolished and the new properties were being erected by builders Messrs T. and E. Neville.

  • Tomorrow, 61 Luton and Dunstable men who have joined the South Beds Detachment of the 5th Battalion, Beds Regt, will leave to join the foreign service battalion at Bury St Edmunds, filling the places of those who have not volunteered to go abroad, or who have transferred to the home service unit through failing to pass the stringent medical examination which ever man has to undergo before he is certified fit to go abroad. The places of those 61 will now have to be filled, and others in addition are required to bring the home service battalion up to full strength. This week the Corn Exchange has again been opened as a recruiting centre both for the local unit and Kitchener's Army. So far as the South Beds Detachment of the 5th Beds is concerned, about 100 men are all that are required. It is interesting to note that locally about 90 per cent of recruits are volunteering for foreign service.

  • The war has made a great deal of difference to the Luton Clarence Football Club both as regards players and finances. At least five players had enlisted and a new ground costing between £70 and £80 in Stockingstone Lane has had only one game played on it.



Official information has been received that Lance-Corpl W. Harfield, aged 33, (6446), a Reservist with the 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers who had been living at Hope Villa, Gardenia Avenue, Leagrave, has died of wounds received in action at Vailly on 21st September. He leaves a widow and two little children.

Pte T. J. Harris, whose mother lives at 23 Jubilee Street, Luton, is in Manchester Hospital suffering from a wound in his right wrist while serving with A Company, 1st Battalion, Beds Regt.

Pte W. E. Lawrence, a Luton member of the Royal Army Medical Corps Special Reserve is now home in Luton and is walking about with a couple of bullets still in him. He was hit by nine bullets while working in a field hospital which was shelled by the Germans.

More casualties among the officers of the Bedfordshire Regiment were reported on Tuesday, as follows: Killed - Lieut St J. A. Charlton; wounded - Lieut W. A. B. Walker; missing - Lieut W. St J. Coventry and Sec-Lieut J. Litchfield. Capt A. J. Paton, of the Bedfordshire Regiment, was yesterday reported to be wounded.