North Midlanders depart at night

The order was given to the North Midland Division late on Sunday night to move, and before most people were about on Monday morning the town had been practically emptied of its soldier visitors.

All through the early hours of the morning preparations for the move were being made with great rapidity, and the men started moving out at an early hour. To where they have moved no information can be given, as the publication of details in regard to the movement and destination of troops is strongly objected to by the military authorities.

Reports came to hand, however, from villages near Luton that the troops were passing through by road during a great part of the day. Some who were at Dunstable ready for musketry practice on Monday were turned out about midnight, so that they might rejoin their battalion at Luton.

A few detachments of small strength remained in the town, but the absence of almost the whole of the troops has made the streets seem very quiet during the week. People had become so accustomed to seeing the men marching to and fro during the day, and filling the streets during the evenings, during the 14 or 15 weeks troops had been in the town that the contrast was very noticeable.

It may be assumed, however, that the extensive arrangements made for the erection of huts for men and horses will not be wasted, and that other troops will come here for training. Yesterday, a small advanced guard arrived from one of the neighbouring training areas, and it is understood that they will be followed today by a considerably larger party.

In a letter to the Mayor, Major-General E. Stuart Wortley, commanding North Midland Division, expressed his thanks to the inhabitants of Luton for all the assistance given since their arrival. "Nothing could have exceeded the kindness shown by everyone at Luton to the troops under my command," he wrote.

"It has been a source of great satisfaction that the relationship between the military and civilian population has been all that could have been desired. The almost complete absence of crime and drunkenness both on the part of the military and civilian population has reflected the greatest credit on all concerned."

[The Luton News, November 19th, 1914.]