While columns of newsprint were devoted to the riots of Peace Day 1919, The Tuesday Telegraph on July 22nd also recorded the planned elements of the day that had passed off peacefully.
Headed by the Chief Marshal (Chief Constable Charles Griffin) on horseback and other mounted police, the procession moved off from Luton Hoo Park soon after the advertised time. The ground had been staked out and numbered off, and each section of the column, on arrival, was directed to its allotted place by the police on duty, under Insp Fred Janes.
Though they had signified their intention of withdrawing from the official celebration as a protest against the decision of the Council in relation to Wardown, the Comrades of the Great War changed their attitude at the eleventh hour, and their banner and brass band was the first of the units. The men's marching showed they have not yet lost their military precision, and they were under the command of Mr J. L. Lambert.
The first of the emblematic cars was that provided by the Luton political clubs – the Liberal Club and the Market Hill and Beech Hill Conservative Clubs – representing the dominions. Its design was that of Britannia (Miss Elsie Kent) with personification of the Colonies as follows:
New Zealand (Miss Gertie Kent), Newfoundland (Miss Audrey Bailey), India (Mr Harry Parsons), Canada (Mr W. Parsons), South Africa (Mr S. R. Bailey) and Australia (Mr A. C. Cato). The outrider, Mr C. A. Bishop was a stalwart John Bull; and the car was drawn by six horses from the Remount Depot, Luton, lent by Col Part and in charge of Sgt Baxter.
Its design and structural arrangements were the work of Messrs E. Geeves and F. May. The base was purple, with white and gold reliefs, and shields showing the heraldry of the dominions (especially painted by Mr H. Brown) were accompanied by flags of the Colonies. Britannia's pedestal was in helio, white and gold, with tablets representing ancient combats. The whole effect was admirable in conception, a credit to the organisers and an ornament to the procession.
Next came a contingent from the local Friendly Societies, with Mr G. Wistow Walker a prominent figure; and a detachment of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment was commanded by Lieut G. E. M. Walker and 2nd Lieut A. E. H. Gates.
The Y.M.C.A. car was a representation of one of the well-known and highly appreciated canteens, and was followed by a party of eight members of the Y.M.C.A. in costume.
The Skefko Company exhibit (pictured right) was a splendid conception. It was an elaboration of the famous ball bearings, with a frontispiece on the motor-car of an enlarged wheel with wings attached, symptomatic of the fact that the Company's productions were very largely used in aeroplanes; and Miss Aldsworth surmounted the car, a dainty figure of Peace in white robes. Like all the other cars, this was daintily and effectively decorated with the flags of the Allies – the red, white and blue of the Mother Country figuring prominently in the colour scheme.
A detachment of the Special Constabulary, in charge of Inspector C. Robinson, preceded the Commercial Cars exhibit, which took the form of one of their lorries decorated with bunting and evergreen.
The Jack Cornwell VC tableau elicited much admiration. It was arranged and provided by Mr C. H. Strapps, and represented the gallant young bluejacket standing by his gun and shield, though wounded, with telephone pads to the ears, waiting orders, and two companions of the gun crew at his feet. A modern Casabianca, in very truth. The central figure, Wildsmith, is a naval lad and was on HMS Vindictive on the occasion of the brilliant exploit at Zeebrugge. Mr Strapps served throughout the war, being recalled as a Naval Reservist, and has 35 years service to his credit. The car was drawn by a team of bluejackets in uniform, all of whom have served or are now in the Navy, and flew proudly the White Ensign. The tableau was heartily cheered en route.
The Vauxhall car also created much interest. Mounted on one of the Company's standard vehicles, the body was a representation of the firm's principal war product, Fuze No 106, enlarged to 37 times the size of the actual article. An interesting addition was the war-scarred flag carried through the South-West African Campaign on a Vauxhall car by Gen. Louis Botha.
Thermo-Electric Ltd sent a car showing the manufacture of ferro-tungsten – an industry which was before the war almost exclusively in German hands – in actual process. The occupants of the car proudly showed a board reading 'Sidelines of Hell' – reminiscent of a recent Town Council debate.
The Boys Scouts contingent, under District Commissioner Rev E. Scott and District Scoutmaster W. H. Lee was representing every group and every rank in Luton; and the Girl Guides were of the 1st Luton Company, under Capt Miss Seager; with Brownies from St Mary's, with Miss Chapman in charge.
The Davis Gas Stove Company's car (pictured right) was typical of the forgings, mouldings and hand grenades made during the war, with an array of samples, and gave in tabulated form the number of munition parts turned out at the Dallow Road premises.
Messrs Hayward Tyler & Co Ltd sent an exhibition of similar character. It showed actual oil pumps supplied to the Admiralty for oil-driven ships, including submarines, and also feed pumps used on hospital ships, as well as miniatures. Two natty little Jack Tars occupied a post of honour on the front; and there were also howitzer and 18 inch gun parts and mechanism used for deep sea mines.
Messrs G. Kent Ltd sent another fine construction. It showed a centre-board of photographs of the shops, with girls working at lathes on either side – fuze drilling and milling, filling and detonating. The lathes were driven from the motor of the vehicle, and the output of the firm on war work was shown in striking pictorial manner. On each corner of the lorry was a deadly-looking 12 inch shell, its vicious nose pointing skyward. The effective colour scheme was dark mauve and heliotrope. 'Peace Follows Victory' was the slogan carried all over.
The Red Cross Society contingent comprised a body of nurses from Wardown V.A.D., with the Commandants (Mrs J. W. Green and Mrs R. H. Durler) at the head. Dressed in nursing costume, the ladies made a brave show, and to no unit was more cordial applause bestowed by the crowd.
The W.R.A.F.'s sent a smart section from Henlow, and the Biscot R.F.A. Detachment was under the command of Lieut Holbrook.
The official car was entitled “Peace Enthroned”. The goddess was charmingly portrayed by Miss Hilda Kerridge, who sat on her throne beneath a silver dome within four supposed marble columns, carrying a sceptre of lilies and with a dove and olive branch swinging above her head. Angelic heralds were at each corner, and two music maidens (Misses Irene Goodwin and Freda South) sat at the feet of Peace. The base was in the form of rising steps, carrying the names pf the principal Allied nations – Great Britain, France, America, Belgium and Italy.
Carried out on simple, almost austere lines, its charm lay in its simplicity and its distinctive contrast with the gaily decorated emblematic cars among which it held a place of honour.
It was designed, provided and constructed by Messrs R. H. Marks, H. Deacon, S. Horn, A. Staddon, A. Strange, F. Webdale, G. Bavister and W. B. Tydeman.
The Tradesmen's Association car was a novel one. It was in the form of a huge glob, representing the world, and urged “Britain's Opportunity – Trade Throughout the World”. John Bull (driving) was portrayed by Mr Parrish; Africa, by C. M. Hunt; Uncle Sam by Sgt Cocking; Italy by S. M. Vicker; and the Mandarin by Sgt Day. The globe was the work of Mr H. J. Barnell. Mr C. Mares and his co-adjudicators of the Association had laboured energetically and with good result.
The “Child Welfare” exhibit was designed as a travelling clinic, completely equipped with consulting room, weighing machines, cot, staff, books – and babies (wax ones), which assisted to create the necessary illusion). Mrs M. Barford was in charge, with her being Misses S. and M. Jackson and Miss Nuttall. The car was the contribution of the ladies of the local Voluntary Welfare and Maternity Centre Committee.
Dotted about the column were bands – Comrades of the Great War, Salvation Army (Temple and No. 11), the Red Cross Silver Prizes Band and the Central Mission Band - and police brought up the rear.
When the leaders reached the Town Hall the procession halted, and another stoppage was called when the nurses reached the building. On both occasions the Mayor read the King's Peace Proclamation and briefly addressed the units.
Finally, the column reached Wardown, where the various units dispersed.
AT THE PARK
From early afternoon till late at night the [Wardown] Park was crowded with visitors, and this despite the very unfavourable weather. Large crowds had assembled to witness the entry of the procession, and, when the many spectators who had assembled to see the procession en route began to arrive, the grounds were comfortably full.
A very good programme had been arranged – one that appealed to many and varied tastes. Many were attracted to the bowling tournament, whilst others, interested in tennis, witnessed some very clever games. Unfortunately, the weather rather interfered with the full tennis tournament.
The concerts of the Besto Party, a very popular local troupe whose services were in such demand that their evening concert was given after having entertained the aged people in the Luton Institution, were a very pleasing feature. This programme was a very interesting one, consisting of comic and sentimental songs, rendered in a manner which earned repeated expressions of appreciation from the audience. Those contributing to the programme were the Misses C. Rolt and N. Neil, and Messrs W. Harrison, J. Johnson, A. Schofield, J. Tiller, H. Rolt and S. Pepper.
In another position in the Park – near the quoit ground – the programmes of Mr E. B. Gilbert's Party, which consisted of specially engaged London artistes, was thoroughly enjoyed by large audiences. The 'star' turn was that of Mr Bill Mensley. At the afternoon and also the evening performance, the programme presented was thoroughly entertaining and pleasing.
The youngsters – and many adults, too – were greatly amused by the Punch and Judy show. Four performances were given, each of 45 minutes duration.
The four local bands each played selections at intervals, and many (whether in the cricket ground or around the bandstand in the centre of the Park) found delight in the excellent assortment of music presented.
In the meadow adjoining the grounds of this house, various forms of amusement were provided – roundabouts, swings, toboganning and numerous side shows, each of which was exceptionally well patronised by the gigantic pleasure-bent crowds.
Immediately inside the Park, detachments of the Luton St John's Ambulance Brigade were in attendance in case of emergency, but very few, if any, incidents occurred.
All those engaged in the bodily needs of the visitors were kept exceptionally busy, particularly at the house itself, where refreshments were provided.
Shortly before dusk, thousands wended their way to Pope's Meadow and the surrounding points of vantage to witness the pyrotechnic display which was provided by Messrs Paine, the well-known firm of firework manufacturers.
The whole display, which was particularly artistic and impressive, was greatly admired. Some hundreds of rockets and star shells were fired, but the most attractive features were the set pieces – 'silver fountains,' mottos etc.
For the sports, which were held on the cricket ground during the afternoon and evening, the prizes were to have been distributed by the Mayoress, but in he absence this was done from the cricket pavilion by Capt Hart MC, R.F.A., of Biscot Camp.
The sports were arranged on behalf of the Peace Celebration Committee by a joint body representing the various athletic clubs of the town, and they arranged a four-hour programme, all of the events of which were open to people residing within a radius of three miles of the Town Hall.
Heavy rain during the afternoon modified the enthusiasm of the spectators, but there was still a pretty large crowd at the start.
100 Yards Flat Handicap: 1 W. T. Panter (scratch) 10.45 secs; 2 E. M. Jordan; 3 W. E. Fisher.
100 Yards Boys' Handicap (under 10 years): 1 R. A. Heley (30 yds); 2 G. S. Butt (scratch); 3 L. Stern (10 yds).
Half-mile cycle (scratch): 1 A. Beck; 2 B. Dimmock; 3 E. Hughes. Time, 1min 2.35 secs.
Girls' Egg and Spoon Race (under 15 years): 1 Miss Hewitt; 2 Miss Stronell; 3 Miss Simmonds.
220 Yards Flat Handicap: 1 W. E. Fisher (9 yds); 2 F. Hibbitt (19 yds); 3 W. T. Panter (scratch).
100 Yards Veterans' Handicap – 1 S. Batty (1 yard), 2 W. H. Holmes (2 yds), 3 T. J. Phelps (6 yds).
Mile Cycle Race (Scratch) – 1. E. Hughes, 2 A. Warner, 3 A. Peck.
Ladies' and Gentlemen's Cigarette Race (gentlemen to run 50 yards to ladies and be provided with lighted cigarette; partners then to return to starting point together, with cigarettes to be alight on passing the winning post – 1 Miss Elliss and Mr Cooper, 2 Miss Bray and Mr Parsons.
220 Flat Handicap (boys under 16) – 1 G. Hacking (5 yards), 2 A. L. Thrussell (22 yds), 3 E. J. Toogood (32 yds).
Musical Chairs (girls under 15) – 1 Kathleen Lucas, 2 Elsie Hewett, 3 Edna Gale.
Ladies' potato Race – 1 Miss Bray, 2 Miss Parker, 3 Miss Pugh.
440 Yards Flat Handicap – 1 G. J. Webber (26 yds), 2 G. Walker (18 yds), 3 F. Hibbitt (35 yds).
Skipping Race (girls under 15) – 1 Miss Longhurst, 2 Miss Hewett, 3 Miss Clarke.
Mile Flat Handicap – 1 G. J. Webber (65 yds), 2 A. J. Rogers (65 yds), 3 H. Sharp (scratch); time 5 min 1.5 secs.
Sack Race – 1 Mr Coleman, 2 Mr Heley, 3 Mr Darby.
Ladies' Egg and Spoon Race – 1 Miss Lawrence, 2 Mrs French, 3 Miss Hayward.
880 Yards Flat Handicap – 1 W. G. Ireland (35 yds), 2 R. Piggott (35 yds), 3 P. Clarke (25 yds).
Three-legged Race for Boys – 1 F. Horn and L. Burgess, 2 D. Grice and A. Freeman.
220 Yards Ladies' Handicap – 1 Miss Bray, 2 Miss Draycott, 3 Miss Whitehead.
Tilting the bucket had to be dropped out of the programme, as it was not found possible to fit up the necessary apparatus, so the three-legged race and the 200 yards race for ladies which concluded the programme were put in as extras.
The official responsible for organising and carrying out the programme were:
Handicappers: Messrs A. E. Heley, W. M. Thring and S. Batty (Luton United Harriers) and Mr E. A. Abbott (Vauxhall Motors A.C.).
Starter: S. Batty; Clerk of the Course, E. Brown; Judges: W. M. Thring (L.U.H. And C.C.), J. E. Wright (Cambridge A.C.); Referee: A. Tearle (L.U.H); Timekeeper: A. H. Heley (L.U.H.); Competitors' Steward, P. Brightman (L.U.H.); Telegraph Board Steward: F. Ball (Luton Town CC); Prizes Steward: F. S. Edwards (Hon Sec, Vauxhall Motors A.C.).
Sewards: Messrs E. A. Abbott, Dr Archibald, F. Ball, A. W. Butt, E. Browning, F. Chapman, A. F. Durrant, G. Errington, J. E. Kay, C. Hutchins, W. Lawson, A. J. Mander, H. S. Parsons, G. Reynolds, A. Snoxell, J. L. Tansley, W. G. Tearle, W. Weatherhead, J. Eaton-Smith.
General Hon Secretaries: M. Hunt (Hon Sec, Luton United Harriers and C.C.), Albert E. Ansell (Hon Sec, Luton and District Cricket League).