Censorship was tight during the Great War and it was not until after hostilities had ceased that full stories could be told. For instance, although Luton had come through unscathed from Zeppelin raids, townsfolk had witnessed a blazing airship or two that targeted the London area.
Pte Charles Odell, 6676, 3rd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, of 26 Langley Place, Luton, arrived home on leave for two months from Saturday, December 28, 1918, after being a prisoner of war in Germany since November 1914.
The Luton News of January 2, 1919, told the distressing story of how a soldier was killed an four children injured by an unexploded bomb lost during earlier tests at Ivinghoe Beacon.
The Christmas festival, said the report, was tragically marred for a family at Ivinghoe by the sudden explosion of a bomb found in a field, causing the death of a soldier and seriously injuring four children.
Just days before Christmas 1918, Lieut John Crawford Cunningham, of 35 Cardiff Road, Luton, arrived home after spending some months in Germany as a prisoner of war and being involved in a World War One equivalent of the Great Escape of WW2.
A ceremony took place at Biscot in the presence of No 6 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, on December 15th, 1918, when the Distinguished Conduct Medal was presented to former Gunner Arthur Atterbury (41358, Machine Gun Corps), of 52 Alma Street, Luton.
L-Cpl George Bavister, M2/049276, Army Service Corps (Mechanical Transport), wrote to his wife at 7 Crescent Road, Luton, that he had been awarded the Italian Croce di Guerre (Cross of War) for work done during the last big Italian offensive of the war.
The Luton News of December 19, 1918, recorded “a murder as foul as any that has stained the dark pages of this war”. The victim was Pioneer James Baxter, a prisoner of war whose home was in Great Northern Road, Dunstable.
It was announced in the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph on December 14th, 1918, that L-Cpl Leonard Henry Slough, 25903, 1/5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery.
His military record shows that he gained the medal at Umbrella Hill on July 27th, 1917, during the Palestine Campaign. He had joined the colours in February 1915 and trained at Landguard, Felixstowe, before being drafted to Egypt with the Beds Regiment in March 1916.
It had been seven years since Luton and South Beds went to the polls in a Parliamentary election – in that case for a by-election won by Liberal Cecil Harmsworth. The Harmsworth majority was just 613 over a Conservative opponent. Would the participation of the Labour Party and women voting for the first time have a dramatic effect over past elections on December 14, 1918, or would the Lib-Con Coalition vote swell the Harmsworth majority?