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Diary of Luton's war

Beginning on July 30th, this blog will feature a week-by-week diary about Luton people and events throughout World War 1, based on stories in The Luton News (LN) and, from November, the Saturday Telegraph (ST). The weekly Wednesday release will coincide with the Thursday publication dates of The Luton News 100 years earlier.

Luton News Masthead 30th July 1914

When one thing leads to another

The fascinating part of researching World War 1 stories for this site is you are never quite sure what may turn up next - or when or where.

For instance, I had never heard of Violet Golding, one of the people featured. As a 16-year-old she lost a finger and thumb of her left hand and suffered burns to her arm in an accident at the George Kent's munitions factory at Chaul End in 1917. She received a medal for her courage in returning to work there three months after the accident.

Veteran, 107, who didn't want to make a fuss

Apart from a studio photo of him and his two brothers in uniform, I have not managed to find out anything about my own grandfather's World War 1 service. And it's more than 50 years too late to ask him now.

Veteran Albert Edward Dye also came close to an unrecognised end, even though just before his death in September 2004 he was one of only a few UK survivors of 1914-18 combat – possibly by then the oldest at the age of 107.

Long lost loved one honoured

Only one thing could have been more distressing for the bereaved families of soldiers killed in WW1 than the loss of a loved one – the fact that the body was never found.

So many war memorials list the names of servicemen with no known grave. But in 2000 one Luton family learned that their grandfather/great-grandfather's remains had been found by an amateur archaeologist excavating in a previously unploughed field in Belgium in 1999 – 85 years after he fell.

Onwards to the exhibition

The Exhibition commemorating Luton's WW1 opens on the 5th August at Wardown Park Museum.

I'm really looking forward to it...opening. The creative process is fun, believe me, but it can get a little hectic in places when you have a hundred and one things to plan and deliver by yesterday.

Prior preparation and planning prevents p*** poor performance, they told me in the forces. How true that holds! But always have unexpected curveballs showing up from time to time.

Anyway, a sneak peak at the exhibition plan for those of you who are interested :)

Diary of W.E. Owen June 1916

June 2nd Friday

Taking 26 waggons loads of Amo for the 4.5 Inch guns got back 4.30 am

June 3rd Saturday

Not out but the farm went on fire had to be up most of the night putting the fire

out saved the house and all the cattle all the out buildings badly burned

June 4th Sunday

Taking plank for dug outs left 4pm arrived back 3.30 am lost one waggon

June 12th Monday

Took the 2nd S.Stafford up to the trenches raining all the time

June 18th Sunday

Still to come, exciting

Very interesting meeting at the University of Bedfordshire today.

Got to scan in the entire war diaries of Biscot Camp, .pdf to come...But was discussing the future shape of this here site.

Improvements are coming to the way it flows i.e. how easy it is to use. Computer people use the term HCI or "Human Computer Interaction."

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