A letter signed "Two High Town Boys with A Squadron, Beds Yeomanry, at Hatfield Peverel, Essex," revealed how the they had spent Christmas.
It read: "As no doubt you know, Christmas leave was cancelled at the last moment for officers and men, which of course was a great disappointment to all, but in the same spirit as they take everything else that comes along, they made the best of it.
The 18 boys and 16 girls in the Guardians' Homes at Beech Hill (pictured above) were given a very happy Christmas time. Miss Gardner and her friends kindly sent a decorated tree, the branches of which were fruitful with toys etc. The tree was lit up on Christmas Eve and the children were handed presents from a bran tub, also sent by Miss Gardner and her friends.
The Eastern Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, is almost entirely composed of men from Luton and Bedford, and this Christmas, in spite of having to spend it on the East Coast, some hundreds of miles away from home and under the distinctly novel circumstances of being on active service, lacked nothing in the way of merriment or season cheer.
There were no parades on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, so each man was free to do practically what he liked.
Although this week we print one letter from a Luton soldier in the trenches wishing all his old workmates at the Diamond Foundry "a merry Christmas and a happy New Year" and another expressing similar sentiments towards all readers from a Luton soldier lying grievously wounded in a London hospital, it is to be feared that there are not many at home who will feel themselves able to indulge in the time-honoured greeting.
Stories from The Luton News: Thursday, December 24th, 1914.
After being closed for services for 18 weeks, the Wesleyan Central Mission was on Sunday again open to members.
The closing of the Mission early in August was due to troops coming into the town. They commenced to pour in at the end of the second week of August, and in addition to ordinary buildings they at once took possession of various places of worship for billeting purposes.
Stories from the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph, December 19th, 1914.
His Majesty the King has approved of the grant of the Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field to 187 Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Men for acts of gallantry and devotion to duty whilst serving with the Expeditionary force. Among the recipients are:
Pte A. E. Bentley (10234), 1st Battalion, Beds Regt, for gallantry under fire, and for remaining behind a hot fire on October 12th to help in dressing wounds of three men whom it was impossible to move.
A reward of 20 shillings is to be offered by Luton Town Council for information which would lead to the punishment of offenders who damaged recently planted trees in Dunstable Road between the Laundry and the borough boundary.
Councillor A. A. Oakley said four had been deliberately broken off. He thought it a matter of great regret that the Council could not endeavour to beautify the surroundings of the town without this sort of thing happening. The trees he had mentioned would have to be taken up and replaced.
A good deal of work is being put in in connection with the Luton Detachment of the Volunteer Training Corps, and at the meeting of the Enrolment Committee on Tuesday evening 150 applications were received and passed.
Stories from the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph, December 12th, 1914
When the troops first came to Luton many of them were billeted in the premises of the Church Street Adult School. At that time a scheme had been arranged for the opening of an institute for Adult School members in a hall which was originally the principal meeting place of the Church Street Schools until their large new hall was built and which is still used for two Sunday classes.
Pte Frank Parker, 5028, 18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars, writing to his wife at 16 Edward Street, Luton, says: "It is absolute hell out here, and when the war is over they'll want a few more madhouses. You people at home can't realise what it is like...this isn't war, it's murder.
"At first it made me feel ill a bit sick, but now I've got used to it. I thought the sights of Africa were bad enough, but they were nothing to this. The best part of us are deaf. It is devil's work in the trenches.
The badges and certificates awarded in connection with the First Aid examination of the British Red Cross Society, held at the Modern School, Luton, on October 21st were distributed on Tuesday [December 9th, 1914].
The members of the Society meet each Tuesday at the Christ Church Institute, and Canon Morgan Smith, who has been very kind in placing the room at the disposal of the Society, was asked to hand the certificates to the successful students. The following is the list of awards:
Lucky escapes and hardships at the front were increasingly the main topics of letters sent from the front as the winter of 1914-15 drew on.
Cpl F. Laird, of the 1st Bedfords, revealed that his life had been saved by a tin and as result he sustained only a slight wound to the ankle that allowed him to carry on his duty without hospital treatment.