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.
Members of Park Street Baptist Church have undertaken to take care of 17 Belgians, and the refugees are now living at Leagrave. Church members subscribe regularly to a fund, and to augment this the choir decided to give the proceeds of a concert given at the lecture hall in Park Street.
Donations in cash and kind had enabled Luton Soup Kitchen to help feed the needy to operate and have a balance in hand, the committee responsible was told.
Paying tribute to the ladies who had operated the kitchen and the men who had kept the equipment operating, the committee heard that more than 2,000 soup tickets had been printed for distribution by town councillors and headmistresses.
Tributes to the Bedfordshire and Cheshire Regiments, both of which had suffered heavy casualties since the early days of the war, were paid in a letter to commanding officers from the general officer commanding their brigade.
With the 1st Bedfords and 1st Cheshires having a few days rest, the Brigadier expressed his deep appreciation of their work in the trenches.
Following the letter from Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, thanking Commercial Cars employees for their efforts with supplies and equipment for the war effort, the staff have each been given specially printed cards to recognise their achievements.
Stories from the Saturday Telegraph: December 5th, 1914.
A house in High Town Road, Luton, where 40 or 50 soldiers of the 6th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment, were quartered was found to be on fire on Wednesday night. It was No 41, next door to the High Town Primitive Methodist Church and, owing to a defective flue, the roof had caught fire.
At a crowded meeting at Luton Corn Exchange on Thursday [December 3rd, 1914], it was unanimously agreed to form a local detachment of the Volunteer Training Corps to defend homes in the event of a German invasion. The unit would be affiliated to the Central Association of Volunteer Training Corps but it would receive no Government finance - money for uniforms, weapons and ammunition would have to be raised locally.
Three unnamed privates of the Bedfordshire Regiment told a special correspondent of The Times how they had been captured by the Germans but had managed to escape.
With 12 others they were captured after an engagement on the outskirts of a hamlet near Ypres. They were taken to the German lines and for 15 days were made to dig trenches under heavy shell fire. At night they were roped together in bands of five and were guarded by two sentries.
Residents and property owners near Luton Corporation's Electricity Works sent protest letters and two petitions to the Town Council against the nuisance which they claimed was caused by smoke, soot and other forms of dust from the plant.