Among the unpleasant duties which fell to the lot of Pte Horace William Kilby, 21468, 9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment, of 11 Salisbury Road, Luton, during the time of his captivity as a prisoner of war in Germany was the burying of the dead bodies of those of his comrades who had succumbed to illness etc. He tells us that on his last birthday on June 4, he interred no fewer than 48. This was in the course of a seven months' stay at a hospital, suffering from dysentery, the disease from which so many of his comrades died.
As Luton and Britain as a whole began to look at picking up the pieces of a peacetime economy after four years of war, Board of Guardians member Violet Lewis presented her thoughts on town planning in an article published in the N-T-F & Tuesday Telegraph on December 31st, 1918, as follows:
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.