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Early recipient of the Mons Star

One of the first, if not the very first among Lutonians to have the distinction of receiving the newly issued 1914 Star, known as the Mons Medal, is ex-Pte J. O'Donnell, who served in the Irish Guards as a reservist in the retreat from Mons, and early in the war sustained wounds which necessitated his discharge from the service.

'Pat,' as he is well known locally, was formerly employed at the Skefko Works, and up to the signing of the armistice held a post at Woolwich Arsenal.

Ammunition wagon driver awarded MM

Driver Frank Mardle, 800506, C/230 Battery Royal Field Artillery, was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the closing weeks of the war. He had joined the North Midlands Division in the first month of the war and went to France in 1915, where he had been since.

In his recommendation for the medal, Brig-Gen Child described the gallantry of Driver Mardle, of 60 Reginald Street, Luton, as follows:

Marching into the Rhineland

It was with a peculiar sensation of entering the unknown that we crossed the frontier into Germany, wrote 'E. G.,' a Lutonian among the first British troops to enter enemy territory after the armistice, in the January 14th, 1919, edition of the Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph.

“After four weary years we had reached our goal. It was hard to believe that we were entering the land which numerous mouth-pieces of the German people had more or less violently declared should never be violated until their last drop of blood had been shed.

POW during severe Bavarian winter

Pte Charles Sidney Perry, 27909, 1st Northants Regiment, had been captured as a prisoner of war at Nieuport in Flanders on July 10th, 1917, but on December 19th, 1918, was able to travel via Switzerland to get back home to 15a St Saviour's Crescent, Luton, on January 5th, 1919.

In the Tuesday Telegraph of January 14th, he told of some of the experiences he had undergone as a prisoner of the Germans, recalling that for eight weeks things had been very bad.

Biscot Camp planner promoted to captain

Capt Ernest Samuel Cross ChiversThe Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph of January 11th, 1919, reported the promotion to the rank of Captain of Lieut Ernest Samuel Cross Chivers (Royal Engineers), who was in charge of the Military Works Service at Karachi, Hyderabad, India. He was the London-born son of Ernest John and Sarah Emma, then living at 21 Ashton Road, Luton.

Limbury soldier with Allenby in Alexandria

Limbury soldier 2nd-Cpl Charles William Stokes, serving in the Records Department of the Royal Engineers with the Egyptian Force, described General Allenby's review in Alexandria in December 1918 in a letter to his Aunt Elizabeth that was published in the Saturday Telegraph (January 11th, 1919). Charles had lived with his aunt and her sister at The Meadow, Limbury, from childhood and by the time of the 1911 Census was an auctioneer and estate agent's clerk.

Enemy propaganda aimed at troops

Signaller H. Archer, of 24 Dudley Street, Luton, soldier who had just returned home from the Balkan Front, sent a letter to The Luton News (January 9th, 1919) giving an example of Bulgarian propaganda stunts that had been aimed at British and French troops. He wrote:

"Out there we were up against varied enemies, including Germans, Austrians, Bulgars and Turks. The Bulgars, of course, were of greater strength.

Croix de Guerre for Lutonian

Gunner Albert Edwin McGeorgeGunner Albert Edwin McGeorge, 134169, Royal Artillery Headquarters, was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre in January 1919. The Luton News (January 16th) said the award was announced by Major-Gen A. H. Tudor, commanding the 9th Scottish Division, on Wednesday, January 8th, but no particulars were given.

Luton's '1,000 houses' proposal

Luton Town Council on January 7, 1919, resumed consideration of the Housing and Town Planning Committee's recommendation to agree to the erection of 1,000 new houses under the Government's scheme for providing financial assistance, a debate that had been adjourned a month earlier due to lack of information.

It was pointed out that the adoption of the report did not commit the Council to any definite scheme of building, and critics with one accord agreed to accept the principle laid down, and in the end the recommendation was unanimously supported.

Demobilisation of munition workers

Delays in the process of demobilisation are causing an outcry in all parts of the country, wrote The Luton Reporter on Tuesday, January 7th, 1919. However, Mr H. G. Bovey, manager of Luton Employment Exchange, said no pains and time were being spared locally to expedite the efficient handling of an admittedly difficult problem.

Taking first the munition workers, Mr Bovey said there were in all something like 6,000 men, women, boys and girls to be demobilised in the Luton area, extending as far as Welwyn in one direction and Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard in another.

POW Sidney Perry recounts his nightmare

Pte Sidney Charles Perry, 27909, 1st Northants Regiment, had been captured as a prisoner of war at Nieuport in Flanders, but on December 19th was able to travel via Switzerland to get back home at 15a St Saviour's Crescent, Luton, on January 5th, 1919.

In the Tuesday Telegraph of January 14th, he told of some of the experiences he had undergone as a prisoner of the Germans, recalling that for eight weeks things had been very bad.

Review of events in 1918

Wartime leaders

In its first edition of 1919, a political correspondent of the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph looked back over the past year.

1918 has not seen the formal establishment of peace, he wrote, but it will always be remembered as the year in which the Great War came to an end. For four years the chronicler has had to say, with as much fortitude as he could summon, 'the end is not in sight'.

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