Among the many thousands of fugitives from Belgium not the least grateful for British hospitality are those now located at 29 Selbourne Road, Luton. The exiles are indebted to members of the Luton Liberal Club for a most comfortable home, and they voiced their appreciation in unmistakable terms to a Luton New representative who called on them.
Stories from the Saturday Telegraph, January 9th, 1915
Opening the winter hut erected by the Church Army at the junction of Dunstable Road and Francis Street, Capt Whiteley, of the 23rd Battalion, County of London Regiment, said it would be very welcome to the soldiers stationed in the town as Luton was "not a very hospitable place".
The sterling qualities of the rank and file of the British Army are personified in Pte Ernest Mitchell, an employee of Messrs J. W. Green and Co. Pte Mitchell was called up as a reservist of the Royal Fusiliers on August 6th, and four days later sailed for Havre. After a few hours rest they were despatched to Mons, making the journey in cattle trucks.
A munitions factory to be built by George Kent Ltd at Chaul End within two months, Luton Council to lay the the electric mains to the site and power to to be provided from its already over-stretched electricity works - and no time to submit plans.
That was the pressure from the War Office that Luton Council faced at its first meeting of the New Year, on Tuesday, January 5th, 1915.
More than 1,000 people were lost when the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company liner Empress of Ireland was wrecked in a pre-war collision while on her way to England - but three letters addressed to friends and relatives in Luton survived, recovered from the wreck by divers.
A Luton soldier, who was back home at 61 Russell Street to nurse a hand wound sustained in the trenches near Ypres on October 29th, told of two incidents of German treachery he had personally encountered. One of them came under a white flag.
Pte Herbert Sibley, 5387, King's Royal Rifles, came across the first incident within 24 hours of his arrival in France, at Havre in August. A young man there seemed keen to make the English troops as comfortable as possible.
A further list of casualties among men of the Bedfordshire Regiment was issued on January 4th, 1915. No additional information provided, although most of the casualties probably relate to late October or early November.
DIED OF WOUNDS
Lieut Edwin Allen James EDWARDS, aged 19, December 31st (Long Ditton, St Mary, Churchyard)
Stories from the Beds and Herts Saturday Telegraph, January 2nd, 1915
Captain (temporary) C. E. G. Shearman, of the Bedfordshire Regiment, is one of the recipients of the new Military Cross. This decoration has just been instituted by His Majesty and is a silver cross having on each arm the Imperial crown and in the centre the letters G.R.I.
The following casualties in the Bedfordshire Regiment were officially published on December 31st, 1914. No further details were given but it seems they were late October and early November, 1914, casualties.
DIED OF WOUNDS
Adams Thomas, Pte 10046, November 7th (Wimereux Communal Cemetery)
Allsop Cecil Stanley Reginald, Pte 9504, October 30th (Ypres Town Cemetery Extension)
The horrors of war that individuals would have to live with for the rest of their lives were being revealed by men returning home seriously wounded from the front.
Two Luton men were examples. Pte Donald Wood, an employee of the Davis Gas Stove Co Ltd at the Diamond Foundry in Dallow Road, lost a hand when a shell exploded nearby as he was grabbing some sleep at the front. But a second Diamond Foundry worker, Pte Herbert Day, 3rd Rifle Brigade, had been sent home blind with little prospect of ever being able to see again.