E39 Actor

Mr Alfred Thomas Loose

Death has removed a well-known and highly-respected figure in the public life of Luton, in the person of Mr Alfred Thomas Loose, the respected keeper of the Town Hall, wrote the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph (January 18th, 1919). The sad event occurred on Wednesday, following an illness which had extended over more than a year.

Mr Loose had suffered considerably from internal trouble and had undergone operations, but the relief derived from these proved only temporary, and he died at the age of 57. He leaves a widow [Sarah Elizabeth] and one daughter [Maud].

Private Bertram Wood

Pte Bertram Wood, 41662, 8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, died as a prisoner of war in the Crossen Camp hospital at Kaehmen in Germany on October 22nd, 1918. The cause of death was influenza – inflammation of the lungs, as his Red Cross report stated. He was aged 29.

Private Ernest James Linger

Pte James Ernest Linger, 60826, 8th Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), was reported missing at Cambrai in France on November 30th, 1917. In January 1919 his widow Elizabeth in Luton was still seeking information about him in the hope returning prisoners of war may have encountered him, but the War Office had by then presumed he had died in action at Cambrai.

Company Sergeant Major Alec Cook

Company Sgt Major Alec Cook, 9119, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action at Albert in France on August 20th, 1918, an action in which he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

The medal was eventually collected by his younger sister Elsie, of 57 Frederic Street, Luton. Lieut-Col Tighe made the presentation at Biscot Camp on January 26th, 1919.

Private William Johnson

Pte William Johnson, 269206, 1/1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on April 28th, 1918, during the German spring offensive. He was aged 33.

William's death was not recorded in local newspapers until the Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph of September 2nd, 1919, said his death was by then presumed. On the day of his deaath he went out with a message under very heavy shell fire.

Mr Edward Sell Payne

Edward Sell Payne, a colourful local character known as 'Major' Payne, died at his home at 81 Cromwell Road, Luton, on November 21st, 1918, at the age of 77. His funeral took place at the Church Cemetery on November 28th.

'Major' Payne was never in the Army, but as a young man served in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry under the command of the Earl of Essex. He attained the rank of corporal, but became much better known among his friends as 'Major'.

Sergeant Arthur Ernest Kennedy (Jamieson)

Sgt Arthur Ernest Kennedy (Jamieson), 29683, 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment (ex-20841 Devonshire Regiment), died on October 26th, 1918, while being held as a prisoner of war in Germany.

No report of his death appeared at the time, but in an earlier letter from him to Henrietta Jamieson (described as his stepmother) at 2 Edward Street, Luton, he said he was then being held in Cassel (Kassel) and he was going on all right but the chief thing he wanted was “bread and something to spread on it – a small tin of dripping would do fine”.

Sapper John William Hobbs

Sapper John William Hobbs, 522405, 486th Field Company Royal Engineers, died of pneumonia in the 87th General Hospital in Egypt on November 27th, 1918. He was aged 26 and had enlisted in January 1915.

At the time of the 1911 Census he was living with parents Alfred and Sarah and four brothers and three sisters at 339 Hitchin Road, Round Green. He was listed as a 19-year-old iron moulder.

Gunner Percival Chase Nicholls

Gunner Percival (Percy) Chase Nicholls, 220919, 291st Brigade Royal Field Artillery, died from pneumonia in the 51st Casualty Clearing Station at Tournai in Belgium on November 26th, 1918.

Two days previously, parents Walter and Lilla Nicholls had received a postcard from their second son to say to was unwell but hoped to soon mend. Chest trouble developed rapidly, resulting in his death.

Private Henry Bunyan MM

Pte Henry Bunyan MM, 33018, 6th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, was killed in action in the battle of the Lys in Flanders on April 26th, 1918, when the Allies were about to halt the German spring offensive of 1918.

He had joined the 5th Bedfords (3666) just before the outbreak of war and was mobilised when hostilities began. After being drafted to France he fought at Ypres, Arras, Messines and on the Somme. He gained his Military Medal for bravery in the field in October 1917.

Driver Walter Shane

Sapper Walter ('Dick') Shane, 522394, 486th Field Company Royal Engineers, died from bronchitis and pneumonia in hospital in Egypt on November 22nd, 1918. He was aged 21 and single.

Born in Luton in April 1897, Walter had had joined the Bedfordshire Regiment in August 1914 but was later transferred to the Royal Engineers, with whom he served in the East for over three years until being invalided to hospital in Cairo.

Private William Cherry

Pte William Cherry, 34425, 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment, was killed in action on April 9th, 1917. Sadly, no reports about him were carried in local newspapers at the time.

He is commemorated on the Luton Roll of Honour, with an address at 22 Elizabeth Street, Luton. His military records show he was born in Wilstead, Beds, in around 1887, and left a widow, Edith.

The Green's Brewery Roll of Honour carries the name of a W. Cherry, an employee who died in the war, and a W. Cherry was also named on the Christ Church Roll of Honour.

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