E39 Actor

Private Bert Clarke

Pte Bert (Bertie) Clarke, 96779, 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment, was reported missing, later killed in action, in France on May 27th, 1918. He was one of three sons of widow Mary Ann Clarke, of 338 Hitchin Road, Luton to have served and the second to die.

Born in Slip End in 1899, Bert was described as a chemical labourer in the 1911 Census. He enlisted in August 1917 and was drafted to France in April 1918.

Rifleman Frederick Harold Goodship

Pte Frederick Horace Goodship, 41478, 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action in France on April 15th, 1918. It was not until August 1919 that widow Dorothy was officially informed that it was presumed he had died on that date.

Pte Goodship had enlisted in the 1/5th Bedfords (3824) in September 1914 and served at Gallipoli. He was invalided home from Egypt suffering from dysentery, and after recovery he was transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles and sent to France.

Gunner William Pearce

Gunner William Pearce, 956450, A Battery, 78th Brigade Royal Field Artillery (Signalling Training Centre), was serving with the Army of Occupation on the Rhine following the 1918 Armistice when he died from pneumonia in the 42nd Stationary Hospital in Germany on May 19th, 1919.

Private Frank Rowley

Pte Frank Rowley, 86184, 13th Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action in France on September 18th, 1918. He was aged 34 and had worked as a coach and motor trimmer at Vauxhall Motors.

An officer wrote to his widow Kate at 39 Manor Road, Luton, that her husband was killed in action on the morning of the 18th. Owing to their position in the fighting it was necessary to bury him at once, and he lay by the side of a comrade and close to the spot where he fell.

Private Herbert Abrams

Pte Herbert Abrams, 14839, 7th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action in France on September 18th, 1918.

Forces Chaplain, the Rev L. Walters, wrote to his mother Sarah at 99 Oak Road, Luton, informing her that her son was wounded in the abdomen by a sniper's bullet, and died immediately or soon after being hit.

Herbert was born in Harpenden on January 5th, 1897, a son of Samuel and Sarah Abrams. The family had moved to Luton by the time of the 1911 Census, when they were living at 20 Maple Road.

Private George Jack Bacchus

Pte George Jack Bacchus, 57178, 12th North Staffordshire (Prince of Wales) Regiment, was killed in action in Flanders on September 12th, 1918. He left a widow and four children at 3 Burr Street, Luton.

Pte Bacchus had been in hospital for six months prior to his death, suffering from shell shock. He underwent an operation, and was subsequently discharged from hospital and went again up to the line. He had been serving for only a day or two when he met his death.

Corporal George Charles Wood

Cpl George Charles Wood, 44637, 9th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, died of wounds in France on September 10th, 1918. He was married, his widow, Lilian Maud, living at 1 Pretoria Villas, Midland Road [now Mostyn Road], Leagrave.

Letters to Lilian from a captain, a chaplain and a casualty clearing station sister indicated that Cpl Wood went into action on September 9th and received a gunshot wound in the head. He immediately lost consciousness and remained in that condition until 8am the following day, when he died.

Sergeant Edward Norton

Sgt Edward Norton, 277640, 15th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, was killed in action in France on September 10th, 1918. He had been in France only five weeks, was married and his widow was residing at 22 Pondwicks Road, Luton.

In the absence of official notification of her husband's death, Mrs Norton had received a letter with a wallet and her photograph which had been found by a soldier on her husband as he lay, shot through the head.

Private Harold Stuart Lee

Pte Harold Stuart Lee, 73494, 23rd Brigade Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action in France on September 7th, 1918. His widowed mother Olive, living at Marsh Farmhouse, was informed that he had been shot through the heart by a German sniper.

Harold had taken the place in the Army of Aubrey William, so that his brother could manage the farm following the death about 18 months previously of their father, Evan William Lee.

Private George Thomas Janes

Pte George Thomas Janes, 79040, 1/7th Durham Light Infantry, died from dysentery in the Crossen prisoner of war camp in Germany on September 6th, 1918. He had been reported captured at Maizy in France on May 27th. Pte Janes had seen two years of military service, but had been in France only since the January before his capture.

For about 20 years before joining up he had been the postman for the Leagrave area. In the 1901 Census he was described as a rural postman living with parents John and Rebecca and family at 127 Russell Street, Luton.

Private Edward Thomas Gooch

Pte Edward Thomas Gooch, 36023, 8th Battalion Gloucester Regiment, was killed in action while serving with a Lewis Gun team in France on September 6th, 1918. He was aged 19 and single.

A Second Lieutenant wrote to his bereaved mother Annie at 5 New Street, Luton, that her son and his pals were all together when shells came over. Only one of the team survived.

Edward had joined up on May 20th, 1917, at the age of 18, and underwent ten months' training in England. He was drafted to France at Easter 1918 and served there until his death.

Private Hugh Cumberland

Pte Hugh Cumberland, 51175, 4th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in France on September 5th, 1918. He was aged 19.

Born in Leagrave on March 26th, 1899, he was one of four sons of John and Eleanor Jane Cumberland, of 89 Marsh Road, Leagrave.

Sergeant Frederick William Dawzie Rowley

Sgt Frederick William Dawzie Rowley MM, 6535, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action during the advance on Bapaume on August 21st, 1918. Born in Luton in 1880, he had lived in the Middlesex area since serving in the Boer War and had completed almost 21 years in the Army.

Frederick had won the Military Medal for his devotion to duty at Vimy Ridge, and had been recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Private James Barnard Watkins

Pte James Barnard Watkins, 11021, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, died on September 3rd, 1918, from wounds sustained in action at Gezaincourt in France. He had returned from home leave only a week earlier, and had crossed over from Dover on August 29th.

A letter of sympathy from a Chaplain informed parents James Barnard and Alice Maud Watkins, of 125a North Street, Luton, that he had would be burying their eldest son on September 4th at a military cemetery. In due course a cross would be erected over his grave.


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