These were among the first of hundreds of men called up under the Derby Scheme for training with the London Royal Field Artillery at Biscot Camp. They were photographed at Beech Hill School - some still in civilian clothes - by a Luton News photographer on April 25th, 1916. The group seated included Major V. F. Fitch and other officers, physical training instructors and NCOs.
On April 10th, 1916, Princess Victoria Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, visited Luton to open a new YMCA hut at Biscot Camp. Here she is pictured on the right of Mayor Alderman John Staddon.
The line-up captured by photographer W. H. Cox was, from the left, Town Clerk William Smith, Councillor and Mrs Stewart Hubbard (donors of the hut), Mayoress Mrs Staddon, the Mayor, Princess Victoria, Lady Wernher of Luton Hoo, Lady in Waiting, and Mr A. K. Yapp, General Secretary of the YMCA, who accepted the hut on behalf of the organisation.
The worst blizzard since 1881 blocked roads and railway lines in Luton, felled large numbers of trees at Wardown Park, Luton Hoo, Putteridge Park and Leagrave and demolished part of the Luton Town FC grandstand on Tuesday, March 28th, 1916. One woman was injured by a falling branch which also damaged the roof of the Vauxhall mess-room in Kimpton Road.
Seven people were injured, including the driver and two children, when this Luton tram jumped the tracks and crashed into an earth bank abutting the Midland Railway bridge at the junction of Midland Road and Old Bedford Road at 11.30 am on Thursday, December 28th, 1916.
The transfer of the hospital within Wardown Mansion from the divisional military authorities to the local Voluntary Aid Detachments of the British Red Cross took place on Monday, November 8th, 1915.
It was now to be used for the reception of wounded troops who could not be accommodated in military hospitals elsewhere. Initially they were to be drafted there from Aylesbury. The hospital had to provide 50 beds for wounded soldiers, with an additional 12 beds to be reserved for soldiers stationed in and around the town.
"Luton has done well, but can do better." This message, emblazoned across the front of the Town Hall, is what today's great military demonstration has sought to impress upon the men of Luton and district.
The demonstration had as its starting point the East Ward Recreation Ground, and the programme provided for units taking part in the parade of the town to assemble there at 2.15 and march off at 2.30. But considerably before two o'clock the Park Street part of the town was all alive.
On June 5th, 1915, the 1/5th Bedfords ended a gruelling 60-miles farewell march around the county in Luton (picture above). They knew they were about to leave for foreign service, but not the date or destination as far as the men were concerned. A little over seven weeks later, in the early hours of July 26th, they were given a rousing send-off by the people of St Albans as they boarded trains to take them to Devonport to sail eventually to Gallipoli. (Follow this link for more Gallipoli stories).
The reception of the 1/5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment at the Luton Town Hall on Saturday evening [June 5th, 1915] was responsible for a scene unparalleled in the history of the borough. Never before has the whole battalion been seen in the town, and this in itself made it a noteworthy occasion.
The sinking on May 7th, 1915, of the British liner RMS Lusitania by a torpedo fired from the German submarine U-20 had repercussions both around the world and for people living in the Luton and Herts area.
It was popularly believed that after Mayor Henry Impey fled his seven-hour ordeal of being barricaded in Luton Town Hall during the Peace Day riots on July 19th, 1919, that he never returned to the town.
In fact he was back as early as the following Thursday, July 24th, albeit on a surprise flying visit lasting only about an hour. He briefly had talks with Town Clerk William Smith at the Carnegie Library before giving an interview to the Luton Reporter and Luton News newspapers. The Reporter article said:
A 'Recruiting Campaign for Girls' was reported in the Luton News in May 1918 in an effort to help enrol 30,000 maidens to the land.
" We refer to the struggle to obtain food from the land"
The harvest had long been taken for granted but now due to the war, the men that had worked the land were no longer able to do it & it was now up to the people on the home front to prepare & gather it.
Four years had passed since the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice had brought an end to the most horrific conflict in human history. Now it was time for Lady Ludlow (the former Lady Wernher) to unveil a magnificent memorial to the town's 1,284 sons who gave their lives for their country.
An interesting occasion was that at Wardown V.A.D. Hospital on Tuesday evening [May 20th, 1919]. After years of magnificent service throughout the war in tending the sick and wounded soldiers back to health and strength, the time had come to part from these war associations.
Zeppelin airships were the new menace of World War One, putting British civilians in the firing line from the sky. The town of Luton itself was spared any death and destruction from the new threat, but a Zeppelin did drop bombs in the grounds of Luton Hoo on September 24th, 1916 - perhaps the Germans knew that the Hoo was a military HQ. One of the Zeppelin bomb craters at the Hoo is pictured.
Yesterday [January 15th] a Luton soldier who died in Edinburgh Military Hospital from wounds received at the front was laid to rest in the Luton Church Cemetery. It was probably the first time in the history of the town that a private soldier fatally wounded on a foreign battlefield has found his resting place in his native town, and a very large amount of public interest accordingly centred round the sad ceremony, to which full military honours were given.