Corporal StripesOriginally referred to a reliable veteran called the capo de'squadra or head of the square. The title changed to caporale by the Sixteenth Century and meant the leader of a small body of soldiers. The French picked up the term in about the Sixteenth Century and pronounced it in various ways, one of them being corporal, which indicates a mixing with the Latin word corpus or French corps (body). The British adopted corporal in the Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century and it has been a part of the army ever since. The British gave the Corporal his two stripes when they started using chevrons in 1803.

Corporal Ernest Butterfield


Cpl Ernest Butterfield, a Lutonian serving with the Australians in Gallipoli, died on May 4th, 1915, of wounds received in action.

Born in Markyate but brought up from a young age in Luton, Cpl Butterfield, service number 79, joined the 15th Battalion, 4th Brigade, Australian Expeditionary Force. He was previously with the Royal Garrison Artillery and served during the Boer War, being in Kimberley during the siege.

Corporal Charles Smith


Cpl Charles Smith, 7655, 1st Battalion Beds Regt, died at Base Clearing Hospital on May 8th, 1915, from the effects of poison gas inhaled while fighting at Hill 60.

The 31-year-old had been in the Bedfordshire Regiment for nine years, principally serving in Aden. He then spent three years in the reserve, during which time he worked at J. W. Green's brewery in Luton. But for the war he would have been out of the Army the previous Christmas.

Corporal Henry George Smart


Cpl Henry George Smart, 7018, 1st Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment, was killed in action near Armentieres on March 21st, 1915. He was aged 28.

But for the outbreak of war his time as a reservist would have expired in November 1914. While in the Army he had served eight years in India.

Corporal Horace Victor Barton

Horace Victor Barton was the eldest of 2 sons born to Alfred & Sarah.

He was born in Luton in January 1891.

In 1911 he was 20 years old & working in the iron foundry as a moulder making stove grates. His father is 44, a straw hat blocker, his mother Sarah is 42 & a straw hat machinist. His brother Percy is a 15 year old errand boy & they are all living at 52 Guildford Street.

In 1915 Horace married Emily Lamb.

Corporal Percy William Graham


Cpl Percy William Graham, 9200, 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle On March 10th, 1915. He was aged 22.

He was the son of Mrs Mary Jane Graham, licensee of The Harrow pub in Hitchin Road, Luton, whose husband James William, an old soldier, had died eight weeks earlier at the age of about 74.

Cpl Graham was born in Luton and was a pupil at Waller Street Schools. He attended St Matthew's Church, High Town, and had worked in a local foundry.


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