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].
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'.
Perhaps the oldest member of the local Territorial and Volunteer units, Mr Joseph Theodore Gething, of 4 Henry Street, Luton, died suddenly at home on August 27th, 1918, as the result of a severe attack of pneumonia. He was 67.
He was a sergeant-major with the 2nd Volunteer Brigade Bedfordshire Regiment, and had been a member of the Luton Volunteers since coming to live in the town in 1874, thus having completed 42 years service.
At 5.30 on the evening of July 5th, 1918, one of Luton's prominent businessmen, Mr Walter Thomas Lye, died at his home at Leagrave Hall. The head of the Luton bleaching, dyeing and chemical firm of Messrs T. Lye & Sons, he was aged 61 and left a widow (Nancy), one son (Ernest B. Lye) and one daughter (Gladys).
He and his family had narrowly escaped from Germany at the start of the First World War, catching the last train allowed out of Hamburg to Flushing, in Holland. They had been on a cruise along the Norwegian coast.
Following his death on the evening of Saturday, October 27th, 1917, Dunstable, Luton and South Beds mourned the passing of prominent antiquarian, botanist, author and illustrator Worthington George Smith. He was aged 82 and had lived in Dunstable forjust over 30 years..
Councillor and former Mayor of Luton Albert Arthur Oakley died on June 24th, 1917, following an accident in which he was thrown from his pony and trap in Ash Road, Luton, three days previously.
He was aged 63, twice married, had five sons and a daughter and lived at Hillcroft, High Town Road, Luton. A Primitive Methodist in religion and a Radical in politics, he had co-founded the well-respected grocery and provisions business of Oakley Bros, of 6 Chapel Street and 85 High Town Road.
Charles Griffin, previously head of police at Clitheroe, Lancashire, was appointed Luton's new Chief Constable on April 3rd, 1917, by the unanimous decision of the Town Council. His new job followed the death of previous Luton police chief David Teale on December 13th, 1916. Mr Griffin took up his duties officially on May 8th.
The new police chief was 34 years old and married but with no children. He had 11 years and 29 days approved service in the police, but had 13½ years of practical experience of police duties.
Horace John William Crump was one of two men to die following an accident at the George Kent munition works at Chaul End on January 8th, 1917.
Born and bred in Caddington, he had moved to live at 90 Ash Road, Luton, with wife Ada Elizabeth and their seven children. The bricklayer's labourer was working as a labourer at the Chaul End works at the time of his death.
Chief Constable David Teale, the man credited with having built up the Luton Borough Police Force, died at 8.20 on the morning of December 13th, 1916, three weeks after being taken ill suffering from pleurisy and bronchitis.
David Teale, aged 57 and known as "The Chief," had completed 22 years and two months as Chief Constable. He held his Majesty's Police Medal for meritorious service, and was also Chief Officer of the Luton Fire Brigade, a role he took on shortly after arriving in the town.
Charles Arthur Irons was appointed Herald of the Manor of Luton, more familiarly referred to as Town Crier, following the death in 1882 of his father, William. He served throughout the Great War and until his death on September 9th, 1941, when his role died with him.
[Image: Lusitania graves - Wikimedia/Imperial War Museum collection, Q18816]
Luton-born Thomas Edward George Bodell, his wife Florence and toddler son Thomas were lost with the sinking of the liner RMS Lusitania by German submarine U20 on May 7th, 1915.
Mr Bodell, aged 33, was the son of Thomas Bodell Snr, of 59 Clarendon Road, Luton. He was returning to England for the first time since sailing to Canada ten years previously. His father told The Luton News that his son was intending to enlist here.
Stewart Butler Hubbard, the newest member of Luton Town Council following his election in North Ward on Monday, November 2nd, 1914, was described by The Luton News as a man whose business history would "rank among what may be termed the romances of the straw trade".
William Smith was the Town Clerk of Luton during World War 1. He was appointed on September 3rd, 1912, and held the office until his death on January 7th, 1932 - just three days after his 63rd birthday.
Born in Liverpool, his municipal career began in Cardiff in 1890. In 1893 he was appointed assistant Town Clerk of Colchester and then for five years from May 1907 was Town Clerk of the Essex town. He was chosen as Town Clerk of Luton from among 70 candidates.