Private

In the British Army, a private (Pte) equates to both OR-1 and OR-2 on the NATO scale, although there is no difference in rank. Privates wear no insignia. Many regiments and corps use other distinctive and descriptive names instead of private, some of these ranks have been used for centuries, others are less than 100 years old.[2] In the contemporary British Armed Forces, the army rank of private is broadly equivalent to able seaman in the Royal Navy, aircraftman, leading aircraftman and senior aircraftman in the Royal Air Force, and marine (Mne) or bandsman, as appropriate equivalent rank in the Royal Marines. The term as a military rank seems to come from the Sixteenth Century when individuals had the privilege of enlisting or making private contracts to serve as private soldiers in military units.

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.

Private William Johnson

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

William's death appears to have gone unrecorded in local newspapers, although he is commemorated on the Luton Roll of Honour and in the Book of Life compiled at Luton Parish Church.

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.

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.

Private George Simpson

Pte George Simpson, 29812, 7th Battalion Royal West Surrey Regiment, died in France on November 18th, 1918, from wounds sustained in action nine days previously.

George had previously served with the Royal Engineers (1346) from 1914 but was discharged as medically unfit in March 1916. He was recalled to the colours and had served with the West Surreys for seven months before his death.

A chaplain wrote to widow Lilian at her family home at 12 Bolton Road, Luton, that her husband had been buried with full military honours at Rouen in France.

Private Frederick William Kirby

Pte Frederick William Kirby, 18560, 54th Divisional Army Cyclist Corps, died from malaria in the 17th General Hospital at Alexandria, Egypt, on November 16th, 1918. He had been admitted dangerously ill on October 15th, appeared to be out of danger by November 3rd, but relapsed on November 9th, leading to his death a week later.

Private William James Goodman

Pte William James Goodman, 78161, 9th Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) was killed in action at Epehy in France on September 21st, 1918. He was aged 18.

Born in Luton in 1899, he was the eldest son of Arthur and Kate Goodman, of 58 Frederic Street, Luton. He had five sisters and two brothers, and at the time of the 1911 Census was a schoolboy.

William is commemorated on the Luton Roll of Honour/War Memorial and in the Book of Life compiled at Luton Parish Church.

Private Arthur William Brown

A poppy in remembrance of Pte Arthur William Brown, 56724, 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, who may have been the last Lutonian to be killed in action in the Great War, on November 10th, 1918 – the day before the armistice.

Others died subsequently from wounds incurred earlier or from diseases like influenza, smallpox and malaria. But unfortunately, no record has been found in local newspapers about Arthur's death.

Private Stanley Wright

Pte Stanley Wright, M/314452, Army Service Corps (M.T.), died suffering from smallpox in an isolation hospital at Amara in Mesopotamia (Iraq) on November 7th, 1918. He left a widow and two children living in Luton.

A telegram on November 5th first alerted Beatrice Wright to the gact that her husband was dangerously ill with smallpox. It was hoped that he would recover and that more hopeful news would be forthcoming. But on November 16th she received the new that he had passed away.

Private Alfred Giltrow

Pte Alfred Giltrow, M/319891, 10th Motor Transport Coy, Army Service Corps, died from tuberculosis in Cairo General Hospital, Egypt, on November 6th, 1918. He had been admitted dangerously ill four days previously.

Alfred was the youngest son of William and Elizabeth Giltrow, of 49 High Town Road, Luton. He had trained at Osterly Park, Hounslow, and three months later was sent to Egypt, arriving at Alexandria in December 1917. He had served in the A.S.C. For a total of a year and four months.

Private William Edwin Burgess

Pte William Edwin Burgess, A/437681, Expeditionary Force Canteen, Army Service Corps, died in the 53rd Stationary Hospital in Russia on November 5th, 1918. A telegram to his widow said he had died of dysentery, but his military files show he died of a fractured spine following a fall from a gangway, and an inquiry said no-one else was to blame in the accident. William had gone to Russia seven weeks before his death.

Private Thomas Frederick Piggott

Private Thomas Frederick Piggott 17458 was my grandfather’s elder brother. He was born in 1895, the eldest of 4 brothers, and worked as a shop assistant before volunteering October 1914 into the 8th battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. He was sent to France in August 1915, and died of wounds  after being injured in the battle of the Somme, on Saturday 21 October 1916, aged 21, almost exactly 2 years after he joined up. He is buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetry Extension in France.

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