Rank or Title
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Pte John Devereux, 3071, 1/5th Lincolnshire Regiment, was killed in action on August 14th, 1915. Born in Bow Brickhill in October 1887, he had come to Luton four years previously and lived with his wife Gertrude, whom he married in the summer of 1909, and three children at 63 Hampton Road.
At the time of the 1911 Census he was a brickyard labourer living in Wavendon, and at that stage had two young children, toddler Walter and eight-month-old baby Margery.
As with many wives, news of her husband's death came in letters from comrades before official notification arrived from the War Office.
Company QMS C. H. Major was first to write to Mrs Devereux from "somewhere in France". He said: "It is with sincere regret that I write these few unofficial lines to you informing you that your husband passed away last Saturday. He was in the trenches when an explosive shell from the Germans burst and killed him. He was a good soldier and beloved by his companions, and died a hero's death in the execution of his duty for the protection of Dear Old England."
Later, a letter arrived from Capt Herbert S. Scorer in which he said: "It is with deepest regret and sincere sympathy that I write to inform you of your poor husband's death on the morning of August 14th. He was hit by a sniper and death was instantaneous."
The Luton News suggested that the discrepancy over how Pte Devereux met his death was probably due to the circumstances in which his company were placed at the time. The enemy was shelling and sniping at the same time, and to add to the dangers, brought a machine gun into play, but it was most likely, judging from the news from other sources, that an explosive shell was the direct cause.
John Devereux, who was 6ft tall, had worked for builder Charles Jeyes [27 Windsor Street] until October 1914, when he enlisted and did most of his training in Luton. He had sailed for the Front on June 24th.