Cpl Alfred John Axtell, 19/312, 19th Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Pioneers) was killed by an explosive shell on August 23rd, 1916, during the British advance on the Somme.
Born in Dunstable in 1888, he later lived with parents Alfred and Martha Hannah (nee Ramsden) at 19 Biscot Road, Luton, and attended Old Bedford Road Boys' School, where he was a pupil teacher. After attending Westminster Training College, he became an assitant master at an elementary school in County Durham and lodged with a family at Dunston-on-Tyne, near Gateshead.
George Kent Ltd, based in Biscot Road, Luton, was one of several firms in the town to gear its production to the war effort between 1914 and 1919.
The firm had been founded in London in 1838 by farmer's son George Kent (born 1806). A move to Luton came in 1908, when the George Kent factory in Biscot Road was opened in June of that year (picture above).
Pte Harry Berry, 4087, 1/5th Bedfords, was killed in action during a charge by his regiment on August 15th. He was reported missing the following day, but his body was afterwards recovered and he was buried the following Thursday night at the foot of the hill which his battalion captured at high cost.
It appeared he had been killed almost instantaneously by a shrapnel bullet which entered his heart after piercing his service pay book and a pocket diary that were in his breast pocket.