Cash gifts to firemen attacked in riots

Luton fire engine after riots

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: October 11, 1919]

Immediately after the burning of the Luton Town Hall by the rioters, Councillor C. Dillingham (Deputy Mayor) stated that he intended to recognise the valiant service of the Fire Brigade by presenting them with a sum of £100. This was a spontaneous gift in recognition of the manner in which the Brigade carried on although attacked and stones by the rioters, and also in appreciation of the fact that by their efforts the fire was not allowed to involve the property on the opposite side of Upper George Street, where Messrs Dillingham & Sons' premises are situate.

On Wednesday night, at a little gathering at the Fire Station, Councillor Dillingham handed to Chief Officer Andrew a cheque for the promised £100, on behalf of the firm of Dillingham & Sons, and also a cheque for £12 10s which had been sent to him for the same purpose by Mr Mark Lorne, on behalf of the management of the Palace Theatre. All the firemen who were on duty during the riots were present with the exception of one man, who was at the 1/5th Beds dinner [a reunion at the Plait Hall].

Councillor C. W. Escott, Chairman of the Fire Brigade Committee, said it was first proposed to have a little social gathering at which this presentation could be made, but in view of the railway strike, and the doubt as to how long it would last, it was thought best to postpone any festivities for the time being. He hoped, however, they would be able to have a little jollification later on.

Councillor Dillingham, in handing over the cheques, spoke in very high appreciation of the work of the Brigade during the riots, and said that as they fight not only a fire but also “live devils” it was marvel that some of them were not killed.

The allocation of the sum of £112 10s, as suggested by Councillor Dillingham, is to be: Chief Officer Andrew £11; each of 18 firemen £5 10s; the balance of £2 10s going into a little fund to which the firemen subscribe.