Diary: Church Army winter hut opened

Stories from the Saturday Telegraph, January 9th, 1915

Opening the winter hut erected by the Church Army at the junction of Dunstable Road and Francis Street, Capt Whiteley, of the 23rd Battalion, County of London Regiment, said it would be very welcome to the soldiers stationed in the town as Luton was "not a very hospitable place".

Capt Whiteley, deputising for the indisposed Mrs J. W. Green, said he did not wish to cast aspersions on Luton, but that was his experience during the six weeks he had been here. However, thanks were due to the Church Army for their splendid work and to those who had come forward to help. Recently the tent, in use and providing good service since August, had got very cold and he was sure the warmth and comfort of the hut would make it very popular.

The hut and its equipment had cost between £250 and £300 and was one of 60 that the Church Army had in operation or in course of construction.

  • Luton MP Mr Cecil Harmsworth was being tipped to become Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office following the resignation of Mr Ellis J. Griffith. The post carried a salary of £1,500 a year.

  • The following recruits have now joined the East Anglian Royal Engineers: Edgar Abbott, Sidney Welch, Stanley George Bone, David O'Brien, J. A. Aitken, F. G. J. Braybrook, J. Murray, W. Stenhouse, G. W. Lawman, V. Hawkes, F. W. Hyde, F. Arnold, W. Matthews, W. Higgs, T. Farr, T. Hawkins, H. Billington, G. Tufnell, L. Mill, B. Tomlinson, H. Arnold, G. Stables, E. J. White, S. J. Waghorn, A. S. Wells, S. Brown, F. Allen, S. Herbert, E. Eves, F. Adams, H. Burgess, H. Nicklin, H. C. Whitman, W. Field, A. Hill, William Munro, W. J. Rolf, Aubrey Marshall, G. J. Sharpe, G. F. Cook, A. Simpkins, R. J. Wilson, W. H. Ward, J. E. Sibley, E. G. Fountain. Bricklayers, shoemakers, tailors and 50 or 60 men to drive horses were still needed.

  • Yesterday, 20 Belgian refugee women who are now cared for in Luton and district met to start making garments for Belgian soldiers. A room has been lent by Messrs Lambie and and Cain, of Guildford Street, where the working party will meet on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

  • This morning, under the auspices of the Luton Liberal Club, a home for Belgian refugees was opened in Selbourne Road. The club have taken a suitable house and furnished it, and four refugees who have been accommodated in lodgings in Brook Street were installed. Two others will arrive later, as the club have made themselves responsible for the maintenance of six refugees and have furnished the house accordingly.

  • Meanwhile, the Luton Belgian Refugee Committee was looking for the offer of a furnished house, rent-free for six months, to house a family comprising a grandmother, two married couples and three grandchildren for whom the committee would be responsible for maintenance. The family were waiting in London in the hope of coming to Luton as they had relations now at Woodside.

  • A large number of deaths among Scottish Territorials included a further six in the past week, mostly due to pneumonia following measles. Two funerals with full military honours had taken place at Bedford Cemetery and a further one was to take place. Three bodies were being sent home for interment.

  • Mr Faulkner, a veteran of the Crimean War, was one of the most interesting guests at the old folks' annual entertainment at St Mary's Hall. Now aged in his 80s, he was proudly wearing four medals from the campaign. Born in a house in High Town Road that was swept away for a picture palace, he was about 18 when he enlisted in the old 34th Foot, which became part of the Surrey Regiment. He was wounded in the Crimea by a piece of shrapnel striking him in the head while in the trenches.

  • Two Luton servicemen absent without leave, one from the 3rd Essex Regiment and one from the Royal Flying Corps, were remanded for a military escort by Luton magistrates.

  • One Tommy, in a letter to the landlady of his Luton billet from Dunmow, wrote that the Essex town was famous for its flitches of bacon, awarded annually to the married couples who could satisfy a jury that they had lived together for a year without an unkind thought or an angry word towards each other. "But there will be no flitch this year...they have apparently converted all the pigsties into billets!"

  • Luton Town bowed out of the English Cup with a 3-0 defeat by Southampton at The Dell. They were trailing by one goal at the interval.

  • Luton had an excellent record in providing about 800 soldier-footballers from local clubs, latest figures suggested. Nationally, local football had been almost wiped out by enlistments.

  • How many of our readers, asked the Saturday Telegraph, know where Walter Scott obtained the title for his novel Ivanhoe? In an introduction to the novel he had confessed that the name was suggested by an old rhyme with its origins in Bedfordshire.

    Scott apparently recalled a rhyme recording the names of three manors forfeited by John Hampden for striking the Black Prince a blow with his racket when they quarrelled at tennis. The rhyme read: “Tring, Wing and Ivanhoe; For striking of a blow; Hampden did forego; And glad he could escape so.”

    Another versions of the rhyme was: “Tring, Wing and Ivanhoe; Three dirty villages in a row.”



Pte O'Donnell, 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, is recovering at home at 71 Norman Road, Luton, from wounds to his feet caused by bullets and shell splinters. He previously worked for the Skefko Ball Bearing Co Ltd.