Diary: Queen responds to Luton mother's appeal


Stories from the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: October 16th, 1915.

A Luton mother who had lost three sons in the war appealed direct to Queen Mary to ask that her only surviving fourth son should be kept at home for her.

And the appeal worked for Mrs Ellen Payne, of 2 Beech Road, Luton, when her son Pte Walter Payne (pictured), serving with the 2/5th Bedfords at Newmarket, was transferred to home service with the 3/5th Bedfords at Lowestoft.

Pte Walter PayneThe following message was received by Mrs Payne from Buckingham Palace: "Madam, I am commanded by the Queen to say that Her Majesty is glad to be able to inform you that Pte Walter Payne, 2/5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, will shortly be transferred to a Home Service Unit. The Queen deeply sympathises with you in the loss of your other three sons. I am, yours faithfully, E.W. Wallington, Private Secretary".

Gunner Harry Gray (Payne), Royal Garrison Artillery, died of wounds on October 17th, 1914, while Sgt Albert Payne and Cpl Nathan Payne were both killed on August 15th while serving with the 1/5th Bedfords at Gallipoli.

  • Unsolicited donations have already been received for the 1/5th Bedfords Comfort Fund, according to Mr F. W. Plummer, of Rookwood, Luton, who is treasurer for this end of the county. A general committee meeting is to be held at Bedford on Monday, after which everything will be in full swing.

  • The 3/5th Bedfords said goodbye to Windsor on Sunday and entrained at 9 o'clock for a new camp at Wendover, where they arrived at 1.40. The last draft of recruits included eight men of the 1/5th Bedfords from Gallipoli who had returned for duty, all more or less suffering from the after-effects of slight wounds.

  • The YMCA hut in the centre of the Biscot Road training camp is continuing its useful work under the leadership of Mr L. Gaston and on Wednesday evening it was crowded when an exceptionally good concert was given by local friends and by the soldiers.

  • The Bedfordshire Assizes opened at the Shire Hall, Bedford, this morning before Mr Justice Shearman. He announced that he did not propose to deal with two cases of murder (0ne in Luton and one in Leighton Buzzard) today, but they would be dealt with carefully on separate days. The Luton case (against Gunner Henry Charles Martin, accused of killing his wife) would be held on Monday.

  • Railwaymen from Luton attended the funeral in Bedford of Mr Albert Richard Gibbons, a traffic inspector on the Midland Railway, who was knocked down and killed by an express train at Elstow on Sunday evening. He had been with the company for 34 years and had an area stretching from Souldrop in North Beds through Luton to Elstree. A verdict of accidental death was returned at an inquest into his death.

  • Today is the sixth anniversary of the opening of Gordon Street Picture Palace - the pioneer of picture houses in Luton. We should say it has enjoyed a good run of prosperity; it has certainly been well managed and deserves all the success achieved. Last night was blank. Luton's electric power failed, as everyone knows, and pictures were off for the evening. But tonight - the anniversary of the opening - there should be full houses, for the programme is, as usual, first rate.

  • The smallest crowd of the season, about 700 spectators, turned up to watch Luton Town FC play the 2/5th Bedfords, who were playing in their broad-striped yellow and black regimental colours of the Yellow Devils. The previously unbeaten visitors were out-classed, losing 10-1 with Luton Town's goals coming from Meakin (4), Butcher (3), Johnson (2) and Pugh. Gate receipts were about £13.