DS&S to boycott Peace Celebrations

DS&S advert re Peace Celebrations

On the proposition of Mr L. Gore, seconded by Mr E. A. Barton, the Luton branch of the Discharged Sailors and Soldiers Federation unanimously agreed at a special general meeting at the Ivy Leaf Club, Park Street, on Monday, June 30th, 1919, to adhere to a resolution passed at the Manchester Conference of the National Federation that the branch should take no part in peace celebrations until such time as all discharged and demobilised men had been found employment.

After Chairman Mr Clay and fellow delegate Mr S. Allison had presented their report on the conference, a member said it seemed shameful that the country should be prepared to spend so much money on peace celebrations, when men who had fought for the peace were searching for work.

It was also reported at the Monday meeting that a conference had been held by representatives of the Federation and the clergy of Luton. Chairman Mr W. B. Clay, in making the announcement, said the conference was held at the club on the previous Thursday, and clerical representatives of every denomination in the town were present.

The principal discussion was in regard to the arrangement of a memorial service for fallen comrades, and he (the Chairman) felt he must say that they had received every help possible from the ministers.

Mr H. Ives, who was chairman of the conference, said the Rev A. E. Chapman and the Rev E. B. Mahon were arranging the service, and the march and congregating of the men would be in the hands of the Federation. An invitation had also been sent to the members of the Comrades Association to attend. It was also suggested that collections should be made on behalf of the widows' and orphans' fund.

Mr Clay said the reverend gentlemen were greatly surprised and pleased with the efforts the Federation had made, and had complimented them on the good their funds were doing. In addition to the clergy there were also present members of the various local bands, who decided to give their assistance.

It had been agreed to hold the service at Wardown, but if this did not prove possible, it would take place on the Moor.

[Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph: July 1st, 1919]


[The response to the DS&S national decision received a mixed response locally. In line with its resolution (above), Luton branch later placed an advert in the local Press stating that it would refrain form taking any part whatsoever in official Peace Celebrations and appeared to have adhered to that. In Dunstable DS&S members did take part in the official procession, including entering a float. At Leighton Buzzard, around 500 ex-servicemen turned down an invitation to a free dinner, and at St Albans the DS&S asked that any money intended to be used on their behalf in the celebrations should instead be given to the city's war memorial fund.]