DS&S growing in numbers

From The Luton Reporter: Wednesday, October 31st, 1917.

Now that the Luton and District Discharged Sailors' and Soldiers' Association has been registered under the War Charities Act as a war charity, entitled to solicit funds by public appeal, no time has been lost in soliciting for actual sympathy and support for the worthy cause which the Association has at heart.

Hitherto the Association has had to depend upon the subscriptions of the discharged men joining its ranks and the policy of cutting its coat according to its cloth financially has naturally had the effect of curtailing the scope of its useful activities.

An office has been opened at 15 Castle Street where, in the evenings, the chairman and hon. treasurer Mr Herbert W. Booth and the hon. secretary Mr W. Walker and their colleagues on the committee constitute a modest sort of information bureau, and devote their leisure time to assisting fellow-wearers of the silver badge to obtain redress for any grievances they may have.

This, however, is but the beginning of the work the Association has in mind to undertake, and it is felt that one of the essentials for such an organisation is a club which will afford adequate headquarters and provide social amenities for men whose comradeship had been cemented in the service of their country.

The Association has already made most encouraging progress. Starting with a foundation basis of just over a score of members, the numbers have in three weeks risen to over 70, and interest in the movement has been considerably stimulated by the visit received last week from Mr J. M. Hogge, the well-known Scottish MP, who has made the matter of pensions and other grievances concerning discharged servicemen a phase of war problems peculiarly his own. Mr Hogge had a very interested gathering of discharged men, under the chairmanship of Mr Herbert W. Booth, to listen to his lucid and explicit discourse at the Corn Exchange concerning the aims and objects of the movement.

Several of the points raised were remarked upon by Mr Hogge as showing the necessity of discharged men joining an organisation being tun on a strictly non-party basis.

In commendation of the appeal the Association is making to the townspeople for liberal assistance towards the provision of homely comforts of a social club, Mr Hogge urged that if the discharged men wanted a clubroom it was up to the people of Luton for whom they went into the Army to give them it.

"They were eulogistic enough when they asked you from platforms to go into the Army," he said. "Now you have come back disabled and want to cling together the people of Luton ought to tumble over each other to give you this memorial of gratitude. They have been proud of you: let them be proud of the opportunity of giving this token to the men who went into the war."

The Association has quickly secured official recognition, the Local War Pensions Committee having invited it to nominate one of its members to serve on the Disablements Sub-Committee and, is a short bill 'fathered' by Mr Hogge becomes law this Session, the Association will become entitled to representation on the War Pensions Committee itself.