Reaction to DS&S regrettable decision

[The Luton Reporter: Tuesday, July 8th, 1919]

General regret will be occasioned by the news of the decision of the local branch of the Discharged Sailors and Soldiers Association not to take part in the official peace celebrations until all discharged and demobilised men have been found employment.

This decision is apparently intended as a demonstration of dissatisfaction with the slow rate of progress in industrial reconstruction, but it is rather a big order and, whatever one's sympathies, there is room for considerable doubt as to whether such a step will achieve any useful purpose.

Apart from this, it may well be asked whether the DS&S are quite consistent in this matter. Not so long ago they themselves suggested a second day's programme specially for ex-soldiers and serving men, and we gather that even now their objection is limited only to the first day's celebration on the official Peace Joy day. It does not exactly commend itself as a sound or well considered course of action.

Discharged, disabled and demobilised men unquestionably have grievances which they are justified in ventilating, and in connection with the peace celebrations one is that a committee have ruled out a day for service men past and present. Alderman Staddon said the right thing when he described the men who have fought and the children as two sections of the public most entitled to consideration on such an occasion, and we have never been able to see why this should not have practical recognition.

The town can hardly be accused of squandering on the programme sanction by the Council a month ago. The large part of the expenditure it involves has been taken from the town's shoulders by the generous offer of Messrs Vyse, Son & Co to provide commemoration medals for the schoolchildren. This leaves a substantial balance accruing from the halfpenny rate levied for the celebration and we are sanguine no difficulty will be experienced in raising by subscription the money necessary to do the thing right well.

If we may be permitted to make the suggestion to the discharged men's organisations and to the Peace Celebrations Committee, an ideal arrangement would be to follow up the official rejoicings on the 19th with the memorial service which the DS&S are organising with the co-operation of the clergy and ministers and local bands on the Sunday, and then set apart Monday as a day for fighting men – and if considered possible – the children as well. Of course, it would follow that the adoption of such a plan would demand that the discharged and demobilised men should display a spirit of give and take and waive any idea of marring the public rejoicings by refusing to associate with Saturday's celebrations.