Captured carpenter home from Germany

Unlike many prisoners of war, Pte Ernest Thomas Parsons, 42392, 2/6th North Staffordshire Regiment, experienced a less brutal captivity in the hands of the Germans than many comrades.

He had been captured at Bullecourt in France on March 21st, 1918, with a shrapnel wound in his left arm. He finally arrived back home at 16 Russell Street, Luton, in January 1919 to tell his story to the Tuesday Telegraph (January 21st, 1919).

Battlefield hero awarded MM

Pte Herbert William Taylor, 40381, 5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, was presented with the Military Medal by Luton Mayor Councillor Henry Impey during a meeting of the King Street Pleasant Sunday Afternoon group, of which Herbert was a member.

He had earned the medal for rescuing two wounded comrades - one of whom survived the war - under heavy machine gun and rifle fire near the village of Gommecourt in France.

Penal servitude for throat slasher

A discharged soldier who had co-habited with a Luton woman while her husband was a prisoner of war in Germany was jailed for five years with hard labour at Beds Winter Assizes on January 17th, 1919. Thomas William Wingrove, aged 41, a fitter of no fixed abode, had pleaded guilty to wounding Ethel Bliss, aged 30, of 118 Chapel Street, Luton, with intent to do grievous bodily harm, by cutting her throat with a razor, on December 23rd, 1918.

Tramways manager Wray resigns

Mr Albert E. Wray, the Luton Tramways Manager, has accepted a responsible position with the firm of Dick, Kerr & Co, general engineers, who have works in various parts of the United Kingdom for the manufacture of generating plants, tramways etc.

He resigned his Luton position this week, only after repeated pressure from his firm to remain, and he is due to commence in his new post in February. He will act in an advisory capacity in the traction department of Dick, Kerr's engineering staff.

Early recipient of the Mons Star

One of the first, if not the very first among Lutonians to have the distinction of receiving the newly issued 1914 Star, known as the Mons Medal, is ex-Pte J. O'Donnell, who served in the Irish Guards as a reservist in the retreat from Mons, and early in the war sustained wounds which necessitated his discharge from the service.

'Pat,' as he is well known locally, was formerly employed at the Skefko Works, and up to the signing of the armistice held a post at Woolwich Arsenal.

Ammunition wagon driver awarded MM

Driver Frank Mardle, 800506, C/230 Battery Royal Field Artillery, was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the closing weeks of the war. He had joined the North Midlands Division in the first month of the war and went to France in 1915, where he had been since.

In his recommendation for the medal, Brig-Gen Child described the gallantry of Driver Mardle, of 60 Reginald Street, Luton, as follows:

Marching into the Rhineland

It was with a peculiar sensation of entering the unknown that we crossed the frontier into Germany, wrote 'E. G.,' a Lutonian among the first British troops to enter enemy territory after the armistice, in the January 14th, 1919, edition of the Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph.

“After four weary years we had reached our goal. It was hard to believe that we were entering the land which numerous mouth-pieces of the German people had more or less violently declared should never be violated until their last drop of blood had been shed.

POW during severe Bavarian winter

Pte Charles Sidney Perry, 27909, 1st Northants Regiment, had been captured as a prisoner of war at Nieuport in Flanders on July 10th, 1917, but on December 19th, 1918, was able to travel via Switzerland to get back home to 15a St Saviour's Crescent, Luton, on January 5th, 1919.

In the Tuesday Telegraph of January 14th, he told of some of the experiences he had undergone as a prisoner of the Germans, recalling that for eight weeks things had been very bad.

Biscot Camp planner promoted to captain

Capt Ernest Samuel Cross ChiversThe Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph of January 11th, 1919, reported the promotion to the rank of Captain of Lieut Ernest Samuel Cross Chivers (Royal Engineers), who was in charge of the Military Works Service at Karachi, Hyderabad, India. He was the London-born son of Ernest John and Sarah Emma, then living at 21 Ashton Road, Luton.

Limbury soldier with Allenby in Alexandria

Limbury soldier 2nd-Cpl Charles William Stokes, serving in the Records Department of the Royal Engineers with the Egyptian Force, described General Allenby's review in Alexandria in December 1918 in a letter to his Aunt Elizabeth that was published in the Saturday Telegraph (January 11th, 1919). Charles had lived with his aunt and her sister at The Meadow, Limbury, from childhood and by the time of the 1911 Census was an auctioneer and estate agent's clerk.

Enemy propaganda aimed at troops

Signaller H. Archer, of 24 Dudley Street, Luton, soldier who had just returned home from the Balkan Front, sent a letter to The Luton News (January 9th, 1919) giving an example of Bulgarian propaganda stunts that had been aimed at British and French troops. He wrote:

"Out there we were up against varied enemies, including Germans, Austrians, Bulgars and Turks. The Bulgars, of course, were of greater strength.


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