What was happening in Luton?

This page contains a list of events that occured in Luton and surroundings 1914-1919, as well as global events that affected Luton's people.
When you add an ancestor to this site, it is always a good idea to try and connect them to an 'event' that happened in their life. E.g. if they fought at the Battle of the Somme, then you can make this connection on the 'Add Person' form.

E.g., 13/07/2024
13th August 1915

Troopship Royal Edward.

Before the Great War, the Royal Edward was launched in 1907 as a service for British mail from Egypt called RMS Cairo.

15th August 1915

The Gallipoli story compiled by John Buckledee from reports in the Luton News in August and September 1915.

1/5th Bedfords in Luton, June 1915
15th August 1915


26th August 1915

It was reported in The Luton News on 26th August 1915, that cousins Pte Aubrey Frederick M2/054102 & Cpl 29620 Reginald Pryer Godfrey had had an eventful time of it at the front, but despite some terrible injuries, they both survived the war.

25th September 1915 to 14th October 1915

The Battle of Loos was the largest British offensive mounted on the Western Front in 1915 du

Recruiting rally, Oct 1915
2nd October 1915


"Luton has done well, but can do better." This message, emblazoned across the front of the Town Hall, is what today's great military demonstration has sought to impress upon the men of Luton and district.

Wardown VAD Hospital ward
8th November 1915


The transfer of the hospital within Wardown Mansion from the divisional military authorities to the local Voluntary Aid Detachments of the British Red Cross took place on Monday, November 8th, 1915.

Biscot Camp royal visit
10th April 1916

In the midst of war, Luton received a Royal visit on Monday, April 10th, 1916, when Princess Victoria Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, opened the YMCA hut for troops at Biscot Camp.

Royal opening of Biscot YMCA hut
10th April 1916


On April 10th, 1916, Princess Victoria Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, visited Luton to open a new YMCA hut at Biscot Camp. Here she is pictured on the right of Mayor Alderman John Staddon.

27th April 1916 to 29th April 1916

The Gas Attack at Hulluch was an engagement in World War I from 27–29 April 1916, between divisions of the II

Vauxhall walk-out girls
26th May 1916 to 29th May 1916


1st July 1916 to 18th November 1916

The Battle of the Somme (FrenchBataille de la SommeGermanSchlacht an der Somme), also know

Troops going over the top
1st July 1916 to 19th November 1916


Well over one million men on all sides perished or were wounded in the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in history that spanned five months from July to November 1916. Men from Luton and nearby villages naturally played their part, many making the ultimate sacrifice.

7th July 1916

Taken from Luton News 13th July 1916.  Duke and Duchess Present.  Stirring scenes, illustrative of two sides of the war were witnessed at Ampthill Station on Monday.  The first scene was the departure of 800 brave Bedfordshire lads for the Front, and the other was the arrival of 100 wounded soldi

Kitchener letter in Luton
17th July 1916


The exhibition of Lord Kitchener's original letter (calling for another 300,000 men for the New Army) in a large marquee in front of the Town Hall on Monday [July 17th, 1916] almost approached the dignity of a public function.

19th July 1916 to 20th July 1917

The Battle of Fromelles 19–20 July 1916), was a British military operation on the Western Front during World War I, subsidiary to the Battle of the Somme.

23rd July 1916 to 7th August 1916

The Battle of Pozières was a two-week struggle for the French village of Pozières and the ridge on which it stands, during the middle stages

24th July 1916

A regimental sports day of Number 6 Artillery Training School took place on Wardown cricket ground today. 24th July 1916.

Wedding of Miss Eila Cumberland and James Ernest Sutcliffe Smith
9th August 1916

Wedding bells rang out at the Parish Church yesterday (Wednesday 9th August 1916) for Miss Eila Cumberland, the only child of Mr and Mrs E. Anthony Cumberland, of 'Greenhurst', Hart Hill, Luton, and Captain James Ernest Sutcliffe Smith, of Bacup, Lancs.

9th September 1916

The Battle of Ginchy took place on 9 September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, when the

Wrest Park fire aftermath
14th September 1916


Up to 200 wounded soldiers were safely evacuated by V.A.D. nurses from Wrest Park mansion when a devastating fire broke out on Thursday, September 14th, 1916, at the stately home that had been in use as a military hospital since November 1914.

16th September 1916

Wrest House in Silsoe, Bedfordshire was built in 1834-39 & was the home of the de Grey family.

During the First World War it was used as a Military hospital at the request of the owner, 9th Baron Lucas, who stipulated that it was to be used for ordinary soldiers, not for officers.

Davis Gas Stove Co (Diamond Foundry)
20th September 1916


WW1 bomb crater at Luton Hoo
24th September 1916

Zeppelin airships were the new menace of World War One, putting British civilians in the firing line from the sky.

Lord French visit
29th October 1916


David Teale funeral
16th December 1916


On the afternoon of Saturday, December 16th, 1916, amidst a widespread demonstration of mourning and sympathy, the funeral took place of the late Chief Constable (Mr David Teale). The scenes were most impressive.

Christmas greetings WW1
25th December 1916
  • Christmas postcard sent during World War One.
Tram crash December 1916
28th December 1916


Tram crash 1916
28th December 1916


At about 11.30 on the morning of December 28th, 1916, occurred the worst accident in the 24-year operation of Luton's trams.

Chaul End works 1933
8th January 1917
  • Chaul End works in 1933


Two men died and a third was badly injured as the result of an accident at the Chaul End munition works of George Kent Ltd on Monday, January 8th,1917.

10th January 1917

One of the mysteries beyond the compasses of human understanding was revealed yesterday at the resumed inquest at Luton Court House, conducted by the Deputy Coroner Mr G.J.M. Whyley.

3rd February 1917

Today at the Y.M.C.A Hall, the Biscot boys gave another of their excellent concerts, this being for the benefit of Mrs. Jackson, mother of the late Gunner Jackson.

7th February 1917

WARDOWN V.A.D. HOSPITAL. (Voluntary Aid Detachment)

First Annual General Meeting. Splendid Organisation.

13th February 1917

It is a sad task, week by week, to record the deaths in action of brave young local heroes at the Front; but an added degree of sadness seems present when promising young lives, ready and even eager to be given in the service of the country, are prematurely cut off in the hey-day of youth ere ent

27th February 1917

The estate of the late Second Lieutenant Alxander Pigott Wernher, of the Welsh Guards , third son of the late Sir Julius Wernher, Bart., the South African millionaire, Bath House, Piccadilly, and Luton Hoo, shows estate of the gross value of £393.  In his memory Lady Wernher has invested £2,000,0

Albert Ball
18th March 1917

Capt. Albert Ball (V.C. D.S.O.

9th April 1917 to 16th May 1917

The Battle of Arras was a British offensive during the First World War.