2nd Lieutenant

The lowest rank of commissioned officer. Note that a Subaltern is a term applied to any officer below the rank of captain, especially a second lieutenant. Derivation from Latin related to the word for alternate.  Until 1871 the lowest commissioned rank was the Ensign in the Infantry and Cornet in the Cavalry - both names derived from French words signifying standard bearers. The Fusilier regiments, having no company colours, had First and Second Lieutenants anyway. The Fusiliers abolished the rank of Second Lieutenant in 1834. Between 1871-1877 the lowest was the Sub Lieutenant, after which today's Second Lieutenant rank was established.

2nd Lieutenant Richard Reeve Emmens


Second Lieut Richard Reeve Emmens, 7th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme on September 4th, 1916. He was aged 23.

Born in Birmingham, the public school boy was engaged for 12 months before the war as a chartered accountant with Mr Thomas Keens, Secretary of the Luton Chamber of Commerce. He is included on the Luton Roll of Honour with an address at Cardiff Road, Luton.

2nd Lieutenant William Samuel Scruby


Second Lieut William Samuel Scruby, 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, was killed in action near Thiepval on the Somme on September 26th, 1916. He was aged 25 and had planned to marry during his next leave.

He had joined the Coldstream Guards in the ranks (Pte 11338) at the outbreak of war and only received his commission three months before his death in recognition of meritorious conduct in the field. He was gazetted to the Middlesex Regiment.

2nd Lieutenant Richard Norman Butcher


Second-Lieut Richard Norman Butcher, 20th The King's (Liverpool) Regiment, died on August 5th, 1916, from wounds sustained on the Somme on July 30th. He was aged 26 and the son of Bute Street pawnbroker William Joseph Butcher and his wife Lily Rhoda, who lived at Bendrose, Braithwaite Road [later Malzeard Road], off Studley Road, Luton.

2nd Lieutenant John Crawford Cunningham

John Crawford Cunningham was born in Luton in 1894.

In 1901 aged 6 years old he is living with his family at no 16 Gladstone Avenue.

His father John Christopher is 39 & a travelling drapery & clothing retailer, his mother Clara is 40 & at home looking after John Crawford & his siblings, 12 year old Christopher Angus, 9 year old Margaret Eva, 8 year old Alice Jean & Ronald who is 1.

In 1911 John is living with his family at No 10 Westbourne Road, he is 16 years old & working as a junior accounts clark.

2nd Lieutenant Raymond Eric Deacon


Second-Lieut Raymond Eric Deacon, 10th North Staffordshire Regiment (attached 8th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers), was killed in action at Gallipoli on August 7th, 1915. He was aged 23.

Son of well known jeweller Mr Edwin Deacon and his wife Annie, of 11 Dunstable Road, Luton, he was educated at Ramsgate College and Bedford Grammar School. He took up engineering as a career, and soon after the outbreak of war he joined the Glasgow Light Infantry, from which regiment he was transferred to the 10th North Staffordshire Regiment.

2nd Lieutenant John (Jack) Hobbs


The story of Second-Lieutenant John (Jack) Hobbs, the son of a Toddington butcher, was one of heroism, romance and tragedy. It culminated in the posthumous award of the Military Cross, gained for gallant and distinguished service in the field on May 31st, 1915.

The Luton News devoted many column inches to the man who enlisted in the Royal Scots as a private and rose to become a second-liutenant, fell in love with and married a women with whom their days together were so few, and died on June 28th, 1915, from wounds sustained on the battlefield.

2nd Lieutenant Alexander Pigott Wernher

It was reported in the Luton News on 21st September 1916 of the death of 2/Lieutenant Alexander Pigott Wernher, youngest son of Sir Julius & Lady Wernher.

Alexander was born in Hambledon, Surrey in 1897. At aged 4 in 1901 he was living at Luton Hoo Mansion with his brother Harold under the care of their German governess & 27 servants.


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