A rifleman is a soldier in a light infantry unit. Although ultimately originating with the 16th century handgunners and the 17th century musketeers and streltsy, the term rifleman originated in the 18th century. Entire regiments and bodies of troops were armed with the weapon. It later became the term for the archetypal common infantryman.

Rifleman Harry Ernest Hardstaff

Three months after being demobilised, Harry Ernest Hardfast, formerly Pte S/3114, Rifle Brigade, died on June 4th, 1919, in the Northumberland War Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, from poisoning resulting from a shrapnel wound in the chest received in action at Achiet-le-Grand, France, on August 23rd, 1918.

Born in Luton in 1891, Harry was one of 11 children born to William and Annie Hardstaff, of 12 Crawley Green Road.

Rifleman Thomas Wilfred Hall

Rifleman Thomas Wilfred Hall, 5624, 9th King's Royal Rifles, was killed in action at Arras in France on April 9th, 1917, aged 19. He was the second of three brothers to die in the war.

At the time of the 1911 Census, Thomas plus four brothers, two sisters, father Joseph Henry and stepmother Annie were living at Stockton, Warwickshire, where Thomas was born in 1896.

Rifleman Edward Henry Hall

Rifleman Edward Henry Hall, 11796, 1st King's Royal Rifles, was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle in France on March 10th, 1915, aged 20. He was the first of three brothers to die in the war. He had joined up at the outbreak od war and went to France in November 1914.

A the time of the 1911 Census, Edward plus four brothers, two sisters, father Joseph Henry and stepmother Annie were living at Stockton, Warwickshire, where Edward was born in 1894. Edward and his father were at that time employed at a lime works.

Rifleman Wilfred Cyril Bywater

Rifleman Wilfred Cyril Bywater, 44378, 13th King's Royal Rifles, was killed in action in France on August 24th, 1918. He had been reported missing on that date and it was not until after the Armistice that family at 103 Ash Road, Luton, received official confirmation of his death at the age of 19.

A report of his death in The Saturday Telegraph said that he had been in France since Easter 1918 and previously worked for Mr Hubbard, Princess Street. His military record described him as a dyeworks labourer.

Rifleman Frederick Harold Goodship

Pte Frederick Horace Goodship, 41478, 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action in France on April 15th, 1918. It was not until August 1919 that widow Dorothy was officially informed that it was presumed he had died on that date.

Pte Goodship had enlisted in the 1/5th Bedfords (3824) in September 1914 and served at Gallipoli. He was invalided home from Egypt suffering from dysentery, and after recovery he was transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles and sent to France.

Rifleman John Archibald Sives

Rifleman John Archibald Sives, 209436, 21st (Midland) Battalion Rifle Brigade, died in the 19th General Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt, from appendicitis on February 28th, 1918. His age is widely given as 49, although records suggest he was born in Cannock, Staffordshire, in the first quarter of 1874.

John married Luton girl Jane Hucklesby in Luton in 1895. At the time of his death his widow was living at 70 May Street, Luton.

Rifleman Joseph Cogans

Rifleman Joseph Cogans, 5556, 10th Battalion King's Royal Rifles, was reported missing, presumed killed, in Flanders on November 30th, 1917.

It was nearly three months before his widowed mother Elizabeth was informed at 27 Dorset Street, Luton, with the hope that he might have been taken prisoner. She appealed through The Luton News for any further information about her son.

Rifleman Arthur Hawes

Rifleman Arthur Hawes, 41477, 11/13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on August 16th, 1917. Three months later he was still listed merely as missing, leading to an appeal by his widowed mother for information.

Rifleman Joseph Walter Kirby

Rifleman Joseph Walter Kirby, 474416, 2/12th Battalion London Regiment (ex-1907, Royal Army Medical Corps), was killed in action on September 26th, 1917. A letter from the Front said he was shot in the head by a German sniper.

The 23-year-old was a son of Walter and Rose Kirby, of 9 Old Bedford Road, Luton. He enlisted first in the East Anglian Royal Engineers at the outbreak of war, having been a shoeing-smith employed in the Luton Corporation Yard. He was transferred to several other regiments before finally joining the London Regiment.

Rifleman Sydney David East

Rifleman Sydney David East, 451810, 1/11th Battalion London Regiment, was killed in action in Palestine on September 3rd, 1917. He was aged 24 and the son of William and Emily East, of Lyndhurst, 7 Moor Street, Luton.

In a letter to Mrs East, Second Lieut A. Hamilton wrote: "I tender the heart-felt sympathy of myself and and all the No. 11 platoon. Your son met what must have been an instantaneous death by a bullet wound in the head in a patrol encounter on the night of September 3rd.

Rifleman Leonard Roland Donne

Rifleman Leonard Roland Donne, 37031, King's Royal Rifles, died at Dormstadt in Germany as a prisoner of war on June 23rd, 1917. He was captured after being wounded in action on April 23rd.

After twice being rejected, Rifleman Donne joined the KRR in November 1916, and went to France soon after Christmas following two months in training at Wimbledon.

Initial reports home said Rifleman Donne, aged 25, had been treated at a British dressing station, where his wounds were not considered to be serious. Trace of him had been lost after he left there.

Rifleman Arthur Robinson

Rifleman Arthur Robinson, 42129, 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action in Flanders on June 7th, 1917. He and his family had moved to Hammersmith, London, just before the war after living at 238 Ridgway Road, Luton.

He enlisted in early 1916 at Hammersmith into the King's Royal Rifles (26176) before being transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles. He had worked at Hayward Tyler during his time in Luton.

Arthur Robinson was aged 38. He had married Florence Day in Luton in 1898 and they had three daughters - Florence Lilian, Doris and Gladys Irene.

Rifleman Horace Edward Bates


Rifleman Horace Edward Bates, 392299, 1/9th Battalion London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles), died of wounds in the 2nd Stationary Hospital, Abbeville, France, on April 22nd, 1917. He was aged 24.

Parents Edward and Elizabeth Bates, of 57 Buxton Road, Luton, were informed by the hospital matron that their son had been admitted on April 19th with severe wounds to the chest and damaged lungs. He grew gradually worse, passing peacefully away on April 22nd. He was to be buried in a local cemetery, in a section reserved for British soldiers.

Rifleman Alfred John Stanley Bruton


Rifleman Alfred John Stanley Bruton, C/1669, 17th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps, was killed in action on the Somme on October 21st, 1916. He was aged 24.

He was the second of the two sons of Alfred John and Sarah Jane Bruton, of East Hyde Mill Cottage, New Mill End, to lose his life on active service. Younger brother Rifleman Augustus Tennyson Bruton died in the Lord Derby War Hospital, Warrington, Lancs, on April 10th, 1916, from wounds sustained accidentally in a bomb-throwing accident.

Rifleman Arthur James Gaunt


Rifleman Arthur James Gaunt, 4173, 1/8th Battalion London Regiment (Post Office Rifles), was killed in action on the Somme on September 15th, 1916.

Born in Turvey, Beds, the 20-year-old was the son of Edward Green Gaunt and the late Lucy (nee Burr), who died in November 1915. His father lived at 12 Hartley Road, Luton, at the time of Arthur's death.

In the 1911 Census Arthur is described as a telegraph boy. He became an assistant postman in August 1912, and had transferred to Harrow as a postman before he enlisted.



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