Lat. serviens servant to a knight in medieval times. The English borrowed the word sergeant from the French in about the Thirteenth Century. Meaning "non-commissioned military officer" first recorded 1548.  Originally a much more important rank than presently.

Sergeant Stanley Edward George Day

Sgt Stanley Edward George Day, 235790, 24th (Tyneside Irish) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action in Belgium on October 15th, 1917.

A former Bedfordshire Territorial (No. 3098), the 23-year-old was mobilised with the Northumberlands at the outbreak of war. He did not go to the Front until September 17th, 1917, and survived only for a month, killed "in the performance of his duty," as Capt James McIntyre wrote to widow Emily at 27 Chase Street, Luton.

Sergeant Joseph Charles Shaw

Sgt Joseph Charles Shaw, 570856, 17th Battalion London Regiment, was killed in action in East Africa on October 18th, 1917.

Parents Joseph and Mary Ann Shaw, of 1 Bolton Road, Luton, were informed of their son's death by Mr H. J. Read, on behalf of the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies. He had received a telegram from the officer administering the government of East Africa Protectorate informing him that Sgt Shaw was killed near Lindi [in present-day Tanzania].

Sergeant Percy Wells

Luton-born Sgt Percy Wells, 4484, 7th Regiment, South African Infantry, died from blackwater fever on August 19th, 1917, while serving in East Africa.

He was a son of Harty James and Elizabeth (Lissie) Wells, of 4 Crawley Road, Luton. He enlisted in the Royal Horse Artillery in 1909 and the following year went to South Africa. He was on his way back to England when war was declared and was sent back to Africa, where he was transferred to the South African Infantry and rose through the ranks.

Sergeant Carl Hill

Sgt Carl Hill, 3/7592, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in the Third Battle of Ypres on August 16th, 1917. There was no report or family announcement of his death in the local Press, but he is included on the Luton Roll of Honour.

Carl was born in Sandridge, near St Albans, in 1883, the son of James and Eliza Hill. In 1901 he was a boarder in London before moving to Lancashire, where he married Sarah Alice Friar at Prescot, St Helens, in 1910.

Sergeant Arthur William Groves

Sgt Arthur William Groves, 9643, 6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in Belgium on August 6th, 1917. He is commemorated on the Luton Roll of Honour but may not have had much association with the town as no local address is recorded for him.

His death also appears to have gone unrecorded in the Luton Press, but his step-father was born in the town and members of his family lived here after the war.

Sergeant Nelson Tom Pike

Sgt Nelson Tom Pike, M1/07617, Army Service Corps, died in the 41st Stationary Hospital, Gailly, France, on July 20th, 1917. He had been taken to hospital the previous day suffering from shell wounds.

Nelson Pike had enlisted in the A.S.C. (Transport Section) soon after the outbreak of hostilities. He was soon transferred to France, where he was continually engaged in conveying ammunition to the firing line. He had had a particularly rough time at Mons and Ypres, a period when he gained rapid promotion.

Sergeant John McPheat

Sgt John McPheat, 35986, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action at Messines on June 7th, 1917. He was aged 36.

Born in Perth, Scotland, he enlisted as a volunteer at Luton at the outbreak of war. He served with the 1/5th Bedfords (No. 2961) at Gallpoli, from the Suvla Bay landing to the evacuation of the peninsular. He was finally invalided home suffering from shell shock and dysentery to recover in England before leaving Halton for France with the 2nd Bedfords in January 1917. He fought at Ypres and Messines.

Sergeant Albert Mullett

Sgt Albert Mullett, 19166, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in Flanders on June 2nd, 1917. He was in charge of a Lewis gun company.

In a letter to parents William Frederick and Emily Mullett, of 142 Castle Street, Luton, his commanding officer wrote: "We were heavily shelled in the early hours, and he went off with a Lewis gun and team to a piece of trench isolated by two blocks, the outcome of the bombardment. Just after he had arrived a shell blew in the parapet and he, poor man, was pinned between two pieces of rivetting timber, and died there at once.

Sergeant William Cyril Frederick Charles Meakins

Sgt William Cyril Frederick Charles Meakins, 3635, 51st Company Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), was killed in action on April 23rd, 1917. He had been badly wounded in the abdomen and was unable to move from right up against the German wire. A comrade who tried to help him placed him in a shell hole, but was unable to find him when he returned for him later that night.

Sgt Meakins, known as Cyril, was initially reported missing, believed killed, before parents William and Ada at 12a Cardigan Street, Luton, were officially informed on May 28th.

Sergeant Sidney Cherry

Sgt Sidney Cherry, 50457, 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, was presumed killed in action near Arras on or soon after April 28th, 1917. He was aged 32.

His widow, Mabel, at 162 High Town Road, Luton, had received a letter from a Seaforth Highlander stating that during an advance they were lifting a dead German officer in a trench when a pocket-case fell from the officer's jacket. It contained photographs and cards relating to Sgt Cherry's family. It was not known how they had come into the German's possession.

Sergeant William Day


Sgt William Day, 200287, 1/5th Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action near Gaza in Egypt on April 27th, 1917. He was aged about 31 and left a widow, Clara, and two children living at 196 High Town Road, Luton.

William, an old Territorial, was called up at the outbreak of war and took part in the Gallipoli campaign, including the landing at Suvla Bay. Since seeing service in Egypt he had suffered from dysentery and septic poisoning.

Sergeant Albert Edwin Scrivener


Sgt Albert Edwin Scrivener, 4/7319, 4th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action near Arras in France on or soon after April 23rd, 1917. He was aged 35.

No report of his death seems to have appeared in the local Press around the time, although he is commemorated on the Luton Roll of Honour where his address is given as 7 Surrey Street.

Sergeant William John Arthur Saxty


Sgt William John Arthur Saxty, 4749, 60th Battalion Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), died at a dressing station in France on February 9th, 1917, from wounds sustained on the battlefield.

Born in Bath in 1881, he was aged 36 and married to Geraldine with four children (John, Hubert, Albert and Beatrice), aged 14 years to five months, living at 40 High Town Road, Luton.

Major Godson, of his regiment, wrote: "He came to me as a private at Grantham and his rapid promotion has been entirely due to his devotion to duty, and I feel very keenly his loss."


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