Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
Soldier or Civilian
William Thomas Panter, Pte/Cpl, (or bill as he was known), joined the army on 2nd Feb 1914 at Kempston Barracks, which covered a considerable area in those days, (just the main entrance building remains today).
Before his embarkation to France he was transferred to Languard Fort Harwich, I can remember him talking about “guard duties” there. He did not talk very much about the time he spent in France, but I picked up areas such as Arras, Abbeville, The Somme, Passendale, and Hill 60, over the years. Bill was known to be a good athlete, so he ideally suited the job of “message runner”, that he was given, delivering vital information throughout the “network of trenches”, he was mentioned several times in Despatches. I do remember him mentioning the length of time the soldiers had to keep their boots on for, in the flooded trenches. He was eventually wounded carrying out these duties, in May 1917 with a hand injury, and was invalided out of the army on 27th Nov 1917.
Bill spent some time in the (4th General London Hospital) Mile End, in the East End of London, recovering from his injuries. It was during this time, that he used to go for walks in Victoria Park, and later venture in to Central London, where “his navigating skills” of London improved considerably. The wounded soldiers were easily recognisable by their “hospital blue uniforms”, and were greatly respected by the general public.
Bill recovered from his injuries and returned back to Luton, to continue his employment at George Kents, Biscot Road Luton, where his overall service lasted over 50 yrs, during that time he married twice and had two sons. Bill died in Feb 1983, and was cremated at The Vale Crematorium Luton.
William was the son of George (a carpenter) and Annie Panter of Buckinghamshire, and was born in Wolverton/Stoney Stratford in 1893.
By the 1911 Census, he was living in 'Homedale,' Marsh Road, Leagrave; and was a brass mouldings fitter.
He enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment on the 2nd September 1914, and was promoted to Corporal on the 13th December 1916.
He was transferred to the Queens R.W. Surrey Regiment on the 3rd March 1917, and was wounded in the hand in May 1917.
Following this injury he was treated at 4th London General hospital and transferred to 122nd Company The Labour Corps where his service number became 72628.
He was discharged shortly afterwards as being medically unfit to continue to work on the 27th November 1917.