Mrs Nora Kathleen Durler

From 09/1914 to 25/03/1919, Nora Durler (nee Cumberland) was the Joint Commandant of Wardown VAD Hospital Luton, responsible for its management and supervising its administration. The other Commandant was her auntie, Mrs Green.

She was a member of an old distinguised Luton family, the Cumberlands, and married into the Durlers who were a family of Swiss plait merchants who emmigrated to Luton to be close to the pulse of the hat trade.

The 1911 Census shows she was married to Robert Durler, a plait merchant, and had a daughter, Pauline, born in 1910.

Private John Raysons Davis

John Raysons Davis was born in Luton in 1897 to Thomas John & Amma Louise.

In 1911 he is living at 3 Liverpool Road, Luton. His father is a straw & felt hat maker, his mother is a straw hat machinist working at home whilst looking after 3 year old Cyril & 7 month old Reginald James. John is 14 years old & working as an errand boy, whilst sisters Beatrice Louise, 12 & Constance Ruth, 7 are at school. They have 2 boarders also living with them, 78 year old Mary Ann Pestell & hat maker John Clarke, 47.

Sapper Robert Wright

My Grandfather, Robert Wright, volunteered to join the army on 12 June 1914 – the day before his 26th birthday. This was clearly before hostilities had been declared, but by this time it was looking more and more certain that a war was approaching. I have a copy of his four year Attestation Papers, and according to these he was first assigned to the 5th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment, but he was discharged in January 1915. I do not know why - the records have presumably been lost.

Private Arthur Walter Aylott

Arthur Walter Aylott, formerly a private in the Bedfordshire Regiment (22450) and later the Machine Gun Corps (5200), died at 67 Dumfries Street, Luton, on February 17, 1919, at the age of 21.

He had enlisted in August 1915 and served in the Army just over a year before being invalided out on September 10, 1916 as a result of being gassed. He never fully recovered and developed consumption.

Born in Luton in 1897, only son of the late Bransom and the late Elizabeth Aylott, he had before joining up worked in the bleaching and dyeing trade for Mr Stewart Hubbard.

Private Ted Parker

Ted Parker, the youngest son of Frank and Sarah Parker, a bootmaker and his wife from Luton who lived at 5 Tavistock. Brother to Frank and older brother to Emily.

He lived with his wife Lillian (nee Wagstaff), and died on home service in 1918. He is buried in Rothesay Road Cemetery.

Private George Arthur Meeks

George Arthur Meeks died at Wardown Park V.A.D. Hospital in November 1918, shortly after the armistice had been declared.

He was the son of Jesse and Dinah Meeks, a Cambridgeshire Gamekeeper and his wife.

He had 3 older brothers and 1 older sister, and at the beginning of the war he enlisted with the 9th Battalion The Bedfordshire Regiment, but was swiftly transferred to the 432nd Agricultural Coy. Labour Corps, service number 240216

He served with the Labour Corps until his death in 1918.


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