British War Medal

Private Walter Stanley Peck

Pte Walter Stanley Peck, 33072, 8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, was killed in action in Belgium on October 1st, 1917. He was aged 24, single and a former employee of the Diamond Foundry, Dallow Road.

The son of Walter and Eliza Peck, of 66 Oak Road, Luton, he had enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment (5608) in November 1915 and was transferred to the Leicesters in December the following year in France.

Gunner George Hill

Gunner George Hill, 111632, signaller and telephonist with the 253rd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres on October 4th, 1917. A shell which exploded near him killed him instantly.

Letters from the Front included one from Major Gray, who wrote to widow Olive at 17 King's Road, Luton, to express his sympathy, with the added comment: "He was a telephonist, and only the best men volunteer to be telephonists."

Gunner Edwin Ernest Jeffs

Gunner Edwin Ernest Jeffs, 144354, 'C' Battery, 74th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action in Flanders on October 4th, 1917, "serving his gun like a hero". But in Luton he would be remembered as a founder and conductor of the Luton Orchestral Society, "a man who had just begun to develop those glimmerings of an outstanding exponent and interpreter of the profession he was so well fitted to adorn".

Lance Corporal Horace Charles Mayles

L-Cpl Horace Charles Mayles, 45373, Machine Gun Corps, was killed in action in Flanders on September 20th, 1917. He was aged 24, married with one child and a home address of 14 Wood Street, Luton. He was also a bandsman in the Park Street Salvation Army Temple Band.

In a letter to widow Elsie, comrade Pte G. Toyer, of 134 Chapel Street, Luton, said they had had to attack the enemy trenches at about 5.45am on September 20th and they had not got far over the top when her husband was hit in the head by a sniper's bullet. He died in a few seconds and did not suffer paid.

Private Alfred Arthur Ashton

Pte Alfred Arthur Ashton, 33689, 8th Battalion Yorks & Lancs Regiment, was killed in action in Belgium on October 1st, 1917. He was aged 19.

He was struck by a shell whilst doing his duty in the front line and died instantly, according to a letter from a comrade sent to parents Bruce and Annie Ashton, of 28 Duke Street, Luton.

Alfred Ashton had enlisted in the Norfolk Regiment six months earlier and was subsequently transferred to the Yorks and Lancs Regiment. He had been in France only five weeks.

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.

Gunner William James Bass

Gunner William James Bass, 111890, 238th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, in the 2nd Casualty Clearing Station, France, on the evening of September 27th, 1917, from wounds received on the battlefield the previous day.

A sister at the hospital wrote that Gunner Bass had been admitted with a severe fracture of the skull and a fractured arm. All possible was done for him, but to no avail and he passed peacefully away without regaining consciousness.

Private William Jackson

Pte William Jackson, 238023, 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, was reported wounded and missing in Flanders on August 7th, 1917, and later presumed dead on that date. He was aged 29, married and had one child.

Widow Maud first received official news from the War Office in September 1917 that her husband was wounded. A month later she learned he was missing, but he was still included on Luton's 1918 absent voters' list with an address at 78 Frederic Street.

Private Wilfred John Kibble

Pte Wilfred John Kibble, 118701, Army Service Corps (M.T.), attached to the 92nd Field Ambulance, Royal Army Service Corps, died of wounds at the 36th Casualty Clearing Station in France, on September 22nd, 1917.

It was at the end of a final act of gallantry and devotion to duty that Pte Kibble, who had been a footman to Lady Wernher at Luton Hoo, collapsed and died. Although being badly wounded about the head, he continued to drive his ambulance to the Advanced Dressing Station, where he succumbed to his fate.

Driver Horace Gwynn Harding MM

Driver Horace Gwynn Harding, 810760, 'A' Battery, 232nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, died in the 61st Casualty Clearing Station in Flanders on September 15th, 1917, from the effects of a gas attack the previous day.

Driver Harding had been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry. That was presented to his mother Florence Annie, of 87 Saxon Road, by the Mayor of Luton, Councillor Charles Dillingham, in March 1918 at the Winter Assembly Hall in Luton.

Private Ernest Harris

Pte Ernest Sylvester Harris, 18614, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action by a shell at the Third Battle of Ypres on August 1st, 1917. He was aged 25.

His death seems to have been included in Luton newspapers only as a name on a Beds Regiment casualty list published in the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph of September 8th, 1917, although he is included on the Luton Roll of Honour.

Lance Corporal Robert John Cecil Moate

L-Cpl Robert John Cecil Moate, 200634, 1/5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in Palestine on July 20th, 1917, and has no known grave. He was aged 20 and the only son of widowed Lizzie Moate, of 23 Union Street, Luton.

Cecil Moate, as he was known, was under age for foreign service when he joined the Bedfords (No 4641) but went to Gallipoli in 1915. There he suffered from dysentery and was in hospital in Malta for six months before being posted to Egypt.

Private Charles Frost

Pte Charles Frost MM, 15525, Gloucestershire Regiment, died in hospital at Taplow, Bucks, on September 27th, 1918, as the result of a gunshot wound that fractured his right thigh in France on August 11th.

He had spent three weeks in hospital in France before being brought back to England and an anticipated recovery. His body was brought back to Luton and buried at the General Cemetery in Rothesay Road on the afternoon of October 3rd.

Private Frederick Harold Wightman MM

Pte Frederick Harold Wightman MM, 14761, 6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action near Arras in France on April 23rd, 1917. He was aged 22.

No report of his death appears to have been published in local newspapers around that time, although he is commemorated on the Luton Roll of Honour as a recipient of the Military Medal. However, a report in the Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph (February 1st, 1919)said Pte Wightman had been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry during the Battle of Arras.


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