British War Medal

Private Arthur Lane

Pte Arthur Lane, 57871, 15th Battalion Cheshire Regiment, was killed in action in France on March 27th during the German Spring Offensive of 1918. His mother Rose at 36 Chobham Street, Luton, was first informed he was missing on that date. Joining up in July 1915, Arthur trained with the Royal Engineers, but on going to France in December 1916 he was drafted to the Cheshires. Born in St Albans in 1896, he came to Luton at around the time of the outbreak of war and became a machinist with hat firm Clydesdale & Sinfield, of 5 Williamson Street, Luton.

Private Albert Joseph Tompkins

Pte Albert Joseph Tompkins, 203540, 2/4th Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, was reported missing and later confirmed killed in action in France on March 21st, 1918.

He was the son of Albert Edward and Mary Jane Tompkins, of Crutchmore Farm, Mangrove. He had been in France for 18 months, having joined up in 1915 at the age of 17. He was last on home leave four months earlier.

Gunner Alfred Arthur White

Gunner Alfred Arthur White, 196693, 187th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, was killed instantly at about 9pm on April 15th, 1918, when a shell hit the dug-out he occupied on the Western Front in France during a heavy shelling of his battery. He was aged 23 and single.

Born in Castleford, Yorkshire, in 1894, he, parents Walter George and Sarah Jane White and 12 siblings had moved to Luton via Kettering and Dunstable. His father died in Luton in 1915 and his mother was living at 56 Norman Road, Luton.

Corporal Harry Meeds

Cpl Henry (Harry) Meeds, 25317, 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, was killed in action in Flanders on April 29th, 1918. He had volunteered just before his death to return to the firing line, having for a considerable time beforehand been doing police duty for another battalion, journeying to and fro with German prisoners of war.

Harry was the son of former undertaker William Meeds and his wife Jennie, of 2 Windsor Street, Luton. He was born in Boscombe, Bournemouth, and was single.

Private James Charles Bent

Pte James Charles Bent, 325189, 1/5th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in action on April 21st, 1918 in Flanders. He was single, aged 20 and had served in the Army for 2½ years..

Expressing his sympathy, a military chaplain informed parents Owen and Rosina Bent at 135 North Street, Luton: "He was killed while going into the trenches on the night of the 21st, and was buried next day near the battalion headquarters."

Prior to the war, James had worked for hat manufacturer Mr A. Impey, of 50 Reginald Street.

Lieutenant Norman Sworder

Lieut Normal Sworder, Royal Air Force, died of wounds sustained in aerial combat over France on April 17th, 1918. His Luton-born wife Emily Murial was living at Burnham, Maidenhead, at the time.

A letter written by his Major to Emily said the aircraft in which Lieut Sworder was an observer was attacked by five enemy machines. The pilot had his right leg fractured by a bullet and lost control of his machine. Her husband was all the time firing at the enemy and got off in all 300 rounds, although himself wounded.

Lance Corporal Jesse Hugh Smith

L-Cpl Jesse Hugh Smith, 42775, 14th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, was killed in action at Bailleul in France on April 19th, 1918.

An officer wrote to tell his mother, Ann Louisa Smith at 34 Peach Street, Luton, that her son was killed by shell fire while carrying rations from the transport waggon to the dug-out. A piece of shell penetrated his heart and death was instantaneous.

The officer added that L-Cpl Smith was buried at Mont Noir, near Bailleul, in a shady spot in the grounds of a chateau.

Private John Henry Ford

Pte John Henry Ford, 242622, 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment, died in Wardown Hospital on November 24th, 1918. He had been discharged from service the previous July with diabetes mellitus and muscle wastage that he first began to suffer while serving in Egypt and Palestine.

The 23-year-old was buried with full military honours at Biscot Church Cemetery on November 29th, 1918.

Sapper Thomas Victor Brown

Sapper Thomas Victor Brown, 524289, 222nd Field Company, Royal Artillery, was killed in action on April 14th, 1918. He was the second son of William Henry Brown, of 9 Brook Street, Luton, to lose his life on the battlefield - Pte William Henry Brown MM (Seaforth Highlanders) was killed in action in July 1917.

Sapper Brown was in trenches that were being badly shelled, and shortly before his own death he had helped a corporal who was badly wounded to get away from the area.

Gunner William Frederick Govier

Gunner William Frederick Govier, 119496, 186th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed on March 21st, 1918, when a shell exploded outside the battlefield cookhouse where he and a companion were on duty. His unnamed companion was also killed.

Church of England Chaplain the Rev H. A. Norton in a letter to Mrs Mabel Govier, at 122 Baker Street, Luton, said pieces of the shell had pierced the iron sheeting which formed the wall of the cookhouse and struck the two men inside.

Private George William Bone

Pte George William Bone MM, 90015, 137th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, was killed in action in France on April 9th, 1918, along with fellow stretcher-bearer and Lutonian Pte Thomas Ralph Corney. They were carrying a wounded officer from the trenches when all three were killed by a shell. Pte Bone had earned the Military Medal in September 1917 after being wounded while carrying an injured man a distance of 350 yards under shell fire.

Private Thomas Ralph Corney

Pte Thomas Ralph Corney, 71953, 137th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, was killed in action in France on April 9th, 1918. He was on stretcher-bearer duty with fellow Lutonian Pte George William Bone MM when a shell claimed them both and the wounded officer they were carrying.


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