Victory Medal and 1914-15 Star

Private Sidney George Higgins


Pte Sidney George Higgins, 19752, 8th Bedfordshire Regiment, died on April 25th, 1916, from wounds sustained in action at Poperinghe that day. He was aged 36 and had enlisted in February 1915.

The son of Elizabeth and the late John Higgins, of Islington, he was born in 1879. In 1907 he married Mabel Richardson, from Dunstable, and in the 1911 Census they were living in Southampton, Sidney as a butcher's shop manager. By then Sidney and Mabel had two children, a girl aged two and a boy (also named Sidney George) aged one.

Private Frederick Thomas Sharp


Pte Frederick Thomas Sharp, 3/8705, 8th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action near Ypres on April 19th, 1916. He was aged 29 and the father of six children.

Pte Sharp, of 21 Essex Street, Luton, joined the colours in October 1914 and was drafted to the Western Front in October 1915. He fought at Ypres, Messines and Vimy Ridge and was gassed in December 1915. On recovery he returned to the trenches.

He formerly worked as an iron moulder at the Diamond Foundry in Dallow Road. He was also well-known in athletics circles and was a harrier.

Private Victor Charles Groome


Pte Victor Charles Groome, 6/1042, 4th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps, was killed in action in France on May 25th, 1915. He had been reported missing, but it was a year later before his death was confirmed.

Pte Groome was born in Luton towards the end of 1888, the son of Hermon and Martha Louise Groome, who in 1891 were living at 72 Lea Road, Luton. Mr Groome died at the age of 71 in 1912 after working at Hayward Tyler's for 36 years and being married for 45 years.

Company Sergeant Major Alfred Saunders


Company Sgt-Major Alfred Saunders, 112, 2nd Battalion, King's Royal Rifles, died of wounds sustained in action in Flanders on November 24th, 1915.

Born in Winchester, Hampshire, he spent much of his childhood in Studham, where mother Emily was still living. His sister Ellen had married Frederick G. Smith in 1912 and was living in Holly Street, Luton.

Alfred had married Linda Malin, from Burton-on-Trent, Staffs, on October 9th, 1911, in Folkestone, Kent, where his wife and young son David Malin Saunders (born July 16th, 1912) were living at the time of his death.

Private Harold Alfred Field


Pte Harold Alfred Field, 1722, 1/1st Eastern Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, was killed by a stray bullet as he sheltered in a tent during a storm at Gallipoli on November 27th, 1915. He was aged 19.

Pte Field, whose home was as 28 Richmond Hill, Luton, had been employed by the hat firm of Messrs Clay and Sons at Waldeck Road. The son of Charles and Ellen (nee Bone) Field, he was also a member of the Territorials for two years before the outbreak of war.

Private Arthur Wallace Woodcroft


Pte Arthur Wallace Woodcroft, 18612, 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in Flanders on November 27th, 1915. Some military records name him as Arthur Walter Woodcroft.

He was 28 years old and the son of Arthur and Emily Woodcroft. Married in April 1909, he left a widow, Beatrice Maud (nee Mitchell), and two children, Elsie Maud (born December 24th, 1910) and Ronald Arthur (born November 12, 1913). The family lived at 66 May Street, Luton.

Acting Lance Corporal Percy William Tilcock


Acting L-Cpl Percy William Tilcock, 1485, 1/2nd Field Company, East Anglian Divisional Engineers, died on the hospital ship Glenart Castle on November 26th, 1915, from wounds received at Gallipoli. He was buried at sea in the Mediterranean on the same day.

Aged 20, he was the son of William and Emily Tilcock, of 60 Brunswick Street, Luton, and had worked at Vauxhall Motors before enlisting. He had joined the Engineers in September 1914.

A single man, he had been engaged to a Miss Pedder, of 57 Lyndhurst Road, Luton.


Private Harry Gentle


Pte Harry Gentle, 10433, 1st Bedfordshires, was killed in action in Flanders on November 15th, 1915. He was aged 18.

He had joined the Army about four months before war broke out, and prior to enlisting he had worked for Cookson and Co, straw hat manufacturers, of 7 Bute Street, Luton.

A newspaper article describing him as Pte Henry Gentle, said Mrs Gentle, of 17 Adelaide Terrace, Luton, had received letters from his company commander and a friend.

Lance Corporal Arthur Thomas Highton


L-Cpl Arthur Thomas Highton, 3874, 1/5th Bedfords, died in the University War Hospital, Southampton, on November 10th, 1915, after suffering from dysentery at Gallipoli. He was aged 18.

The only son of cabinet maker Frederick George Highton and wife Annie (nee Harris), of Orlingbury, Havelock Road, Luton, he enlisted in the 1/5th Beds Regiment soon after the outbreak of war. He served in the Signals Section under Lieut F. W. Ballance (from Dunstable), and while in Gallipoli won his first stripe.

Private Alfred Tuffnell


Pte Alfred Tuffnell, 3/8144, 7th Battalion Beds Regt, died in Flanders on November 4th, 1915. Surprisingly nothing seems to have appeared about him in the local Press around the time of his death, unlike the deaths of two brothers.

Alfred was the third of three sons - Henry, Benjamin plus Alfred - who had still been living with their widowed mother Ann Tuffnell at 15 York Street, Luton, to perish in the war. And a fourth son, George, had died in 1903 following an accident at Hayward Tyler's, where he worked.

Private Charles Carter


Pte Charles Carter, 142, East Anglian Division Cyclist Corps, died of dysentery on October 14th, 1915, while returning from Gallipoli on board the hospital ship HMHS Assaye.

The only son of Mrs Elizabeth Carter, of 112 Hartley Road, Luton, he had enlisted in the 1/5th Bedfords but transferred to the Cyclist Corps earlier in 1915. He sailed for the Dardanelles at the same time as the 1/5th Bedfords.

Private Charles Whelpton Few


Pte Charles Whelpton Few, 1889, 1/1st Eastern Mounted Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, died on October 19th, 1915, from dysentery while on board ship in the Mediterranean.

He was one of three sons of Great Northern Railway stationmaster Thomas Henry Few [born in Montreal, Canada], of Station House, Bute Street, and Hyde House, Hart Hill, Luton. He joined the Eastern Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance, RAMC, after the outbreak of war.

Private George Hutchings


Pte George Hutchings, 4229, 1/5th Beds Regt, was killed in action on August 16th, 1915, aged 20, The son of William and Sarah Hutchings, of Canning Street, Bedford, he had come to the Luton area to be engaged on harvesting work at Eaton Green in 1914.

He enlisted in the Bedfords in Luton and struck up a close friendship with Pte Herbert Stanley Toyer, of 22 Duke Street, Luton. During the three months or so of drilling at Luton under Major (then Capt) Lathom, Pte Hutchings made his home with Pte Toyer's parents at 7 Burr Street.

Private Ernest White


Pte Ernest White, 20201, 23rd Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, was killed in action in France on September 26th, 1915. He was aged 28 and lived at 109 Highbury Road, Luton.

He was in the RAMC when war broke out and was mobilised with his unit. He came home for the last time in September 1914 and went out to France the following month.

He left a wife, Mary, and three young children. Before the war he worked as a painter for Mr Jennings. He was well known among local footballers, being a member of the Silver Star FC.


Corporal George Brown


Cpl George Brown, 9592, 2nd Bedfords, was killed in action in Flanders on October 7th, 1915. He was the 26-year-old son of George and Elizabeth Brown, of 65 Albert Road, Luton.

Born in Offley in 1889, he had worked for hat manufacturer Frank Harden in Bute Street, but became a soldier over five years before his death and went to South Africa with the 2nd Bedfords. He remained there for four years and returned to England on the outbreak of war. He was drafted abroad almost immediately.


Subscribe to RSS - Victory Medal and 1914-15 Star