The Luton News

Lady Wernher's gift to Luton

[The Luton News: Thursday, July 31st, 1919]

Lady Wernher has made a magnificent offer to the Luton Corporation of the free gift of 11 acres of land between Tennyson Road and Trapp's Lane [Cutenhoe Road] for use as a permanent recreation ground, and in commemoration of peace. The land is close to the water tower and is that which has previously been in use as a playing field for the Luton Modern School.

Private Albert Thomas Smith

Pte Albert Thomas Smith, 238006, 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, was reported missing, presumed killed in action, on April 23th, 1918. It was not until June 1919 that a letter to parents George and Sarah Smith, of 31 St Saviour's Crescent, Luton, said the War Office had come to the conclusion that their son must be considered dead.

Albert, born in Luton in late 1892 or early 1893, was employed at the Luton Post Office before enlisting with the Middlesex Regiment and afterwards transferring to the Lancs Fusiliers.

Private Alfred George Cook

Pte Alfred George Cook, 200573, 1/5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, died on November 4th, 1918, in hospital at “Afion Farra, Kissar” (Afyonkarahisar), while a prisoner of war of the Turks.
George, as he appears to have been known, had joined the Colours on September 22nd, 1914, and left St Albans with the 1/5th Bedfords for the Gallipoli campaign, during which he was taken ill with dysentery and spent some months in hospital in Egypt.

Industry in 1919: Skefko

  • The early Skefko works in Leagrave Road in 1911.


For the policy of the Skefko Ball Bearing Co Ltd adaptation is perhaps hardly the correct description, for the Company sum up the position in this way: “Before the war we made ball bearings, during the war we've made ball bearings, and now the war's over we're going on making ball bearings”.

Private Archibald George Dimmock

Pte Archibald George Dimmock, 43069, 2nd Battalion Northants Regiment, died on February 16th, 1919, in the 55th General Hospital, Boulogne, suffering from broncho-pneumonia. He was aged 27 and had one wound stripe.

A son of Annie Dimmock, of 32 Albert Road, Luton, Archibald had attested under the Derby scheme while working on munitions at Chaul End. Early in 1916 he joined the Bedfords, with whom he went through the Battle of the Somme.

Industry in 1919: Brown & Green Ltd

Mr Hearn, manager of Messrs Brown & Green Ltd, Windsor Street, gave an outline of the varied materials the firm have turned out during the war. They commenced in 1915, and from gas valves turned to shell adapters. At that time they had about 50 employees.

Rifle and hand grenades were next turned out in large quantities, and then added to the list was submersible mine work for catching submarines. Aircraft parts were made subsequently, as well as pistols for aeroplane bombs in very large quantities.

When Bury Park made aeroplane propellers

One of the most interesting branches of war work carried on at Luton was that of the manufacture of aeroplane propellers, at the establishment of Mr Edgar L. Barber, Bury Park Road.

A tour of his premises was extremely instructive, said The Luton News (January 30th, 1919). One saw the whole process, dating from the time the planks of walnut are carried into the shop in the rough state until they emerge again in the form of the finished article.

Davis Gas Stove Co in WW1

Among provincial firms which rendered splendid service to the national cause during the war, the Davis Gas Stove Co, of Dallow Road, Luton, is entitled to rank highly, said an article in The Luton News (February 20, 1919). And the firm are displaying great energy and business acumen in preparing for the trade boom which is commonly anticipated when the national activities have settled down following the transition from a wartime to a peace regime.

Private Ernest James Linger

Pte James Ernest Linger, 60826, 8th Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), was reported missing at Cambrai in France on November 30th, 1917. In January 1919 his widow Elizabeth in Luton was still seeking information about him in the hope returning prisoners of war may have encountered him, but the War Office had by then presumed he had died in action at Cambrai.

Mr Edward Sell Payne

Edward Sell Payne, a colourful local character known as 'Major' Payne, died at his home at 81 Cromwell Road, Luton, on November 21st, 1918, at the age of 77. His funeral took place at the Church Cemetery on November 28th.

'Major' Payne was never in the Army, but as a young man served in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry under the command of the Earl of Essex. He attained the rank of corporal, but became much better known among his friends as 'Major'.

Private George Simpson

Pte George Simpson, 29812, 7th Battalion Royal West Surrey Regiment, died in France on November 18th, 1918, from wounds sustained in action nine days previously.

George had previously served with the Royal Engineers (1346) from 1914 but was discharged as medically unfit in March 1916. He was recalled to the colours and had served with the West Surreys for seven months before his death.

A chaplain wrote to widow Lilian at her family home at 12 Bolton Road, Luton, that her husband had been buried with full military honours at Rouen in France.


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