The Luton News/Saturday Telegraph

Rifleman Sidney William Dorrington


Rifleman Sidney William Dorrington, 2630, 17th Battalion London Regiment, was killed while on lookout duty in the trenches on May 14th, 1915*, according to comrades. He was struck in the head by a dum-dum bullet.

In a letter to Mr Jesse Dorrinton, the deceased's father, Rifleman C. A. Scales wrote: "He was not conscious any part of the time, as morphia was injected. But he was already too far gone to feel any pain. He succumbed one hour 40 minutes after being hit, and is buried in the village beside a fallen comrade, name unknown."

Mr Thomas Edward George Bodell

[Image: Lusitania graves - Wikimedia/Imperial War Museum collection, Q18816]

Luton-born Thomas Edward George Bodell, his wife Florence and toddler son Thomas were lost with the sinking of the liner RMS Lusitania by German submarine U20 on May 7th, 1915.

Mr Bodell, aged 33, was the son of Thomas Bodell Snr, of 59 Clarendon Road, Luton. He was returning to England for the first time since sailing to Canada ten years previously. His father told The Luton News that his son was intending to enlist here.

Rifleman Horace Ethelbert Meade


Rifleman Horace Ethelbert Meade, 2264, died on Sunday, May 9th, 1915, two days after being wounded in action. He was the first employee of George Kent Ltd, Biscot Road, to be killed at the front.

A native of Portsmouth, the 23-year-old had worked in the offices at Kent's until he enlisted with the 12th Battalion County of London Regiment at the outbreak of war. He arrived in France on Christmas Day 1914 and had been in the firing line practically ever since.

Cheapside Post Office


The Post Office in Cheapside became the first focal point of activity at the outbreak of the Great War. Opened on September 29th, 1881, it was already proving inadequate for its job but, in addition to its usual workload, in August 1914 it had to handle all the local telegrams, mobilisation letters and urgent messages involved in the preparations for war.

Company Quartermaster Sergeant Joseph Horne


Company Quartermaster Sgt Joseph Horne, 6006, 2nd Battalion Beds Regt, was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle on March 12th, 1915. He had served in the Army for 18 years and he and his family had returned with the battalion from South Africa at the outbreak of war. He was reportedly in line for a commission at the time of his death.

The above photograph was returned to his family from the battlefield with the message "Anyone finding this, please return to my wife, Mrs J. Horne, 52 Grange Road, Luton, Beds" written on the back.

Private Thomas Richards

Pte Thomas Richards, 6684, 2nd Battalion, Beds Regt, was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle on March 12th, 1915. He was aged 33.

It was a double tragedy for his widow Emma (nee Worsley, born 1881), of 178 Park Street, Luton. Just days before she received the news about her husband, her only child (Stanley Charles Thomas), died on March 26th, aged just six months. The couple were married on October 4th, 1913.

Lance Corporal Alfred Ward

Lance-Corporal Alfred Ward, 5697, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action near Wulvergem in Belgium on January 31st, 1915. He was aged 24.

Generally known as Samson, he was the son of Robert and Mary Ward, of 3 East Avenue, Park Street, Luton. His death had been mentioned in letters from friends at the front before the family received official news. They were not told by the War Office where he had been killed.

Private John Harris Conway

Pte John Harris Conway, 7869, 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment, was killed in action near Ypres on November 20th, 1914. He was born in 1891.

The eldest son of James Stephen Conway and Emma Jane Conway, of 94 Hampton Road, Luton, the 5ft 5in tall soldier had been in the Army since February 1909, joining at the age of 18 years and one month, and left for the front with the Norfolk Regiment at the end of August 1914.

Luton military funeral for local hero

Yesterday [January 15th] a Luton soldier who died in Edinburgh Military Hospital from wounds received at the front was laid to rest in the Luton Church Cemetery. It was probably the first time in the history of the town that a private soldier fatally wounded on a foreign battlefield has found his resting place in his native town, and a very large amount of public interest accordingly centred round the sad ceremony, to which full military honours were given.

Local men party to Christmas truce

Luton soldiers were party to the unofficial Christmas truce that here and there produced a rare few hours of Anglo-German peace amid the carnage on the western front in 1914.

Driver W. Messenger, of C Company, 2nd Bedfordshires, wrote to his parents Mr and Mrs H. Sills, of 115 Park Street, Luton: "We had a better Christmas than I thought we should. On Christmas morning the Germans shouted "Happy Christmas" to us, and we wished them one back.

Private Archer Godfrey

Private Archer (Archie) Godfrey, 3/6526, 1st Battalion, Beds Regt, was killed in action on November 9th, 1914. He was aged 23.

Born in Caddington the son of Alfred and Elizabeth Godfrey, of The Green, he was listed in the 1911 Census as a bricklayer. At the time of his death his family had lived at 32 St Saviour's Crescent, Luton, for two years.

Private Frederick John East


Pte Frederick John East, 3/6435, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on November 7th, 1914. He was killed by a shell during the retreat from Mons.

The 29-year-old had been in the 1st Bedfords for some years and was at Kempston Barracks at the time of the 1911 Census. On the outbreak of war he went to the Front.

Pte East was the son of Emma, who married John Ford and lived at 48 Burr Street, Luton. Before enlistment he had worked at Mr Stewart Hubbard's bleaching and dyeing factory.

Private Albert Smart

Pte Albert Smart, 9352, 2nd Battalion, Beds Regt, was killed in action on October 31st, 1914, near Festubert. Aged 22, he was the son of Mr and Mrs Henry Smart, of 92 Bury Park Road, Luton.

He had been in South Africa with the 2nd Beds for almost 3½ years before the battalion was recalled on the outbreak of war, arriving in England on September 19th. Pte Smart was home on leave for three days before rejoining his regiment and going to the front. He sent his parents a postcard from Zeebrugge in Belgium.


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