Hitchin Road

Lieutenant Cyril Edward Franklin


Lieut Cyril Edward Franklin, East Anglian Royal Engineers, died on February 20th, 1917, from wounds sustained on the Somme. His widow Annie was reported to have received notification to that effect from the War Office the following day, although some records say "killed in action".

Cyril Franklin, who was just short of his 30th birthday, was the son of Edward and Elizabeth Franklin, of 57 Dale Road, Luton. Edward Franklin was an inspector with the Luton Borough Police, until he retired about two years previously and went to live in Stanbridge.

Private Bertram Hubert Spalding


Pte Bertram Hubert Spalding, G/14865, Bedfordshire Regiment attached to the 13th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme on October 27th, 1916. He was aged 19.

Comrade and close friend Pte J. G. Stevens wrote to parents Bertram and Emma Spalding at 204 Hitchin Road, Luton, to inform them that their son and he were engaged on operations late at night under German fire when Bert was struck and killed instantly. He was buried the next morning.

Lance Corporal Thomas John Heley


L-Cpl Thomas John (Jack) Heley, 15743, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, died on September 29th, 1916, from wounds sustained on the Somme.

Born in Leighton Buzzard in 1883, he had moved to Luton by 1911 and was living at 180 Wellington Street with his widower father, Fred, and a younger brother and two sisters. He was employed as a carpenter by builder Mr Arthur Cole, of 183 High Town Road.

Private William Cooper


Pte William Cooper, 20266, 8th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, died on September 18th, 1916, from wounds sustained in action on the Somme. He was aged 21 and died on an ambulance barge in France.

Born in Ayot St Peters in June 1895, Herts, he was one of ten children born to John and Ann (Annie) Sophia Cooper, who were living at 352 Hitchin Road, Luton, at the time of his death. In the 1911 Census William was a farm labourer living with his parents and three older brothers and two old sisters at 44 Round Green, Luton.


Private Charles Wood


Pte Charles Wood, 27844, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme on September 5th, 1916.

Born in 1878, he was one of ten children of widow Mrs Louisa Wood and the late Mr George Wood (died 1908), of 74 Hitchin Road, Luton. Three sisters living at home were sent news of Charles' death.

Before enlistment he was a straw hat blocker working for Mr E. Burgess, 28 Old  Bedford Road. He attested under the Derby Scheme and was called up in March 1916. He went to the Front just five weeks before his death..


Private Francis James Blake


Pte Francis James Blake, 13406, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on April 19th, 1915. He was aged 19.

He and his family had moved to Luton from Stamford, Lincolnshire, shortly before the war and he enlisted in the Bedfords in September 1914, serving much of the time at the front.

At the time of the 1911 Census, Francis - along with six sisters and four brothers - was living with parents George and Carrie at 19 Bentley Street, Stamford. His father was a chandler and he was a chandler's apprentice.

Private Thomas James Holliman


Pte Thomas James Holliman, 18236, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on May 6th, 1915 (CWGC record, but chums at the time said May 5th). He lived at 404 Hitchin Road, Luton, and was aged 28.

An old Volunteer, he joined the 3rd Battalion Beds Regt just before Christmas 1914 and was quickly transferred to the 1st Bedfords before being sent to France.

Corporal Percy William Graham


Cpl Percy William Graham, 9200, 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) was killed in action at Neuve Chapelle On March 10th, 1915. He was aged 22.

He was the son of Mrs Mary Jane Graham, licensee of The Harrow pub in Hitchin Road, Luton, whose husband James William, an old soldier, had died eight weeks earlier at the age of about 74.

Cpl Graham was born in Luton and was a pupil at Waller Street Schools. He attended St Matthew's Church, High Town, and had worked in a local foundry.

Stopsley War Memorial


Stopsley War Memorial, commemorating the 24 men of the village who fell in the Great War, was unveiled by Mr Ben Hartop on March 27th, 1921, in front of a crowd of several hundred people.

The memorial was placed on the site of the old Well House Green (now the junction of St Thomas' Road and Hitchin Road). The site was given by Lady Wernher, of Luton Hoo, who would have unveiled it had she not been away on the Continent at the time.

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