Menin Gate Memorial - Ypres

Private Ballantyne Blake

Pte Ballantyne Blake, 269159, 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment, was reported missing, on July 31st, 1917, following the battle of St Julien. It was nearly a year later that widow Ada Blake was officially told the War Office had concluded that he was killed on or soon after that date.

A comrade had said he saw Pte Blake shot through the head by a machine gun bullet, and he had been left for dead. No further information had been obtained.

Private Albert Edward Munt

Pte Albert Edward Munt, 269647, 1st Battalion Herts Regiment, was killed in action on July 31st, 1917. He was reported missing from that date, but his widow was still awaiting definite news in the following March.

Pte Munt, a native of Wheathampstead, married Lillian Florence Bent in St Albans in early 1911 and the couple moved to Luton. They lived at 11 Oxford Road, Luton, and Albert worked for Messrs Burgess's mineral water works in Luton.

Private John Thomas Brown

Pte John Thomas Brown, 10238, 7th Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), was reported missing, later presumed killed, on August 3rd, 1917. Six months later his widow asked, through The Luton News, for any information about her husband.

Born in Luton in 1876, he was a son of the late John and Ann Brown. He had married Nellie Osborne at Luton Parish Church on August 5th, 1905. At the time of the 1911 Census John was described as a straw trader living at 28 Stanley Street, Luton.

Private Percy Oliver

Pte Percy Oliver, 60380, 11th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action in Flanders on August 10th, 1917.

He was the son of Amos and Eleanor Oliver, of 311 Hitchin Road, Luton. The 1911 Census records him as a 15-year-old general store assistant.

In January 1918 his mother was still appealing for any information about her son, and Percy was included on the 1918 Absent Voters' List.

Corporal Ernest Walter Brooks

Cpl Ernest Walter Brooks, 295316, 2/4th Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), was killed in action on September 20th, 1917. For ten weeks he had been reported missing before official confirmation of his death arrived in late November.

A son of Charles and Emily Ann Brooks, of 108 Ridgway Road, Luton, he had enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment (No. 4483) in 1914 and served in the Gallipoli campaign until he was invalided home with dysentery. He was eventually drafted to the Western Front with the London Regiment.

Private Charles Herbert Halfpenny

Pte Charles Herbert Halfpenny, 32135, 6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in Flanders on August 9th, 1917. According to a letter sent to his widow Dorothy he was the victim of a sniper while he slept.

Charles Halfpenny had joined the Territorials prior to the war and was mobilised with the 5th Bedfords at the outbreak of hostilities. He was wounded during the Gallipoli Campaign and invalided home.

Leaving Halton in November 1916 he went to France, where he was drafted into the 6th Bedfords and again wounded, in May 1917.

Private Stanley Toyer

According to military records, Pte Stanley ('Tom') Toyer, 235151, 2nd Battalion South Lancs Regiment, was killed in action on August 3rd, 1917.

But a lieutenant in his company wrote to parents Alfred and Martha Toyer, of 218 North Street, Luton, to say their son was killed in action on July 31st during the latest advance in the Ypres sector. He was killed by a shell which fell in the trench close to him.

Pte Toyer enlisted in the South Lancs Regiment in September 1916 and had been in France only six weeks when he was killed.

Lance Corporal Herbert Smith

L-Cpl Herbert Smith, 60089, 26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, was the third of five serving sons of Joseph and Jane Smith, of 58 New Town Street, Luton, to lose his life on the battlefield. He died of wounds in Belgium on August 2nd, 1917.

Herbert had enlisted at the outbreak of war into the Bedfordshire Regiment (40374). He was wounded at Gallipoli and invalided home. After recovery he was drafted into the Royal Fusiliers and went to France.

Corporal Vincent William George Ivory

Cpl Vincent William George Ivory, 25690, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in Belgium on July 26th, 1917. He was aged 24 and single.

He had enlisted in the Beds Regiment in January 1916 and a year later was drafted to France. Before joining the Forces he was employed by hat materials merchant J. Briggs & Co, of King Street, Luton.

Private George Charles Sharp

Pte George Charles Sharp, 87044, 17th Company Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), was killed in action on June 15th, 1917.

Comrade Pte A. Tew wrote to widow Rose from the Edmonton Military Hospital: "His last word and thought were of his wife and child. He did not suffer any pain as he was shot through the head and was killed instantly just as we were getting relieved from the trenches. It was hard lines, for in another half-hour he would have been out of the danger zone."

Private Reginald Walter Pakes

Pte Reginald Walter Pakes, 60184, 32nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action in Belgium on June 7th, 1917. He was aged 22.

His mother Harriet Mary Pakes, of 31 Malvern Road, Luton, was first informed from London that he son had been wounded, but later told in a letter from the captain of her son's company that he had been killed in action.

Sergeant John McPheat

Sgt John McPheat, 35986, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action at Messines on June 7th, 1917. He was aged 36.

Born in Perth, Scotland, he enlisted as a volunteer at Luton at the outbreak of war. He served with the 1/5th Bedfords (No. 2961) at Gallpoli, from the Suvla Bay landing to the evacuation of the peninsular. He was finally invalided home suffering from shell shock and dysentery to recover in England before leaving Halton for France with the 2nd Bedfords in January 1917. He fought at Ypres and Messines.

Sergeant Albert Mullett

Sgt Albert Mullett, 19166, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in Flanders on June 2nd, 1917. He was in charge of a Lewis gun company.

In a letter to parents William Frederick and Emily Mullett, of 142 Castle Street, Luton, his commanding officer wrote: "We were heavily shelled in the early hours, and he went off with a Lewis gun and team to a piece of trench isolated by two blocks, the outcome of the bombardment. Just after he had arrived a shell blew in the parapet and he, poor man, was pinned between two pieces of rivetting timber, and died there at once.

Private Ernest Barker


Pte Ernest Barker, 3/7094, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on October 28th, 1914, during the First Battle of Ypres.

Born in December 1892 in Earls Barton, Northants, he was the son of Sarah and the late James Barker, who had married on April 1st, 1888. His widowed mother and three brothers and two sisters came to Luton after the death of James in 1902 and managed a grocery shop in New Town Street. Around the time of Ernest's death they had moved to live at 26 Back Street, Luton.

Private John Alfred Marlow


Pte John Alfred Marlow, 19944, 8th Battalion Beds Regiment, was killed in action near Ypres on April 19th, 1916. Initially he was reported missing and his mother asked for his picture to be published in the Luton News in the hope that comrades who read the newspaper would be able to provide positive news.

Pte Marlow was only 18 years old and lived with parents John and Louisa Marlow at 30 Spring Place, Luton. He had begun working as a nine-year-old as an errand boy for hat manufacturer H. Rosson and Co, of 90-92 Collingdon Street. He later worked in the firm's factory.


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