Club milestone for DS&S members

Ivy Leaf Club, Park Street

On Saturday, December 7th, 1918, the Luton branch of the National Federation of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers (DS&S) formally opened their newly acquired HQ, the Ivy Leaf Club in Park Street. The premises had previously been used by Volunteers and Territorials as their headquarters for many years.

The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs M. Plummer. It had been hoped the building would have been opened with a key made from a bayonet which was used at Gallipoli and Suvla Bay, but it unfortunately had not been made in time.

Among the guests who had assembled in the adjoining Salvation Army hall before proceeding to the new club were several returned prisoners of war, plus the two candidates for the forthcoming General Election – Mr Willet Ball (Labour) and sitting MP Mr Cecil Harmsworth (Lib-Con coalition).

The club was to have been opened by Mrs Andrew Carruthers, who was unable to attend. In he absence she was thanked for the gift of a billiard table and meeting the cost of fitting it up.

Treasurer and former Chairman Mr Herbert W. Booth said the day was a milestone in the history of the DS&S. He little thought just over 12 months previously, when they set up a small office in Castle Street and started with a membership of about 50 that they would see the day rapidly dawn when they would have a building like the present one and a membership of about 800.

Councillor Walter Primett complimented the committee and members on the acquiring and fitting out of the premises. Many of the members had been over the top on the battlefield, and few civilians could conceive what that meant. The men never boasted about these things, and very often their experiences had to be literally wormed out of them. They had looked on it merely as a common duty.

In the evening a “free and easy” smoking concert was held, and a billiard match was played between W. J. Randall and F. Gentle, two well-known local amateurs. The game was won by Mr Randall.