Cpl Alfred Edward Bertram Burgess, 204386, 12th Battalion East Surrey Regiment, died in a dressing station on August 1st*, 1917, from wounds sustained while serving in a trench in Flanders.
A letter from his Captain to parents Edward and Elizabeth Clara Burgess in Luton said their son had been badly wounded in the trench and died of wounds in the dressing station. He had been conscious for only a few minutes after a shell burst and he passed away despite all being done for him that could be. [*The letter indicated that death had occurred on July 31st].
Pte Humphrey Winton Worthington, 19589, 11th Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment, was killed in action on July 31st, 1917. The Luton doctor's son, aged 19, had been transferred from the Norfolk Regiment (32417) only a short time earlier.
News of his death was received by his sister Elizabeth from Cpl H. E. Courtney, Royal Engineers. He wrote: "Your brother Winton was found dead this morning on the battlefield, killed by a piece of shell striking his heart. He must have died instantly."
Pte Walter Watton Page, 269777, 1st Battalion Herts Regiment, died on July 31st, 1917, from wounds sustained in action in Belgium. He had joined the regiment the previous September and underwent training at Halton Camp.
Born in Peckham, London, the son of butcher Walter Page and his wife Alice, Pte Page had built up his own hairdressing business from the family home at 21 Bailey Street, Luton.
On July 28th, 1915, he married Alice Maude Ada Robins at Luton Parish Church and they had a daughter, Mollie Winifred, born on June 30th, 1916.
Pte Walter Brazier, 40379, 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment, was killed in action at Chateau Wood, near Ypres, on July 31st, 1917, the date of the start of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). He was aged 21 and left a widow, Olive.
Pte Brazier had been in the Army for only six months, and just 11 weeks in Flanders. Letters from comrades to his wife said he was hit by a piece of shell and died instantly.
Sapper Arthur Page, 524547, 228th Field Company Royal Engineers, died on July 23rd, 1917, from multiple shell wounds to the head received in Belgium. The 31-year-old had been taken to the No 10 Casualty Clearing station.
Arthur Page and his wife Fanny Elizabeth came to Luton soon after their marriage at Abbotsley, near St Neots, on April 1st, 1907. Arthur was a parcels van man for the Midland Railway in Luton for eight or nine years before joining up.
Bertie Breed was born in 1882, 1 of 8 children born to William & Mary Ann.
In 1891 he is a 10 year old school boy & is living with his family 192 High Town Road. His father William is 41 years old & working at the Gas Stove factory, his 41 year old mother Mary is a straw hat sewer, at home whilst looking after 4 year old Eunice & 2 year old Sidney. His 14 year old brother Ernest is working as a servant boy.
Pte Samuel George Whittington, 200564, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action under shell fire near Ypres on July 18th, 1917. He was aged 34, married and had a daughter.
Capt S. Tabor sent the news to widow Nellie at 79 Hastings Street, Luton. Pte Whittington had seen only eight weeks service with the battalion in France, although he had joined the Beds Regiment in another battalion at the outbreak of war.
Bertie Frederick Eales was born in Luton in 1886. Eldest child of 6 born to Edwin & Kate.
In early 1911 26 year old Bertie married Ellen Emma Shaw & at the time of the census in April that year they had set up home together at 104 Bury Park Road. Both are working in the hat trade, Bertie is a warehouseman & Ellen in a straw hat finisher.
In 1912 their son Bertram Reginald was born, but sadly on 25th July 1915 he died.
Percy Gurney was born in Luton in January 1893. He was 1 of 8 children born to Tom & Emily.
In 1911 Percy is 17 & living at 48 Hartley Road with his family that are all working from home in the hat trade. His father Tom is 42 & a self employed straw hat manufacturer, his mother Emily, 40 & 19 year old sister Emily Rosa, are both straw hat finishers & younger brother, 16 year old Frederick George, is a straw hat machinist. His 12 year old sister Lizzie is at school.
In 1911 Sydney is 29 years old & living with his family at 52 Ash Road & working as a straw hat packer with A. Hucklesby & Co, by whom he had been employed from the age of 17. Lizzie is 28 & working as a straw hat machinist at home whilst looking after their children, 6 year old Doris & 4 year old Sidney Charles. Lizzie's 73 year old widowed father George Gregory is also living with them in this 4 roomed house.
Percy Luck was born in 1884 in Luton, 1 of 4 children born to William & Sarah Ann.
In 1911 Percy is 17 years old & assisting in the family business of bakers & confectioners at 38 Bury Park road. His 50 year old father, 50 year old mother & 19 year old sister Nellie May are all working at the bakery. Percy's paternal aunt Ada Williamson, 44 is living with them, so is their general domestic servant 22 year old Edith Aston.
Pte Ernest James Elsdon, 18971, 8th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was reported missing, later killed in action, at Hulluck, near Loos, on July 12th, 1917. He was aged 20 and single.
He had joined up when he was 18 and, after training at Ampthill, went to France in January 1916. He was wounded in the thigh the following April, but had recovered by October and returned to the firing line. He was then wounded in the face and, despite losing the sight of an eye, again returned to action in France, serving in the machine gun section.
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."
Christopher Shepheard was born on 22nd April 1892 in Luton, 1 of 10 children born to Sydney & Ellen.
In 1911 Christopher is 18 years old & working with his twin brother Harold as a warehouseman within the straw hat trade & living at 14 Rothesay Road with his family. His 63 year old father Sydney is a house painter, his brother John Sidney, 40 is a self employed straw hat manufacturer alongside his 36 year old sister Hellen Eliza, Lilley Louisa, 38 is a straw hat finisher & 29 year old George Henry is a carpenter & joiner.