E5 Event

First 'Derby recruits' on parade in Luton


These were among the first of hundreds of men called up under the Derby Scheme for training with the London Royal Field Artillery at Biscot Camp. They were photographed at Beech Hill School - some still in civilian clothes - by a Luton News photographer on April 25th, 1916. The group seated included Major V. F. Fitch and other officers, physical training instructors and NCOs.


Royal visitor at Biscot Camp


On April 10th, 1916, Princess Victoria Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, visited Luton to open a new YMCA hut at Biscot Camp. Here she is pictured on the right of Mayor Alderman John Staddon.

The line-up captured by photographer W. H. Cox was, from the left, Town Clerk William Smith, Councillor and Mrs Stewart Hubbard (donors of the hut), Mayoress Mrs Staddon, the Mayor, Princess Victoria, Lady Wernher of Luton Hoo, Lady in Waiting, and Mr A. K. Yapp, General Secretary of the YMCA, who accepted the hut on behalf of the organisation.

Wardown House becomes V.A.D. hospital


The transfer of the hospital within Wardown Mansion from the divisional military authorities to the local Voluntary Aid Detachments of the British Red Cross took place on Monday, November 8th, 1915.

It was now to be used for the reception of wounded troops who could not be accommodated in military hospitals elsewhere. Initially they were to be drafted there from Aylesbury. The hospital had to provide 50 beds for wounded soldiers, with an additional 12 beds to be reserved for soldiers stationed in and around the town.

Yellow Devils recruiting rally


"Luton has done well, but can do better." This message, emblazoned across the front of the Town Hall, is what today's great military demonstration has sought to impress upon the men of Luton and district.

The demonstration had as its starting point the East Ward Recreation Ground, and the programme provided for units taking part in the parade of the town to assemble there at 2.15 and march off at 2.30. But considerably before two o'clock the Park Street part of the town was all alive.

Lutonians who served at Gallipoli


On June 5th, 1915, the 1/5th Bedfords ended a gruelling 60-miles farewell march around the county in Luton (picture above). They knew they were about to leave for foreign service, but not the date or destination as far as the men were concerned. A little over seven weeks later, in the early hours of July 26th, they were given a rousing send-off by the people of St Albans as they boarded trains to take them to Devonport to sail eventually to Gallipoli. (Follow this link for more Gallipoli stories).

Riot 1919: Mayor Impey back in Luton

It was popularly believed that after Mayor Henry Impey fled his seven-hour ordeal of being barricaded in Luton Town Hall during the Peace Day riots on July 19th, 1919, that he never returned to the town.

In fact he was back as early as the following Thursday, July 24th, albeit on a surprise flying visit lasting only about an hour. He briefly had talks with Town Clerk William Smith at the Carnegie Library before giving an interview to the Luton Reporter and Luton News newspapers. The Reporter article said:

Maiden's Day

A 'Recruiting Campaign for Girls' was reported in the Luton News in May 1918 in an effort to help enrol 30,000 maidens to the land.

" We refer to the struggle to obtain food from the land"

The harvest had long been taken for granted but now due to the war,  the men that had worked the land were no longer able to do it & it was now up to the people on the home front to prepare & gather it.

Zeppelin air raids on Bedfordshire

Zeppelin airships were the new menace of World War One, putting British civilians in the firing line from the sky. The town of Luton itself was spared any death and destruction from the new threat, but a Zeppelin did drop bombs in the grounds of Luton Hoo on September 24th, 1916 - perhaps the Germans knew that the Hoo was a military HQ. One of the Zeppelin bomb craters at the Hoo is pictured.

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.


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