What was happening in Luton?

This page contains a list of events that occured in Luton and surroundings 1914-1919, as well as global events that affected Luton's people.
When you add an ancestor to this site, it is always a good idea to try and connect them to an 'event' that happened in their life. E.g. if they fought at the Battle of the Somme, then you can make this connection on the 'Add Person' form.

E.g., 19/07/2024
Hoo Review, May 1914
30th May 1914

With war clouds gathering in the summer of 1914, a South Beds Territorial Recruiting Week was opened with a review at Luton Hoo on May 30th, 1914, at which the salute was taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Mr S. Howard Whitbread, in his plumed helmet.

31st July 1914 to 1st August 1914

Mr W.T. Lye, J.P., of Leagrave Hall and of the well-known Luton firm of bleachers and dyers, is to be congratulated on the fact that he and Mrs Lye, with their son and daughter, Mr Ernest B.

31st July 1914 to 2nd August 1914

Mr H. W. Kingston, a director of Messrs Carruthers Bros, manufacturers of Luton, had an unenviable time in getting back from Paris. He was on a continental business journey, and his first call was Paris.

31st July 1914 to 8th August 1914

An entry into Switzerland riding on the step of a railway goods waggon is one of the Rev H. C. Mander's reminiscences of this summer's holidays. Mr Mander, who is a brother of Mr E. A.

1st August 1914 to 4th August 1914

Mr William Weatherhead, an engineer of Dumfries Street, who, with Messrs R. Starke, W. Boyson and W. Breed, went to Ostend on Saturday, had an exciting experience. Rumours were current on Sunday that all English visitors would have to return on the Monday.

2nd August 1914 to 20th August 1914

Mr F. R. Cook, of 74 Ashburnham Road, Luton, has just arrived home after a most exciting voyage from Malta.

4th August 1914

Britain, led by Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, had given Germany an ultimatum to remove their troops from Belgium by midnight of August 3rd.

6th August 1914

Events have moved with appalling swiftness during the past week. Austria is at war with Servia [Serbia], Germany is at war with Russia and France, and we ourselves are on the very verge of war with Germany.

Martin bleaching and dyeing works
12th August 1914

At a meeting of the Bleachers and Dyers Section of the Luton Chamber of Commerce held on Monday, the position of the industry under the present war conditions was carefully considered, and at a general meeting of the industry convened by the section yesterday (Wednesday) the following sta

Vauxhall works c1914
17th August 1914

The Engineering Section of the Luton Chamber of Commerce have decided to request all the members of the section to act in conformity with the following resolution:

Marching troops
23rd August 1914 to 24th August 1914

Luton is now not so full of Territorial visitors for some thousands marched out during the weekend for fresh quarters at Harpenden, but there are still sufficient remaining here for the streets to continue to be unusually crowded in the evening hours.

25th August 1914

MP Cecil Harmsworth's Parliamentary letter: The Luton News, August 27th, 1914.

31st August 1914 to 5th September 1914

Mr Frederick Holland, a young nephew of Mrs Arthur Dimmock, has just arrived in Luton after an exciting escape from Brussels, where he was present during the German entry into the city.

1st September 1914

This young Canadian man was looking for love, and whilst it may seem unusual to modern observers, in WWI it was considered perfectly normal to look for a wife via the workhouse. This young man could offer passage to a new life in another country.


1st September 1914

The Recruiting Committee which organised the recent Territorial boom in South Beds and who managed to draw in enough recruits to bring the local companies of the 5th Battalion, Beds Regiment, almost up to full strength, are now to carry on another campaign in order to gain recruits both f

5th September 1914 to 12th September 1914

The Battle of the Marne (French: Première bataille de la Marne) (also known as the Miracle of the Marne) was a

New recruits
10th September 1914

In Park Square, Luton, a crowd of about 3,000 gathered on Thursday evening around the platform from which speeches were made urging eligible men to respond to the appeal for recruits for the Bedfordshire Territorials.

13th September 1914 to 28th September 1914

The First Battle of the Aisne (French: 1re Bataille de l'Aisne) was the Allied

King at Luton Hoo headline
18th September 1914

A special edition of The Luton News was printed on Friday, September 18th, 1914, following an unannounced visit by King George V to inspect troops at Luton Hoo that day. No Press photographers were present.

Kitchener's Review, Luton Hoo, 1914
29th September 1914

On the 29th September, at Luton Hoo Park, Lord Kitchener inspected the men of the 5th Lincolns, 5th, 6th and 7th Sherwood Foresters, which formed the Notts, and Derby Infantry Brigade, under the Command of Brigadier-General C. T. Shipley.

Trench digging practice
6th October 1914 to 9th October 1914
  • Trench digging practice on Dallow Downs.


8th October 1914


13th October 1914

Luton councillor Murry Barford wrote an article in The Luton News (October 15th, 1914) about an encounter with a Belgian refugee on the 12.15 train from St Pancras on Tuesday.

19th October 1914 to 22nd November 1914

The First Battle of Ypres, also called the First Battle of Flanders (French: 1re Bataille des Flandres

22nd October 1914

Luton was responding to the plight of Belgian refugees displaced as their homes became swallowed up and often destroyed by the German advance.


Soldier footballers
15th December 1914

The players of the Luton Town Football Club have given a fine lead to the members of the other professional clubs throughout the country.

15th December 1914

The Luton News of 17th December 1914 describes how "members of the Luton Town football club have come forward splendidly to join the Footballers' Battalion."

20th December 1914 to 17th March 1915

The First Battle of Champagne (French: 1ère Bataille de Champagne) was fought from 20 December 1914 – 17 March 1915 in

Christmas truce group
24th December 1914 to 27th December 1914

Luton soldiers were party to the unofficial Christmas truce that here and there produced a rare few hours of Anglo-German peace amid the carnage on the western front in 1914.

Pte Harry Gray funeral
15th January 1915

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.

30th January 1915

On the 30th January, 1915, orders were Departure received that the Battalion was to proceed to its War Station at Luton, and Feb. ist, 1915. at 5 p.m.

10th March 1915 to 13th March 1915

The Battle of Neuve Chapelle (10–13 March 1915) took place in the First World War.

21st April 1915 to 25th May 1915

The Second Battle of Ypres was a battle of the First World War fought from 21 April – 25 May 1915 for control of the strategic

25th April 1915 to 9th January 1916

The Gallipoli campaign is important to the town of Luton, due to the sheer number of Lutonians who were fighting there as part of the 1/5th Bedfordshire Regiment. Casulties were very heavy, and it is regarded as the single largest loss of life sustained by the town in a short period of time.

3rd May 1915

The unnamed soldier who held a railway cutting against a German counter attack on Hill 60, turns out to be Sergt.

RMS Lusitania
7th May 1915


[Image: Wikimedia]

The sinking on May 7th, 1915, of the British liner RMS Lusitania by a torpedo fired from the German submarine U-20 had repercussions both around the world and for people living in the Luton and Herts area.

7th May 1915

Luton And The Lusitania

9th May 1915 to 18th June 1915

The Second Battle of Artois (Deuxième bataille de l'Artois or Lorettoschlacht) from 9 May – 18 June 1915 was a battle on the

20th May 1915 to 27th May 1915


25th May 1915

taken from Leighton Buzzard dated 25/05/1915 "The Workhouse barber, who is a Russian, has asked the Guardians to release him from his contract so that he may join the Army. Mrs.