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
9th April 1917 to 12th April 1917

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a military engagement fought primarily as part of the Battle of Arras, in the

16th April 1917 to 9th May 1917

The Nivelle Offensive 1917, was a Franco–British offensive on the Western Front in the

Merchant-Johnston wedding
21st April 1917


Soldiers raid headline
11th May 1917

A strike by engineers engaged in the munitions industry that had begun in Rochdale, Yorkshire, and spread to other parts of the country, had reached Luton by May 1917, leading to a flashpoint involving soldiers at the Labour Club in Bute Street on Friday, May 11th.

2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Volunteers
28th May 1917

At the outbreak of war in 1914 Britain still relied on volunteers to serve in the armed forces. But there were others prepared to do their bit at home as a civilian army in the event of an enemy invasion.

1st June 1917

A clipping from the Leighton Buzzard Observer reports the death of this pilot

3rd June 1917 to 8th June 1917

In order to elicit the sympathies of the boys at the Old Bedford-road Boys’ School, the teachers are stimulating interest in the local hospital at Wardown by egg collecting. It is surprising what can be effected in this way, and some beneficial assistance given.

7th June 1917 to 14th June 1917

The Battle of Messines (7–14 June 1917) was an offensive conducted by the British Second Army, under the command of

10th June 1917 to 16th June 1917


Admitted: 20

Discharged: 10

Remaining in care: 53

Gifts received


Three lost on HMS Vanguard
9th July 1917

Just before midnight on Sunday, July 9th, 1917, disaster struck the Dreadnought battleship HMS Vanguard as she lay at anchor in Scapa Flow in the Orkneys.

Wernher wedding
20th July 1917

What the Luton News hailed as one of the most interesting of Society events took place on July 20th, 1917, with the wedding of Major Harold Augustus Wernher, second son of the late Sir Julius Wernher and Lady Wernher, of Luton Hoo, and Countess Anastasia (Zia) de Torby, elder daughter of the Gran

21st July 1917


Regimental Sports.

27th July 1917

There was a good muster of Biscot boys on Friday evening at a concert given on the ground adjoining the Church Army Hut in Dunstable-road, when Mr. John Gates presided. Mr. W. R. Phillips, J. P.. lent a party of men to erect a, substantial platform, and the arrangements were capably carried out.

28th July 1917

On Saturday afternoon, forty patients from the F.M.S. Military Hospital. Blackmore End. Wheathampstead, and ten patients from Wardown V.A.D. Hospital, were entertained in the large mess-room at Messrs. G. Kent's. Ltd., by the girls of No. 121 Fuse Department.

31st July 1917 to 10th November 1917

The Battle of Passchendaele (or Third Battle of Ypres or "Passchendaele") was a campaign of the First World War, fought by the

25th August 1917

This Saturday afternoon an interesting boxing tournament took place on the Luton F.C. ground, when a military boxing tournament was organised by the Number 6 Reserve Brigade Royal Field Artillery (R.F.A.) in aid of local charities.

8th September 1917

When Elsie Annie Reid married Gunner James Arthur Bint at the Baptist's Union Chapel in Luton on the 8th of September 1917 she was then employed as a munitions worker. Her father's occupation was recorded as a postman and her father-in-law, James Frederick Bint, a smallholder.

13th November 1917

On Tuesday 13th November 1917. King George V, visited Luton to inspect the Thermo munitions works off Hitchin Road, the George Kents works in Biscot Road, and to meet local dignitaries.

George V visit to Luton 1917
13th November 1917

[From The Luton Reporter: Tuesday, November 13th, 1917]

20th November 1917 to 1st December 1917

The Battle of Cambrai (20 November – 7 December 1917) was a British campaign of the First World War.

1st January 1918 to 31st December 1920

The 1918 Flu Pandemic, often know as the Spanish Flu, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic that swept the world between January 1918 and December 1920. This was the first of the two known pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus (the second being the 2009 flu pandemic). 

Col Alexander's Bible
29th January 1918

Col. Alexander’s Farewell.

The Y.M C.A. hut at Biscot was crowded on Tuesday night, when a farewell concert was given to Col. C. H. and Mrs. Alexander. Col. Alexander has been appointed to a still more important command of the Royal Artillery.                  

2nd February 1918

At Wardown (Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital sic) on Saturday, a concert was arranged by Mr. A.F.

Chaul End munitions girls pre-explosion
1st March 1918
  • Some of the munitions girls who were working at Chaul End around the time of the explosion. Injured Eva Poulton may be among them.


21st March 1918 to 18th July 1918

The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser's Battle), also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the

1st June 1918

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"

Women's Land Army meeting
1st June 1918

Saturday, June 1st, 1918, was Maiden's Day in Luton, and the girls in smocks, breeches and leggings made a brave show in the town in the appeal for recruits for the splendid Women's Land Army.

Tank on Market Hill WW1 Luton
8th July 1918 to 13th July 1918

Tanks, the new weapons of war, became new weapons in funding Britain's war effort in the latter stages of the Great War. "Tank Banks" toured towns and cities to persuade residents to do their duty and buy War Savings Certificates or National War Bonds.

20th July 1918

Successful Day at Wardown.

One of those occasions which do so much to foster the right spirit among a large body of men WAS arranged for the R.F.A, depot from Biscot on Saturday, when the regimental sports were held at Wardown.

8th August 1918 to 11th November 1918

The Hundred Days Offensive was the final period of the First World War, during which the Allies launched a ser

Lye fire
15th September 1918

Luton had witnessed some spectacularly destructive fires unrelated to the conflict during World War One.

Armistice Day Saturday Telegraph 1918
11th November 1918

By November 11th, 1914, the full horror and tragedy of world war had become only too evident.

Palace Theatre and Marie Lloyd
11th November 1918

November 11th, 1918 – Armistice Day. And, by coincidence, Luton was able to celebrate with the opening night of what was claimed to be the finest variety bill that the Palace Theatre had ever presented – featuring the legendary music hall star Marie Lloyd.

Saturday Telegraph special edition
11th November 1918

At 11 o'clock on the morning of Monday, November 11 – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 – four years, three months and a week of bloody conflict came to an end in the war that it was hoped would end all wars.

Dobbs memento
12th February 1919

In recognition of service rendered by the members of the town's Special Constabulary, Luton Watch Committee summoned them to a dinner at the Winter Assembly Hall on February 12th, 1919.

22nd February 1919

On 22nd February 1919 Nurse Harriett Sprowson married Staff Sergeant Edwin Alexius Lyons.

'Duds' Concert Party programme
26th February 1919

Luton had enjoyed entertainers from the military, thanks to the Biscoteers from Biscot Camp, who had given their final concerts in December 1918.

27th February 1919

It was reported in the Luton News on 27th February 1919 of one family's unusual experience.

In 1911 Lutonian Albert Barton & his Scottish wife Mary Ann were living at 13 Henry Street.

POW page
13th March 1919

On Thursday, March 13th, 1919, Luton Borough War Prisoners Committee entertained around 200 men who had returned from enemy captivity at a dinner in the Winter Assembly Hall in Waller Street.