Corporal StripesOriginally referred to a reliable veteran called the capo de'squadra or head of the square. The title changed to caporale by the Sixteenth Century and meant the leader of a small body of soldiers. The French picked up the term in about the Sixteenth Century and pronounced it in various ways, one of them being corporal, which indicates a mixing with the Latin word corpus or French corps (body). The British adopted corporal in the Seventeenth or Eighteenth Century and it has been a part of the army ever since. The British gave the Corporal his two stripes when they started using chevrons in 1803.

Corporal William Hart

Cpl William Hart, 17369, 6th Battalion Northants Regiment, died in hospital at Rouen in France on October 1st, 1918, after sustaining a wound in the left arm in action on September 22nd. He was aged 34.

William had joined the Army in October 1914. After serving in France for some time he was invalided home and sent to a London hospital, where he remained for a year, From there he was sent to Summerdown Camp, Eastbourne, to convalesce.

Corporal George Clarke

Cpl George Clarke, 240673, 1/5th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, died of wounds in France on October 29th, 1917. He was one of three sons of widow Mary Ann Clarke, of 338 Hitchin Road, Luton to have served and the first to die. Born in Round Green in 1897, George was described as a straw worker in the 1911 Census.

Under the heading of 'Three patriotic brothers', the Saturday Telegraph carried George's photograph and address along with similar for his brother, Pte Bert Clarke (Middlesex Regt), who had been killed in France on May 27th,1918.

Corporal George Charles Wood

Cpl George Charles Wood, 44637, 9th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, died of wounds in France on September 10th, 1918. He was married, his widow, Lilian Maud, living at 1 Pretoria Villas, Midland Road [now Mostyn Road], Leagrave.

Letters to Lilian from a captain, a chaplain and a casualty clearing station sister indicated that Cpl Wood went into action on September 9th and received a gunshot wound in the head. He immediately lost consciousness and remained in that condition until 8am the following day, when he died.

Corporal Frederick Harry Shackleton

Cpl Frederick Harry Shackleton, 25435, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action at Fricourt in France on August 25th, 1918, two months after first going into action. He was aged 23.

A son of plait merchant Frederick Reeves Shackleton and his wife Ellen, of 27 Clarendon Road, Luton, Cpl Shackleton joined up in January 1916, two days before his 21st birthday.

Corporal Horace Stanley Lowin

Cpl Horace Stanley Lowin, 41475, 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action in Flanders on April 15th, 1918, the date he was initially reported to be missing. He had completed a year's training at Halton, near Wendover, before being drafted out to France in January 1917.

Born in Luton in 1892, he was a son of George and Florence Lowin, of 253 High Town Road, Luton. In the 1911 Census he was described as a clerk.

He is commemorated on the Luton Roll of Honour/War Memorial and in the Book of Life created at St Mary's Parish Church in 1920.

Corporal Harry Meeds

Cpl Henry (Harry) Meeds, 25317, 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, was killed in action in Flanders on April 29th, 1918. He had volunteered just before his death to return to the firing line, having for a considerable time beforehand been doing police duty for another battalion, journeying to and fro with German prisoners of war.

Harry was the son of former undertaker William Meeds and his wife Jennie, of 2 Windsor Street, Luton. He was born in Boscombe, Bournemouth, and was single.

Corporal Lionel Burt Evans

Cpl Lionel Burt Evans, 720752, 24th Battalion London Regiment, was killed in action in Flander on April 5th, 1918. His widow Isabella was given the official news at her home at 219 High Town Road, Luton.

Lionel had joined the Londons at the outbreak of war and was trained at St Albans. He went to France in March 1915 and was wounded at Givenchy, returning to France after recovering from his wounds.

He was a son of Joseph and Elizabeth Jane Evans, born in 1895. He married Isabella Donna Everett at St Albans in 1915 and they had a young son.

Corporal George Thomas Hunt

Cpl George Thomas Hunt, 14574, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on April 24th, 1918. He was aged 28 and single.

The news was contained in a letter to his widowed mother Elizabeth at 13 May Street from Sgt Walby in Cpl Hunt's company. He wrote that her son was hit by a machine gun bullet while they were going over the top on the night of April 24th, and he died a few minutes afterwards.

Corporal Frederick Chance

Cpl Frederick Chance, 22447, 6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, died of wounds at the 48th Field Ambulance station in France on April 8th, 1918. He left a widow and two children in Luton.

He had been in France for two years, the last seven months after a spell of home leave.

Born in Luton in March 1890, he had married Alice Elizabeth Roberts in 1910. The couple lived at 36 New Street, Luton, and had two sons - Ronald and Arthur.

Before enlistment Frederick was employed as a carter by coal merchant Richard Dudley, of Ashton Road, Luton.

Corporal Arthur Ward

Cpl Arthur Ward, 19139, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, died on April 2nd, 1918. He is buried in St Thomas' Churchyard at Stopsley, although he is not commemorated on the Stopsley War Memorial.

No newspaper reports of his death or funeral have so far come to light, but to have been buried locally he would have died in England, probably, as historian James Dyer suggests, in an English hospital from wounds sustained abroad.

Corporal Charles George Marsh

Cpl Charles George Marsh, 201398, 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment, was killed in action in Palestine on December 11th, 1917.

Eldest of 13 children of Charles George and Lily (nee Spacey) Marsh, of 30 St Ann's Road, Luton, he was born in the town in 1891. In the 1911 Census he is described as a moulder at a foundry.

George had spent six years in the Beds Territorials before the war, but when war was declared he was rejected for service. After several attempts he was finally accepted and sent out to Egypt in 1915 with the Norfolk Regiment.

Corporal Thomas Henry Lodge

Cpl Thomas Henry Lodge, 200864, 1/5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, died of wounds in Palestine on November 17th, 1917.

Born in Shoreditch, London, he was a son of William and Esther. At the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his brother Edmund and sister-in-law Emma at 60 Hampton Road, Luton. Thomas, Edmund and Emma all worked for a cardboard box manufacturer.

The Lodge family were later recorded as living at 70 Bury Park Road, Luton.

Corporal Ernest Walter Brooks

Cpl Ernest Walter Brooks, 295316, 2/4th Battalion London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), was killed in action on September 20th, 1917. For ten weeks he had been reported missing before official confirmation of his death arrived in late November.

A son of Charles and Emily Ann Brooks, of 108 Ridgway Road, Luton, he had enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment (No. 4483) in 1914 and served in the Gallipoli campaign until he was invalided home with dysentery. He was eventually drafted to the Western Front with the London Regiment.


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