Driver (Dvr) was a military rank used in the British Army and the armies of other Commonwealth countries. It was equivalent to the rank of Private.

The rank was initially used in the Royal Artillery for the men who drove the teams of horses which pulled the guns. It was phased out after the First World War (when all Royal Artillerymen of the lowest rank were redesignated as Gunners). It was also used in the Royal Australian Artillery and Royal Canadian Artillery.

It was also used by all the Private-equivalents of the Royal Army Service Corps and later the Royal Corps of Transport, no matter what their trade. When the RCT amalgamated to form the Royal Logistic Corps in 1993 the rank finally disappeared from the British Army.

Driver Horace Coles

Driver Horace Coles, 524501, 360th Water Coy Royal Engineers, died in the 24th Stationary Hospital, Kantara, Egypt, on January 26th, 1919, from bronchial pneumonia following influenza. He had been admitted to hospital on the 18th.

Born in 1894, a son of Arthur William Coles, he had lived with his brother Sidney at 7 Wenlock Street, Luton, and enlisted in August 1915. After training at Marlow, Essex, he was drafted to Egypt in July 1917.

Prior to enlistment he was employed by dyers T. Lye & Co, New Bedford Road.

Driver Walter Shane

Sapper Walter ('Dick') Shane, 522394, 486th Field Company Royal Engineers, died from bronchitis and pneumonia in hospital in Egypt on November 22nd, 1918. He was aged 21 and single.

Born in Luton in April 1897, Walter had had joined the Bedfordshire Regiment in August 1914 but was later transferred to the Royal Engineers, with whom he served in the East for over three years until being invalided to hospital in Cairo.

Driver Henry William Wilkinson

Pte Henry (Harry) William Wilkinson, 60108, 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action in France on November 5th, 1918, while serving in a machine gun section. Born in Luton, he was aged 23 and single.

In a letter to widowed mother Ruth Wilkinson at 29 Butlin Road, Luton, an officer said: “I am writing to tell you how sorry I am that your son was killed in action on the 5th. He was buried by the padre just outside a little village with several others of the regiment.”

Driver Percy Albert Horwood

Driver Percy Albert Horwood, 208439, 282nd Brigade Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action in France on the morning of November 1st, 1918. He was aged 28 and a son of Old Bedford Road hat manufacturer Joseph Albert Horwood and his wife Lucy, who lived at 41 Biscot Road, Luton.

Driver Bertie Frederick Eales

Driver Bertie Frederick Eales, 797123, 246th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action on October 14th, 1918. In a letter of sympathy widow Ellen Emma Eales, Sgt W. H. Senior wrote: “It was caused by hard luck, just a chance shell that happened to be fatal for that team. I was not present when it happened, being at the guns for which your husband was fetching ammunition.”

Driver Frederick Leslie George Braybrook

Driver Frederick Leslie George Braybrook, 528055, 54th Division Signals Coy Royal Engineers, died from typhoid fever in the 48th Stationary Hospital in Egypt. He was aged 25 and single.

He had volunteered in January 1915 and was drafted to the Dardanelles and later Egypt and General Allenby's Palestine Campaign, taking part in the Battle of Gaza.

Born in Clophill in 1893, he was the eldest son of Frederick and Emma Elizabeth Braybrook, of 3 Park Road West (now Strathmore Avenue), Luton. He had worked as an iron moulder at the Diamond Foundry in Dallow Road.

Driver Harry Tompkins

Driver Harry Tompkins, 90111, 78th Field Company Royal Engineers, died in Abbeville Hospital, France, on Good Friday, March 29th, 1918, from wounds received at Mons.

He was aged 42 and, although born in Luton, Bedfordshire, he was living with his wife and six children in Luton, Chatham, Kent, when he enlisted.

Driver Percy Charles Perkins

Percy met a tragic end, in a house in Luton.

Billeted in town whilst serving with 6th Reserve Brigade. Royal Field Artillery; for whatever reason, he commited suicide.

He hailed from East Ham, married to Flora Perkins, father of two children

We can only guess at the mental anguish this man felt which, made him take his own life.

Percy, you are remembered.


The Luton News: Thursday, December 17th, 1918.

Driver Charles Mayhew

Floral tributes with the words "A Hero of Mons" were borne on the Union flag-covered coffin of Driver Charles Mayhew, 41932, 8th Reserve Battery, Royal Field Artillery, when he was buried with full military honours at Biscot Churchyard in January 1918.

Born into a Suffolk family, Charles died on January 15th, 1918, at the home of his married brother Alfred ('Dick') at 54 Hampton Road, Luton. He had been discharged from the Army as medically unfit after being invalided home about a year earlier following an illness contracted in service at Mons, Marne, Ypres and La Bassee.

Driver Stanley Fensome

Driver Stanley Fensome, 124499, Royal Field Artillery, died in hospital in Palestine on December 2nd, 1917, as the result of an infection. He was aged 22.

Stanley was the nephew of Mrs Louisa Walker, of 39 Chase Street, with whom he had lived since chldhood. He joined up in 1915, having previously worked for carter Mr Pollard, of New Town Street, Luton.

Driver Horace Ward

Driver Horace Ward, 124232, 91st Brigade Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action while taking ammunition to the firing line in Flanders on October 8th, 1917. He was given a battlefield funeral with full military honours

Driver Horace Gwynn Harding MM

Driver Horace Gwynn Harding, 810760, 'A' Battery, 232nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, died in the 61st Casualty Clearing Station in Flanders on September 15th, 1917, from the effects of a gas attack the previous day.

Driver Harding had been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry. That was presented to his mother Florence Annie, of 87 Saxon Road, by the Mayor of Luton, Councillor Charles Dillingham, in March 1918 at the Winter Assembly Hall in Luton.

Driver Walter Gylee

Driver Walter Gylee, 184771, 88th Battery, 14th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds in France on August 11th, 1917. He was born and bred in Lincoln but for a time had been a junior assistant with Wootton & Webb pharmacists on Market Hill, Luton.

He had taken his job at Luton after war broke out and was hoping to obtain his full qualifications as a pharmacist. But he joined the R.F.A. in October 1916 and had been in France only a few weeks when he died of wounds received on the battlefield.

Driver Bertie Frederick Eales

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.


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