Lance Corporal

Lanc Corporal StripeJunior to a Corporal. From lancepesade "officer of lowest rank, from obsolete French lancepessade, from Old Italian lancia spezzata, superior soldier, literally "broken lance". Originally referred to as a "chosen man" who would take control of the section if the Corporal was to be killed or wounded

Lance Corporal George Hale

L-Cpl George Hale, 235558, 2/4th East Lancs Regiment, was killed in action in France on March 21st, 1918, the opening day of the German spring offensive of that year. He was reported missing, and parents Richard and Sarah were still awaiting news of him four months later.

George and his family were residing at 43 Wimbourne Road, Luton, when he joined up. He had been in France for about a year.

Born in Luton in 1893, George had previously worked for hat manufacturer Mr Stokes, of Collingdon Street.

Lance Corporal John Hayden Healey

L-Cpl John (Jack) Hayden Healey MM, 102086, 15th Sherwood Foresters (Derby & Notts Regiment), was killed in action at Kemmel Hill, near Ypres in Flanders, on July 16, 1918. He was aged 29 and single and had been a journalist, latterly employed by The Luton News.

In a letter dated July 19th, 1918, to parents Arthur and Florence Ann Healey at 31 Court Road, Luton, a chaplain George Smissen informed them that their eldest son was killed in action three days previously.

Lance Corporal Bertram Stanley Wright

L-Cpl Bertram Stanley Wright, 202053, 1st Battalion Essex Regiment, died in hospital in France on July 7th, 1918, from wounds that he sustained in action two days earlier. He left a widow and a young son in Luton, and had served in France for 14 months.

His officer, Lieut Middleton, wrote to widow Margaret at 7 Butlin Road, Luton, to inform her that her husband wanted her to know that he had been injured in the left leg. Later, a hospital sister wrote to say that L-Cpl Wright was in a critical condition, followed by a second letter with the news of his death.

Lance Corporal Archibald Christopher Allwood

L-Cpl Archibald Christopher Allwood, 41386, 13th Battalion Rifle Brigade, had been in France only a month and in the front line trenches just a day or two when he was killed by a shell which dropped into his dug-out on June 2nd, 1918. He and his comrades died instantly.

The former Luton Modern School pupil was the only son of Luton Borough Special Constabulary Inspector Walter Leonard Allwood and his wife Florence Ruth, of 214 Dunstable Road, Luton. Archibald was two months short of his 19th birthday.

Lance Corporal John Walter Odell

L-Cpl John Walter Odell, 32944, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in France on April 24th, 1918. His death seems not to have been reported in the local Press.

Born in Hemel Hempstead in 1883, he had married Lizzie Impey in Luton in 1902 and lived at 14 Wimbourne Road, Luton. Records suggest the couple had six children.

At the time of the 1911 Census he was a general labourer at the Luton Gas Works in Dunstable Road.

Lance Corporal William Gentle

L-Cpl William Gentle MM, 13200, Royal Army Medical Corps, was killed in action at Meteren in France on April 14th, 1918, while tending the wounded on the battlefield. He was attached to 11th Field Company Royal Engineers.

Chaplain the Rev Lincoln Dudley wrote to widow Kate that her husband had gone out on an errand of mercy and, on his return, was hit by a splinter of shell and killed instantly.

Lance Corporal Jesse Hugh Smith

L-Cpl Jesse Hugh Smith, 42775, 14th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, was killed in action at Bailleul in France on April 19th, 1918.

An officer wrote to tell his mother, Ann Louisa Smith at 34 Peach Street, Luton, that her son was killed by shell fire while carrying rations from the transport waggon to the dug-out. A piece of shell penetrated his heart and death was instantaneous.

The officer added that L-Cpl Smith was buried at Mont Noir, near Bailleul, in a shady spot in the grounds of a chateau.

Lance Corporal John Robert Eames

L-Cpl John Robert ('Jack') Eames, 32217, 4th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in France on April 7th, 1918. He was the second son of William and Harriet Eames, of 107 Cambridge Street, Luton, to die on the battlefield - Gus Eames was killed in February 1916.

As was often the case, the parents were informed that their son, aged 33, had died instantly and painlessly. Widow Gertrude (nee Warren), whom Jack had married at St Paul's Church, Luton, on January 9th, 1909, was informed separately of his death. The couple had two children.

Lance Corporal Ernest David Rattle

L-Cpl Ernest David Rattle, 40902, 1st Herts Regiment, was killed in action in France on March 23rd, 1918. His widow, in ill health and with five small children under the age of seven to care for in Luton, had heard nothing from him since March 18th.

Ernest had been promised home leave, and widow Alice at 12 Naseby Road, Luton, was daily expecting a telegram to say he was on his way. But it was not until August 1919 that the War Office concluded that he had been killed in action or died of wounds on March 23rd, 1918.

Lance Corporal Percy John Cobb

L-Cpl Percy John Cobb, 42279, 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment, was killed in action in France on April 3rd*, 1918. He was aged 19 and single.

An old boy of Queen Square School, he was the son of John and Alma Cobb, of 126 New Town Street, Luton, he worked as a blockmaker for Mr Edward Mouse, of Gordon Street.

He joined the Bedfordshire Regiment on reaching his 18th birthday, and was transferred to the Essex Regiment on crossing the Channel in January 1918. He had been in France for three months.

Lance Corporal John Brown

L-Cpl John Brown, 33017, 8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, died on October 22nd, 1917, from severe wounds sustained in action on October 9th. He was aged 34.

John was working at Hayward Tyler before joining the Bedfordshire Regiment about six weeks after the outbreak of war. Heart trouble kept him on home service until he was transferred to the Leicesters in 1916 and sent to France. He had had no leave since.

Lance Corporal George Henry Howe

L-Cpl George Henry Howe, 27970, 8th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in action in Flanders on September 26th, 1917, the day before his 19th birthday.

His Second Lieut wrote to parents William and Alice Howe at 24 Spring Place, Luton, that theree son had been seen to be wounded on the night of the 26th and it could only be presumed he had succumbed to his wounds as he had not passed through any casualty clearing post.

Lance Corporal Henry Morgan

L-Cpl Henry Morgan, 41476, 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action on August 16th, 1917, although for a long period afterwards he was reported only as missing.

He had enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment (No. 3929) in September 1914 and was drafted to Gallipoli in the Dardanelles campaign the following year. He was invalided home with dysentery and septic poisoning, before being transferred to the Irish Rifles in January 1917 and sent to France.


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