In the British Army, a private (Pte) equates to both OR-1 and OR-2 on the NATO scale, although there is no difference in rank. Privates wear no insignia. Many regiments and corps use other distinctive and descriptive names instead of private, some of these ranks have been used for centuries, others are less than 100 years old.[2] In the contemporary British Armed Forces, the army rank of private is broadly equivalent to able seaman in the Royal Navy, aircraftman, leading aircraftman and senior aircraftman in the Royal Air Force, and marine (Mne) or bandsman, as appropriate equivalent rank in the Royal Marines. The term as a military rank seems to come from the Sixteenth Century when individuals had the privilege of enlisting or making private contracts to serve as private soldiers in military units.

Private Edwin Henry Billingham

te Edwin Henry Billingham, 44636, 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, was killed in action in France on May 30th, 1918, just days before his 19th birthday and only weeks after being sent to France.

The son of William and Ellen Billingham, of 39 Westbourne Road, Luton, he had joined the London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles) in May 1917 and, after training at Winchester and Hounslow, was drafted overseas in April 1918 with the Gloucesters.

Private Arthur Glenister

Pte Arthur Glenister, 14539, 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action near Ypres on November 15th, 1917.

Born in Limbury in 1893, he was one of 11 children born to William and Ellen Glenister. In 1911 the family lived in Salisbury [now Sarum] Road, Leagrave, Arthur working as an engineer in an iron foundry.

Arthur married Nellie Jane Hills at St Paul's Church, Luton, on January 16th, 1913, and the couple were living at 29 Normal Road, Luton. They had two daughters – Gladys, born in 1913, and Hilda, born in 1915.

Private William Glenister

Pte William Glenister, 25053, 11th Suffolk Regiment, was reported missing, believe killed, on April 9th, 1918. He was the 29-year-old son of William and Ellen Glenister, of 74 Saxon Road, Luton.

A report in the Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph on June 3rd, 1919, said Pte Glenister had in fact been officially reported to have died in a German field hospital on July 5th, 1918.

One of 11 children, William was born at Leagrave in 1888 and in 1911 was working as a milkman for Mr Cartwright, Dunstable Road.

Private Henry James Pool

Pte Henry James Pool, 69182, 1/6th Northumberland Fusiliers, was reported to have died of wounds sustained in action in France on April 11th, 1918. After 12 months of training in England, he had been drafted to France only a week earlier, on April 4th.

Born in Bromley by Bow in London to Henry John and Louise Annie Pool, Henry was listed as living with his family in Bow in the 1911 Census. By the time he had joined up he had worked at the Diamond Foundry in Luton and his home address was 86 Grange [now St Peter's] Road, Luton.

Private Ernest Llewellin Godbehear

Pte Ernest Llewellin Godbehear, 44027, 10th Battalion Essex Regiment, died of wounds in France on May 22nd, 1918. He the third son of Thomas James and Emma Godbehear to die, but the first on the battlefield.

Little detail was given in a report in The Luton News, other than to concentrate on his achievements as a boxer. He held the lightweight championship of the 212th Brigade, and was runner-up in the championship of the Division. His parents had received the watch and medals he had been awarded.

Private Stanley George Randall

Pte Stanley George Randall, 69187, 1/6th Northumberland Fusiliers, had been in Flanders only a week when he was posted missing, presumed killed, on April 11th, 1918.

The 19-year-old's last letter to parents Walter and Elizabeth at 220 Wellington Street, Luton, was dated four days previously, on April 7th.

In 1911 Stanley was a schoolboy living at 220 Wellington Street with his parents, two sisters and two brothers. He joined the Army in May 1917 by which time he was working for hat trade blockmakers F. Oakley & Son, of 11 Williamson Street.

Private Arthur George Northwood

Pte Horace George Northwood, 41061, 1/4th King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), was killed in action in France on April 26th, 1918. He was a single man aged 19 and the second of the four sons of Francis and Edith Northwood to die on the battlefield.

Horace, whose home was at 118 Wellington Street, Luton, was killed within two weeks of leaving Ireland on April 14th and being transferred from the Essex Yeomanry.

He was born at Woodside, near Luton, in 1899.

Private Frederick Norman Burchmore

Pte Frederick Norman Burchmore, 17574, 7th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, died in hospital at Boulogne, France, on May 10th, 1918, after being admitted on April 30th with severe gunshot wounds in the chest and extensive internal injuries.

A doctor performed a successful operation to remove shrapnel from around his heart. There had at first been hope of recovery, but his condition deteriorated and he passed peacefully away at the age of 22. He was buried with full military honours on May 12th at St Martin's Cemetery, Boulogne.

Private Herbert Thomas Chambers

Pte Herbert Thomas Chambers, 130271, 59th Machine Gun Corps, was reported missing in Flanders on April 15th, 1918. But it was 11 months later before parents Herbert and Maggie Chambers, of 75 Wimbourne Road, Luton, learned that he had been killed in action on that date.

Herbert was 19 at the time of his death, but had enlisted in the 1/5th Bedfords just before the war, in May 1914. Following the outbreak of war, the regiment was drafted to Gallipoli, but although Pte Chambers volunteered twice to go with them he had to remain in England because of his age.

Private Charles Harold Robinson

Pte Charles Harold Robinson, 51669, 1st Lincolnshire Regiment, was presumed killed in action in Flanders on April 16th, 1918. He was single and aged 19.

He was the son of Fanny Wellard and stepson of David Wellard, of 54 Langley Road [now Latimer Road], Luton, who had initially been notified only that Charles was posted as missing.

Before joining up he worked for hairdresser Mr Holmes, of Park Square, Luton. He is commemorated on the Luton Roll of Honour and in the Luton Book of Life compiled at St Mary's Parish Church.

Private Frederick Leonard Marshall

Pte Frederick Leonard Marshall, 51742, C Company, 61st Battalion Machine Gun Corps, was presumed killed in action on March 22nd, 1918. His Red Cross record lists him as missing near St Quentin in France from that date, although a comrade had reported him to have been killed.

Born in Luton in 1893, Frederick was the only son of Frederick Tarrant Marshall and Edith Marshall, of 18 Langley Street, Luton. He had joined the Beds Yeomanry in October 1914 and later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.

Private Ernest William Pyne

Rifleman Ernest William Pyne, 205137, 9th Battalion King's Royal Rifles, died of wounds shortly after being taken as a prisoner of war by the Germans during their spring offensive on March 27th, 1918.

'Corporal,' as he was known to his friends, was the youngest son of William Benjamin and Mary Ann Pyne, of 39 Beech Road, Luton. He had joined the Training Reserve in March 1917 at the aged of 18, and in December 1917 was transferred to the King's Royal Rifles. He went to France in January 1918.

Private Algernon Wiseman

Pte Aldernon Wiseman, 325958, 1st Battalion Essex Regiment, was killed in action at Cambrai on November 30th, 1917.

Born in Stopsley in 1892, he was a son of Arthur and Mary Jane Wiseman, of 12 Cross Street, Luton. In the 1911 Census he was a grocer's assistant.

Private Thomas William Dean

Pte William (Thomas William) Dean, 60131, 26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action in France on March 24th, 1918, according to his family's entry in the Luton Book of Life compiled at St Mary's Church.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission website gives a date of death of April 2nd, 1918, with William's commemoration on the Arras Memorial.


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