Luton Borough Police Roll of Honour

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Luton Borough Police Roll of Honour
  • The Luton Borough Police WW1 memorial, as featured in Tom Madigan's book, The Men Who Wore Straw Helmets (The Book Castle 1993). Unfortunately, the memorial seems to have been lost.


Sixteen members of Luton Borough Police Force saw armed service in World War One. Fifteen returned, some having been wounded, but the sixteenth was L-Cpl James Chandler (P/10790, Military Police Corps), who died on February 26th, 1919, from pneumonia in hospital in Cologne while serving with the army of occupation on the Rhine.

Photographs of all 16 men were included on an illuminated scroll memorial donated anonymously by a Luton townsman and which was hung in the Parade Room at the Dunstable Place police station following its presentation at a parade on May 28th, 1920.

The handsome roll of honour contained in a gilt frame measured about 3ft by 2ft. In its report of the presentation, the Luton Reporter newspaper said: “It contains portraits of all the constables who left the force to join the Army and Air Force during the war, mounted in a medallion arrangement and surrounded by laurels and bordered by the borough arms, flags of the allies, pictures of war scenes and floral illuminations, and bears the inscription 'To the honour of the men of the Luton Police Force who served in the Great War 1914-19'.”

The roll of honour, said the newspaper, had been secured through Chief Inspector Janes, Warrant-Sgt Speight and Pc Simpkins. The acceptance of the memorial from Chief Insp Janes was the final act of Chief Constable Charles Griffin before he left Luton to take up the post of Chief Constable of Brighton.

Chief Insp Janes said the roll of honour would serve to show children yet unborn who might ultimately become members of the force that in the hour of the country's need the members of the force were not failing in their duty.

A photograph of L-Cpl (ex-Pc) James Chandler occupied the top position on the memorial. The other officers commemorated were:

William Byron

George Carter

John Henry Causebrook

Percy John Cooper

Thomas William Franklin

Arthur George Fuller

Alfred Goss

Cecil Graves

Thomas William Harbord

James Madigan

Thomas Shaw

George Stanbridge

Herbert Taylor

Arthur Henry Weedon

John Henry Wood

L-Cpl Chandler was born in Alton Hants in 1894 and his parents lived at Berkhamsted. He had married Elizabeth Sarah Baxter in Berkhamsted on November 11th, 1917. He had joined the Luton force in September 1914 and served for about 12 months before joining the Eastern Mounted Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (2070) and later being transferred to the Military Police. He was buried at Cologne Southern Cemetery in Germany, and is commemorated on the Luton War Memorial.

When war had broken out the authorised strength of the Luton force was 52 men of all ranks, but military enlistments reduced police numbers to 36 by the end of 1917.

After the war, the final four officers waiting to return – Constables Carter, Franklin, Madigan and Weedon who had served since 1915 – were finally demobilised in August 1919.

Pc Harbord, Pc Graves and Pc Stanbridge had all been wounded on active service, while Pc Causebrook was awarded the French Medaille Militaire, the only military decoration gained by any member of the Luton force.

At the end of 1919 the strength of the Luton force was 60, including a dozen new men, all of whom were entitled to wear war service ribbons.

Luton Borough Police Roll of Honour

Author: Deejaya

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