The Luton News/Saturday Telegraph

Sergeant William John Arthur Saxty


Sgt William John Arthur Saxty, 4749, 60th Battalion Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), died at a dressing station in France on February 9th, 1917, from wounds sustained on the battlefield.

Born in Bath in 1881, he was aged 36 and married to Geraldine with four children (John, Hubert, Albert and Beatrice), aged 14 years to five months, living at 40 High Town Road, Luton.

Major Godson, of his regiment, wrote: "He came to me as a private at Grantham and his rapid promotion has been entirely due to his devotion to duty, and I feel very keenly his loss."

Rifleman Frederick Horace Rookwood


Rifleman Frederick Horace Rookwood, 3253, 17th Battalion London Regiment (Poplar and Stepney Rifles), was killed in action on the Somme on October 1st, 1916. He was aged 27.

Widow Kate and parents James and Clara, of 14 Ashton Street [later Gillam Street], Luton, heard the news first from Frederick's brother-in-law, who said he had seen Frederick's grave, "which is very nicely laid out". [The grave was probably lost as Frederick is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial for soldiers with no known grave].

Private Ernest Samuel Brandom


Pte Ernest Brandom, G/14511, 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme on September 9th, 1916. He was aged 20.

He joined up soon after war broke out and left for the Front just a couple of months before his death. Parents Frederick George and Sarah Ann Brandom lived at 38 Duke Street, Luton.

At the time of the 1911 Census, 15-year-old Ernest was described as a grocer's assistant.

2nd Lieutenant Richard Reeve Emmens


Second Lieut Richard Reeve Emmens, 7th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme on September 4th, 1916. He was aged 23.

Born in Birmingham, the public school boy was engaged for 12 months before the war as a chartered accountant with Mr Thomas Keens, Secretary of the Luton Chamber of Commerce. He is included on the Luton Roll of Honour with an address at Cardiff Road, Luton.

Private Arthur William Fensome


Pte Arthur William Fensome, 6485, 71st Company Machine Gun Corps, died on September 27th, 1916, from wounds sustained on the Somme.

Born in 1888, he was the eldest of ten children of Samuel Fensome and his wife Ellen (nee Summerfield), of Ramridge End Lane [now Ashcroft Road], Stopsley. He enlisted in 1915, having previously worked for Bracey Bros, dyers, of 28 John Street, Luton.

Wrest Park fire and evacuation


Up to 200 wounded soldiers were safely evacuated by V.A.D. nurses from Wrest Park mansion when a devastating fire broke out on Thursday, September 14th, 1916, at the stately home that had been in use as a military hospital since November 1914.

Damage initially estimated at around £10,000 was caused at the country home of Lord Lucas, which was extensively damaged. Any furniture, paintings, books and other valuable items that could be rescued were placed in specially erected marquees.

Gunner Montague George Fountain


Gunner Montague George Fountain, 132456, Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action on the Somme on August 24th, 1916, less than a fortnight after arriving in France.

He was aged 32 and had joined the R.F.A. at Biscot Camp in March 1916. He was billeted there for some time, and after four months training was drafted to France.

Lance Sergeant Joseph Frederick Plater


L-Sgt Joseph Plater, 8393, C Company, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme on September 3rd, 1916. He was aged 29 and left a widow Ellen Beatrice (nee Bingham) and one son, Ronald (born 1913).

Writing to Mrs Plater at 73 Dudley Street, Luton, Capt S. Norrish said her husband was killed by a shrapnel bullet while leading his men in an advance. He died almost instantly.

Private Albert Ford


Pte Albert Ford, 25327, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, died on July 17th, 1916, of wounds sustained on the Somme. He was aged 19 and the second son of John and Emma Ford, of 48 Burr Street, Luton, to die on the battlefield.

Pte Ford was a "Derby" recruit and was called up five months previously. He was drafted into the Bedfords and had been at the Front only a short time. A letter from the Record Office to his mother said he son had been buried in the Dive Copse Cemetery,

Before enlisting he work at the bleaching and dyeing firm of Mr Stewart Hubbard.

Private Charles William Webb


Pte Charles William Webb, 13085, B Company, 6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action around Trones Wood on the Somme at the age of 18. Military records say he was killed on July 10th, while in a letter home his brother Eli in the same regiment said it happened on Sunday, July 9th.

Military records also say Charles was born in Barton, whereas the 1901 and 1911 Census returns say he was born in the parish of Caddington and he and his family were living at Farley Green, near Luton.

Private Herbert Graves


Pte Herbert Graves, 20098, 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme on July 1st, 1916. He was aged 25.

A memorial service for him was held at Breachwood Green Baptist Church on July 23rd, 1916, after one of his chums from Darley Hall said in a letter home that Pte Graves had failed to answer the usual roll-call three times in succession. His death was recorded in a list of Beds Regiment casualties issued on July 26th.

Private Lionel Ralph Worsley


Pte Lionel Ralph Worsley, 3/7730, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action in the Big Advance at the start of the Battle of the Somme on July 1st, 1916. He was aged 33, married and lived at 24 Ash Road, Luton.

He and his comrades had leapt over the parapet, and Lionel, a bomber, was pointing out to his gunner pal a number of enemy troops in a trench when a sniper shot him in the head. He fell back into his comrades arms and died instantly. The Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph said he had been buried in a hero's grave at Carnoy.

Private Stanley Walter Fensome


Pte Stanley Walter Fensome, 15296, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on July 1st, 1916. He was aged 20 and the eldest son of Luton bootmaker Mr Walter Fensome and his wife Elizabeth, of 63-65 Duke Street, High Town.

The sad news for his family was contained in a letter from the Wesleyan Chaplain to the battalion, the Rev G. Jarvis Smith. He said Stanley was killed in action on the Saturday morning and he had found his body soon after the battle was over. Stanley was given a Christian burial and the spot where he fell had been carefully marked.

Private Frederick Herbert Carter


Pte Frederick Herbert Carter, 15249, D Company, 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme on July 1st, 1916. He never again got to see his wife, Jessie (nee Walters), of King's Road, Luton, after he married her while on leave a year earlier and had had to make a hurried return to his regiment.

Jessie received the official notification of he husband's death on July 20th. He had gone to France on July 26th, 1915, and was never fortunate enough to get home leave afterwards.

Private Harry Bacchus


Pte Harry Bacchus, 9272, 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action near Maricourt, on the Somme, on June 29th, 1916. He was aged 29.

Pte Bacchus was employed by coal merchants John Facer and Son until about 1908, when he joined the 2nd Bedfords. Since then he had spent a considerable amount of time abroad, serving in Bermuda, Malta and South Africa. He had returned from Africa at the beginning of the war.


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