Pte Albert Rolfe, 18312, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, died on August 1st, 1916, from wounds sustained in action on the Somme. He had been in France since July 27th, 1915.
Born in Chesterton, near Cambridge, he had joined the Army in December 1914, and before enlistment was employed on the Luton Hoo Estate. He was included on a Luton Hoo roll of honour provided by Lady Wernher's agent, Mr James Baker, that was published in The Luton News in July 1915. In that he was listed as Pte R. Rolfe, Beds Regt.
Pte John Crew, 10479, 2nd* Battalion Beds Regiment, died on May 17th, 1915, from wounds sustained at the battle of Festubert.
He was included on a list of men who had enlisted from the Luton Hoo mansion and estate compiled by Lady Wernher's agent, James Baker. It was published in The Luton News on July 8th, 1915, by which time two were listed as wounded and Pte Crew as killed.
Lady Alice Wernher, as she was known throughout the period of the First World War, was not only the lady of the manor of Luton with her country residence at Luton Hoo, she was also one of the town's biggest benefactors.
Almost every charitable list included her name among the donors, be it meat and vegetables for local hospitals, uniforms for the Luton Volunteer Training Corps, ambulances for the Red Cross at the front, gifts for front-line troops, or paying for buildings in Luton to be converted for military purposes such as hospitals.
Zeppelin airships were the new menace of World War One, putting British civilians in the firing line from the sky. The town of Luton itself was spared any death and destruction from the new threat, but a Zeppelin did drop bombs in the grounds of Luton Hoo on September 24th, 1916 - perhaps the Germans knew that the Hoo was a military HQ. One of the Zeppelin bomb craters at the Hoo is pictured.
On the 29th September, at Luton Hoo Park, Lord Kitchener inspected the men of the 5th Lincolns, 5th, 6th and 7th Sherwood Foresters, which formed the Notts, and Derby Infantry Brigade, under the Command of Brigadier-General C. T. Shipley.
Major E. M. Morris was Brigade Major, and Capt. R. J. Wordsworth was Staff Captain.
The Stafford and Lincoln and Leicester Infantry Brigades completed the North Midland Division, which was commanded by Major-General The Hon. E. J. Montagu Stuart-Wortley.