Luton Hoo, country home of Lady Alice Wernher, played a crucial role in World War One. From the outset it became a military headquarters, and was also used as a convalescent home for officers.
In 1914, Luton Hoo Park was the setting for two major military reviews, first by King George V on September 18th and then by Lord Kitchener on September 29th. In February 1915 the War Office and Lord Kitchener accepted Lady Wernher's offer of the use of part of the park and a lake as a military training area.
Tanks, the new weapons of war, became new weapons in funding Britain's war effort in the latter stages of the Great War. "Tank Banks" toured towns and cities to persuade residents to do their duty and buy War Savings Certificates or National War Bonds.
Luton received its visit from a "Tank Bank" in July 1918. The aim was to raised £750,000 here, but midway through its week-long stay tank Egbert, a war-battered mascot of the savings movement, had induced townsfolk to invest just £230,000, leaving £520,000 required in two days to hit the target.
Lady Ludlow presented this park in Tennyson Rd to the people of Luton on 12th June 1920 in memory of her son Alex Pigott Wernher who was killed in action in 1916. She unveiled the war memorial in the park at a ceremony on 10th December 1922 and dedicated the park now officially named Luton Hoo Memorial Park, to all the men of Luton who gave their lives in the Great War.