Friday, 27 February 2015

Luton Volunteer Corps On The March

Woodside Church, 2007

Saturday 27th February 1915: The men of the Luton Volunteer Training Corps are “fast approaching efficiency”. Until this week they have been carrying out nightly drills, and last Sunday they made their third route march. They left the Volunteer Headquarters in Park Street at 10.30 sharp; headed by their bugle band and led by Commandant H. Cumberland Brown they marched along Park Street and Chapel Street at a good  pace. After Stockwood Crescent, with careful regard for the fact that some of his veterans were not as young as they might be, the Commandant permitted them to “march at ease”, though the bright spring morning made them feel ten years younger. They marched up to Woodside, to the curiosity of the inhabitants, passed Mr Brigg’s house and “formed two deep” to march down along a narrow path to the park. The men fell in to their sections, a roll call was held and the platoons were then put through their paces. The journey back to Luton was a brisk one and the company was dismissed in front of the Corn Exchange shortly before one o’clock.

On Monday evening, at the end of a parade held in the Modern School grounds, the Commandant congratulated the platoons on mastering all their drills in just six weeks. Night parades are now being held regularly at the School thanks to the generosity of the governors and the help of the Luton Gas Company with lighting. They are hoping that they will soon have uniforms and rifles, and they expect the Corps to become a source of pride to the town. Securing uniforms has taken longer than expected as the Army Council refused to allow the V.T.C. to use woollen cloths and serges as these are required for military purposes. Permission has now been given to use woollen material where orders for uniforms had already been placed, and cotton drill and cords will be used in future.

The Corps is now in need of more recruits, being well below strength for a town the size of Luton – they do not want to be beaten by Bedford or St. Albans! It is hoped that more of those men who are over military age are who are not physically fit to join either the Regular or the Territorial forces will join their ranks. A smoking concert is soon to be held at which efforts will be made to generate interest and if possible to enrol more men. Recruits will not only have the satisfaction of doing something for the security of their country, they can also look forward to the physical benefits of exercise.

Source: Luton News, 18th and 25th February 1915

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