Sunday 16 November 2014

The Death of a Luton Man

Private Archibald Punter [Luton Almanac 1915, Z1516/4]

Monday 16th November 1914: The 1st Battalion is still in trenches south of the Menin Road, east of Ypres. We have heard that a Luton man has been killed today, along with a number of others. This is Private Archibald Punter [1], who prior to the commencement of hostilities was engaged at the Leagrave aeroplane factory and resided at 26 Dane Road, Luton. He was a Special Reservist and was called up upon mobilisation on August 5th. “He went away with a brave heart to do his duty”, remarked his widow to our representative.

Mrs. Punter has learned more of the circumstances in which her husband met his death. Curiously enough Private Punter was in the trenches with another Luton man – Private Doughty, Ebenezer Street - and they were great “chums”. Private Doughty stated that the two friends were in the trenches side by side, and during a lull in the fighting he turned to Private Punter and said: “We shall have a lot to say when we get back”. “Yes” came the reply “Surely one of the two of us will get back”. A quarter of an hour later a shell burst near them and Private Punter was killed – apparently instantaneously. His chum was left.[2]

Private Punter had given sixteen years of his life in the service of King and country. He went through the South African war and was invalided home after 17 weeks’ enteric fever.[3]

Source: X550/2/5/; Luton News 17th December 1914

[1] The Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry calls him Archer Punter. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate.
[2] And did indeed get back as he seems to have survived the war.
[3] This was the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902). Enteric fever is also known as typhoid.

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