Thursday 17th February 1916: Today’s edition of the Luton News carries an interesting story of how the paper helped the family of a missing soldier, which we copy in full: “The usefulness of the Luton News and Saturday Telegraph in locating “lost” relatives was brought to our notice the other day in a very human little story”.
“Lance Corporal William Brown, 9899, of the Bedfordshire Regiment, was mentioned in a casualty list and the War Office sent a notification the other week to Mr Frederick Charles Brown, who was understood to be living in Guildford-street, Luton. However, the letter was returned to the Record Office endorsed “Gone away”. Then the Army authorities requested the Luton police to find out where the brother had gone. Their efforts were fruitless and so they resorted to the papers mentioned and we inserted an account of the facts of the case. The result was that immediately several relatives of Lance Corporal Brown communicated with Chief Constable Tearle”.
“One of these is Mrs Groom, who is at present staying in North-street, Luton. Our representative interviewed Mrs Groom and she explained that the family belonged to Aspley Guise. Her brother, Mr Frederick Charles Brown, left Guildford-street some time ago, and being a Territorial in the East Anglian Royal Engineers was called up at the beginning of the war and is now in France”.
“Lance Corporal Brown has been with the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment for some years, and is 22 years of age. He went to the Front with the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment and a year last October they heard he was missing and then that he was wounded and a prisoner of war. Since then conflicting rumours have reached the relatives, who suffered great anxiety”.
“Mrs Groom wrote to the Record Office for the notification which was returned from Luton, and on Monday had a reply from the Record Office stating that Lance Corporal Brown is a prisoner of war at Gardelegen, Germany, and promising to communicate any further information”.