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The Luton Peace Riots - Saturday Night Casualties

The burning Town Hall [Z1306/75]
The burning Town Hall [Z1306/75]

The Luton News of 24th July 1919 detailed casualties in the Saturday night's riot as follows:

THE INJURED POLICE 

"As has already been mentioned, the police casualties were very heavy, practically every member of the force sustaining some injury from the attacks of the infuriated mob. Many were attended by Dr. Archibald, the Medical Officer of Health and Police Surgeon at the Police Station, but in some instances the injuries were so serious as to necessitate the removal of the patients to [sic from] the Police Station".

"These were: - Inspector Hunt: several injuries to the stomach and legs, and abrasion on the head. P. C. Sear: Badly cut head and lacerated ear. P. C. Taylor: Severe stomach injuries, P. C. Silvester: Severe stomach injuries. Special Constable Carter: Injuries to the head. A civilian named George Fowler, of 6 Albert-terrace, was also admitted to hospital suffering from wounds on the head, which he says were due to being knocked over by the fire engine".

"P. C.'s Sear, Taylor and Silvester are all ex-Service men and the officers generally were very roughly handled. All, however, happily made quick progress under the care and attention of the hospital staff".

FIREMEN CASUALTIES

"The attitude of the crowd towards the Fire Brigade was one which, like others connected with this disaster to the town, would be unthinkable had the people in the streets not gone mad for the time being, and lost all their reasoning powers".

""The firemen were rendered splendid assistance", says Chief Officer Andrew, "by a number of discharged soldiers, serving soldiers, regular and special constables, but they were all laid out one after the other"".

"The casualty list among the firemen was as follows: -"

  • "Second Officer J. W. Plummer, hit twice on the head with an iron bar, and also hit on the head with a missile".
  • "Foreman T. George, twice laid out with blows on the head".
  • "G. Ireland, face and hands cut with missiles".
  • "W. A. Pedder, internal injuries caused by a blow in the stomach".
  • "W. Burgess, blow on the head".
  • "W. Clarke, laid out by being deliberately struck in the back with some weapon".
  • "S. Barber, blows on the head and back".
  • "F. Cowley, senior, injuries to head and side".
  • "S. Giddings and A. Day, cuts on hands".
  • "W. G. Burgess, knocked out three times, once with a weapon, and twice with missiles".
  • "H. Bates, twice incapacitated, and suffering from concussion".
  • "J. Garrett, injured by blows on the hands".
  • "A. Cook head and neck injured".

"Chief Officer Andrew had his helmet damaged by a nasty lump of iron which was thrown at him, but was not injured, although he as continually used as a target for missiles. The chief officer and two firemen were the only ones who escaped personal injury".

"In all the Brigade lost about twelve lengths of hose, some being cut so about as to be useless, and others dragged away by the mob. A hydrant shaft was broken, and two branches and some couplings disappeared. Some of those have since been recovered, but in a condition which renders them unfit for use. Six of the brass helmets worn by the men were also so battered as to be unserviceable".

"The No. 2 motor has some dents in the bonnet, one of the headlights and a rear lamp were damaged, and the horn also received a smashing blow".

Wardown Park Museum has a permanent display on the Peace Day riots in its Luton Life galleries.