Luton’s war brought to life in new display

Poignant personal stories and artefacts are brought together with the brutal realities of war in a new display at Wardown Park Museum.

Opening yesterday, the display is a combination of personal items, including poems, letters and diaries alongside the museum’s own collection of war memorablia.

Earlier this year the museum launched its website encouraging people to upload their own stories of family members caught up in the 1914-18 World War One.

Since then, stories, artefacts and pictures have been included, with extra information often researched by museum staff and volunteers.

More than 2,000 men from Luton and the surrounding villages were killed in the conflict.

A census taken in 1918 to find how many men were unavailable to vote in the forthcoming General Election because they were fighting, has more than 8,000 names on it.

The display at Wardown is particularly poignant. It was here during the war that men came to convalesce before being discharged and often sent back to the front. Around 23 men are believed to have died at the hospital.

The display hosts a replica of a trench at Gallipoli where the 5th Bedfordshire Regiment was sent in 1915. There are also uniforms, weapons and a scale model of what life would have been like in the trenches.

Display boards set out just some of the hundreds of personal stories of people either at the front, or working on the home front.

Many women worked in munitions factories in Luton supplying vital supplies to the armed forces.

All the stories on show can also be seen in more detail on the website at

The exhibition will be open at the museum until January.