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The Churches in Wartime
During the twentieth century Britain was involved in two world wars: the First, or Great War, of 1914-18 and the Second World War of 1939-1945. Linslade was involved in both these conflicts and today there are still reminders of these in the churches of our area.

The Great War

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This photograph shows a group of soldiers in training on the recreation ground around St. Barnabas' Church between 1914 and 1918. Any open area was used by the army to train its troops. The soldiers in this photograph are from the 10th York and Lancaster, a unit that fought at Fricourt during the Battle of the Somme in France in 1916. Special services were held at St. Barnabas for the soldiers stationed in Linslade. The Leighton Buzzard Observer for September 29th, 1914 records that services, including "a special programme of sacred music" were provided for the troops of the Lincolnshire Regiment. The 21st Division donated a plaque that can be seen by the font in St. Barnabas Church. Written on the plaque is:-

This records the division's "desire to place on record their appreciation of the generosity of the vicar in placing this church at their disposal for Divine Service on Sundays, and for many other kindnesses received, during the whole period of their stay".

The schoolroom of the Primitive Methodists in Old Road was given over as a clubroom, providing free writing materials and newspapers for the soldiers.

One unusual side effect of the war, as reported by the Vicar of Linslade in May, 1915, was a reduction in gossip. In that month's Parish Magazine he wrote that "we have been too busy to know and talk so much of our neighbour's affairs as before the war .... for once we have been able to live without the gossip that is so rife in every small town."!

Servicemen who died on the Somme and elsewhere throughout the world during the Great War are commemorated in St. Barnabas' church.

This photograph of a memorial in St. Barnabas' shows the names of soldiers from Linslade who died during the Great War. Either side of the memorial are two wooden crosses. These are made from wooden ammunition boxes and were actually used at the time to mark the places on the battlefield where soldiers were killed.

Information on the people whose names appear on these memorials can be found on these websites:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

There is a further reminder of the Great War just outside another of our churches but it is one that is often overlooked. Just after the end of the First World War in 1922, a war memorial was erected at the junction of Wing Road, Stoke Road and Soulbury Road. Today this spot is marked by the traffic lights outside the Bedford Arms public house. The memorial had to be moved when it began to obstruct traffic and it now stands in Mentmore Road Recreation Ground, just outside the Methodist Church.

Not far from the original site of the memorial is Vimy Road. There used to be a car factory here that made Morgan cars. During the First World War, the factory was used for making aeroplanes. These were known as Vimy bombers and, if you look up today at the roof of Tesco, you will see on their weather vane a silhouette of this aircraft.