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Soldiers Notes - Higham Ferrers
Letters and Newsclips about Soldiers and their Experiences.
WWII Reports in Date order
Rushden Echo & Argus, 28th August 1942, transcribed by Kay Collins

Captured by Italian – News for Young Wife
Announced in the “Echo and Argus” a fortnight ago to be “missing” in the Middle East, Trooper Percival John Watts (21), of the Royal Tank Regiment has now been reported a Prisoner-of-war and is stated to be in Italian hands. The news arrived from the War Office last Friday.

Formerly employed at Messrs. John White’s Shirley-road factory as a finisher, Trooper Watts has been in the Army about 18 months and soon after he joined up was married to Miss E. Johnson, of Bozeat, who is now living at 14 Hope-street. Mr. and Mrs. C. Watts, his parents, live at “Rochdale,” Bryant Way, Higham Ferrers.

Rushden Echo, 1st January 1943, transcribed by Kay Collins

Dunkirk and Africa - War Record of Missing Rushden Soldier
News that her husband, Corporal George Dowsett, is reported missing, believed wounded, during fighting in North Africa has been received by Mrs Dowsett, of 1, Newman-street, Higham Ferrers.

Corpl. Dowsett, whose parents reside at 57 Sartoris-road, Rushden, joined the Northamptonshire regiment in July 1939, and has seen service in France, being in the Dunkirk epic. Prior to joining up he was employed by Messrs B Denton and Son, boot manufacturers, Rushden. He was married to Miss Joyce Boxall, of Higham Ferrers, twelve months ago.

Rushden Echo, 28th January 1944, transcribed by Peter Brown

Friends Meet In Hospital
Mr and Mrs J. Lynn, of 11, Milton-street Higham Ferrers, have received an airmail from their son Leslie, who is a cook in a hospital with the C.M.F., in which he says he has met Don Newell, another Service man who used to live only a few houses away from him.

Leslie Lynn writes: "I have some good news. I always, when possible, look down the admission list, and when I saw D. Newell, off I went to the ward and there was old Don. He nearly jumped out of bed. Now you may want to know what is the matter with him. I really can't say, but sure he isn't wounded, and he looked O.K.—not quite as fat, but O.K. for us who have been in the desert."

Visiting his friend again later, he took him some English cigarettes and a mincemeat tart "as large as a dinner plate."

Lynn boys

Leslie is in his fifth year of Army life and has been abroad for two years. He has two other brothers in the Forces overseas, Arthur (Army) in India, and Owen (R.A.F) in Australia.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th June 1944, transcribed by Kay Collins

Pte LineDangerously Ill - Anxiety For Young Higham Ferrers Soldier
News that their son, Pte. Raymond Line, of the Royal West Kents, is dangerously ill with meningitis, reached Mr. and Mrs. W. Line, of 66, Wharf-road, Higham Ferrers, from the War Office on Tuesday morning.

Pte. Line is nearly 20 years of age and has been serving in the Central Mediterranean zone. He attended Higham Ferrers Council School and afterwards worked for Messrs Taylor Woodrow, joining the Army in November, 1942, and going abroad last November. His father was in the Army during the last war, serving for four years in France and Italy.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 14th July 1944, transcribed by Kay Collins

News of P.O.W. – Camp Broadcast
A Liverpool resident named F Riley writes to Mrs E N Lewis, of 77 Wharf-road, Higham Ferrers, to say that a list of messages which were broadcast from a P.O.W. camp on June 16th contained the following from her son: “Hello Mother, I am in the best of health. Have received many of your letters. Please do not worry and remember me to all.”

Mrs Lewis’ son, Ronald Lewis, is a prisoner of war in Japanese hands.

P/O CliftonRushden Echo & Argus, 24th November 1944, transcribed by Kay Collins

Won Commission and Wing - Higham Man Qualified as Navigator

Mr. and Mrs. L. Clifton, of the “Green Dragon” Hotel, Higham Ferrers, heard last Saturday that their eldest son, Lawrence has gained his commission and gained his wing as navigator, in Canada.

Pilot Officer Clifton is [22] years of age. He had been in the service for almost two years when he went to Canada in March of this year. Educated at Wellingborough School, he was afterwards an apprentice of the …. Railway at Derby and joined the Derby A.T.C.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 23rd March 1945

Alone He Smashed Machine-Gun Nest - Sergeant's Gallant Work With Mortar

A single-handed fight against a machine-gun nest was the gallant deed which earned the M.M. for L/Sgt. Kenneth Waddell, of the East Lancashire Regt., whose wife resides at 31, Wellingborough-road, Higham Ferrers.

Ken WaddellThe award of the medal has already been announced in the "Echo and Argus." Now comes the citation, giving the following story:

On September 22nd, Cpl. (now Lance-Sergt) Waddell was commanding a platoon during the attack on Bladel. From the start line to the objective heavy opposition and severe mortar, machine-gun and rifle fire was brought to bear.

Cpl. Waddell's platoon, on the right flank, was particularly harassed, suffering a number of casualties, including the platoon commander and acting platoon sergeant at a very early stage in the battle.

Soon Cpl. Waddell's platoon became pinned down in an open piece, of country by an enemy machine-gun post at very short range, and it was evident that unless some assistance was forthcoming the platoon might quickly become ineffective through heavy casualties.

On his own initiative, after appreciating the danger of the situation, Cpl. Waddell took a mortar and single-handed, worked his way forward in the open and under heavy fire, to a position from where he could see the enemy machine-gun.

From here, and at great personal risk, for he had to expose himself at short range to the enemy, he engaged the machine-gun post with his mortar.

Rallied Platoon

With his second shot he scored a direct hit, killing two of the machine-gunners, wounding others and silencing the machine-gun. He then returned, and rallying his platoon led it forward to the attack, putting to flight the remaining Germans at the machine-gun post and covering the flank of his company right up to and on to the objective.

His skill, coolness and courage made certain the success of his company, which was in doubt as long as the well-placed enemy machine-gun post remained in action,

L/Sgt. Waddell, in a letter to his wife (formerly Miss Kathleen Rice), says that he has been congratulated by General Dempsey, who shook hands with him. Aged 29, he has been in the Army two years, and went to France a week after D-Day. Before joining up he was with the Metropolitan Police. His parents live at Liverpool.

ndeighboursRushden Echo & Argus, 27th April 1945

Neighbours Meet In Cairo

On leave in Cairo two Higham men who are neighbours in "Civvy Street" met unexpectedly. They are L.A.C. Derek Pack, R.A.F. (right), of 11 Westfields-street, and Hugh Cobley, R.A., of 31a, Westfields-street.

L.A.C. Pack (21) was employed by the Home and Colonial Stores at Rushden before call-up nearly three years ago. He went to the Middle East just before Christmas. His parents, wife and seven-months-old son, David, live together in Westfields-street. Gnr. Cobley has been in the Army over three years and abroad for two.

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