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Rushden Echo and Argus, 14th February 1941, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Air Training Corps 1941
Rushden’s Own A.T.C. Squadron
Enthusiastic Meeting Forms Committee and Hears Details
Over 50 Names

Fifty-four Rushden lads who want to join the Air Training Corps entered their names after an enthusiastic meeting at the British Legion Hall on Monday evening.

There was a fine gathering of obviously keen boys, and the chair was taken by Councillor J. Allen J.P., chairman of the Urban Council, who was supported by Councillor T. W. Cox (vice-chairman of the Council), Councillor A. Allebone, J.P., C.C. Mr. Sidney Hawkes and Mr. O. L. Ash secretary of the committee which had taken the preliminary steps.

Others present included Mr. F. J. Sharwood, C.C., Mr. Cyril Faulkner, C.C., Councillors A. H. Bailey, W. E. Capon, F. Green and H, Waring. Messrs. S. Howitt, S. A. Lawrence, W. A. E. Sherwood, C. Espin,jnr., D. G. Winters, H. Bailey and C. T. Smith. Apologies were received from Alderman C. W. Horrell, J.P., and Mr. W. L Beetenson (Clerk to the Council).

Mr. Allen expressed pleasure in seeing such a large attendance. The Rotary Club, he said, got in touch with him, after taking some preliminary steps, with a view to the meeting being held, and Mr. Ash, who was an old Air Force man, had communicated with the Air Ministry. It was suggested that they should add to the committee, and as it was an affair in which the town was interested they suggested that the Chairman of the Council for the time being, and the senior County Council member (Alderman Horrell) should be members. An advertisement had been inserted in the Press to ensure that they obtained a committee representative of the whole town.

Towns May Combine

Councillor Capon said the young people’s brigades and the Boot Operatives’ Union should be represented. Mr. Sharwood suggested either the president or secretary of the Boot Manufacturers’ Association, as an appeal would doubtless be made through the factories.

After further discussion it was decided that the committee should comprise Messrs. Sharwood, Allebone, Hawkes, Faulkner, Horrell and Ash, with the Council Chairman, the four schoolmasters, and representatives of the Trades Council, Boot Operatives’ Union, Scouts, Boys’ Brigades, Boot Manufacturers’ Association and British Legion. The committee has power to add.

Mr. Allen said he anticipated that when the scheme got going a sub-committee could manage it – through the Government. It might afterwards be considered whether they should join with Higham Ferrers and Raunds.

Mr. Ash said that if they got 100 members, or near that number, they would have their own Rushden squadron. “I don’t think we shall have any difficulty with that, “ he added.

Mr. Hawkes presented some general information about the scheme, adding that it was for the R.A.F. to decide whether Rushden should have a squadron of its own. The smaller towns nearby could not possibly form their own squadrons, and in his opinion must be attached to Rushden as “a loosely knit squadron.” He calculated that from 60 to 80 Rushden lads would be available.

Instructors Needed

In addition to the boys they needed officers, who would have to appear before an R.A.F. Instruction Board, attend instructional courses, and be on probation for six months.

They also needed the assistance of a number of gentlemen who would voluntarily act as instructors, because it was not expected that the officers would be experts in all branches of the work.

Mr. Smith raised the question of physical fitness and was told that this would be watched by an honorary medical officer. The cadets were expected to be of R.A.F. standard.

One of the lads was assured that the cadets would eventually be allowed to attest for the Fleet Air Arm as well as the R.A.F.

Mr. Faulkner said it was important to gain the interest of the parents, which might result in a large number attesting.

Mr. Hawkes replied that the entry form would have to be signed by a parent or guardian. No member would become liable for service at an earlier age than would have been the case if he had not enrolled.

In answer to an enquiry as to whether it was possible to join for particular positions, such as pilots, Mr. Hawkes said that as the boys progressed in training it might be desirable for some of them to specialise.

It was made clear that boys nearing 18 years of age would be accepted with pleasure and might look forward to several months’ training.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st February, 1941, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Looks Round for Instructors

Following upon the public meeting held in the British Legion Hall last week, the Rushden Air Training Corps Committee met on Thursday and elected the following officials: President, Alderman C. W. Horrell, J.P., chairman, Councillor J. Allen, J.P., Joint secretaries, Messrs. O. L. Ash and S. Hawkes; treasurer, Mr. A. H. Whitton.

The following names were put forward as possible officers or instructors of the Corps :- Messrs. C. Faulkner, C.C., A. H. Bailey, O. L. Ash, W. A. E. Sherwood, S. A. Lawrence, S. Howitt, S. Hawkes, C. A. Espin, D. Winters, H. Bailey, E. Panter and Hales. The committee are most anxious at this stage to contact other gentlemen willing to volunteer their services as either officers or instructors.

A combined meeting is to be held on Monday next, when it is hoped that all the necessary R.A.F. enrolment forms will be available for the boys to take away for parents’ signatures.

In this connection, the parents will be glad to know that no member of the A.T.C. will become liable for service at an earlier age than would have been the case if he had not enrolled in the A.T.C.

Communications in all matters referring to the Rushden A.T.C. may be addressed either to Mr. O. L. Ash, 78 Wymington-road or the South End School, or to Mr. S. Hawkes, 84 Portland-road.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 28th February 1941, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Air Training Scheme Explained

Squadron Leader Pleased to See Rushden Boys Are Keen

Importance of Drill

Would-be members of the Air Training Corps attended a meeting at the Boot and Shoe Technical School, Victoria-road, Rushden, on Monday, when Squadron-Leader Tysack (Northampton) spoke on the training and aims of the Corps. Alderman C. W. Horrell, J.P., was in the chair, and addressing the boys, said that it was pretty certain that they would get a full squadron. The A.T.C. would be a fine thing for them, as it would brush up their education, improve their health, and also be of great service to the nation.

Squadron-Leader Tysack said that he was very pleased to see the keenness of Rushden. They had been carrying on at Northampton as a Cadet Corps and were now in the process of changing over. The first thing to do was to choose a Commanding Officer, and he would get the other officers around him, who would have to be accepted by the committee.

Drill was the first thing to consider, for without drill there was no discipline. They liked drill at Northampton, for after all it was really smartness and good manners. When they saluted an officer, they did not salute the man – they saluted the uniform. Cadets would have the chance of promotion to N.C.Os., who would be chosen by the Commanding Officer. There were various things to consider, for they would have to be smart, tidy, have good manners, be good at drill, and, last but not least, have a good voice. This could be acquired by practice.

Two Groups

A good attendance was essential, and proficiency and examination results came last. A boy must be good on the parade ground to command respect and an N.C.O. who was not respected was a failure. Prefects at school had to be good at games to command respect. The strongest upholders of discipline were the cadets themselves, and the officers did not then have the unpleasant job of saying “Do this” and “Don’t do that.” If the committee could get a room set aside for the N.C.Os. it would be a great help, for they would be able to keep up their own discipline and drill.

Under the new scheme the cadets were divided into two groups – those who wanted to become members of an air crew and those who wanted to be members of the ground staff and technical experts. The first would have to be physically fit and to pass a medical officer, and they would also have to be good at mathematics. In the old planes, which he himself used to fly, you could look round and wonder where you were; but in a modern fighter, while you were wondering you would probably be travelling into another country. Thus it was essential that fighter pilots should be good at navigation, and this needed mathematics. Drill and physical training would want a good room, black-out and well ventilated.

Aircraft Knowledge

The theory of flight was not on the Air Ministry syllabus, but he thought this was important, for it was little good doing things to a plane if you did not know why it stayed up in the air. A member of an air crew had to understand his plane, or he could not do all the many things that he had to. If his eyes were not quite right there was no reason for a man to be grounded, for he could become a rear-gunner or a wireless operator. This was the reason why it was always best to learn the Morse Code – so as to be able to have a second string to one’s bow. Another thing was to form a cadets’ committee, for the cadets often made valuable suggestions when they were not in the presence of their officers. There were many ways in which they could help themselves in the committee; for example they could form a library, and there were some exceptionally good books on flying in existence. These things could be looked after by the N.C.Os. At Northampton they had table tennis, darts and boxing, and these games took place on different nights.

Keenness was everything. If they were not keen it was no good. They could not carry passengers, and an efficient cadet was one who attended 75 per cent. of the meetings. When a boy joined the R.A.F. a testimonial would have to be given by his Commanding Officer in the A.T.C. The officer was put on his honour to be perfectly frank, and so it was up to the boys at what rank they commenced service.

Joint Parade?

The Northampton squadron would be willing to help in every way they could, and perhaps they would later be able to organise a joint parade.

Squadron-Leader Tysack answered questions, and a vote of thanks was proposed by Councillor J. Allen, J.P. There was a large attendance of boys and also of the committee. The boys were given enrolment forms, and it was stated that a Higham Ferrers flight would be formed in the squadron, and possibly a Raunds one.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 28th February 1941, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden’s Own Squadron is Registered

The first and foremost item for this week’s news is that the Air Ministry have approved our registration as No. 390 (Rushden) Squadron.

With this approval the Squadron can proceed without delay to enrol officially the Cadets and to get busy with their training.

This news was conveyed to a very enthusiastic gathering of prospective Cadets and elected officials on Monday evening at the Corps Headquarters, situated at the Boot and Shoe Technical School, when Alderman C. W. Horrell took the chair, and enrolment cards were issued to the boys present.

Squadron Leader Tysack, the Commanding Officer of the Northampton Squadron, who had a great reception, gave a most interesting and amusing talk on the general running of an Air Training Squadron. The Squadron Leader, in the official A.T.C. uniform, impressed the whole meeting, and both boys and officials found his remarks and replies to questions very helpful. In one reply he made it clear that the Cadets themselves through their own committee and non-commissioned officers would enjoy the responsibility of maintaining their own discipline and welfare.

Instructional classes are being held at headquarters on Wednesday and Friday each week from 7.30 to 9 p.m., so that boys of between 16 and 18 years of age who were not present on Monday may still join on either of these nights.

Representatives were also present at the meeting on Monday from Higham Ferrers and Raunds, and boys in these areas who are anxious to join the A.T.C. should give their names, addresses, and date of birth to Councillor A. C. A. Colton or Mr. J. Riseborough at Higham Ferrers or to Mr. Roddis or Mr. Poole at Raunds.

Monday’s meeting is reported in another column, and details of the A.T.C. badge and button appear among the Royal Air Force news.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 11th April 1941, transcribed by Kay Collins

A.T.C. Notes
Physical Training in Rushden Hall Grounds

Most of the Higham Flight have been medically examined, and the Raunds Flight will have their turn when the longer evenings arrive, there being no black-out at the Sanatorium Clinic.

Raunds has issued a challenge to play a football team from Rushden on Easter Monday at 10.45 on the school ground in Park-street, Raunds. This will be the first inter-Flight attempt at sport, and we hope to have many battles in various aspects of field games.

With the arrival of warmer weather, P.T. will start in the Hall Grounds, where we have a quiet corner by the courtesy of the Parks Committee of the Urban District Council.

The route marches are still popular, the last one being, we think, an improvement on the others. That’s how it should be. [part of a longer article]

Rushden Echo & Argus, 30th May 1941, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rotary’s Part in A.T.C. Scheme
War Service reviewed at Rushden Club’s Annual Meeting

Wartime work of Rushden Rotarians and their wives was described at the Rotary Club’s annual meeting, held on Tuesday at the Green Dragon Hotel, Higham Ferrers, Rotarian Arthur Neal presiding.

Reviewing the last 12 months, Rotarian A S Knight (sec) said that in July, as their adopted trawler “Dulcebell” had been put out of action, they adopted the “Strathughie” and many of them started a correspondence with members of the crew. The ladies began to knit garments for the new trawler, and it was arranged that, 1,400 cigarettes should be sent each month, with packs of cards and games when possible.

In order to organise concert parties the “R.A.D.S.E.C.” was formed, and during the year excellent concerts had been given, often at very short notice.

A large sum had already been given over to the wool fund, and a further sum of £23 12s. 6d. had been placed in a separate fund to form the nucleus of a big effort later on.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 1st August, 1941, transcribed by Gill Hollis

A.T.C. Adjutant
Mr. Sidney Hawkes Commissioned in Rushden Squadron

Mr. Sidney Hawkes, director of Messrs. Fred Hawkes (N.V. Engineers), Ltd., has received notification that he has been granted a commission in the R.A.F.V.R., in the rank of Acting Flying Officer as Adjutant of the Rushden Squadron of the A.T.C.

F/O Hawkes has been acting both as Adjutant of the Squadron and as joint secretary of the Town Committee, but under the rules and regulations of the organisation his duties as secretary will now be transferred to a non-commissioned member of the committee, and he will be able to devote the whole of his energies as Adjutant to the support of the Squadron Commanding Officer, Flt./Lt. A. H. Whitton, and to the other commissioned officers, Flying Officers O. L. Ash and H. Coggins and Pilot Officer S. Lawrence.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 19th December, 1941, transcribed by Jim Hollis

New Headquarters for Air Corps
Rushden Boys Will Need Furniture and Games
(From the Press Correspondent)

This week I have great news for both cadets and their parents. After weeks of searching and negotiation, we have at last reached the point of signing on the dotted line for the renting of a room of approximately 1,800 square feet. The building is most favourably situated close to the Boot and Shoe Technical School, and will be re-fitted for use as Squadron Headquarters with all possible speed in the new year. We aim to make our new headquarters comfortable both for instructional and recreational purposes, and the cadets will welcome and very much appreciate Christmas gifts of games, chairs, forms, tables, benches, etc. If you have anything in your home, factory or workshop which you think would be useful, please send us a card, either to our headquarters, to one of the officers, or by one of the cadets, and we will arrange for someone to call.

The new headquarters will, amongst other things, be used for engineering and model making, and gifts of metal-working or wood-working tools would therefore be very acceptable. News has recently come through that the A.T.C. are making arrangements for some cadets to take instruction in the making and handling of gliders. Plans are being made for a properly organised development with qualified instructors and inspectors to ensure that standard of safety so essential to a national organisation such as the Air Training Corps.

Recruiting Position

Much discussion has taken place during the past 14 days arising from the decision of the Government to take a register of all boys of 16 and over. One well-known daily paper upset many of these lads when it erroneously reported that all who registered would be automatically enrolled in the Home Guard. This was, of course, a grave mis-statement of our Ministers’ intentions. Boys with ambitions to join the R.A.F., the Fleet Air Arm or the Navy will be welcomed to the A.T.C., and there is every indication that in the very near future the A.T.C. will be the one and only road to the Royal Air Force.

As the year draws to a close, we look backwards and review the events of the past 12 months. Since the formation of the Rushden Squadron in February nearly a score of our cadets have passed into the Services. We remember them and watch with pride their progress from success to success. To each one of them a letter has been sent from the Officer Commanding, the Officers and Cadets of the Rushden Squadron, to convey our very best wishes for this, their first Christmas in uniform. The old wish for a happy and prosperous New Year is hardly appropriate under present circumstances, but we do hope that in 1942 they will find good friends and good company, and that they will be successful and find great interest in the particular spheres of action in which they find themselves.

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