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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 10th April, 1942, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Army Cadets
Rushden Cadet Corps Formed
Good Enrolment after Speech by Colonel
Home Guard Link

Rushden’s unit of the Army Cadets, one of the first to be formed in the county, had a fine send-off on Thursday week, when, after a rousing address by Lieut.-Colonel V. H. Sykes (O.C. 8th Battalion, Northamptonshire Home Guard), more than 50 youths who attended the meeting in the B.W.T.A. Hall volunteered for service.

In his address, which was straight-to-the-point, and ideally suited to his youthful audience, the Colonel brought in stirring tales of Scott and Amundsen, and emphasised that the Cadet training would not only stand the boys in good stead when it became their turn to the Home Guard or Army, but would also improve them mentally and physically.

Many men in the Home Guard, continued Colonel Sykes, were getting on in years, and they wanted young blood to take their places when the time came. By joining the Cadet Force they could make themselves proficient so as to join the Home Guard later. The cadet movement was just a little different from other youth movements in the country, as it was part of the movement which was going to defend the country.

Colonel Sykes gave a few final words concerning such things as uniform and the boys then filed up to volunteer.

The chair was taken by Coun. W. E. Capon, and also present were Capt. H. W. Attley (Home Guard Adjt.) and representatives of Rushden youth organisations. An apology for absence was received from Major General Sir Hereward Wake.

To a reporter after the meeting Capt. Attley emphasised that in the event of an invasion the boys would not be permitted to take any active part, and if they had been given arms for practice these would be recalled.

On Friday the volunteers met at the Drill Hall to sign their papers and to be measured for uniforms, which will be the Army battledress with blue shoulder tab. A further meeting takes place tonight.


19th June, 1942

Cadet Force in Uniform - Rushden Boys Now Wear Northamptonshire Badge

Proudest young people in Rushden this week are 65 boys of the Rushden and District Company, Cadet Force. After several weeks of drill and study they have received their khaki uniforms, complete with the cap badge of the Northamptonshire Regiment. They have shoulder tabs marked “Cadet Force,” and beneath these they will eventually wear the cadet’s distinctive blue flash.

The actual strength of the Company is close upon 100. The original recruits are the ones who can now parade in real military style, but the others will receive uniform as soon as the second consignment arrives.

With King George as Colonel-in-Chief, the Cadet Force has made much headway in the country, and in Northamptonshire Rushden has made headway second to none. The Company is affiliated to the 8th North Northamptonshire Battalion Home Guard, which has made itself responsible for the early organisation and training, supplying a capable commanding officer in Lieut. W. F. Summerlin, another officer to assist him, and some experienced instructors.

Learning Fieldcraft

The first ambition of all good recruits is to obtain Certificate A, and for this many of the boys are now working hard. They meet on two nights a week and have indoor accommodation at the Drill Hall in Victoria-road, and the school canteen in Portland-road, though during the long summer evenings they do much of their training in the open air. Aircraft recognition and fieldcraft are occupying them at present.

“They are getting out of the recruit stage now,” said Capt. H. W. Attley, Adjt. of the 8th, Bn. N.N. Home Guard. “They are very good lads – extremely keen. We have lent them two or three of our best instructors – good men who can handle boys – but eventually they will run themselves.”

The Rushden Echo, 25th December, 1942, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Boy Cadets Question The Colonel - Rushden Company Praised at Inspection

Sixty-five boys in battledress – the members of the Rushden and District Cadet Company – sat on a school hall floor at Rushden on Sunday morning and tried to think out posers for a Colonel.

Cadet Inspection
Cadet Inspection
Col. A. P. A. Helps, O.B.E., M.C., had given the lads a “tough” inspection and a lot of advice. He said it was their turn to tell or ask him something.

“Is there a chance,” asked one of the bigger boys, “of getting better rifles for training?”

“A very reasonable request,” answered Colonel Helps, with a smile. “I saw you to-day with some old carbines which came out of the South African War. I suppose you couldn’t get anything in them, and if you did fire them they would blow up, I should think.”

After explaining that the country had suddenly been faced with the task of finding modern weapons for millions of men, Col. Helps said there had not been enough rifles to go round. They would still do their best to get some, but the best thing to train with was a wooden dummy rifle. The best part of Kitchener’s Army in the last war was trained with these.

The Colonel also learned that the hoys were all eager for heavy military boots.

The March-Past

The Company first paraded in Station-approach under the command of its O.C., Lieut. F. W. Summerlin, who was assisted by Lieut. H. W. Moore and 2nd-Lieut. F. Tysoe. Drawn up smartly in open order, it was joined by the equally smart drum and bugle band of the Rushden A.T.C. Squadron. Colonel Helps carried out a keen inspection and shortly afterwards took a salute at the foot of Station-approach as the Company marched towards Hayway.

A winter training routine was afterwards carried out at the Intermediate School and the boys had a great surprise when the Colonel, instead of merely looking on, took personal charge and showed them what he wanted in the way of discipline and quick thinking. He drilled a squad after doing the movements himself, using his cane as a rifle, and then took in hand a smaller squad of recruits.

Next visiting the P.T. Class (under Mr. J. W. Craker), he saw the boys go over the vaulting horse. Soon he was sending them running about the hall on errands which tested their quickness of thought; then he became the hider in a game of hide-and-seek. He found there were not enough boxers to give him a show with the gloves, but on entering some of the classrooms he saw some interesting signalling, map reading and rifle work, the signallers showing keen enjoyment of their work with headphones and tapping keys.

“A Good Unit”

In a speech to the boys, Colonel Helps declared: “I think you are a good unit, and it is very encouraging to see fellows keen like you are. I could only wish that the whole youth of the country was in something like this cadet unit.

“We don’t want a militarist nation, but we do want a disciplined nation, not only from the military point of view, but for civil life. We have a job in front of us after the war – a hell of a job as a nation – and that will only be done by discipline.

“Of course, I know that the British character doesn’t take kindly to discipline. We are an independent lot, and that’s what made us top of the world; but we rather lacked discipline, and until we found it in this war we didn’t pull our full weight.”

Discussing the value of drill and of steadiness on parade, Colonel Helps said: “In a soldier I don’t like the quality of mind that shifts; it’s bad, it’s rotten.”

“I think you have done pretty well,” he added. “I think you are fortunate in your officers, and I think you must have helped them by giving attention. I think you are very keen and want to be fine soldiers and young men.”

Those who went into the Army from the Cadet Force would have the advantage of the others, said the Colonel in conclusion.

All the boys on parade came from Rushden and Higham Ferrers, and none was over the age of 17.

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