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Transcribed by Jim Hollis
Effects of the War on the Town

The First Month - August to September 1914
The Rushden Echo, 7th August, 1914, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Rushden and District War Items

The Territorials

  The Rushden contingent of the H Company Northants Territorials, numbering about 50 men, left Rushden yesterday on active service.  Under the command of Quartermaster-sergt. Perkins, Sergt. Beardsmore, and Corporals Barker and George, they assembled at the Railway Bridge at 9.15 a.m., and, headed by the Rushden Rifle Band, marched to Irthlingboro’ L. and N.W. station, picking up en route the contingents from Higham Ferrers, Stanwick, Raunds, and Irthlingboro’.  Their destination was Northampton Barracks, from whence they will be sent to various military bases.  Forty-one members of the company had volunteered for active service anywhere and wear the “Imperial service” badge.

Col. Ripley Commands the “Terriers”

  Col. Ripley had been re-appointed to the command of the 4th Battalion of the Territorials, and has had in consequence to resign from the Kettering District Council.  The Colonel’s assumption of the command is very popular among the men, who are convinced of his military ability as well as his invariable courtesy.  A Rushden “Terrier,” on being informed of the appointment, remarked : “That’s all right.  He’s a gentleman, and has got some consideration for his men, he has.”

Army Boot Trade

  Raunds shoe manufacturers who were enjoying their holidays during the week-end hurriedly returned early this week to cope with the expected rush of Government work.  A number of them had appointments with Government officials on Tuesday, and it is anticipated that the Raunds factories will be running at their utmost capacity.

Military Depot at Higham

  A large number of plate layers have been busily engaged constructing a new siding in the goods yards of the Higham Ferrers Midland Railway Station, in connection with the military operations.  The lines have been carried right to the Chelveston-road.  Local coal contractors have received orders to move their stores of coal stacked in the yard with the greatest possible speed. In addition to the siding, a covered platform 200 feet long by 15 feet wide is also being erected. A special road from the goods yard to Kimbolton-road has also been cut. The Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board have been instructed to at once put down temporary mains from two different points and yesterday work was in progress. The one from the entrance to the station is to supply a water trough of sufficient capacity to water 300 horses at a time if need be. Although the water mains are only temporary, the Board were specially instructed to make the trenches very solid, sufficient to withstand the carriages across them of heavy guns.

Horses from Podington and Rushden

  Acting upon instructions from the Eastern Command, Mr. Esme Arkwright (Master of the Oakley Hunt), Mr. Roger Buckmill (secretary), and Mr. Woolston, veterinary surgeon, of Bedford, were on Wednesday morning securing suitable horses for the use of His Majesty’s forces.  The number of horses they are required to obtain is 450, and amongst those taken was a hunter belonging to Councillor Fred Knight, J.P., of Rushden.   Others were purchased at Podington, including two from Mr. W. G. Tye, one from Mr. Franklin, two from Mr. Robinson (Hinwick Hall), and one from Mr. Norman.  The animals were taken to Bedford and there entrained for Shorncliffe camp.

Mr. Chiozza Money M.P. and The Food Supply

  The Member for East Northants suggested in the “Daily Chronicle” yesterday that the Government should take steps in conjunction with the federations of bread producers and millers to regulate the price of bread during the war, to “mobilise” the food supply in effect. He says:- “Mobilisation of the bread forces would also enable us to deal with destitution. We have only to make up our minds that there shall be no destitution, and the thing is done. If the Government does its duty there may be less starvation in Britain in war than in peace. What is true of bread is true of meat, save that rather more than one-half of our meat supply is home-grown, whereas we import the greater part of our wheat from abroad.”

Sailors And Their Friends 

  Strict secrecy is being maintained as to the movements of the Home Fleet.  A Rushden sailor named Bert Howes writing to his parents this week explained that correspondence between sailors and their friends at home is now being inspected by the War Office.  Any letters to sailors have to be sent to the War Office, and, after perusal, they are forwarded to the ship, wherever it happens to be.

Rushden and Higham Ambulance Men

  Members of the Rushden St. John Ambulance Brigade who have signed on for the Royal Naval Sick Berth Reserve have been called up for active service this week.  Privates Kikpack, Paragreen, and Whiteman left for Portsmouth on Monday, Privates T. J. Swindall, Timpson, O’Connor, J. Wright, and Faulkner yesterday proceeded to Chatham.  Others were expected to leave this morning, but a telegram was received to the effect that they will receive the necessary instructions as to destination later.  Mobilisation orders have been received by Supt. H. R. Patenall, of the Higham Ferrers St. John Ambulance.  Any hour is expected to bring a wire notifying the Brigade where to proceed. In addition to the Superintendent, Corps-Secretary A. O. Groome and Sergt. Church, with the whole of the men of the division, will undertake active service as members of the Military Home Hospital Reserve.

“God-Speed!” To The Terriers

  When the local Territorials  reached Higham yesterday morning the roll was called in the presence of a huge crowd.

  Subsequently the men were addressed by Ald. Owen Parker, J.P., a member of the County Territorial Forces Association, who, on behalf of the district from which the men had been drawn, wished them good luck, good health, and God-speed in the work that lay before them. Probably most of them were called to active service of their King and country for the first time, and their primary duty would probably be to protect the shores of their own country against the enemy. The citizens of the country would feel quite safe under their protection. It might be in view of the great crisis with which the whole of Europe was faced, that they would be called to other duties and to make still greater sacrifices. If so, he was quite sure that they would loyally respond to any call which was made upon them. Such as were not called to arise in their country’s service also had their supreme duties to perform, and he pledged the district to watch the interests of those the men were leaving behind, and to see that they did not suffer through their prolonged absence from home. He rejoiced that they had responded to the call in such large numbers, and looked so fit and well and so determined to do their duty. He trusted that they would soon see them back again. (Applause.) 

  Quartermaster  Segt. Perkins, responding on behalf of the Company, thanked Ald. Parker for so well expressing the good wishes of the Borough, and assured him every man in the Company would strive to do his duty.

  The march was then re-commenced, the men being accompanied to the Irthlingborough L. & N.W. Station by a huge concourse of people which became still larger when merged into the crowds which had there assembled from Raunds, Stanwick, Irthlingborough, etc., the interested and excited spectators finally numbering many thousands. The Irthlingboro’ Terriers were accompanied by the Town Band, and the Conservative Club Male Choir. On the platform the latter rendered two appropriate selections, viz, “The soldier’s farewell” and “Comrades in arms.”

  As the train departed the band struck up the National Anthem and vociferous cheering took place. The “Terriers” went away in excellent spirits.   

Nipping The Bully In The Bud

  When the Irthlingborough Territorials assembled at the cross, Irthlingborough, yesterday morning they were addressed by Mr. C.A. Hazeldine, J.P., C.C., chairman of the Irthlingborough Council. He said they had been faced with black times on former occasions, but never been faced with a crisis like the present. England was going to fly her colours again, and would nip the “big German bully in the bud,” and show him that he had “bitten off more than he could chew.” (Laughter and applause.) He hoped and trusted every tongue would offer a prayer for all those going to look after their interests, and he wished them good health and trusted they would all be spared to return home safely.


The Rushden Echo, 14th August 1914.

Rushden and District War Items

Important Purchases Of Horses - Significant Movements

  The European War continues to be the main topic of conversation in the district. The 4th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Territorials, with Colonel Curtis in command, left Northampton on Saturday for the South-East of England. They will share duty in the scheme of national defence which Lord Kitchener is perfecting. It is not likely they will be called upon to repel invasion. Capt. Wright was in command of the H (Higham, Rushden, and Irthlingborough) Company.

Impressment of Horses

  Government agents were extremely busy on Saturday and Sunday in the neighbourhood, buying horses for the use of His Majesty’s Forces. Between 30 and 40 were taken from Rushden, Higham Ferrers, and the district. Amongst those who parted with their horses were Messrs. W. W. Smith, Rushden (6), C. E. Knight (2), Tailby and Putnam (2), J. Clark (3), G. Chettle (2), Co-operative Society (2), H. Gates (1), Asher Abbott (2), G. H. Skinner (1), Whittemore (1), F.Corby (2), F. Abbott (1), Flintham (2), E. Parsons and Son (1), E. Hollis (1), W. Brown (2), Jury (1), A. E. Lovell, Stanwick (2), W. Blackwell, Stanwick (1), and Dr. Owen (1).

  By order of the Government officials all the animals were inspected at Leamington House stables, Rushden, on Saturday at mid-day and at 9.30 a.m. on Sunday, Mr. W. W. Smith kindly affording the officials every facility in their work and assisting them in every way possible for which kindness they expressed their satisfaction.  The horses at Higham Ferrers were examined in Mr. Flintham’s rick yard.

Church Lads Brigade

  Letters from Field Marshal Lord Grenfell, governor and commandant of the C.L.B. were received by Capt. F. J. Simpson (Higham) and Capt. A. T. Nichols (Rushden), on Sunday morning to the effect that he had offered the C.L.B. for the disposal of His Majesty’s Government, and requesting them to report themselves at the Territorial headquarters, Northampton, on Monday morning.  Captains Simpson and Nichols complied with the order and furnished details regarding the number of lads over 17 years of age in each company willing to serve.  We understand that there were 19 from Higham and 22 from Rushden.  These, if called upon, will in all probability be attached to the Territorial forces.  Members of the Rushden C.L.B. went on Monday to Northampton, and are stationed at various bridges on guard to relieve the men now allotted to that task.

Buying Boots in Rushden and District

  The representative of the Army Clothing Department, Mr. F. J. Lovell, formerly of Rushden, who was accompanied by Mr. Swaysland, technical boot making instructor for the County, on Saturday last sat at the Waverley Hotel, Rushden, for the purpose of receiving samples of footwear suitable for army purposes.  Practically the whole of the Rushden and district manufacturers responded to the invitation to meet Mr. Lovell, whose visit has resulted in several orders being placed for stock lines.  We understand that Mr. Lovell has been authorised by the War Office to immediately purchase any boots suited to the requirements of Recruits and Territorials.

  Interviewed by a representative of the “Rushden Echo,” one of the principal Rushden manufacturers said that the outlook for the general trade was poor, but that the Army boot manufacturers will be hard at work.  It is reported that Messrs. Adams Bros., of Raunds, are working in three shifts, night and day.  The War Office are inviting tenders for future supplies, and in a circular accompanying such invitation it is stated that contractors will be permitted under certain conditions, to keep their employees at work for longer hours than are permitted by the Factory Acts.

  After having interviewed the various manufacturers of the town on Saturday Mr. Lovell visited the C.W.S. works at Rushden, and being there shown samples of just the kind of boot required by the War Office at once placed a large order, of which Mr. Tysoe has since received confirmation.  The boots sold by the C.W.S., amounting in all to about 4,000 pairs, consisted entirely of stock lines for societies.  The manager’s idea in disposing of the same was in order to provide more work for the district during the present crisis, anticipating that the regular supplies will not be wanted in such large quantities for so long as the war lasts.  The number of boots sold are to be again put in hand immediately to meet the ordinary requirements of the various societies.  The representative of the War Office expressed himself as well pleased with the style of the boots supplied by the C.W.S., which were of the heavy chrome Derby style, all leather, and therefore very suitable for the Territorial Forces.

  Mr. Lovell was informed that should the War Office require to repeat the order, the firm are in a position to supply a further 4,000 pairs on demand.  In reply to a question from our representative Mr. Tysoe said that his firm were well placed with orders irrespective of the extra demand for army footwear, so that there is therefore no likelihood of the firm having to go on short time for some time to come.

Higham Ferrers Police Court

  There were no cases at the petty sessions on Monday.  Ald. Owen Parker notified the Press that the difficulties of would-be recruits have now been overcome.  Mr. Barritt of Alliance-terrace, Wellingborough, had, he said, been appointed to act as recruiting officer for Rushden and Higham district, and all wishing to join His Majesty’s army should report themselves to Mr. Barritt.  Mr. Parker also said that a recruiting officer would shortly be resident in either Rushden or Higham.

Rushden Motor Cycling Club

  The Rushden and Wellingborough District Motor Cycling Club have for the present abandoned their fixtures in consequence of the war.

Rushden Gentleman’s Thrilling Experiences

  Sensational experiences have befallen Mr. W. H. Moody, of Rushden, while on a holiday cruise.  Leaving St. Catherine’s Dock, London, on Saturday, Aug. 3rd, in the steam-ship Ballycotton, they were preceded by two Hamburg liners taking back Germans, chiefly London waiters and barbers.  These two boats were crowded with Germans singing “The Fatherland,” and there appeared to be thousands more left on the dock side to see their compatriots off.  There was much cheering shouting of “Hoch!”

  Passing down the English Channel the Ballycotton passed six battleships making for the North Sea.  Nothing further occurred until the vessel reached Ireland.  Tuesday night was spent at Bangor, an Irish port.  On Wednesday morning, after war had been declared, the passengers were called back from Bangor by telephone as the Port of Belfast would be closed that evening and all cross-channel service suspended.  Embarking on the steamship Glenravel, Mr. Moody and his fellow passengers found themselves in the last boat to leave Belfast, the captain having instructions to put in at Oban (Scotland) for further orders.

  As there were no orders at Oban the Glenravel proceeded to Arduamurchin, also calling at Kyleakyn, proceeding through the Northern Narrows and the Western Isles of Scotland. On passing the Wrath Light they had signals to proceed cautiously. The vessel arrived at the Orkney Islands at 5.30 on Friday morning, prior to which they passed a large German liner, accompanied by a cruiser. Anxious for news, the Glenravel passengers went ashore, calling up the local newsagent and the postmaster, but nothing of importance could be learned. Leaving Stromness harbour at 8 a.m. on Friday, the Grenravel encountered 24 cruisers, gunboats, and destroyers. On arrival at Wick they were chased by His Majesty’s first class cruiser Lowestoft, which passed on important signals to Captain Cameron, commander of the Glenravel. They were allowed to proceed, passing many warships.

  On leaving Stromness Mr. Moody and his fellow passengers saw two English cruisers capture a German oil-boat, which was taken into Stromness Harbour, the oil-boat signalling to Captain Cameron “U.V.,” which, on turning up the code was found to mean “Report to owners at Hamburg captured.” From Stromness to the East Coast of Scotland, all light-houses, gas and electric lights, were turned off at 8p.m., and under a heavy penalty no light was to be shown in any house on the front. On instruction from the warships the Glenravel’s lights were masked and all portholes covered, so that no light could be seen out at sea, signals being given from the shore by hand signalling lamps with black shutters.

  After passing the Fraserburg Light the Glenravel passengers observed two battleships 12 miles out, apparently dispersing in opposite directions.  Fifteen minutes afterwards they were surprised to find they were being chased by a three-funnel gunboat, travelling at the rate of about 30 miles an hour.  She had her decks cleared for action and everything blacked out.  Everyone at first took her to be a German gunboat.  Through some mistake in the Glenravel signal, the gunboat came on broadside and had her guns pointing to the Glenravel, one of her officers, using the megaphone, demanding the number of registration, port of embarkation, and destination of the vessel.  They were approached by the battleship’s officers, who examined their permits, and a scout boat was sent to escort them into port.  The passengers had to pass a strict examination by the Board of Trade officers before leaving the boat at Leith, Edinburgh.

  Permission from the Board of Trade and instructions from London and Belfast were wired for by the Customs, and the Glenravel was then allowed to proceed to West Hartlepool.  Arriving off Sunderland they were again boarded by officers of an English man-of-war, and the passengers again submitted to stringent examination.  On arriving at West Hartlepool about 6 a.m. on Sunday they saw some mines being removed by fishing smacks.  Between Stromness and West Hartlepool the Glenravel passed 112 battleships, cruisers, torpedo destroyers, and submarines.  Mr. Moody is now back again in Rushden, none the worse for his exciting experiences.

An Irthlingborough Record

  Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Harris, of 36, Spinney-road, Irthlingborough, have five sons, and all are now doing duty. Their record is : Samuel (Marines), 17 years; William (Northamptons), 10 years; Sydney (Grenadier Guards), 3 service, 7 reserves – 10 years; Frank (2nd Rifle Brigade), 7 years; Albert (Garrison Artillery), 1 year, a total of 45 years’ service.

British Troops In Antwerp

  We have received direct information that 30,000 British troops are at present in Antwerp and are being rapidly transported to the front in London motor omnibuses bearing the route boards, Peckham, Cricklewood, etc.

Sandy Show

  This show, fixed for August 27, has been abandoned owing to the war.

Rushden Catholic Church

  The Rev. Father Fitzgerald, officiating minister pro tem at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, on Sunday morning, referred to the continental strife, and urged all to hope and pray that the ultimate issues might be not altogether evil but that the Kingdom of Christ would prevail. Special prayers are being said during the week by an injunction from the Bishop.

St. Mary’s Church, Rushden

  Special intercessions for the sufferers through the war were held on Sunday at early morning communion and at matins and evensong. There were large congregations at each of the services, in the evening the pulpit was occupied by the Rev. Mr. Harrison, who gave some striking sentences from the sermon by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the previous Sunday, Mr. Harrison, proceeding, said the present state of things should be for good if only they proved man’s dependence on God. Did not the present time accentuate the dignity of service? Did it not call for self-sacrifice? He was afraid people had not taken their pleasures as quietly as they might have done. He would not say that picture palaces and smoking concerts had not their use but had not such been run almost to death lately? Had not the people of England rather under-valued the old English idea of hearth and home? He thought the vacant chair was likely to remain vacant for some months to come. Interest in home with its good influence should be increased by the calamity of war. Appropriate hymns were sung, one of which contained the lines “When comes the promised time, when war shall be no more?” The Rector read prayers for the Government, sailors and soldiers, all sick and wounded and their ministers, those in anxiety and poverty, for peace to be restored, and finally, that the issues would be for the advancement of the kingdom of God.  The service closed with the singing of the first verse of the National Anthem.  Mr. J. Enos Smith presided at the organ.

St. Peter’s, Rushden

  Special forms of prayer were used at St. Peter’s Church, Rushden, on Sunday.  The Vicar (the Rev. P. J. Richards), who based his morning discourse upon Psalm xli v.1, in the course of his sermon said he was sure that all were thinking of one thing that morning, viz., the scourge of war that had come upon the whole continent of Europe and which had also involved our own nation.  It was right at the outset of such a grave and serious situation that the hearts of all Christians be attuned rightly.  It was a good thing that they should begin by thinking rightly about the great struggle in which the nation was engaged.  How was it possible to put out of their hearts all malice and hatred?  The Church had invited all the people of the country to come to God in prayer, and special services had been compiled.  Both in public and private it was essential that the citizens of the country pour out their hearts to God in prayer, that He might enable them to win for righteousness’ sake.  History recorded that the greatest soldiers and the greatest men had been those who were truly religious in character.  Over and over again examples were found of great soldiers who were also great Christians.  The last words uttered by Nelson were “Thank God.  I have been able to do my duty.”  The greatest leaders with the greatest courage had been Christian men, and it was only such who were capable of leading with a spirit of true courage, and at the same time a spirit of courtesy and Christianity.  One of the reasons that such a great struggle had come upon them was that they might be brought nearer to God.  They had sung that morning “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will we not fear though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”  That was the spirit in which they wished to go forth to battle.  Whatever the issue of the conflict, if they were true to that spirit and that calling their names would have an undying fame that would last as long as the world.  A feature of the service worthy of special note was the singular appropriateness of the psalms appointed for the day.

Rushden Independent Wesleyan Church

  In his sermon at the Independent Wesleyan Schools, Queen-street, Rushden, on Sunday morning, the Rev. C.J. Keeler spoke of the European war crises. He said that many blessings might come out of the present horror of war. As an illustration he said that in cotton mills the dark damp days were always the best; the threads would not break so frequently. In the present international darkness humanity should be drawn nearer to God. The threads binding the heart of man to God would not be broken in these times. When the sun shone brightly they were apt to forget what they owed to God. Notwithstanding all the shadow, they knew that there was an eternal world close to them upon which they must lean and trust. Even if victory was theirs, great loss must be expected.


The Rushden Echo, 21st August 1914.

Rushden and District War Items

Lord Kitchener’s Army - Ambulance Work

  First class Sergt. Prigmore, Privates H. May, Timpson (Rushden), and Wm. Eatly (Irthlingborough), left on Sunday for Chatham to serve in the Royal Navel Sick Berth. They left by train from Irchester station.

Major Browning

  Major J.A. Browning, Queen’s Bays, has gone to the front with the 1st Cavalry Brigade.


  A meeting representative of Rushden, Higham, Irthlingborough, and Raunds was held at the Town Hall, Higham Ferrers, on Monday evening, to meet Sir Ryland Adkins, K.C., M.P., chairman of the Recruiting Committee of the Northants Territorial Force Association. Alderman Owen Parker, J.P., presided, and there were present –

  Higham Ferrers, the Mayor (Ald. T. Patenall).. Mr. W. Hirst Simpson, B.A., C.C., Mr. F.J. Simpson.

  Rushden, Messrs. J.S. Clipson, J.P.,A.H. Sartoris J.P., F. Knight, J.P., G. Miller, C.A., J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., C. Cross, C.C., and W. Bazeley.

  Irthlingborough, Mr. Hazeldine, C.C.

  Raunds, Mr. J. Shelmerdine, J.P., and Mr. John Adams, C.C.

   Sir Ryland Adkins, M.P., gave an address, stating that the Northants Territorial Forces Association were anxious to promote the recruiting of Lord Kitchener’s Army of 100,000 men. Sir Ryland explained that the period of enlistment in Lord Kitchener’s Army was merely to the end of the war, but should the war unfortunately last over a period of three years, the term of service would then come to an end, unless the individual cared to re-enlist.

  In the course of a discussion as to the best means of securing recruits, it was stated that the greatest difficulty to be met would be the fear on the part of would-be recruits that at the end of the period of service they would have difficulty in securing situations.  Several of the employers of labour present undertook to keep open situations for all their employees who enlisted in Lord Kitchener’s Army, and it was stated that many other employers in the district would adopt the same course.  The hope was earnestly expressed that the whole of the employers would do the same, and it was felt that under such circumstances there would be a hearty response.

  Col. Fawcett attended the meeting at the request of Sir Ryland, and gave some useful information.

  It was decided to form a local Advisory Committee, as follows: Messrs. Owen Parker (chairman), F. J. Simpson (secretary), Patenall, W. H. Simpson, Higham Ferrers; Sartoris, Knight, Clipson, Bazeley, Claridge, Miller, Cross, Rushden; Hazeldine, Irthlingborough; Shelmerdine and Adams, Raunds.

Higham Ferrers Parish Church

  On Sunday evening, before a good congregation, the Rev. G. L. Richardson (Rector of Burton Latimer) gave an impressive sermon dealing with the war.  He dealt comprehensively with the social and political aspects of the war, and appealed for unity in combating the distress which was almost sure to come as a result.

Soldiers At Irchester

  A train load of Camerons who were delayed at Irchester railway station on Sunday whiled away the time by playing the bagpipes.


The Rushden Echo, 28th August 1914.

Rushden and District War Items

Boy Scouts on Guard - German Spy

  We are officially informed that a man representing himself as a Scoutmaster, height 5ft 10½in., slight build, fair complexion, clean shaven, with a scar under his right eye, speaks with a German accent, has been seen selling pills and liquor to soldiers on duty. He is a very dangerous character, and is fully armed. During the last three days it is reported that he has been seen in the Rushden district. Should a man answering to this description be seen by any of our readers, he should be at once detained or information given to the nearest police officer.

Northants Territorials

  The 4th Battalion of the Northants Regiment left Romford some days ago and have been marching to Bury St. Edmunds.  They are undergoing very vigorous training, and for a couple of days marched on bread and tinned beef.  The men are in perfectly good spirits, and no complaints as to their rations have been made.

The Second Army

  Northamptonshire so far has contributed about 400 recruits to Lord Kitchener’s second army.  It is hoped that the county will raise 1000. The members will form the Fifth (Service) Battalion of the Northants Regiment.

Rushden Boy Scouts

  The Rushden Boy Scouts are rendering useful service by watching the Bedford-road each night between the Wymington turn and Souldrop, guarding the telegraph wires, etc.  A tent has been pitched in a field of Mr. F. Whittemore’s Bencroft Farm, and six Scouts are on duty each night, under the command of Scoutmaster F. E. Preston.  The period of watching is from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., and the boys work in couples in turns of two hours each, sleeping in the tent the remainder of the time.  Each night a fresh lot of Scouts are on duty.  Former members of the Rushden Troop willing to render assistance are invited to report themselves at headquarters.


The Rushden Echo, 4th September 1914.

Recruiting in the Rushden District

  So eager is the response to the call of the country for recruits that, if it goes on, the factories in the Rushden district might possibly have to closed for want of hands. On several days this week groups of young men have left off work from different factories in the district, and the dislocation of routine work is already getting serious. A Rushden boot manufacturer told a “Rushden Echo” representative that the recruiting would be most successful from the point of view of local trade if the men would consult with the employers in order to readjust matters of employment. Those who are compelled to stay to keep on the homes are likely to suffer if work ceases through injudicious patriotism. Over 500 recruits are waiting at Northampton to be attended to by the officers, and this number is continually increasing.  And as things are there seems little chance of the prospective soldiers taking up active service immediately.  The Rushden recruiting station has been besieged every day this week with large numbers of young men anxious to serve their country.  Colour Sergeant Bettles, the recruiting officer, is overwhelmed with work.  Although this is, in view of the seriousness of the war, a gratifying feature, it should be remembered that, from an economic point of view, there should be no thoughtless rushing in crowds from the factory to the recruiting officer, wherever that may be.


  Mr. William Stanley, clerk to Messrs. Mobbs and Lewis, last makers, Kettering, after being married by special licence on Wednesday morning, left in the afternoon with a contingent for Kitchener’s Army.


  In Northamptonshire up to yesterday the number of recruits for the Army was 1,555.

Recruits Leaving Rushden

  “Goodbye, give us your fist!”  One heard the remark most days this week at the Rushden station during the dinner hour as new recruits left home for an uncertain period.  Yesterday dinner-time upwards of 150 people crowded round the young men who have applied for the King’s shilling.  Not a few were sobbing, but these were the recruits’ sisters or someone else’s sisters.  Everyone seemed proud that the towns-people were responding in such good numbers for the country’s cause. Many were the threats to end the career of any measly alien daring to question the supremacy of England and her Allies. There was no flunking among the men; in fact, they might have been going on a pleasant holiday by their jocularity. Colour Sergeant Bettles, was kept very busy getting his men off by train after train and the sight as the parties left made one hope there was as much enthusiasm from all other parts of the Empire. On one train labels were put on by wags: “To Vienna!  To Berlin!”

Recruits From Rushden

  During the time that Colour Sergt. Bettles has been recruiting officer for Rushden and the district, (since Aug. 1st) over 260 recruits have been sent by him to Northampton, including some this morning.  On Tuesday five were conveyed from Higham by Mr. Fenton, in his motor car, five from Ringstead station and three from Irchester station.  Those from Rushden station were as follow :- Aug. 18th, 1; 21st, 2; 24th, 7; 25th, 11; 26th, 1; 27th, 5; 28th, 3; 29th, 5; 31st, 25; Sept. 1st, 26; 2nd, 67; 3rd, 33.

Rushden Man On Service

  Mr. Harry Knight, of Cromwell-road, Rushden, is in ------------ with the 12th Lancers, to which regiment he had belonged for three years.  A letter received from him on Monday week stated that he was all right but felt strange amongst people whose language he could not understand.  He left home in good spirits, but is not allowed to write much owing to the censorship.  In his last letter two words were obliterated by the censor.

Rushden Relief Fund

  The following subscriptions (in addition to those published on page 1) have been promised.

Miss B. A. Crane
Mr. H. R. Crane
Miss R. F. Crane
Commonwealth Cricket Club
Mr. G. W. Battersby
Messrs. W. Sargent and Co. per Mr. Bradfield
Mr. C. A. Hedley
Mr. W. P. Orrel
Mr. R. A. Wheeler
Mr. Charles Smith
Mr. F. Wilkins
Mr. C. L. Bradfield
Mrs. E. Bradfield
Mr. H. S. Gates
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hawkes
Mr. W. W. Rial
Mr. F. Cowley


  Lost on September 3 in Manton-road, Rushden, or the neighbourhood, a small brown leather purse, containing a 10/0 note.  Finder, on returning it to Harry Boyce, 13 Fitzwilliam-street, Rushden, will be well rewarded.

Rushden Soldiers Ill and Wounded

Local Casualties - Private Pope

  Mrs. G. Pope, of 20, Spencer-road, Rushden, has received a postcard from the Chaplain of the Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, Hants, saying that her husband, who has been fighting on the Continent, is there suffering as a result of engagements in which he has taken part.  The Chaplain says, “He is going on well and there is no cause for uneasiness.”  Mr. Pope’s mother, who resides at 56 Washbrook-road, has received a postcard from her son to say that he is being transferred to the Northampton depot and his wife has proceeded thither to await his arrival.  Private Pope, who belongs to the Reserve Forces, has one little girl, who will be three years of age in November.  He is an employee of Messrs. Robinson Bros., boot manufacturers, Robert-street, Rushden.

  In a letter to his wife, received yesterday, Private Pope said : “I expected to be sent down to the depot but I was told I was not well enough to be moved yet.  Now I want to assure you that although I was badly knocked about I still have all my limbs intact, and I do not think but what I shall soon be all right again, so you will be doing me a favour if you do not worry about me at all as I shall be all right.  Did you see my photo in to-day’s “Daily Mirror,” on board ship playing cards.  I am the third from the left with no jacket or boots on.”

Private Chubb

  Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Chubb, of 8, Queen-street, Rushden, whose son, Private W. A. Chubb, has been fighting with the British Expeditionary Forces, have received information that their son is in hospital at Brighton. He belongs to the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and has put in nearly twelve years’ service in the army. Immediately upon receipt of the information of his son’s illness his father proceeded to Brighton, and upon arrival wired Mrs. Chubb, sen., that his son was suffering from dysentery. Private Chubb, who belongs to the Reserve, is an eldest son, and was only married last February. Private Chubb is, we understand, and employee of Messrs. Ebenezer Claridge and Son, Son, Ltd., boot manufacturer, Rushden.


  Captain Chas. Higgins, of the King’s Own Royal Lancashire Regiment, who is reported “wounded” is a member of a well known Turvey family.

  Lieut. Eric Nicholson, 12th Lancers, who is among the wounded, is son-in-law of Mr. Romer Williams, of Newnham Hall, Daventry.

  Captain J. McM. Milling and Lieut. C. E. Shearman, both of the Bedfordshire Regiment, are reported wounded.

  Captain C. H. Browning, of the Royal Field Artillery, who is among the officers killed, was the youngest son of the late Major Browning, of Clapham Park, Bedford.


11th September, 1914

Rushden Soldier at The Front

A Reminiscence of Cave’s Fire - What Happened To His Sunday Suit

  Private J. W. Hinde, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Hinde, of 7, North-street, Rushden, is serving on the Continent with the British Expeditionary Forces.  He has written home stating that he is quite well and asking that English newspapers may be sent to him.  The following are extracts from his letter : “Just a few lines to let you know I am in the best of health at present.  You must excuse writing as I am doing this under difficulties.  I can’t tell you anything about the war yet, as we are under sealed orders.  We must not tell where we are, or anything.  These letters are opened before you get them, so if I was to say anything I should be had at once.  As soon as we are allowed to be open I shall be able to tell you plenty.  Everything here is practically like England – vegetables, etc.  We have plenty of work to do, being on the go nearly all day long.  What with one thing and another I shall be glad to get back again.  We grumble about shoe work, but you do know what you have got to do.  How are the factories going on?  I don’t expect they are doing much now.  Don’t expect too many letters, because you will only be disappointed.  We can’t get hold of the material to write on.  We are miles from anywhere, but I shall write when I can.  You can send me the ‘Lloyds’ newspaper and ‘Rushden Echo’ when you have done with them.  We are getting fairly good food considering we are

On Active Service.

  Beer, tobacco, and cigarettes are things of the past; we can’t get hold of any of them. Roll on the W.M.C. again. How are the Reservist’s wives getting on with the Prince of Wales’s Fund? I hear it has been distributed in Kettering to some and some have been missed. I hope this affair won’t last long, nobody knows except those who are going through it what it is like. It has been raining for three days straight off the reel here. We have an oil sheet, one blanket, an overcoat, and what we stand up in; very nice, ain’t it. Get wet through and nothing to change into.

  Private Hinde, who belonged to the King’s Dragoon Guards, is attached to the No. 1 Section Army Veterinary Corps, and further says in his letter: “I can tell you what we are doing, viz. looking after the wounded and sick horses that come from the front and nursing them up again. I tried to get a packet of Woodbines yesterday. They only wanted 7d. a packet – it didn’t matter.”

  Private Hinde will be remembered by many former employees of Messrs. Cave and Sons, Ltd., as the youth who, at the time of the fire, unable to obtain his parents’ consent to his enlistment, took his Sunday clothes to the factory with him, intending to run away on the Friday when he got his wages and join the army.  This suit of clothes was destroyed in the fire and Master Hinde, who at the time was barely 15 years of age, had subsequently to confess to his parents what had been his intention.  The military instinct was, however, not to be denied, and a month or two later he enlisted.

Rushden Soldier’s Experiences

More about Private Pope - Pitiable Plight of Refugees

  Private G. Pope, of 20, Spencer-road, Rushden, who, as stated in last week’s “Rushden Echo,” has been sent home from the Front, having been wounded, has been transferred from the Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, Hampshire, to the Northampton Depot. Private Pope, who is a Reservist in the 1st Northamptonshires, was injured in the retreat of the British forces from Mons. He is now in the convalescent stage and hopes to be able to get home during the next day or to. Speaking to a press representative, he said that the Northamptonshires acted as rearguard to the artillery at Mons. During the retreat the transports stampeded, and he was knocked down, sustaining slight concussion and injury to his body. After being picked up he was taken to the Casino at Havre, which had been turned into a hospital.

  Speaking of the nurses there, he said they had the gratitude of all the soldiers for their kindness.  The Northamptonshires themselves had up to the time Pope was wounded been very fortunate, their losses being very slight.  The refugees, he said, were in the majority of cases in pitiable plight.  There were thousands of them snatching sleep where they could, all terrorised by the advancing Germans.  Private Pope is an employee of Messrs. Robinson Bros., boot manufacturers, of Rushden.


18th  September 1914.

Rushden Soldier’s Experience

“Get Your Bayonets Sharpened” - “You Will Want Them!”

  A Rushden man, Pte. W. A. Stock, of the new 5th Batt. Northants Regt., stationed in Kent, writes an interesting letter home. He says there are about 30,000 in the barracks altogether. The last arrivals are still in their civilian dress but are kept continually busy at drill. While on parade a number of aeroplanes circle round about them, and things generally present an animated appearance.  There are a fair number of Rushden men at the place where Pte. Stock is staying.  He states that he was compelled to leave a good situation to go to the call of his country.  Apparently it takes two or three days for letters to reach the soldiers owing to the abnormal crush of postal business.  “We shall not get many luxuries here unless we buy them,” Pte. Stock remarks.  “A few of us went down to Folkestone the other night for an hour or so and went to the boat station for France.  You should see the refugees coming in from France!  There were also some British soldiers who had been cut off from the main army at the front, some of them being wounded.  One of them was heard to say ‘You can get your bayonets sharpened; you will want them!’  There are hundreds of Belgians here.  We are only about 25 miles across the water from Boulogne.”


Rushden Soldier’s Evidence of the Atrocities of the German Forces

Private Pope’s Thrilling Experiences

  “How near did you get to the Germans?”

  “Well, we got within a few yards – that was near enough!  The Frenchmen would have pulled them to bits if they could have had their way with them!”

  Private Pope, of Spencer-road, Rushden, who has just come home, wounded, related a few of his exiting experiences to a “Rushden Echo” representative this week. He told our representative that he was under strict orders not to divulge any secrets relative to the strategy of the fighting. Private Pope is attached to the 1st Northamptonshires.

  “The field ambulance to which I was attached had a narrow escape of being captured on one occasion, and at Maubenge we were amongst the last to clear out. Our regiment was very lucky – although one or two may be reported ‘missing’ they are all right. You get put on the field ambulance, perhaps away from your own men, and are reported ‘missing,’ but you get through in the end.”

  “How many Germans did you pot?” our representative asked.  “I don’t know,” replied Private Pope, with a smile, “there are a few left yet!”

  “You must not take too much notice of the reports of the soldiers in the trenches singing as if they had not a care in the world!  I heard more talk of religion – and from men from whom you would least expect it – than any popular songs!  On the other hand we are kept too busy during the time of fighting to think about personal danger.  The idea of what may happen to oneself scarcely enters one’s head.  But, with all that, it would take a very vivid imagination to picture all the scenes in a war like this which is nothing less than legalised murder!  Some of the sights are simply shocking – you could not talk about them.  The Germans were not satisfied with killing our men – they would even spit on them as they leaped over their dead bodies.  One man, after having been killed with a would in the head, was stabbed in 19 different places!  This shows that there is some truth in the reports of the atrocious deeds of the enemy.

  “But the heroism of the French is just as noble as the Germans are brutal.  One little French chap carried his pal for two days on his back and was successful in getting through the lines to the ambulance.  It was a staggering piece of work, as the poor wounded man must have weighed at least 14 st., and the one who carried him was only a little fellow.

  “We English had to get used to carrying heavy loads.  Our baggage, including rifle, etc. weighed over 80 lbs., and each man had to march with that dragging on him all the time.  There was no stopping to change the kit about to get a little relief, either! It made it all the worse that the weather was so terribly hot, too.  After marching long like that, we don’t trouble about a blanket or waterproof rug to lie down on.  As soon as we were allowed to settle down for the night we rolled straight on to the ground and went off to sleep without the slightest difficulty.

  “We might be sleeping peacefully like that when, in the dead of night, we should have a call to be ready, and in a few moments we should be in the thick of the fight.  On these occasions there was such a fearful din and mix up that little real slaughter could take place – Germans, French, and English would be close to each other in the darkness, and none dared to fire for fear of killing his own comrades.  It was on such a night as this that we saw six villages on fire all at the same time. The Germans seem to know France as well as the French know it.  They cleverly evaded our strong points and pegged away at our weakest places.

  “It is no use saying the Germans cannot fight.  They were the picked men of the German Army who so nearly reached Paris.  We got a view of them one Sunday, right in the distance, hopping in and out of cover like a lot of rabbits.”

  “How did you manage to get injured?” asked the “Rushden Echo” representative.

  “I was in the hottest part of a stampede and was knocked down by a wagon.  For a time there was utter confusion;  horses galloped madly about, the firing of guns and the yells of the enemy making the scene anything but pleasant.  It was every man for himself.  The wagon was fortunately not loaded or I should have been killed outright.  One man made a frantic endeavour to either steady the horses or board the vehicle – I could not tell which.  He met his death in the attempt.  I shall never forget the sight of him – he was a splendidly built chap.  I saw him a little later on, his head crushed in.  He had been caught between the hubs of two vehicles which came together in the mad rush.  It was mere good luck that I didn’t meet with a similar fate.  We should have gone back if possible to give him, with others, a decent burial after the battle, but the Germans got possession of the place.

  “It was with difficulty that I could let my friends know of my condition. They could not tell whether I was alive or not. However, the chaplain in one of the hospitals I was sent to insisted on writing to my home. That, I told him, would lead them to think that I should come home with a leg under my arm or something equally horrible. I wanted to write myself, if only one line, just to satisfy them I was at least well enough for that. However, I had a lucky escape and I am thankful to say I am now about right again.”

  Pte. Pope told an amusing story of how he “set the back up” of a doctor. The doctor went to the bedside and started questioning Pte. Pope, who, not knowing his visitor refused to admit that he knew anything about the war worth speaking of. The doctor went off in a “huff,” but returned with an officer of the army. This time he was more successful with his cross-examination!

  Asked what was the spirit prevailing among the French and English, Pte. Pope said they were on the friendliest of terms and would do almost anything for each other. He managed to pick up a few words of French, but says he was better able to ask for what he wanted than to pay for it. The price of food stuffs was very high.


18th September, 1914

Rushden Soldiers in Action

Reported Death of a Rushden Man - Accident to a Rushdenite

  A message received from the front by the “Rushden Echo,” states that Private Jack Wood, one of the Steelbacks, was in an encounter with the enemy recently and has “gone under.”  We fear that only one construction can be placed on the words – that he has been killed.  Private Wood, who was spending his furlough in Rushden a few months ago, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Wood of Australia, late of Rushden, and his grandfather formerly kept the Waggon and Horses Inn.

  Private H. Rowthorne, of Rushden, son of Mr. W. Rowthorne, the secretary of the West End Club, Rushden, is now in hospital, having been wounded.  Private Rowthorne, 9642, is in the B. Company of the 1st Northamptonshire Regiment.  He has written a postcard to his parents saying that his injury is “nothing very bad” and telling them not to worry.  The postcard is in his own handwriting, so that the wound, it may be taken for granted is not very serious.

  Leonard Frank Allen, son of Mr. and Mrs. Allen of Cromwell-road, Rushden is with the Northants Regiment in France, and the last message from his stated that he was quite safe and well.  His brother, Wm. Albert, in the 19th Hussars, is also serving in the war area.  Frank joined the Army about three years ago, while William has belonged to the Hussars for six years.

  Two other Rushden brothers, Quintess Bayes and Bertie Bayes, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Bayes, of Pemberton-street, Rushden, also are serving in His Majesty’s Army.  Quintess, who enlisted last February, is at the scene of the conflict, and a card from him states that he is in good health.  Bertie is still in England.

  Fred Bass, of Rushden, from the front, sends gratifying news of his safety.  He has a brother-in-law in the ambulance brigade, doing active service in the Isle of Wight.

  Private Magee, of Wellingborough-road, Rushden, in the 1st Northants, was injured in the retirement of the British forces at a battle about three weeks ago.  There was a hasty scramble for safety and Private Magee, in leaping over a wall, dislocated his knee-cap and had to be picked up by the Ambulance.  He was conveyed to a French hospital and from there to the London Hospital.  Fortunately the injury was not severe, and Private Magee is now able to walk.  He has been in the Army for ten years.


25th September 1914.

Rushden and District War Items

Major Chandos Leigh in Action

“Never Mind Me! Go On!” - A Brave Officer

  Further news is now to hand concerning Major Chandos Leigh, D.S.O., son of the Hon. Sir E. Chandos Leigh, K.C., K.C.B., formerly of Knuston Hall, Irchester. Private J. Brown, of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, is at home in Sheffield, nursing a wound in the leg received in battle at St. Ghislain. He says; “The enemy started sniping from a wood, and the Britishers were ordered to take the wood at the point of the bayonet. Our lads were met with heavy fire, which soon thinned them out. They were dropping as fast as they advanced. Captain Kennedy, who had encouraged his men with a buoyant ‘follow me boys,’ was shot no fewer than six times in his sword arm, which, dangled helplessly by his side. As he fell exhausted he remarked, ‘they have got me, lads.’ Two more sections of ‘D’ company

Led by Major Leigh

then sprang into the breach.  The rifle and artillery fire from the wood was terrible, and the men were tumbled over like ninepins.  The major fell, wounded in his left elbow.  Two fellows went to his assistance, but the officer said “Never mind me, go on.”  They obeyed, but they had not gone far when they were bowled over.  I was in a hurry to get at them with the steel, and was 250 yards from the wood when a pretty little shot drilled the calf of my leg.  I lay on the ground about two hours before it was safe for me to be removed.

  “A heavy battery of artillery arrived about four o’clock, which shelled the wood to such good purpose that it was set on fire and caused the enemy to retire.  But for the timely arrival of the guns we might have been cut up.  To use a soldier’s phrase our men, if they had advanced in the open, would not have had

A ‘Cat In Hell’s Chance’

We knew we were in for a gruelling time, for before we came in touch with the Germans Sir Charles Ferguson (the commanding officer), addressing the brigade, said: “You must not budge one inch.  You are British soldiers, and if you get disarmed, and lose your rifle, don’t be beaten, but use your fists.  My lads, you are second to none.  You never would have defeat, but would always win or die.

  “I witnessed one heroic act on the part of Lieutenant Amos, an officer in our regiment – a mere stripling – who jumped over a wall near the trenches, and amid a hail of bullets went to the rescue of a wounded soldier nearly twice his own weight, and carried him to safety.  I regret to say that that officer has been reported as missing.  He certainly deserved the V.C.”


Rushden Family’s Record

Three Boys at the Front - A Fourth Wounded in South Africa

  Mr. and Mrs. Denton, of Cromwell-road, Rushden, have three sons serving in the war against Germany.

  Walter has to his credit 16 years, which he has spent in the Suffolks. He fought in the South African war and was fortunate in escaping serious injury. He writes from Weymouth, from where he is expecting to be transferred to the scene of war, saying that he is well.

  Benjamin has belonged to His Majesty’s Army for 13 years, eight in a Suffolk regiment and five in the Reserves. A third son, Jack, joined the Northampton’s two years ago, so the three sons are not likely to fight side by side.

  Another son, Dick, lost four fingers whilst fighting in South Africa, and is in consequence unable to fight against Germany. He is on the pensioners’ list.


Rushden Soldier’s Optimism

“Things Look Rosy Now” - Big Capture of Germans

  Writing to his wife, his letter being despatched from the front on September 15th, Private J. Hinde (Rushden), of the 1st Dragoon Guards, says : “People come round in carts selling food but it is very dear, bread is 6d. a loaf.  We get sick of biscuits and bully beef.  I hope I shall be with you again soon.  We have had a big capture of the enemy, and a few more like that must settle the affair altogether, so cheer up and do your best till I get home.  Things look rosy now.”

  In a letter to his parents dated September 13th, Private Hinde says “I am still in the best of health, but am having a very tiring time.  We have had a lot of rain and you know what that means for us, lying in the open.  People need not crave for war – they would not if they had to go and do the dirty work.  We have still to be silent, so you must excuse short letters, as I can’t tell you what I should like to.  That is very good of the C.W.S. doing what they are for the reservists’ wives.  It’s a rough going on here, I can tell you, this ain’t no picnic.”

  Private Hinde mentions that he has received the “Rushden Echo” at the front.


Rushden Soldier’s Pluck

“Keep a Smiling Face” - “Back For Christmas”

  In some intensely interesting letters written home from the actual scenes of battle, a Rushden soldier, Pte. E. Darnell, 1858, of the 15th “The King’s” Hussars, 1st Signal Squadron, 1st Cavalry Division of the British Expeditionary Force, one can almost hear the roar of the cannon and the yells of the infuriated Germans.  The following are extracts from the letters :- “Just a line to let you know I am all right so far.  The only thing I have lost is my horse and that was done in a skirmish.  I have got another, however.  The English troops are doing well in some places and in others remarkably so.  I am living in hopes of getting home for Christmas.

  “It is a dreadful thing to watch the women and children leaving their homes. All the villages are being burnt down by the Germans as they advance.

  “We had a splendid victory over the Germans on ---------. We lost very few men and not many horses. We are getting treated very well by the French and Belgian people. Everything that we want we can get. I cannot tell you where I am, but we are near Paris.

  “I cannot tell you to much but will tell more when I get home, if I manage to get back.

  “Don’t worry but cheer up and keep a smiling face, as I am all right up to the present.

  Pte. Darnell, who stands well over six feet in height, is one of the smartest-looking soldiers who can claim Rushden for home. The town will feel proud of this noble son of the Army.  He is pitting himself might and main against an atrocious enemy and deserves to win through.  If the whole of the English Army was composed of such fine specimens of intellectual manhood things would go very badly with the Germans.  We wish Pte. Darnell a safe arrival home, and may he be responsible for checking the career of more than one of the enemy.


A Rushden Aviator Getting Ready

In Training as a Naval Airman - Valuable Work

  Mr. Horace Twelvetree, of Newton-road, Rushden, attached to the Royal Naval Flying Corps, is in regular training as an aviator.  Some time ago he underwent a test for a flying certificate, but failed just as he was about to complete the last part of the flight.

  We understand that Mr. Twelvetree is stationed at Yarmouth, where active preparations are being made in the naval flying quarters to get the men as efficient as possible in view of the possibility of naval aviators being required.

  It is interesting to note that the test for an aviator’s certificate is an exacting and complicated one.  In addition to being able to start up and alight in the proper manner, competitors must be able to fly in a figure 8 for several distinct times and must qualify also in the theory of aeronautics.

  Mr. Twelvetree has been in the navy for about seven years and has twice belonged to the Flying Corps.  He was formerly under Lieut. Sampson.  Those who know him and saw the film at the Royal Theatre recently of Lieut. Sampson, might have noticed the Rushden aviator at his side.

  The position of naval airmen is likely to prove very serviceable from the point of view of the country and Mr. Twelvetree certainly has the best wishes of the people of Rushden for his success.


Rushden Soldier Wounded

Called Up For Active Service Ten Days After His Marriage

  Private T. Ayres 7777 of the “Steelbacks,” and formerly of Rushden, has been wounded and is in hospital in France.  The information was conveyed to his step-father, Mr. George Griggs, of Crabb-street, Rushden, by postcard which arrived on Wednesday.  Private Ayres, who was an employee of the Midland Railway Company, at Sheffield, and who is a reservist, had only been married ten days when called up for active service.  No details are yet to hand as to whether or not his injuries are serious.


Rushden Woman and The Ill-Fated Cressy

  One of the three vessels sunk by the Germans in the North Sea this week, the Cressy, was visited on two occasions by Mrs. Cox, of High-street South, Rushden.  Mrs. Cox saw the ship as it lay in Portsmouth harbour some years ago, and was fortunate in being conducted all over the cruiser.  The huge guns were explained to her and she saw the marvels of machines of war in all their grimness.  She does not know yet whether any of her friends have gone down with the ship.


Rushden Soldier’s Experiences - Interview With Private Magee

“Throwing Away Human Life” - “No Tipperary!”

  “It was a very near thing for us, with the Germans within 30 yards and nothing for it but to ‘hop it’ through a deadly fire,” said Private Magee as he told a representative of the “Rushden Echo” how he got hurt recently at the war.

  “We could here the Germans ‘magging’ as they came hounding after us. Four of my comrades went down before my eyes. I stuck at the machine gun, mowing down the enemy’s cavalry until I was afraid I had stayed too long. A mate of mine got shot twice; I felt very sorry for him but it would have been madness to hang behind for him – the Germans were taking no prisoners.

  “It was a village fight, and the enemy succeeded at length in raiding the place. Attempts to repulse them were kept up to the very last moment, and it takes a bit of courage to stand your ground when you can see great hulking fellows bearing down on you like a human tornado. At these moments everyone knows it is useless waiting for the officer in command to day ‘Do this’ or ‘Go there.’  Dealing death to the last, we go helter-skelter for the nearest place of safety.  That is how I injured my knee.  I found myself in a garden surrounded with a low wall, in leaping which I came a ‘cropper’ on the opposite side as the ground was so much lower.  My right knee was dislocated and there was nothing for it but to join the French soldiers.  They carried me on a gun carriage and advised me to go to St. Quentin to have a few days’ rest.  So I should have done but the Germans allowed us no opportunity.”

  “What was the nature of the country in which you fought?” asked our representative.

  “Just like this,” replied Private Magee, “or rather

Like Yelden Open Fields

That is likely to make a difference in the duration of the war.  In the South African war there were hills everywhere, but where I was fighting there was very little opportunity for getting in cover.

  “But there is no doubt that our heavy artillery and rapid firers absolutely flabbergasted the Germans.  One thing very noticeable in this war is the utter disregard for human life, not only amongst the Germans but the French, too.  Firing might be going on, but the little Frenchies would sit laughing and joking as if they were at a picnic, whereas an Englishman, laying more value on life, would naturally seek the protection of the nearest boulder or wall.  There is no lack of courage in that, either, as the English are the most scientific fighters of the Allies.

  “What about the song ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’? Do the soldiers go into battle singing that?” our representative asked.

  Private Magee gave a short, significant laugh.  “There is not much ‘Tipperary’ when you have the enemy’s firing to silence while minding you don’t get silenced yourself! It is true that the song is heard when a regiment is marching but at no other time.

  “While there is the bitterest of feeling on the part of the French towards the Germans, both French and Belgians treated us like pals.  As we marched through some of the villages, people would come out to give us loaves, drink, and even money.  I had several francs put into my hand, and as for beer and cider – they brought it out in buckets!  They would give an English soldier almost anything.  But as for their treatment of the Germans, once they got them into their power – well, the less said the better.  I can tell you the French would soon ‘do them in.’

  “The hatred is quite as evident on the part of the Germans.  I heard of two German officers being captured and brought in by a neighbouring regiment of mine.  The officers, although disarmed, wanted to settle differences with their captors by means of fisticuffs.  However, I don’t believe half the tales about the horrible deeds of the Germans towards our men or towards women and children.  I saw nothing of it myself, and I think it is greatly exaggerated.

  “I should very much like to be at Berlin when the Russians enter.  It may be a ‘lifer’ for the first few.  You see the Germans are very of

‘House Fighting’

That is, as an invading army marches into the town or village, the Germans will skulk into the bedrooms commanding a view of the street and fire down on the men, who have little chance of replying.  They are in comparative safety and can see without being seen.  The only way to deal with them is to blow the buildings to the ground, which is neither a quick nor an easy task for a marching army to do.

  “I am anxious to get back and have another go at them,” said Private Magee, adding that he was returning almost immediately to the front.

  In reply to another query he said he had not done much fighting by night. He gave an interesting account of the manner in which the Britishers “kid the enemy on” and draw them into traps; of how the guns are got into action and other things which we are unable to publish owing to their strategical significance. 

  Private Magee expressed the opinion that the Allies, by hanging together, were absolutely certain of ultimate victory, but it would not be easily won when the Germans got into their own territory. While he emphasised the fact of the really reckless bravery of French soldiers, he pointed out that the tactical skill of the English seemed unequalled on the field. With others, he does not under-estimate the fighting power of the Prussian Army, but adds that they are big, awe-inspiring men who think nothing of rushing pell mell into certain death when they have the command to do so.

  Asked if he felt anything of his knee trouble, Private Magee said he was afraid he would never be able to march so well in the future;  a soldier often had to march as much as 30 miles a day for several days, and that would soon find the weak places in a man’s physique.


News From Paris To Rushden

Private H. Norman Safe

  Private Harry Norman, of Queen-street, Rushden, writes home from Paris this week to say that, so far, he is in perfect health. He is unable to send much news owing to the censorship. His brother Charles has not been heard from for a considerable time.


Rushden Steelback In Belgium  

No News of Private G. Cave

  No news has been received for a considerable time from Pte. George Cave, of the “Steelbacks,” who went with his regiment on Wednesday, August 5th from Rushden, and the following Friday crossed over to France.  It is believed that he is now in Belgium.  He has served in India for four years, and was quite recently married.

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