Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page

Dedication of last Street Shrine
close-up of the shrine
The shrine outside the house at the foot of Wymington Road.

A central position to erect a Shrine for High-street-south, Little-street,
Co-operative-row and Bedford-road.

High St South Shrine
This is taken outside 86 High Street South, home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Martha Cox, at the junction with Wymington Road. Mrs. Martha Cox (nee Dilley) is standing (extreme left) and she lost several members of the Dilley family in WWI.

Rushden Echo, Friday 15th June 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden’s Absent Soldier Sons - Rolls of Honour in St. Mary’s Parish
Dedication of the Last Shrine – Scheme Now Complete

The dedication of the last of the street shrines to be erected in St. Mary's parish, Rushden, took place on Monday at 7.30 p.m. in the presence of a large congregation. The shrine in question, which contains the names of soldiers and sailors in High-street South, Bedford-road, Little-street and Co-operative-row, is situated at the bottom of Wymington-road, and is of handsome design. The names on the shrine number 15 killed, one missing and 110 with the Colours. Messrs. Whittington & Tomlin made the shrine, the cost of which was defrayed by seven anonymous donors. Miss Turner is the secretary and treasurer of the scheme, and the committee comprise: High-street South, Mrs. Bozet, Mrs. Bird; Bedford-road, Mrs Cox, Mrs. Goodfellow; Little-street, Mrs. Savage, Mrs. Colgrave; Co-operative-row, Mrs. Burgess, Mrs. Cox.

After the hymn “O God our help in ages past”, the Rector of St. Mary’s (the Rev. P. E. Robson) dedicated the shrine.

In the course of an address, Mr. Robson said that the present gathering was of special interest to him personally, as it was to them all, because it was the last shrine to be erected in St. Mary’s parish. The scheme was now complete. The whole of the parish had been brought into it, with very few exceptions. The names of practically everyone in St. Mary’s parish on active service, or who had given their lives for their country, had been inscribed on the Rolls of Honour. It was just four months ago since he dedicated the first war shrine on a bitterly cold day, when the gathering of enthusiasts assembled in Cromwell-road, very cold in body but very warm in heart. They owed a debt of gratitude to the residents of Cromwell-road for the enthusiastic way in which they first took up the scheme. He thought it showed good judgment. He could honestly say that if it had not been very warmly and enthusiastically taken up by Cromwell-road he would not have pressed the matter, and it would not have gone further. It was because he felt that their judgment was right that he went on with the scheme.

Of course, there had been some criticism. There were those, not very many, but certainly some, who criticised the kind of shrines being put up. He had always maintained that, considering the shrines were not of a permanent nature, it would be much better not to go to too much expense, so that practically all the money could go to the boys.

There had been also just a few to whom the war shrines added a little to their sorrow and anxiety as they passed by. For those people he could not help but feel very sorry indeed. He hoped that their personal sorrow might be swallowed up in the thought of the comfort that the war shrines were giving to so many people.

Giving a summary of the work of the shrine committees in St. Mary’s parish, the Rector said that the number of parishioners who were at the present time actually fighting and receiving gifts from the committees was 944. With those who had fallen there were over one thousand gone from the parish whose names were inscribed on the Rolls of Honour. The total sum that had been raised already and sent to the lads was £157. 13s. 1d. When they remembered that the money was raised by small subscriptions, the result was truly wonderful. It showed what organised thoughtfulness could do. He had never supposed other than that everyone of them were thinking of the lads at the front, but thoughtfulness unorganised did not always result in practical things, such as the organised thoughtfulness of the war shrines had done. On an average each of the 16 shrines had raised £9. 17s. 1d. but that was not the whole story. He said at the first opening that the shrines would stand for brotherhood and would help people to hear and share in one another’s burdens. He thought they would bear him out that a wonderful spirit of brotherliness had come about through these shrines.

The Rev. C. J. Keeler (Independent Wesleyan) was unable to attend to give an address, owing to another engagement. After an address by the Rev. P. J. Richards (Vicar of St. Peter’s), the hymn for absent friends “Holy Father, in Thy mercy2, was sung and the Benediction brought to a close a simple, reverent and impressive service.

We are informed by the Committee that the amount collected at the service was £1. 6s. 0½d., the hymn sheets sold realised 12s. 6d. and the amounts collected by the Committee totalled £5. 3s. 4d.

The Rushden Echo Friday 27 July 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden's Soldiers Sons - High Street South District
Another Winter on the Front - 'Dear Old Rushden'

Miss Turner, the secretary of the Roll of Honour for High-street-south, Little-street, Co-operative-row and Bedford-road, Rushden has received nearly 70 letters of thanks from soldiers and sailors who have received gifts from the war shrine. One hundred postal orders for 2s each - £10 in all - have been sent to the boys whose names appear on the roll. Other names have been added to the list by Miss Muriel Baker, and the total now stands at 117. From the letters of thanks we make the following extracts:

A. E. Lewis, R.E.: I am under orders for France, and I am hoping to meet some of my Rushden pals out there.

Pte. W. Parker writes that he is hospital at Cardiff, and at present has to keep to his bed.

Lance-Corpl. H. George, T.R.B.: This idea adopted by the ladies of Rushden is one of the best methods of helping the boys on active service.

Pte. F. George, Northants Regiment: Such kindness puts fresh encouragement into the hearts of men.

Lance-Corpl. H. Charles, T.R.B., hopes that the war will soon end, but with a proper finish.

Walter C Freeman, T.R.B: writes that he is moving to the East Coast.

Sapper R. Marlow, R.E.: I have a photo of the shrine, and I think it is very good of you people to think of the old lads.

Pte. A.E.K., writing from the front says: Sometimes there is nothing left standing, hardly one brick on another, but we are all in the best of spirits, considering where we are. I do not think it will be very long now, as our boys can do just what they like with the enemy.

J. Souter: I am in a convalescent camp, getting over a wound in the shoulder. I have the “Rushden Echo” arriving every week, so I often read about the good work the people of Rushden are doing towards helping the boys who are doing their bit. I am sorry to see we are losing such a lot of young fellows from our little place. I am wondering if it will run me another winter out here – that would mean four.

Pte. G. Colgrave, Northants Regiment: To know that there are friends at home constantly thinking of the lads out here make a fellow feel more determined to see it out. Hoping for a speedy termination of this terrible war.

Pte. H. Linnitt sends thanks not only for the monetary gift, but also for the very kind wishes with which it was accompanied.

A. Sargent, M.G.C.: Whilst on leave I was lucky enough to see your shrine. I have a photograph of it with me, and I think it very pretty indeed. I don’t think the war will last much longer; in fact everybody seems to be of the same opinion. All the boys are in the best of spirits and longing to see the end very soon.

Pte. T. Woodhams, Norfolk Yeomanry: I had read of these Rolls of Honour, but I never thought of being on one.

Signaller J. W. Robinson, H.M.S. --: I think the war shrine is a splendid idea and that yourself, the Rev. P. Robson and all concerned, deserve every encouragement. I can assure you it gives the lads more heart to bring this war to a speedy and complete victory. I am returning the postal order as a subscription to any funds that you may be raising for the benefit of prisoners of war, or the lads at the front, where they cannot get such luxuries as tobacco and cigarettes.

Pte. F. Morris: I hope the time is not far off when we shall be in dear old Rushden again.

Pte. Richardson: I read of the dedication service, and they are the very hymns we sing at the Y.M.C.A. hut every Sunday night.

Letters of thanks have also been received from the following, among others: J. P. Savage, George Myers, J. Tebbutt, P. Bailey (H.M.S.--), H. Farret, F. Parker, G. Lewis, W. Wiggins, F. Stevens, A. T. Clarke, W. Bettles, H. Harris, G. Woodcroft, A.B. W. Bailey, H. Underwood, J. Woodhams, George Spears, F. C. Ward (in hospital), W. Meadows, T.W. Rockingham, T. Wright, S. Barker, David Odell, F. Dickens, G. Line.

Rushden Echo, Friday 21st September 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden’s Soldier Sons - “The Top End of the Town”
The High-Street South Roll of Honour

The committee of the High-street South, Little-street, Bedford-road, and Co-operative-row Roll of Honour have collected £22 18s 1½d. since the opening, less than three months ago, and they have sent 203 postal orders to the lads whose names appear on the list. The sale of photographs of the Roll of Honour resulted in a profit of 6s. Over 180 letters of thanks have been received by the secretary, Miss Turner, expressing grateful thanks for the gifts. From the letters we make the following extracts:-

A Cox, Tigne Hospital, Malta Unit: I have been sent into hospital again with a poisoned hand, but it is getting on all right. Later, he writes: I have been through an operation as soon as my hand was better. I am still in bed, and I think I shall be for another fortnight, and it isn’t the sort of weather to be in bed. We have not had any rain here for three months.

J Tebbutt: I am pleased to say I am better now, and at a convalescent home. I shall soon be home for ten days’ leave now.

Rifleman S Moore (an old Steelback, now in the Londons): Keep on smiling, that is the stuff to win the war with. I have had two years of it, so I know what war is like by now. Never say die!

C W Abbott, B.E.F.: I have not come across many Rushden fellows out here yet. Driver L Warr, of Park-road, who is in the R.E.s is somewhere out here, but I have not seen him yet.

L Parker: I had read in the “Rushden Echo” that a war shrine had been placed in High-street South. We get the news of Rushden out here every week.

Pte G Colgrave: I hope we shall not be long before we bring this war to a successful finish.

Pte H H Dilley, Gloucesters, now in a convalescent camp: I really think that you or the committee of the Roll of Honour must be gifted with second-sight, for I was in the those of a severe financial depression, a packet of cigarettes having claimed my last sou, when, lo and behold! Your kindly gift was handed to me by the post corporal. Never was a postal order more welcome than that one, for empty pockets are not exactly things I like, although mine have been empty quite often enough for me to have got used to them. And, as misfortunes never come singly, it is the same with windfalls (in this case). We are actually having a pay-day tomorrow, when the powers-that-be will give to each man here the huge sum of 2s. 6d. This will be the first pay I have received from the Army since May 23rd 1916; consequently, mother has had to “dig out” more times than a few. I am going fine now, and am expecting to be in Rushden about the end of this month. This is a very nice place, quite close to the cliffs, but I’ll be glad to have a sniff of the leathery air which is part of the home life.

Pte J T Morris: I saw all about the war shrine in the “Rushden Echo” and am looking forward to the time when I shall be able to see it myself.

Pte F C Ward, Northants Regiment B.E.F.: I am out of hospital now and in a convalescent hospital. I am getting on fine, and expect to be returned to my base very shortly.

J Woodhams writes from a military hospital in Kent: It cheers a fellow up when he knows his people and friends at home are continually thinking about him, and his townsfolk are organising societies to give him a little extra comforts and oftimes necessities.

Walter C Freeman, T.R.B.: It does one good to receive gifts or letters from Rushden friends.

Pte G Burgess, Suffolks: I have received another surprise 2s order.

Pte W Bettles, Surreys: If those who contribute to the funds of the Rushden war shrines realised the pleasure their gifts bring, they would be fully repaid for their generosity.

Wm Neville: We had rough weather here. It has been raining for a whole week, and we have had to sleep in wet blankets. I expect they will put us into billets soon; at least I hope so.

Corpl W E Scroxton, Canadians, now in Birmingham War Hospital: I am improving in health gradually, and hope soon to be at Rushden again, after five years absence.

Corpl T Woodcroft (somewhere in Palestine): I very seldom come across any of my friends out here, as I am in a Scotch regiment, so you must know we feel when we get a cheerful word from friends from our dear old home.

J Souter: My wound is healing up fine, and I may be going back to the line shortly. I am staying in the convalescent camp at Boulogne at present, and having a nice rest. I have had two years and nine months out here, and I know the boys will be glad to get back to their friends again at Rushden.

Pte A E Hollis, Norfolk Regiment, B.E.F.: I received the postal order in the trenches.

R B Maddams, B.E.F.: I have received delightful inspiring letters from time to time from some of my Rushden friends.

Pte G Souter: The spirit which prompted the subscriptions to your fund finds its re-echo in the happiness you give us on this side of the water.

Rushden Echo, 23rd November 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

High Street South—Since the opening of the High-street South, Bedford-road, Little-street and Co-operative-row Roll of Honour in June, the sum of £40 7s. 5½d. has been collected by the committee, and 356 postal orders of 2s each and 111 postal orders of 2s. 6d. each have been sent to the lads whose names appear on the roll. Many replies have been received by the secretary, thanking the workers of the garden fete held on their behalf.

Rushden Echo, 18th January 1918, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldiers’ Gratitude
“The End of the War Bound to Come: If not Before 1930”

Miss Turner, secretary of the High-street South Roll of Honour, has received a further number of letters from Rushden sailors and soldiers whose names appear on the list, in acknowledgment of postal orders sent by the committee, the following being extracts:-

Lance-Corpl. A. Bailey: I guess the Hun will catch a cold soon now.

H. Warren, R.G.A., France: I have been in hospital, gassed, and then went on to the base.

F. Crofts, S.B.R., H.M.S.------: I think from what I see in the “Rushden Echo,” that the Roll of Honour is a very good scheme to keep in touch with the boys.

A Cox (writing from hospital at Malta): I have quite recovered from my operation, and I suppose I shall soon go back to Salonika.  It’s a nice name, but it’s an awful place.

AB W. Bailey, R.N.D., France: The end of the war is bound to come, if it is not till 1930.  Things here are much different from last winter.  Sports are held when we come out of the line, so as to make a soldier’s life as happy as possible, and there are canteens in the trenches, where you can buy chocolate, tobacco, tinned fruit, etc.  In fact, it’s like being in town.

A T Clarke (France): I heard a lot about France and what a nice place it was when I was at home, but I’d sooner be in dear old Rushden.

Corpl. W. F. Scroxton: I am in good health at present, and glad to be in Blighty again.

T. Wright: I have just returned from a rest on the French coast, where I enjoyed a fairly good time.

A Lewis, B.E.F.: I don’t think the Germans can stand much more of what they are giving them on this front.

Pte. J. T. Morris: I get the “Rushden Echo” every week and read all about the shrines.

Pte. G. Burgess writes from an Auxiliary Hospital in Shropshire.

L. Parker: I see the “Rushden Echo” every week, and I know you must have a lot of work to do.  There are a lot of Rushden fellows in our battalion and they all wish they could get home again, and I am sure I should like to, after nearly two years out here.  It is true that we see some green grass and some trees where we are, but not like those in dear old Blighty.

C. W. Abbott (France): I saw an account of the fete you had at Rushden the other week in the “Rushden Echo.”

Corpl. Woodcroft (Palestine): I have been out here 21 months.  I was in hospital for a short time, but have regained my usual health.

D. O’dell: I am the only one from Rushden in the Gloucesters.

Lance-Corpl. W. J. Underwood: I was in hospital suffering from trench fever, but I am feeling a lot better now, and I am at the base waiting to join my unit.  I was very worried to read in the “Rushden Echo” of so many Rushden boys missing since the Battle of the Dunes, and it is to be hoped that most of them are prisoners, so that they may be able to come home when this awful war is over.

J. Souter: I have the “Rushden Echo” sent out from home and read the letters of the boys sent to thank you all.  It’s very good of the people, and I am sure all the boys appreciate the kindness shown to them.  I have left the base.  I went before a Board and have been marked “P.B.” just a little duty behind the line.  I have had nearly three years of the other job, and should like to miss this winter.

Pte. H. H. Dilley (in the South-East of England): These gifts arriving from Rushden have a peculiar charm for me, as I am in a regiment where Northamptonshire men, much less Rushden folk, are seldom met with, so these gifts come like (to quote a famous statesman) “rare and refreshing fruit” for not only can a fellow appreciate them, but he can spend them, which is some consideration in these hard times.  This camp is in the much-talked of Hop Country, but the only hops I have found are those which Fritz gives us when he comes on his nightly overhead cruise then we do hop for shelter….

G. Pogson: I saw an account of the combined effort in the “Rushden Echo,” and was sorry that the weather would not permit of you holding it in the Rectory grounds, or it might have been a bigger success still.

Other letters come from Pte. G. Myers, Pte. G. Colgrave, Lance-Corpl. Charles, F. Causby (France), J. Bennett, D. W. Neville, Pte. T. B. Wright, Pte. W. Meadows (Army cook), Lance-Corpl. F. Minney, Wm. Lawrence, Fred Parker, T. Crump, C. H. Spriggs, E. George, O.S. A. J. Wilson, Pte. H. Farrer (France), Pte. W. R. Neville, Pte. H. Charles, Pte. H. Bland, Lance-Corpl. H. George, Trooper F. H. Smith, Pte. H. Glidle (France), Pte. F. Glidle, Pte. C. Smith, Gunner F. Wilkins, Pte. S. Clayton, B. R. Maddams, T. Myer, A. E. Kettle.

Further letters are sent by Lance-Corpl. T. Crump, Ptes. Wm. Wiggins, T. W. Rockingham, Norman Brittain, J. Bennett, P. Leech, A. Crouch, S. Barker, E. Stevens, G. Lewis, W. R. Barwick, A. Sargent, F. F. Wilkins, J. Sinfield, A. Harris, J. C. Lewis, F. George, Walter C. Freeman, V. Goodfellow, T. Woodhams, W. Burditt, G. Line, C. Smith, H. F. Freeman, E. G. Jones, W. Carter, W. H. Smith, George Spears, E. George, P. Cumberpatch, Horace Bland, Wm. Lawrence, J. E. Savage, H. Glidle, D. Odell, senr., W. Bettles, R. Richardson, A. Warren, J. Warren, and W. E. Wix, H.M.S. Furious.

Rushden Echo, 20th December 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

The High-street South, Bedford-road, and Co-operative-row Roll of Honour close their subscription list with many thanks for kind subscriptions given so regularly. The shrine has been opened 18 months, and the grand sum of £150 10s. 6½d. has been collected by the committee and sent out by the secretary to the boys whose names are on the roll. A further sum of 3s. 2½d. has been sent to them as a Christmas gift. The total of names of those who have given their lives now amounts to 30.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the War index
Click here to e-mail us