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Letters & Notes from the Newspapers
1945 in Date Order

Soldiers Not on the War Memorial

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 5th January, 1945

“Glad To See You, Dick”

  A walk from Wellingborough Midland-road Station to his home in Westfield-place, Rushden, ended the journey from Holland for Pte. Richard (Dick) Britten, Lincolnshire Regiment, who was one of the lucky soldiers in the first batch of ballot-leavers from the Continent.

  Pte. Britten reached Wellingborough at 11.30 p.m. on Monday and arrived home at 12.30 a.m. on Tuesday.  He wakened his parents, Mr. and Mrs. N. Britten, who had retired for the night, by knocking on the window.  Though they knew their only child had been lucky in the ballot, they had not known when he would be home.  A family chat ensued until 3 a.m.

  Pte. Britten put his name in the ballot on December 18th and knew the result a day or so later.  He left Holland on December 31st, and then followed a slow journey to a French port which lasted for 18 hours.  There he received rations and a meal, and afterwards made a quick journey by sea to England.  On the train to London there were two N.A.A.F.I. canteens.

  Aged 21, Pte. Britten joined the Army 2½ years ago and went to France on D Day.  On Tuesday morning he called on his old work-mates at Messrs. Jaques and Clark’s boot factory.  He was in excellent health and spirits.

  Seen by our reporter on Tuesday, Pte. Britten was reticent with regard to his fighting activities.  He landed on D Day after a “pretty good” crossing.  The landing, he said, was “not too bad” – he had expected worse – and neither were the first day or two, but things then became “hotter.”

  He went to Belgium and then on to Holland, where he was billeted on occasions in civilian homes.

  Pte. Britten went to France with another Rushden man, Pte. Pickering, of North-street, who returned to England wounded, some months ago, and he also met another Rushden soldier, Pte. Goosey, of The Crescent.

Pte PayneThe Rushden Echo and Argus, 5th January, 1945

Hit By Shrapnel - Wounded in Arm and Leg

  Pte. Dennis Roland Payne, The Queen’s Royal Regiment, third son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Payne, of 2, Coronation-avenue, Rushden, has been wounded by shrapnel in the left arm and right leg while serving in the Central Mediterranean theatre of war.

  Aged 22 years, Pte. Payne has served for three years in all and 2½ years abroad.  He has been to Iraq, N. Africa and Sicily.  Previously he was employed by Messrs. Eaton and Co., boot manufacturers.  An elder brother is serving in France.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 5th January 1945, transcribed by Kay Collins

Recuperating in South Africa
Rushden Man Discharged from Fleet Air Arm

Mr. R. S. Brooker, a Rushden man recently discharged from the Fleet Air Arm, writes as follows from South Africa.

“May I, through your columns, express my thanks to the townspeople of Rushden for their continued support of funds to help the serving men and women of the town. It has meant a lot to us all, and speaking for myself, I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for the little reminders which have come along from time to time to show that, although we are far away from home, we are not forgotten.

“It is now over four years since last I was home on leave, and I am afraid it is going to be much longer still before I eventually revisit the old town, as I have recently been discharged from the Fleet Air Arm on medical grounds, and have decided to stay here in South Africa for a while to recuperate after my long and serious illness.

“I have not lost touch with ‘Home’ though, as mail is frequent and I receive the good old ‘E. and A.’ thus keeping up-to-date on the local activities, especially of the organisations in which I was actively interested, particularly St. Peter’s Church, Toc H, and the Adult School Male Voice Choir.

“I hope that one day I will revisit Rushden, but in the meanwhile, if anyone in the Services from Rushden is passing through Durban, I shall be only too pleased to see them and talk over the local gossip. I can be contacted at the above address, where I am the assistant secretary (hon.). Finally I would like to wish all your readers peace in the New Year.”

The address given is c/o Toc H Gardiner-street, Durban.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 18th January 1945, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Man Wounded in Arm and Leg

Pte. Dennis Roland Payne, The Queen’s Royal Regiment, third son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Payne, of 2 Coronation-avenue, Rushden, has been wounded by shrapnel in the left arm and right leg, while serving in the central Mediterranean theatre of war.

Aged 22 years, Pte. Payne has served for three years in all and 2½ years abroad. He has been to Iraq, N. Africa and Sicily. Previously he was employed by Messrs Eaton and Co., boot manufacturers. An elder brother is serving in France.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 26th January, 1945

To Broadcast in Ceylon - Rushden Sailor Pianist

O/Sig. Reg Cox  A Rushden sailor whose ability as a pianist is well known in his home town will be broadcasting in Ceylon on February 5th.  He is O/Sig. Reg Cox, a teleprinter operator in the Royal Navy, and his home is at 4, York-road, Rushden.

  At present engaged on work ashore, he had an audition at the Colombo studios and was promptly booked-up for a 15 minutes broadcast of light pianoforte music – from 9 to 9.15 a.m.

  In peace-time Mr. Reg Cox played the piano part for several of the local dance bands and often acted as accompanist to his wife – best known as Miss Emily White, the popular soprano.  He was a member of the Y.M.C.A. and played in the ping-pong tournaments.

  Since joining the Navy in September, 1943, he has had opportunities for dance band and concert party work, and early this month he played at a New Year party which was attended by Lord Louis Mountbatten.  Thirty-four years of age he is on the Service roll of Messrs. John White, Ltd.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 26th January, 1945

Waded In Pyjamas - Rushden Girl’s Ordeal in Egypt Flood

Pte Travill  Wading waist high through flood water, a Rushden A.T.S. girl climbed on to a window ledge and stood there in her pyjamas for 3½ hours when the heaviest rains for 23 years caused havoc in the Cairo area.  She is Pte. Vera Travill, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Travill, 14, Trafford-road, and has been in Egypt since early in 1943.

  “At 4.45 in the morning,” says Miss Travill in a letter to her mother, “we were awakened by rushing water, and we had to wade through water waist high in our pyjamas to get to a safe place.  Susie and I scrambled on to a window ledge, and there we stood in our wet pyjamas and bare feet from 4.45 to 8.15.

  “It was horrible; I’ll never forget it as long as I live, and believe me, that morning we all thought we’d be drowned.”

  Eventually the girls waded to the men’s quarters and were given men’s clothes.  They lost most of their belongings, but Pte. Travill’s case of civilian clothes was saved.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th February, 1945

First Bomb Hit Warehouse - Local Airman’s Adventure Over Sumatra

PO Cox  Petty Officer Derrick (Dick) Cox, (21), second son of Mrs. L. M. Cox and the late Mr. Rollie Cox, of 150, Higham-road, Rushden, was warrant telegraphist air gunner of an Avenger which scored a direct hit on a warehouse with its first bomb, in the attack on Belawan-Deli harbour, on the east coast of Sumatra.

  The explosion was followed by a huge sheet of flame, with smoke rising to a height of 1,500 feet.  Harbour installations, railway sidings and oil storage tanks were attacked without casualty by carrier-borne aircraft.

  Before joining the Fleet Air Arm in 1942, Petty Officer Cox was employed by Rushden, Higham Ferrers and District Gas Co., and was a member of Higham Ferrers St. John Ambulance Brigade.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th February, 1945

Rushden Soldier Meets M.P. - Chat in Italy with W/Cdr. James

Pte Cecil Smith  Following his visits to Italy and Greece, Wing Commander A. W. H. James, M.P., has written to Mrs. Smith, of 41, Upper Queen-street, Rushden, to say that he met and had a good talk with her husband, Pte. Cecil T. Smith, R.E.M.E., in Italy.

  “I met him in the Soldiers’ Club in Rome on January 22nd.  He was looking fit and well,” he wrote.

  Pte. Smith had also informed his wife of the meeting and said that they had had a nice talk together.

  Aged 38 years, Pte. Smith has been in the Army for nearly three years and abroad for almost two.  He went first to Sicily and was in the Salerno and Anzio landings.

  Before service he worked in the clicking department of Messrs. John White’s factory at Higham Ferrers and was captain of the Impregnable reserve cricket team.  He was vice-president of the Adult School, Lodge Master of the Free Gardeners, a member of the Hospital Week Committee and Trades Council, and served on the Co-operative Board of Management.

  Pte. and Mrs. Smith have two children, a boy and a girl.

Sgt QuennellThe Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th February, 1945

Forty “Ops”

  The completion of 40 “ops” as an air-gunner in a Wellington bomber has been achieved by Sergt. George Alfred Quennell, R.A.F., of 61, Grove-road, Rushden, who is in Italy.

  Sergt. Quennell is 34 years of age and married.  He has been in the R.A.F. 4½ years and overseas for three.  The first two years were spent in the Middle East, where in March, 1944, he gained his wings.  He was previously employed on transport work by Messrs. John White, Ltd.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th February, 1945

Fighting Nazis by Floodlight

Major Allenbone  Commanding a searchlight battery, which lights the ground for our troops at night in the forward area in Italy, is a Rushden officer, Major Alan Allebone, R.A., second son of Ald. Arthur Allebone, J.P., and Mrs. Allebone, of Rushden where his wife also resides.

  The British public first heard of the new “artificial moonlight” in the winter of 1944, when it was put into operation on the 8th Army front in Italy.  It was a new use of searchlights in a ground role, being played on the sky above the forward troops, to assist them is seeing as well at night as they did during the day.  The innovation was made possible by the withdrawing from purely anti-aircraft duties of the 400 Searchlight Battery, R.A., and their subsequent changing from their original and intended role to that of field support.

  The battery was originally part of the Northamptonshire Regiment, whose badge they still wear in their caps, and from their embodiment in the Regular Army, from Territorial days, they became part of the Royal Engineers’ searchlight organisation.

  Later in the first year of war, they were taken under the wing of the Royal Artillery, and after playing a very active part in air defence throughout the Battle of Britain, they found themselves in a convoy bound for North Africa, in November, 1942.

  They landed at Algiers, where one of the ships carrying equipment was torpedoed in harbour.  This equipment stayed under water for five days, was salvaged, cleaned, and is still in use with the battery.  After defence work at Algiers aerodrome, Maison Blanche, Blida and Bizerta, they went to Italy, where the battery became independent.

  Foggia and its airfields, Bari and its docks, all had their share of the searchlights.  Then the battle for Bologna began, and, on October 30th, 1944, the battery moved into positions behind the front line troops, where they have been in action ever since without a moment’s break.

  Still, in the worst of all weathers, the boys continue their work.  There are times, very often, when the German guns bear down on the light positions, causing damage to the cables and wires which control the lights, but they are soon repaired and there is scarcely a minute when the light is out at night.  Night bombing of tactical targets and mine lifting are also done by the light of these powerful searchlights.

Sappers to build bridges by night that one bridge was named “Moonlight Bridge” in their honour.  During heavy shelling by the enemy, the lights came in very useful in lighting the road for evacuation of civilian women and children.

  These are the men who work by night – the men who enable the infantry, the sappers, the gunners and the other front line troops to work at night.  Major Allebone is one of the founder members of the unit, having been with the old battalion in Territorial days.

  His brother, Lieut. Gus Allebone, is in the front line in Burma, having spent four and a half years abroad.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 16th February 1945, transcribed by Kay Collins

M.P. Meets M.P. - Rushden Man’s Italy Chat with W.Cdr. James

Serving in Italy with the Military Police, Cpl. Edward Victor Parsler, of 5 Talbot-road, Rushden, was one of the local men who met Wing-Cmdr. A. W. H. James out there recently.

In a letter to Mrs. Parsler, the M.P. for the Wellingborough Division wrote: “I am sure that you will be glad to hear that at Perugia, one of the loveliest and healthiest places in Italy, I met your husband the week before last. He was looking very fit and cheerful and I promised to write and tell you of my having had a good talk with him.”

Cpl. Parsler has also sent home news of the “nice talk” they enjoyed. A native of Stanwick, he is 38 and worked for the Rushden Heel Company before joining the Army 3½ years ago. He went to Italy in 1943.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 16th February 1945, transcribed by Kay Collins

Slight Concussion - Rushden Airman’s Accident in Holland

Recovering from a serious injury in the head which he received as a result of enemy action in Holland last November, A.C.2 Clarence Edward Tye, of Rushden, has had the misfortune to meet with an accident on a forward airfield in Holland, and this had caused slight concussion. Since then he has been in a Dutch hospital.

His wife resides at 47 Highfield-road, and his only son is a lance-corporal in an Army Technical School.

A.C.2 Tye is 39 years of age. He went to France last August and has been in the Air Force about 14 months altogether. He was previously employed at Messrs. John White’s Newton-road factory and belonged to the Windmill Club.

WO GodfreyRushden Echo & Argus, 16th February 1945, transcribed by Kay Collins

Made Warrant Officer - Rushden Girl Who Flew Atlantic

First Rushden girl to fly the Atlantic, Miss Gwendoline Madge Godfrey, of the A.T.S., has just been promoted to Warrant Officer, 2nd Class. She is attached to the British Army Staff at Washington, and it was when posted to this duty that she made her big flight.

Miss Godfrey’s home was at 27 Talbot-road, Rushden, and before joining the A.T.S. she worked in the office of Messrs. C. W. Horrell Ltd., boot manufacturers.

sportsmenRushden Echo & Argus, 23rd February 1945

Sportsmen in Italy

Serving with the C.M.F., Pte. R. C. Whiteman, R.A.O.C., formerly captain of Rushden Town Cricket Club, sends this picture to illustrate his recent meeting with old sporting friends in Italy. On the back row (l-r) are R. C. Whiteman, W. Barnes, late of Wymington F.C., and W. Jolley, of Rushden. On the front row (r) is B. Seabrooks, who played for St. Mary’s F.C. In his letter to the “Echo and Argus” Pte. Whiteman sends thanks “for many hours’ happy reading.”

Rushden Echo & Argus, 23rd February 1945, transcribed by Kay Collins

L/Cpl MageeBurma Casulaty – Rushden Lance-Corporal is Wounded

An official report states that Lce-cpl. R. Magee, Northamptonshire Regiment, only son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Magee, 29 St Peter’s-avenue, Rushden, was wounded while fighting in Burma during January. Details are awaited.

Born in Rushden, Lce-cpl. Magee attended the Roman Catholic school at Wellingborough and became an altar-server at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Peter, Rushden. He worked as a gas fitter for the Rushden, Higham Ferrers and District Gas Company, rode with the Irchester Wheelers, and often played his banjo at St. Mary’s Church Institute and other social centres.

A Territorial when war broke out, he was called up in September 1939, and went to India 12 months ago.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 16th February, 1945

Fire-Fighting In France
First Rushden N.F.S. Man To Go Abroad

  First Rushden man to go to France as a member of the N.F.S. is Fireman Harold Ernest Robinson, whose wife at 4, Wentworth-road, has received news from him in a village somewhere in France.

  Formerly in business as a window cleaner in the town, he became a part-time member of the Rushden N.F.S. five years ago and subsequently a full time member.

  Volunteering to go abroad, he was posted to South Warnborough in Hampshire, in May, 1944, for overseas training, and moved to Ipswich in November.

  Fireman Robinson is 39 years of age and belongs to the Conservative and Athletic Clubs.  He has a seven-years-old daughter.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 2nd March, 1945

Home From Egypt - Rushden Man Who Fought in Libya

  Home on 28 days’ leave after 4 years and 8 months’ service in the Middle East is Driver Bertram R. H. Rice, R.A.S.C., of 17, Upper Park-avenue, Rushden.

Driver Rice  Dvr. Rice returned home to his wife and son on February 22nd.  He joined the Army in 1940 from Messrs. John White’s Newton-road factory and went to Egypt in June of the same year.  He went on to Libya and Tunisia with the 7th Armoured Division and then back again to Egypt.

  In Cairo in 1941 he met his elder brother, Keely, who was on his way to Syria.  After a few hours together they parted and did not meet again until a week ago.  In the meantime the elder brother was in hospital for 17 months and was then discharged – his home is at 56, Tennyson-road.

  Dvr. Rice also met Bob Swingler, of Grove-road, Rushden in the M. E., and travelled home with Ron Brown, of Duck-street, who also had been in Egypt.

  Aged 27 years, Dvr. Rice was formerly a member of the Y.M.C.A.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th March, 1945

Brothers in Italy

  Two brothers, Guardsman H. Lovell, Welsh Guards, of 3, Park Cottages, Bedford-road, Rushden, and Sergt. S. Lovell, Royal Artillery, of 9, Baileys Villas, Felmersham, recently met in Italy, where both are serving, and spent three days together.  They had not previously seen each other for over two years.

  Guardsman Lovell was in hospital with an injured hand and his brother travelled to see him.

  They are the sons of Mr. T. Lovell, of Bridge Farm, Felmersham, a well-known Felmersham resident.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th March, 1945

Screen Thrill For Wife
Rushden Corporal in Army Film from India

Cpl. Carr.  Twice within three days a young Rushden wife has visited Northampton to see a film.  The star who thrilled her was not a Hollywood Romeo, but – what was far better – her own husband, Cpl. Arthur Henry Carr (29), of the Leicestershire Regiment.

  Mrs. Carr, who lives at 6, Gordon-street, received an official invitation to see the film at the Savoy Theatre on Sunday, and with her went her mother, Mrs. Sargent, and her husband’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Carr, of 5, Blinco-road.

  “Calling Blighty” was the title of the film in which Cpl. Carr, two of his companions, and a pet monkey were seen on the beach at Bombay.  In a “close-up” the corporal said: “Hello Rene! Here’s wishing you a happy New Year, and I hope 1945 will see the end.  Cheerio, darling; keep your chin up!”

Tea With Mayor 

  The film was a War Office production featuring Northamptonshire men in India, and Dvr. Carr was the only Rushden man to appear.  Mrs. Carr thought he looked “fairly well” but possibly thinner than of old.  She revisited the cinema on Tuesday and declared that if she lived at Northampton she would go every day of the week.  After Sunday’s showing she and the other relatives had tea with the Mayor and Mayoress of Northampton and the County Army Welfare Officer, Lt.-Col. L. Dening.

  Cpl. Carr joined the Army in 1940 and went to India near the end of 1942.  He has taken part in the Burma campaign as a member of the famous Chindit Force, and for six months while he was in the jungle his wife received no letter from him.  In civilian life he worked for Messrs. Eaton and Co., boot manufacturers, and was a member of the Athletic Club.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 16th March 1945

Rushden Man's Charming Pals - Dutch Friends' Kindness

Amongst some snapshots sent home by Dvr. Charles Enfield, R.A.S.C., to his wife at 118, Westfield-avenue, Rushden, from Holland and Belgium, are two of some little friends he has made out there.

One of these shows Bennie and Yopie, the young son and daughter of a friend he has made in Brudel in Holland. They are photographed in the bed that they willingly gave up for him to have. Dvr. Enfield has known these people since July 1944.

The other snap is of Marita, the daughter of Mdm. Germaine Van Holderbeke, of Warrseshoot in Belgium. A doll that Dvr. Enfield bought her has been named after the soldiers' two daughters, Beryl (9) and Pat (7).

Dvr. Enfield is 38 years of age and bas been in the Army for just over 12 months, previously employed at Messrs. John White’s factory at Higham Ferrers. He went to France in July of last year.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 23rd March 1945

Rushden Q.M.S. in a "Rum Do" - Exciting Journey With The Rations

Friday March 9th, is not a date which C.Q.M.S. Frank Raymond Marsden, who wife lives at 75 Washbrook-road, Rushden, will easily forget. It was, in more than one respect a “rum” night.

Frank MarsdenThroughout the day, the Coldstream Guards battalion to which he is attached had been engaged in very heavy fighting on the Western Front and had successfully carried out a courageous attack to capture a village and main road well inside Germany. That night, when they consolidated, they were subjected to a murderous hail of mortars, nebelwerfers and shells.

Through this barrage, C.Q.M.S Marsden rode in a carrier to his company's position with rations for the men and, most precious of all, a gallon jar of rum, clutched tightly in his arms. 

The thunder of the bursting shells was earsplitting. Several shells landed near to the carrier, and then, following the burst of a nebelwerfer bomb only a few yards away, the C.Q.M.S. felt sure he had been hit.

Hot and Sticky

Down his side there ran something hot and sticky—blood! Yet, as carrier dashed on to bring him the company position, he could no wound.

It was not until he jumped from the carrier a few moments later that he discovered why. His clothes were soaked, not in blood—but in rum. A jagged hole in the side of the jar showed only too plainly how the precious liquid had escaped. A flying stone or piece of shrapnel had done the damage.

But the company received their rum ration. C.Q.M.S. Marsden, by presenting the shattered jar with its unbroken seal in the proper quarter later obtained another gallon of rum and issued it to his men. This time it got through.

C.Q.M.S. Marsden has been In the Army for eight years, and has been prominent as a runner. Aged 26 years, he was in the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940, went back to France again a week after D-Day, and is now with the 2nd British Army in Germany. He is married, and his wife and three-years-old son live with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. F. Marsden.

Bob and Leslie
Left, Bob, and right, Leslie
Rushden Echo & Argus, 23rd March 1945

Meeting and Leave in India

Two Rushden brothers, Sgt Leslie King Underwood, R.A.F., and Petty Officer Bob King Underwood, Royal Navy, met recently in India and spent 14 days' leave Together. They are sons of the well-known Rushden athlete, Mr. Sid King Underwood.

Sgt. King Underwood, who is son-in-law of Mr. H. E. Partridge (chairman of Earls Barton Parish Council) has been serving in SEAC for 2½ years and his brother saw service for two years in home waters before going to the East.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 30th March, 1945

Good Service at Headquarters
Certificate Awarded to Rushden Soldier

  Lt.-Gen. Sir Alan G. Cunningham, G.O.C. in C., Eastern Command, has awarded a certificate for good service to a Rushden soldier, Pte. William Thomas Lovell, who serves the Northamptonshire Regiment at its headquarters.

  Pte. Lovell has been in the Army for four and a half years and has been stationed at Northampton Barracks throughout that time.  He is 38 years of age and was previously employed at the “Railway Inn” Rushden.  His wife and son reside at 67, Duck-street, Rushden.

L/cpl EnnisThe Rushden Echo and Argus, 6th April, 1945

Burma Casualty - Rushden Sportsman Wounded In Arm

  After a year’s fighting in Burma, Lce-cpl. John T. Ennis, of 4, Headingly-road, Rushden, a Carabinier serving with the R.A.C., has received a gunshot wound in the right forearm and is in hospital.  His wife has received in addition to the official news, a note from a comrade who says that her husband will not be able to write for some time.

  Now aged 35, Lce-cpl. Ennis joined the Army in June, 1941, and left for India three years ago.  He has maintained good health in spite of the notorious Burma climate.  In peace-time, working for Messrs. R. Tarry and Co., boot manufacturers, he was well-known as an amateur footballer and member of Rushden Swimming Club.  He has a daughter aged seven and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Ennis, Higham-road, Rushden.

Dick HydeThe Rushden Echo and Argus, 6th April, 1945

Fought With Highlanders - Rushden Soldier Wounded In Arm

  Pte. A. J. (Dick) Hyde, Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, only son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Hyde, of “Treetops,” High-street South, Rushden, has been wounded in the left arm while fighting in Germany.

  Aged 19 years, he joined the Royal Navy in April, 1944, and three months later was transferred into the Army.  He went to Belgium at the beginning of the year.

  Previously he was employed as a linotype operator at the “Rushden Echo and Argus” office in Park-road, after attending the Rushden Intermediate School.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 6th April, 1945

Met in Rome

C Smith & H Seamark  After trying to meet for a long time, Pte. Cecil Smith, R.E.M.E. of 41, Upper Queen-street, Rushden, and his brother-in-law, Corporal Harold Seamark, R.A.F., have succeeded in doing so, and have spent a few days together in Rome, visiting the sights there.

  Pte. Smith has been in the Army for three years, and abroad for two, going first to Sicily and then to Italy.  He previously worked for Messrs. John White, Ltd., at Higham Ferrers.

  His brother-in-law has been in the R.A.F. for about seven years, and is a cook.  He went to North Africa 2½ years ago, and followed on to Italy.  Before service he lived at 47, High-street, Higham Ferrers, but he has since married, and his wife lives at Cheltenham.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 13th April, 1945

Rushden Actor Helps Forces - Famous Plays Presented in Middle East

Capt Stevens  Formerly with Northampton Repertory Players, Captain Frank Stevens, Pioneer Corps, whose wife, Mrs. C. K. C. Stevens, also an actress, lives with their 12-year-old son at 79, Duck-street, Rushden, is assisting the Forces’ amateur drama groups in the Middle East to present their own versions of famous plays.

  Capt. Stevens’ father, whose stage name is Fred Ingleby, has been touring Britain with the ENSA production of “Gaslight,” and expects to go to France shortly.  His mother was well-known on the stage some years ago as Maud Gresham.

  To help Forces’ drama enthusiasts to produce their own versions of famous plays, Army Welfare in the Middle East recently formed the Field Entertainment Unit, and Capt. Stevens is one of the experienced producers and actors who are now touring Army camps in Egypt, Syria and Palestine to coach the actors and actresses in uniform.

  The first production with which Capt. Stevens was associated was the Sarafand House Players’ presentation of A. A. Milne’s “Dover Road,” which made its debut recently before an appreciative audience at Sarafand, Palestine.  The play has since gone on tour in Palestine.

  Other plays scheduled for production by Forces’ players in Palestine, assisted by the Field Entertainment Unit, are “Laburnum Grove,” “The Late Christopher Bean” and “The Case of the Frightened Lady.”

  From 1930 until 1935 Capt. Stevens was a member of the Denville Players, the repertory company founded by Mr. Alfred Denville, M.P. for Newcastle.  After a spell in film work at Elstree, he joined the Court Players in London, and prior to joining the Green Howards as an infantryman, he was with Northampton Repertory Players.

  Capt. Stevens moved to Rushden from London in 1940.  He has been overseas for nearly two years, including a year in West Africa and a year in the Middle East.

  “I was stationed in Freetown during my service in West Africa,” he said, “and there’s no truth in the old saying that it is the white man’s grave.”

  “Perhaps I wasn’t there long enough,” he added, “but while the climate is uncomfortable, we managed to keep pretty fit.”

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 13th April, 1945

Shoulder Wound - Rushden Builder in Burma Casualty List

  Pte. Ernest Edward Dickens, Berkshire Regiment, of Rushden, has been wounded in the left shoulder in Burma.  Thirty-five years of age, he has been in the Army two years and went to India 14 months ago.  Before service he was a partner in Messrs. Dickens Bros., builders.

  The eleventh child of the late Mr. and Mrs. Walter Dickens, his home had been with his sister, Mrs. A. Hodgkins, at “Yeldeania,” Newton-road, Rushden.  A brother is serving with the R.A.F.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 20th April 1945, transcribed by Peter Brown

P W RichFleet Air Arm Promotion - Rushden Observer Wins Commission

A commission as sub-lieutenant (A) in the R.N.V.R. has been gained by Philip William Rich, son of Musician W. M. C. Rich, Royal Marines Band, and Mrs. Rich, of 51, Purvis-road, Rushden.

Lieut. Rich was educated at Wellingborough Grammar School, and after a naval short course at Liverpool University joined the Fleet Air Arm in April, 1944. He received his commission and observer's wing early this month, after completing his training in Scotland. He will be 20 years old in May.

Sgt Derek MinneyRushden Echo and Argus, 20th April 1945, transcribed by Peter Brown

Pilot's Wings - Rushden Airman's Success in South Africa

Sergt Derek Minney, R.A.F., of Rushden, whose wife resides at 20 Pemberton-street has won his wings as a pilot in South Africa. Aged 21 years, Sergt. Minney is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Minney, of 41, North-street. He has been in the R.A.F. for two years and abroad for 12 months. Previously he was employed by Messrs. T Swindall and Sons, builders, and was a member of the Rushden Swimming Club. He was educated at the Intermediate School.

Pte BrassingtonRushden Echo and Argus, 20th April 1945, transcribed by Peter Brown

Stitches in Arm - Rushden Soldier Wounded In Italy

Mr. and Mrs. C. Brassington, of 22, Boundary-avenue, Rushden, have heard that their eldest son, Pte. William Leonard Brassington, has been wounded in the right forearm while fighting in Italy.

Pte. Brassington was wounded in March and has 15 stitches in his arm. He belonged to the Territorials prior to the war. A brother in the R.A.F. is also in Italy, and a brother-in-law is in Germany.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 20th April 1945, transcribed by Peter Brown

An Old Enemy - Big Gun That Rushden Soldier Saw

A 280 millimetre cannon known in Italy as “Leopold" or "Anzio Annie," which caused many sleepless nights for Allied troops on the Anzio beachhead, has now travelled to the U.S.A. to be examined by armament experts. Sapper J. G. Underwood, R.E., of 46, Tennyson-road, Rushden has written to his wife telling her that he saw it.

Last year Leopold and his twin brother named Robert, who is remaining in Italy, were used by the enemy, and our beachhead troops learned to recognise them as the biggest and hardest hitting gun the Germans had put to use. In the middle of June, after the fall of Rome, the two Guns were discovered on a railroad siding.

Spr. Underwood, a builder by trade, has been in the Army nearly three years and abroad for 2½. He was in N. Africa before going to Italy.


Rushden Echo & Argus, 27th April 1945

Rushden Fireman in Germany

Fireman Harold Robinson, of 4, Wentworth-road, Rushden, was a member of the first N.F.S. unit to enter Germany.


Rushden Echo & Argus, 18th May 1945

Airman Safe - Rushden Sergeant who was in Collision

Missing since March 14th when his 'plane was seen to collide with another over N. Italy, Flt-Sergt. Donald Arthur Bass, R.A.F. is known to be safe.

The following telegram was received from the Air Ministry by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. Bass, of 38 Crabb-street, Rushden, on Thursday morning: "Glad to advise you that your son, Flt-Sergt. Donald Arthur Bass is now safe in Allied hands."

Flt. Sergt. Bass (22) went to Italy in October 1944, and flew in a Marauder aircraft. Previously he was employed by the Tecnic Boot Co., and was a member of the A.T.C. Two brothers are in France.


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