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Parcels Fund WWII

The Rushden Echo & Argus, 2nd August, 1940, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Parcels Fund Gets £400
Several Good Causes Take Share of Rushden’s Carnival £1,000
Optimism Rewarded
Large grants to war charities were agreed to at the winding-up meeting of Rushden’s £1,000 United Services Carnival effort, held at the Council Buildings on Monday.

Councillor J. Allen, J.P. (Urban Council chairman) presided, supported by Councillor T. W. Cox (vice-chairman) and the two carnival secretaries, Mr. W. A. E. Sherwood and Mr. G. W. Marriott.

Recommendations for the allocation of the various grants were made at a meeting of the general and finance committee a week previously, and these were presented by Mr. Sherwood. It was recommended that £400 should be devoted to the Serving Men’s Parcels Fund, £175 to the Children’s Boot and Clothing Fund, £100 to the Clubs’ Fund for the Blind and Crippled Children, £100 to the Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital, £75 to the After-Care Committee, £50 to the Nursing Association and £2 2s. to the National Children’s Home and Orphanage. Any remaining balance would be given to the Parcels Fund.

[Part of a longer article - see 1940 Carnival for the full article]

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

Parcels Fund—Between eleven and twelve hundred five-shilling postal orders have been dispatched this week by the Rushden Serving Men’s Parcels Fund to local men and women in the Forces. Each was accompanied by a greetings card, which was inscribed with suitable verses special written by “R.W.N.” The secretary, Mr. E. Bennett, is very anxious that none who are serving should be missed, and asks that any who do not receive their gift and who joined the Forces on or before March 31 should get in touch with him.

Rushden Echo, 7th January 1943, transcribed by Peter Brown

Well done – Tony Faulkner of 1, Kings Road, and Ray Skells, of 16, Griffith Street, both scholars at the Wellingborough Grammar school, have raised £3 12s. for the Rushden Serving Men’s Parcels Fund. The two boys made the money by getting gifts from their friends such as books, children’s games and toys, and organising something on the line of a “white elephant” stall. The money has been handed over to Mr Leslie Miller.

Rushden Echo, 22nd January 1943, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Serving Men’s Parcels Fund (British Legion)

Statement of Accounts for Year Ended 31st December 1942









Postal Orders sent to the Serving men and Women of Rushden during the Year




Balance of General Account 1/1/42




Printing and advertising




Balance of Concert Account








Dance Committee




Third Party Insurance




Mr Dilley’s Dances




Cheque Books



Miss Pat Steven’s Effort (with her Dancing Troupe)




Purchased 3 per cent Defence Bonds




Rushden Holiday Fetet Committee




Concert Account closed




Collections, Subscriptions and Whist Drives







Concert Committee




Balance of General Account 31.12.42







Dated this 8th January, 1943

Leslie A Miller, Hon. Treasurer
Rushden Serving Men’s Parcels Fund (British Legion)

I have today examined the Books and Vouchers of the Rushden Serving Men’s Parcels Fund (British Legion), and to the best of my knowledge and belief the foregoing statement is a true and accurate return of the Fund’s Account.

Dated this 8th January, 1943

J Allen, Hon. Auditor

Rushden Echo & Argus, 10th March 1944, transcribed by Kay Collins

Tony & RayReal Enterprise - Two Rushden Boys Help War Charities
Two Rushden boys who attend Wellingborough Grammar School have been conspicuously energetic in recent months raising money for war charities—they are Tony Faulkner (left), of 1 Kings-road, and Ray Skells (right), of 16 Griffith-street.

Their activities have included the exhibition of war relics and the making of lavender bags, pincushions, kettle holders, etc. By these means they raised £2 for Mrs Churchill’s Aid to Russia Fund, and this gift was personally acknowledged by Mrs Churchill.

Later the Rushden Serving men’s Parcels Fund benefitted by £3 17s., the result of a white elephant stall of books, games, toys, etc. The latest effort was a competition for a basket of groceries and a white elephant stall which jointly raised £3 18s. for the Rushden February Campaign.

We hope to be hearing of more of these efforts, Tony and Ray!

Rushden Echo & Argus, 24th November 1944, transcribed by Kay Collins

Christmas Gifts – Parcels Fund to Send Over 2,000
Every Rushden man and girl in the Forces—there are 2,278 of them at the moment—will receive a 5s. Postal Order and the greetings of the town in verse by “R.W.N.” as a Christmas Gift from the Rushden Serving Men’s Parcel Fund. All who are in the Forces on or before Christmas Day will be included in the distribution.

1995 bookletFrom a booklet published in 1995 by
Rushden & District History Society
in conjunction with the unveiling of a
Blue Plaque on the home of Reg Norman.

During the war the British Legion branch in Rushden sent out newsletters to all the members who were serving. It was sent three times a year, with a small gift by Postal Order, and a nostalgic rhyme composed especially by Reg Norman.
The secretary at that time was E. Bennett of 7 Co-operative Row.

All members of HM Forces (including ATS, WAAF and WRNS) may now join the British Legion as Honorary Members on payment of 1/-.
No further subscriptions will be necessary during your period of service, at the end of which you will become full members of the Legion.
Xmas 1942

Yuletide Greetings!

JUST a flimsy scrap of paper
Is this small P.O. of blue;
No fine Christmas card embellished
With a dazzling rainbow hue,
No bright pictures of fat robins
Perched on sprigs of mistletoe,
Or of squads of carol singers
Standing knee-deep in the snow.

But to Rushden folk who're serving
In the Forces, it portrays
Pictures of the dear old Home Town,
Memories of bygone days,
Views of Gas-house Lane by moonlight,
High Street on Feast Sunday night,
Duck Street's graceful architecture
Pass before your mental sight.

Though with you the festive Yuletide
In the flesh we cannot share,
You can bet your bottom dollar
In the spirit we'll be there;
And on Christmas Day we'll toast you:
"Here's to Victory in the fight,
And our hearty Christmas Greetings
To each serving Rushdenite."

Easter 1943

Easter Greetings!

Four years ago you Rushden men
And women who to-day
Have donned the Country's uniforms
To keep the foe at bay
Trod old, familiar thoroughfares,
Pursued your livelihood,
And as the clock went ticking on
You found that life was good.

You "clicked" and "closed" and "stitched" and "slugged,"
You tapped typewriter keys,
You sliced up bacon, weighed out lard,
And juggled eggs with ease.
You posted ledgers, papered walls,
Delivered joints of meat,
Sold cock-eyed hats to local belles—
"Yes, Madam, that looks sweet."

And whilst from Hometown Harbour all
You Rushdenites have sailed,
And given willing service to
The needs that war entailed,
The folks at home remember, though
You're scattered far and wide,
And send their hearty greetings with
An "egg" for Eastertide.

August 1943

Holiday Greetings

Once more we folk in Rushden Town
Will take our holidays at home:
Again we'll shelve the pleasures of
The golden sand, the salty foam.

But if the Weather Clerk is kind
We’ll quiet relaxation seek
Within the grounds of Rushden Hall,
Our rendezvous for August Week.

We'll listen to harmonic strains
Of bands, beneath the shady trees,
Exchanging bits of, news about
You boys at home and overseas.

We'll talk of peaceful days ahead,
And plan for happier times in store
When you can share our holidays
Upon some crowded, wave-beat shore.

And when we do, we'll make-up for
The separations, sirens, bombs—
And drench ourselves in ozone, waves,
And coloured lights on flood-lit proms.

But, in the meantime, Rushden folk
Unite in sending Greetings warm,
Together with this gift to all
Their boys and girls in uniform.

Xmas 1943

Yuletide Greetings!

A CROSS the naked English Countryside,
By Irish Lake and Scottish ben and brae
On India's tropic strand, and Afric's shore
(Where ripe bananas and tall palm trees sway),
Midst marvellous Sicilian orange groves,
In convoy o'er the hissing, swirling foam,
Two thousand Rushdenites this Christmastide
Are thinking of familiar scenes at home.

They see the town bands out on Christmas Day,
Hear strains of "Wenceslas" and "Poor Old Joe";
They see the football ground on Boxing Day,
The hectic game with "foes" from Hock-and-Dough;
They picture Yuletide dances at the Mill,
And moonlit scenes around the bridge called Skew;
The graceful snow-draped landscapes "up the Rock",
And sunsets over "Maggie's" Avenue.

But whilst our "boys" and "girls" are far away,
Engaged in willing service for the Crown,
Although they can't be with us in the flesh
In spirit they're at home in Rushden town,
And local folk, wholeheartedly unite
In sending them a wish that's ever new—

Easter 1944

Seasonal Greetings

THOUGH Dame Nature's got her coat off,
Busy on her Springtime plan,
Rushden folk aren't standing idle,
As you'd see if you could scan
Monster bales of bend and shoulder,
And, in perfumed piles arrayed,
Skins of kip and box and willow
Waiting for the clicker's blade.

Through the day the clack of belting
Whirling round the pulley wheels,
And the rattling of the sluggers
Clamping on the soles and heels,
Bumping presses, whining pounders
Make a symphony of sound
That to you was quite familiar
In your peace-time "common round."

And when daily toil is over
Nearly every Rushdenite
Has an unpaid job of war-work—
Willing effort in the fight:
Home Guard training, "Special's" duties
A.R.P. and Fire Guard Plan—
Any humble job to help you
Put the "kybosh" on ''that man."

But amidst these war-time duties
You can bet old Rushden Town
Won't forget its sons and daughters
Now in service of the Crown;
And to Rushdenites now scattered
O'er the compass, far and wide,
We at home send hearty greetings
And an "egg" for Eastertide.

September 1944

Rushden Feast Greetings

HERE'S to the time when conflicts cease,
When well-earned victory is won,
When metal homes are made from tanks
And ploughs from surplus bomb and gun—

When sailors doff their singlets white
And wear again a bright-hued tie,
And to his khaki battle-dress
The soldier says a "fond" good-bye—

When bonny Ats and Waafs and Wrens
Their skimpy service skirts have cast,
And blossom forth in dainty frocks,
Silk hose and tailored suits at last —

When Rushden Feast's lit up again,
And midst the Dodgems' roar you knock
Large coconuts, throw nimble darts,
Eat brandy-snap and fresh spit-rock.

And when these happy days shall dawn
On you in service of the Crown
We'll give you all a welcome that
Is worthy of old Rushden Town.

But in the meantime local folk
Remember you who win the fight,
And send good wishes with this gift
To every serving Rushdenite.

Xmas 1945

Yuletide Greetings!

With Christmas round the corner once again
The thoughts of every one of us at home
Are centred on you serving girls and men
In many lands, and on the swirling foam.

We think of you who're based within these shores;
Who swiftly wing along the astral way,
And seamen braving perils of the deep
To guard our ocean-lanes by night and day.

We think of you now serving overseas,
Who fight a winning battle with the Huns,
Whose daily round is wet and cold and mud,
And ceaseless roar and rumble of the guns.

And vividly we picture Far East troops
Campaigning there with nature in the raw,
And fighting hard to show the cunning Japs
They cannot 'get away' with jungle law.

And specially our thoughts go out to you
Who now your service uniforms have shed—
To whom your present battle-ground extends
No farther than the corners of your bed.

Where white-capped martinets with friendly smiles
Bestow their skill upon you without stint,
Where life just now is but a painful round
Of bandages, of probes, gauze drains and lint.

And with such scenes before our mental gaze
Old Rushden's Yuletide Greetings come to you,
The absent sons and daughters of our town
In khaki and two famous shades of blue.

Easter 1945

Easter Greetings

SIX long years since peace-time Easter:
Warm Spring days, when, fancy-free
You could turn your thoughts to planning
Holidays beside the sea.
Days when life was mainly bounded
By the smell of calf and bend
And the problem in the evening
Whither should your footsteps wend.

Then as man and woman power
Mobilised to meet the Hun
You said au revoir to leather
Till your job of work was done
One-sixth of our population
In five years have joined the ranks,
Swapping lasts and bumper presses
For a range of planes and tanks.

Thus the menace to the freedom
Of our land has passed away,
And with thankful hearts we're waiting
For the coming Victory Day
And the time you men and women
Leave the service of the Crown
And take up your place amongst us,
Here in good old Rushden Town.

In the meantime, whilst you're scattered
O'er this planet far and wide
Folks at home are thinking of you
At this brighter Eastertide.
With this little "egg" they tender
Once again their greetings warm
To each local "son" and "daughter"
In the country's uniform.

September 1945

Feast Greetings

Now after six long years of war,
Those days of blood and tears are past;
Our prized and well-deserved reward
Of victory has come at last.
And as with joy we realise
The course of jungle law is run,
Unitedly we think of you,
Our local men who've fought—and won.

You've ranged the seas and swept the skies
Through Europe and the whole wide world;
On foreign strand 'neath foeman's fire
You’ve kept the nation's flag unfurled.
And not for glory did you strive
On home base or across the foam,
But just that Rushden still might live
In freedom—for we folks at home.

Thus, thanks to you, we still pursue
The even tenor of our way;
In quietude we carry on
The common round of every day.
And so, all serving Rushdenites,
Where'er you are, in West or East,
We lend you joyful compliments
At this, the Rushden Victory Feast,

Xmas 1945

Yultide Greetings

"Goodbye, ditty-box and hammock,
Farewell, rifles, tank and gun,
So-long, plane and windswept hangar
Now our war-time job is done.
When we've got our issue suiting
And the garments for our feet,
We shall draw our two months' "stipend"
And make tracks for Civvy-street."

That's the theme song you'll be singing
As your Group release is due,
And you doff familiar khaki
Or a famous shade of blue.
When your "ticket" is accomplished,
Then, without delay, you'll wend
Eager steps to sniff delightful
Scents of shoulder, skin and bend.

Till there comes this happy sequence
And we see you all again
Firmly anchored to our home-town
As at last—ex-Servicemen,
Rushden folk will not forget you,
And send Christmas Greetings warm
To you local sons and daughters
Who are still in uniform.

December 1945

The newsletter announced:

Dear Rushden Serving Member,

As this is the last distribution from the Parcel Fund the Committee think it opportune to quote a few figures.

At present there are 2225 names on the books. The total of discharged men and women is 278. Numbers left the town since the fund started and not given us their address 28. Number died or missing 92. Total joined up 2623.

The total amount distributed including poundage on Postal Orders is £8,826/6/3. Also £1,000 has been used to endow two beds at the Kitchener Home, Lowestoft, for the benefit of sick ex-Servicemen from Rushden who require a couple of weeks’ change making a total of £9,826/6/3.

The number of Postal Orders sent out 34,032. The poundage on these orders amounts to £202 13/11. As each Postal Order is seven inches long the orders would, is placed in a line, cover three miles 1,337 yards.

And with the above figures the Committee wish you all a speedy return to your home and loved ones.

The secretary at that time was E. Bennett of 7 Co-operative Row.

All these Rhymes were written by Reg Norman

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