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Prisoner of War Funds WWI

Red Cross and St John Ambulances 1916
Red Cross & St John Ambulances in 1916

Based on extracts from the book "Northamptonshire and the Great War", by W H Holloway

Mr W H Holloway
Mr W H Holloway - awarded the O.B.E. for his work as Organiser of the Prisoners of War Fund
Early in 1915 the editor of the Northampton Independent magazine, Mr W H Holloway received an appeal for food from some Northampton soldiers who had been captured and imprisoned in Germany. That day parcels were packed and despatched, and so began the great efforts in the county.

It was soon too much for the Independent office and Mr J H Wilson and Mr G H Shepherd took over the packing from Mr Holloway’s office.

A Prisoners of War Fund was established and spread to other towns and villages. Factories and streets made collections and fundraising was soon underway. As fast as funds were raised, so parcels were packed and despatched to prisoners identified as “belonging to Northamptonshire”. By 1916, personal parcels from relatives had been halted after some had been found to contain perishable goods or forbidden items, so the Northamptonshire Parcels Fund was the only way of getting aid to the prisoners.

Over 85,000 parcels of food and clothing were despatched during the war. Shoe manufacturers also sent shoes to the prisoners, and the Northants prisoners worked in the camps to help repair shoes for other prisoners, and also taught other prisoners the craft.

In Rushden the two Red Cross secretaries Mr C L Bradfield and Mr Oliver Claridge were organising and collecting the funds to send in, and also assisted with the clerical work for the main fund.
Mr C L Bradfield Mr Oliver Claridge
Mr C L Bradfield and Mr Oliver Claridge
Boot Repairers
Boot Repairers at Hemmelburg Prison Camp, including men of all
the Allied Armies who were trained by Prisoners of the
Northamptonshire Regiment


The Rushden Echo, 21st December 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Over 650 members of Northants Battalions are in the hands of the Germans, necessitating a provision of something like £25,000 per annum for parcels.


Rushden Echo, 14th July 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Rifle Band gave a very fine programme in Spencer Park on Sunday afternoon in aid of the Northamptonshire Prisoners of War Fund. A good company assembled and the music was greatly enjoyed. Mr. C. H. Baker conducted. A very effective item on the programme was the one "To the memory of the brave", which includes some well-known hymn tunes appropriate to the piece.

Rushden Echo, 1st September 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Sum of £5/5/0 has been sent from the employees’ collection at the C.W.S. boot factory at Rushden to the Northants Prisoners of War Fund. Mr. W. H. Holloway, of Northampton, hon. treasurer of the fund, has written in acknowledgement, stating that the money shall be spent in parcels for the eleven prisoners of war belonging to Rushden, and that cards shall be enclosed in the parcels stating that the recipients are indebted to the Rushden C.W.S. workpeople for the gifts. Mr. W. Durham, of the C.W.S. works, has received a postcard from one of the prisoners, Pte. John Underwood, which reads as follows: "Dear Sir,—It has just come to my knowledge that the parcels I am receiving through the ‘Northampton Independent’ are being paid for by your society, and I must thank you, and also the society, for their kindness towards me. I hope you will please accept my humble way in which I show my gratitude towards you. Again thanking you, sincerely yours, J. Underwood".

Rushden Echo, 15th September 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Prisoners of War

To the Editor of the Rushden Echo
Dear Sir, I have been asked to try and arrange for some systematic collection in Rushden on behalf of Northamptonshire prisoners of war in Germany. As your readers are aware, there is a “County Fund” for this object, of which Mr W H Holloway, of Northampton, is the hon. Treasurer, but up to now there are several populous places in the county which have made no regular or special contribution to it.

I learn that there are at least 13 or 14 Rushden soldiers at present in prison camps in the enemy country, and I believe that for some time a parcel has been sent weekly to each of them from the headquarters at Northampton. The cost of a parcel is 3s., and all the labour of packing and forwarding is done by voluntary helpers.

Kettering has worked with marked success for this object, and has hitherto kept the list of Rushden prisoner soldiers, as well as that of several of the larges places and many of the smaller villages in the district, and, what is more, has subscribed sufficient to defray the cost of the parcels sent to them, and this in addition to similarly providing for some 34 men of its own town who are also prisoners.

It will, I think, be agreed that we in Rushden should at least collect enough cash to provide for parcels to be sent to our own townsmen, and I believe it is a duty which will be cheerfully taken up.

If any who are willing to help will communicate with me, I shall be pleased, and will, if necessary, endeavour to explain the matter further.

I am,
Yours sincerely,
C L Bradfield
Rushden, Sept. 14th 1916.

Rushden Echo, July 20th 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Sum of 30s., raised by Mr. Barker of 42, Oakley-road, Rushden, in aid of the Prisoners of War Fund, has been forwarded to Mr. C. L. Bradfield, the hon. Secretary. Mr. Barker raised the money by the sale of pretty models of Red Cross Ambulance Wagons, etc., made in his spare time.

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

Rushden Prisoners of War Relief Fund Committee
An inquiry office will be open at the Urban Council Buildings on Wednesday evenings, commencing Nov 28th, from seven to eight o'clock. The committee will then be pleased to interview relatives or friends, to receive from them information concerning prisoners of war belonging to the town, and assist them as far as possible.

The Rushden Echo, 7th December 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Committee of the Rushden Prisoners of War Relief Fund would be grateful for contributions from organisers of entertainments, etc., as it now necessary to raise at least £100 per month for the maintenance of prisoners of war belonging to the town. Payments should be sent to either of the hon. Secretaries (Mr C L Bradfield and Mr Oliver Claridge), or to the treasurer (Mr W M Hensman, Capital and Counties Bank, Rushden).

The Rushden Echo, 14th December 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Flag Day, organised by the local Prisoner of War Committee on behalf of the funds, was held on Saturday, and was very successful, upwards of £35 being raised. Mrs Walter Robinson was responsible for the organisation of the effort, and the various districts which were under her supervision raised the following amounts: No 1 (Mrs Woodward) £7 10s. 5d.; No 2 (Mrs Chambers) £9 19s. 1d.; No 3 (Mrs Dyke) £13 6s.; No 4 (Mrs Perkins) £4 18s. 10d. The receipts were checked by Mr H O Miller and Mr A T Chambers.

The Rushden Echo, 28th December 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Prisoners of War in Enemy Countries
The Rushden Boot Manufacturers' Association, with the assistance of the Allied Trades, have undertaken to contribute the following monthly subscriptions towards the Rushden Prisoners of War who are now in enemy countries. These subscriptions are paid through the Boot manufacturers' Office on the 25th of each month, and the amounts will be handed over to the Town's Committee on each occasion.


£

s

d

F Hawkes

4

0

0

C W Horrell

2

0

0

Wm Green & Son

2

0

0

E Claridge & Son

1

10

0

Bull & Co

1

10

0

Cunnington Brothers

1

10

0

J Cave & Sons

1

10

0

B Denton & Sons

1

10

0

Eaton & Co

1

10

0

G Selwood & Co

1

10

0

Standar Rotary Machine Co

1

10

0

J Hyde Ltd

1

5

0

Fred Knight

1

5

0

F Corby

1

1

0

Nurrish, Pallett & Co

1

1

0

Harry Jaques

1

1

0

W Sargent & Co

1

1

0

Robinson Brothers

1

0

0

Premier Boot Co

1

0

0

Jaques & Clark

1

0

0

Sanders & Sanders

1

0

0

W L Duncan

1

0

0

George Warner

1

0

0

H E Wilmott & Co

1

0

0

E Wrighton

1

0

0

A Sargent & Sons

1

0

0

P Collisn & Co

1

0

0

T Robinson & Sons

1

0

0

William Claridge

1

0

0

A Groom & Sons

1

0

0

B Ladds

1

0

0

H W Chapman Ltd

1

0

0

Advance Boot Co

1

0

0



£

s

d

Knight & Lawrence

1

0

0

British United Shoe Machinery Co

1

0

0

Davison & Co

1

0

0

England, Smith & Co

1

0

0

Green & Coe

1

0

0

Joseph Knight

1

0

0

Coxton Shoe Company

1

0

0

Lawrence Brothers

1

0

0

Radburne & Bennett

1

0

0

Tecnic Boot Co

1

0

0

Allebone & Sons

1

0

0

Skeeles & Co

1

0

0

Allen Boot Co

1

0

0

W A Patenall & Son

1

0

0

Harris Brothers

1

0

0

Jaques & Son Ltd

1

0

0

Eden & Co

 

16

0

Hugh Nicholson

 

10

6

Rushden Heel Co

 

10

0

Horace Wright

 

10

0

Charles Sanders

 

10

0

Ashford & Campion

 

10

0

Catling & Durham

 

10

0

Phipps & Son

 

10

0

Howe & George

 

10

0

Central Machinery Co

 

10

0

Rushden Engineering Co

 

10

0

Alfred Lilley

 

10

0

S Brightwell

 

10

0

 

65

10

6

Subscription : H Ingle & Son

5

0

0

Total

£70

10

0

Rushden Echo, 11th January 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Splendid Sum of £12 11s. 2d. was raised by the invitation dance organized by Miss Joan Heygate and held on Boxing Night in the Public Hall. This amount has been forwarded to Mr. C. L. Bradfield for the Rushden Prisoners of War Fund.

Rushden Echo, 15th March 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Volunteer Dance—A most successful gathering took place in the Public Hall last night, when a dance was held, promoted by the Rushden Company of Volunteers. The hall was prettily decorated with flags lent by Mr. W. A. Evans, of the Victoria Hotel, and Mr. F. L. Heygate, and the plants by Messrs. Seckington & Son. The proceeds were in aid of the Rushden Prisoners of War funds and a fund for providing a permanent memorial for the Volunteer Members who had made the great sacrifice. The efficient orchestral band consisted of Miss Attley (piano), Messrs. C. Woods and S. Whitworth (violins), E. E. Whitworth (cornet), H. Holland (’cello), and W. Lockie (bass). The duties of M.C.’s were in the capable hands of Lieut. F. Sargent and Mr. W. Chamberlain. Mr. C. L. Bradifeld and Mr. O. Claridge (secretaries of the Rushden prisoners of War Fund) attended, and during a brief interval in the proceedings Mr. Bradfield expressed appreciation of such a noble response for such a worthy and deserving object. Rushden had undertaken the task of supplying the necessary funds for their boys’ parcels, etc. The number of Rushden prisoners was 44 which necessitated an expenditure of £120 per month. The Committee were well pleased with the way in which money was being supplied for the fund and they had the great satisfaction of knowing that they were maintaining their own boys who had the misfortune to be prisoners. He thanked them for their attendance, which proved their sympathy with the movement. He then presented the entrance tickets corresponding number prizes:- Ladies (a hand bag), Miss Gladys Ingram (No. 9); gentlemen (pair of boots), Mr. J. Tye (No.138). Lieut. G. R. Turner also thanked the ladies who had rendered such valuable assistance and all who had taken part for the success of the gathering. Lieut. Turner specially eulogised the work of Mrs. Frank Sargent and Miss Wilson for their energetic efforts, and Mrs. Bradsmore, Mrs. Robert Cunnington, and others. Lieut. Sargent spoke on behalf of the ladies, and said it had been a pleasure for them to work for so deserving a cause. The winning number in the gentlemen’s boot competition was 312, and for the tray-cloth 522. Nearly all the Volunteers were present in uniform, giving the function quite a military appearance. The wounded soldiers at the Higham V.A.D. Hospital were invited, but were unable to accept, as they had a concert. The total proceeds will be about £20.

Rushden Echo, 12th April 1918, Transcribed by Kay Collins

The Scholars of the North End Council School (mixed department) put their savings together and raised the splendid sum of £4 17s. 0d. for the Rushden Prisoners of War Fund. There was keen rivalry between the classes as to which should come out on top.

Rushden Echo, 19th April 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Mrs Walter Robinson wishes to acknowledge, with thanks, the sum of £13 in aid of the Red Cross Society funds from Mr A Franklin, part proceeds of the benefit performance given at the Royal Theatre, Rushden, on Good Friday evening. The sum of £13 has also been received by the Rushden Prisoners of War Fund.
Rushden Echo, 19th July 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Sergt. Joe Mitchell, of the Dunster Force, writing from Mesopotamia to Mr. C. L. Bradfield, one of the secretaries of the Rushden Prisoners of War Fund, says: “I have just received a ‘Rushden Echo’ from my wife, and I see you have had a concert for the Rushden boys who have the misfortune to be prisoners of war. I should like to add something to the fund, so if you go or send round to my home, taking this letter, Mrs. Mitchell will give you £1 on my behalf.” Sergt. Mitchell is the well-known boxer.

Rushden Echo, 26th July 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Some fine pictures in water colours and oils, painted by Mr. J. F. Lovell, R.A., Inspector of Boots for the War Office, will shortly be exhibited in Rushden on behalf of the town Prisoners of War Fund. Mr. Lovell is a native of Higham Ferrers, but resided in Rushden, where he is well known, for the greater part of his early life. In addition to his gifts as a painter, he is also a poet of no mean merit. Verses of his have appeared in the "Rushden Echo" on several occasions. Mr. Lovell has generously lent the above mentioned pictures for exhibition on behalf of the funds.

Rushden Echo, 30th August 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Musical Meeting in aid of the Prisoners of War Fund was held at the Salvation Army Hall on Monday, the sum of £1 13s. 6d. being raised. Mr. W. P. Orrell presided.

Rushden Echo, 6th September 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Prisoners of War - Success of The Carnival and Fete
Though the balance sheet is not made up, it is now seen that the carnival parade and fete held at Rushden on Saturday, August 24th, in aid of the Rushden Prisoners of War Fund, was as great a success financially as in other ways, and the organisers and workers, one and all, are to be heartily congratulated on the splendid results of their labours.

The arch over the approach to Rushden Hall, bearing the mottos "Success to the Fete" and "God save the King," was well thought out by Mr.Thos. F. B. Newberry, organiser of the flower, vegetable, fur, and feather show. Northamptonshire War Agricultural Committee have allocated three certificates of merit for food production in connection with the vegetable show, and these certificates, which bear the Royal Arms in colours and which are issued under the auspices of the Food Production Department—have been awarded by the judges to Mr. W. Kitchener, of Olney, Mr. F. Taylor, of Irchester, and Mr. A. H. Sartoris, of Rushden Hall.

Among the collectors of revenue at the fete was a large white "Billy" goat with gilded horns. The animal was led about by Mr. "Roddy" Ripley, the eighteen-year-old son of the late Colonel Ripley, who "pushed" his collecting box among the visitors with determined persistence. The goat was the mascot of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and when the regiment went out to the front it was provided with a good home at Rushden Hall, where Mr. Sartoris has kept it ever since.

The World's Fair Committee comprised the following: Messrs. J. Woods, C. Kendall, J. Nunley, A. Trussler, T. Goodwin, D. Baldrey, J. Garley, J. Sprake, T. Smith, G. Barwick, G. Barnett, W. Moore, A. Auger, E. Brown, T. Rice, S. Hullet, and F. Thompson.

Mrs. F. Hawkes gave the Golden Treasure (a half-sovereign), which was won by Miss Margaret Ingle, but Mr. Ingle kindly returned a 10s. note, keeping the coin as a souvenir.

Rushden Echo, 25th October 1918, Transcribed By Kay Collins

Rushden –Prisoners of War
A Hundred Men in The Hands of The Enemy
Over £2,000 Raised Locally Last Year

The annual meeting or the Rushden Prisoners of War Fund Committee and subscribers was held on Tuesday night in the Council Buildings. Mr. C. W. Horrell presided over a large attendance, supported by the joint hon. secretaries (Mr. C. L. Bradfield and Mr. Oliver Claridge).

Mr. Bradfield said there were 110 prisoners of war who were resident in Rushden at the time of their enlistment or when rejoining the Forces. Two of these had now been sent to Holland (Sergts. Garley and Newman), and two to Switzerland (Ptes. Ekins and Harris the latter having died on reaching that country). Two others (Ptes. Whitney and Freeman) had died as prisoners of war. Four had been repatriated, all more or less wounded and maimed (Sergt. Allen, Sergt. Green, Pte. Jolley, and Pte. Groome). That left exactly 100 prisoners of war belonging to Rushden, 55 being in the Northants Regiment, and the remaining 45 in 28 other units. The ladies of the Red Cross Society in Rushden had been the sheet anchor of the local work. (Hear, hear.) An inquiry bureau had been started, and the secretaries and members of the committee periodically attended for consultation by friends and relatives of the missing men. There were a large number of people, not only in Northamptonshire, but all over the country, who were just now undergoing a period of grave suspense through not having heard from friends who are prisoners. If the cases were only isolated ones there would be serious cause for anxiety, but, as a matter of fact, at the present time, for some reason which was to him obscure, there were thousands of man who were taken prisoners in March and April who had only been allowed to send one card to England to say they were prisoners and who, after that, had not been allowed to get any letters through. There might be some consolation in this, as they could not all be dead.

The financial statement was given by Mr. O. Claridge, who said that during the year since October 11th, 1917, when the fund was formed on its present basis, they had received from all sources the sum of £2,805 4s. 1d. (Applause.) This magnificent total was a result upon which the whole of the inhabitants of Rushden might justly pride themselves. This was a fund which appealed to everybody. But though so much had been raised they must, still ask for more. With the present number of prisoners their liabilities were £320 a month.

The Chairman, said the year's work had brought some relief to the brave men who were suffering terribly in enemy hands. When the committee started on this work they had no idea of the dimensions into which it would grow. They now needed about £3,840 a year to cover their expenses, but he was sure they were equal to their present liabilities if only they could continue to got the support of the people.

Questions were then invited as to the work, but none were forthcoming.

Mr. John Spencer, J.P., proposed the re-election of the committee for the ensuing year, allowing them to select their own officers, as last year, which, he was sure, was a very good choice. The energy they had all put into the work was marvellous, and the good service was appreciated by everybody in the town.

Mr. J. Garley seconded, and it was carried.

Pillaged Parcels

Mr. Bradfield, at this point, said that out of all the acknowledgments they had received for parcels dispatched he did not think there were more than four complaints as to the condition of the parcels. (Applause.) This was the result of careful packing. On the other hand, nearly every package which came undone was pillaged, the temptation to take the articles being too great to those through whose hands the parcels had to pass.

The Chairman said they needed another £20 a week, but he could assure the parents of the prisoners of war that it would bo forthcoming. No matter what they had to face in the future they would make every effort to see that each prisoner was supplied with parcels.'

Mr. W. M. Hensman proposed a special vote of thanks to the two secretaries, who, more than anyone connected with the fund, deserved the thanks of the town. Mr. Bradfield and Mr. Oliver Claridge had worked extraordinarily hard. They had heard of the success of the fund, and a success like that was never achieved except by the work of people who were not only competent but had the thorough respect, and trust of the whole town. All must be grateful to them for the courteous way in which they had received every inquirer und for the interest they had taken over every individual prisoner. They had taken the utmost trouble to alleviate the anxiety of every person who had appealed to them.

Mr. F. J. Sharwood seconded the motion, which was cordially carried.

Mr. Bradfield, in reply, emphasised the value of the work of the Red Cross ladies, who had been the backbone of the fund.

Mr. O. Claridge also returned thanks, and endorsed Mr. Bradfield’s appreciation of the work of the Red Cross ladies.

Mr. T. Wilmott, J.P., moved a hearty vote of thanks to the Red Cross ladies, which was seconded by Mr. B. Vorley and carried with heartiness.

Mr. Bradfield moved a vote of thanks to the Chairman, who had been indefatigable in his attendance at the meetings and who was a model president.

The proposition was carried unanimously.



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