The Rushden Echo and Argus, 30th June, 1944, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Area Swamping - “Salute Week” Target
£167,924 Subscribed in First Four Days - Lord Luke’s Tribute to The Army
Opened at Rushden Hall on Saturday, when Lord Luke pictured the “Return Match” between our soldiers and the Germans, the Rushden Area Salute the Soldier Week made swift progress, and after Wednesday only a few thousand pounds were needed to reach the area target of £175,000, Rushden being well past its objective of £100,000.
Lord Luke takes the salute
With him are (l-r): Mr E J Rowlett, J.P. (Mayor of Higham), Dr R W Davies (Chairman of Rushden Urban Council), and Coun. O Gates J.P. (Chairman of Raunds Urban Council. Behind Lord Luke is
Major R K Green (8th Bn. Home Guard)
After making the opening speech at Rushden Hall Grounds on Saturday afternoon, Lord Luke, in uniform of a temporary Lt.-Col. of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment took the salute of hundreds of men and women of the military Civil Defence services, with the local people’s organisations marching in their wake.
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“We Are Inspired”
Welcoming Lord Luke, the Chairman observed that he was well-known for his religious, social and philanthropic activities, not least of them his work for hospitals.
“I feel sure this is going to be a wonderful week for Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Raunds,” said Dr. Davies. “Now that the second front has started our men are making untold sacrifice in what we hope may be the last phase of the war. We are more than ever inspired to do our utmost.”
The Chairman then read two telegrams.
From Sir James Grigg, Secretary of State for War: “You will be proud as I am in these stirring days to demonstrate our confidence and pride in our valiant armies by supporting the Salute the Soldier Campaign. I am sure that the result of Rushden and District Week will be a salute worthy of the soldier.”
From Sir John Anderson, Chancellor of the Exchequer: “Now is the time to support our fighting armies with all we have. I wish all success to your Salute the Soldier Week.”
Tending The Wounded Lord Luke recalled his pre-war visit to a youth rally at Rushden and spoke of the border between Northants and Beds as a very friendly one in spite of the Home Guard battles which sometimes took place on it. He described the parade as “magnificent” and praised the marching.
The area, said Lord Luke, aimed to provide the Army with three base hospitals and a medical unit, and he could think of no better object. He had been amazed to hear of the wonderful arrangements which had been made for the reception and treatment of the wounded. No equipment could be too good.
As a result of War Weapons Week – the first of their four savings campaigns – they had seen a great number and variety of weapons forthcoming for the Forces. Warships Week was held next, and they knew of some of the wonderful things the Navy had done. The most recent action of the navy was during the invasion, and even the Germans themselves had paid tribute to the Navy’s power.
Last year they had Wings for Victory and they had since seen the results of strategic bombing: the Air Force had literally changed the face of the earth and had given air support on all fronts which was quite unprecedented.
The soldier might be the last on the list, but he was certainly not least. They had in fact been saluting him for some time. They saluted him at Dunkirk when he was up against it, and they saw then the birth of the Home Guard, who deserved a salute for their four years of untiring service.
They were at one time with their backs to the wall in Egypt, and he hoped they would never forget what they owed to the men who held the fort then, and to the gallant army which began at El Alamein an advance which had never stopped.
“We have a very different picture now from the days that are behind us. We have had a lesson what equipment and man-power can do, and we have taken our lesson like men. We have also had a lesson in the value of combined service and we have the perfect team for attack.
“We have learned the lesson of inter-Allied co-operation, and I would like to pay my tribute to our gallant allies in the Americans and on your behalf welcome here the officers who represent them. (Applause). I think we may call it a perfect partnership.
The Return Match
“We see our soldiers trained and equipped as never before, and we are – if I may take a rather peaceful parallel – playing the return match now, and we have a different pitch, a wicket of our own choosing, a new ball and better bats.
“Some of the same men are in it, but it is a vastly different and stronger team. They know their business, and they are going to it. They have got their eye in and are making runs, and we pray God they are going to make a terrific score.”
The personal quality of the soldier was, after all, the final test. In their heroism, self-sacrifice and endurance the quality of the British soldiers had been proved beyond all doubt, and the Germans were being taught a lesson that they must not be allowed to forget for generations.
“We lend our money because we have confidence in our country,” added Lord Luke. “We show our men what we think of them by our efforts here at home, and we make sure that they have everything they need for battle. They in turn look to us, and they see that we are solidly behind them. If you get your target and anything above it that you can, they will say to themselves, ‘All is well with the home front.’”
Lady Luke and Mrs. Davies received flowers from two Nursing Cadets, Mary Moore, of Higham Ferrers, and Betty Helsdown, of Rushden.
Spick and Span members of Rushden & Higham Nursing Division
give a smart "Eyes Right" in the parade
The Mayor of Higham Ferrers proposed thanks to Lord Luke and urged: “Let us smash our target as surely as the boys are smashing theirs in the front line.”
Coun. Gates seconded and declared that Raunds would go all out, adding: “Whatever we do, we can never repay our relatives and friends for the sacrifices they have made and are making. We are always thinking of them, but to-day and next week we have an opportunity of showing our appreciation in a more concrete form.”
“Notes Rolling In”
Cheers for the Chairman and visitors were given at the call of Coun. Capon, who announced that at the Savings Centre pound notes and cheques were “rolling in like marbles.” He had been notified by telephone of an investment “amounting to thousands,” and there would be £2,000 from a company in which Lord Luke was interested.
The visitors, committee members and others were entertained to tea in a marquee with Mr. and Mrs. White – who were accompanied by their daughters, Mrs. J. L. Wilson and Miss Jacqueline White – as host and hostess.
Proposing thanks for the hospitality, Mr. Sharwood said that no one but Mr. White was considered for the chairmanship of the campaign. He also praised Mr. White’s leadership of the Boot Manufacturers’ Association.
Mr. Colton, seconding, said Mr. White was a man of dynamic personality, and if a thing was to be done he got it done.
“I do not think this campaign could have been launched at a more auspicious time, in view of the news we are getting,” said Mr. White in reply, “neither do I think we could have chosen a more appropriate title. It is not just a matter of reaching the target, but of by how much we are going to exceed it.”
Music and Tanks
In the evening there was a very large gathering in the Hall Grounds. The Band of the Leicestershire Regiment was present, and the other attraction was the display of a medium American Sherman tank and a Valentine tank. The former was fitted with a 75 millimetre gun and the latter a two-pounder.
Two soldiers and three members of the A.T.S. were in charge. The tanks had been brought from Northampton, where they had been on show for the past week, by kind permission of Major Marshall.
The band gave further concerts at the Hall on Sunday.
Salutations - Interesting Items from the Savings Front
Early investments for the Rushden Area Salute the Soldier Week included £7,500 by the Rushden and District Electric Supply Co. and £1,000 by Rushden Windmill Club.
Some of the boot manufacturers are contributing 2s. 6d. towards each certificate taken out by an employee up to a given number and 1s. 6d. per certificate on a further quantity.
The striking area total indicator installed outside the old Post Office at Rushden was constructed by Mr. John White’s staff, with professional assistance for the painting of the stalwart “Tommy” who prods the rising total with the point of his bayonet.
Rushden’s Council Chairman, Dr. R. W. Davies, helped Salute the Soldier Week by investing £1,075 in national securities.
Robinson-road, Rushden, has its own target indicator – designed by Trevor Smith. Towards the target of £500 the street had subscribed £235 by Saturday evening.
Spencer-road, Rushden, which passed its savings target on Saturday, has the pictures of its many Service men and girls displayed in a shop window.
Members of the A.T.S. installed patriotic shop window displays in High-street, Rushden.
Wharf-road No. 1 District, Higham Ferrers, set itself a target of £100 for Salute the Soldier Week. Its secretary, Mrs. F. G. Felce, was first caller at the Town Hall savings office on Monday, and handed in £101 5s. Substantial additions have been made since then.
Higham Ferrers Earl Fitzwilliam Lodge of Oddfellows has invested £250.
In support of Salute the Soldier Week, Mr. A. C. A. Colton spoke on Tuesday at the Royal Theatre, Rushden, Mr. A. F. Weale at the Palace, and Mr. E. J. Rowlett, Mayor of Higham Ferrers, at the Ritz. Speakers on Thursday were Dr. R. W. Davies (Council Chairman) at the Royal Theatre, Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow at the Palace, and Miss Jacqueline White at the Ritz.
Since Saturday the Rushden Nursing Cadets have been in charge of a white truck, adorned with Red Cross symbols, on which members of the public have stuck savings stamps to “buy a bandage” for the base hospitals which are to be financed by means of Salute the Soldier Week. Up to Tuesday evening they had gathered £23.