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Wellingborough Volunteers at Rushden

Wellingborough & Kettering News, August 20th, 1881, transcribed by Kay Collins

On Saturday afternoon, the 13th inst., quite a sensation was caused in this village by the announcement that the Wellingborough Volunteers were coming, and were going to drill in "Nippingale" and long before the time children mixed with grown people were wending their way towards the Wellingborough-road, and taking up every coign of vantage to obtain a good view of the march past. At four o'clock the band was heard, and all were alive to see "the soldiers." Having arrived at "Nippingale," a field on the Newton-road, lent by Mr. C. Smart, the Volunteers had about an hour's drill, during which time several rounds of ammunition were expended, to the delight of some and the terror. The field movements at an end, the two companies formed up and marched to the residence of Mr. Campbell Praed, in whose orchard, among the heavily laden apple trees, refreshments were served. The men were supplied with bread and cheese, salads, and ales on tables in the orchard. Tobacco was afterwards served in the same liberal manner, and an abundant supply of non-intoxicants for those who preferred them. The arrangements were well carried out under the superintendence of Mr. T. Woolston and his son, assisted by a good staff.

The officers' mess was laid in the dining-room of the residence, and beside the officers present, viz., Capt. Commandant Clark, Capt. Jackson, Lieuts. Askham, Parker, and Hope, and Surgeon J. B. Wright, were the following ladies and gentlemen:— Mr. C. Praed and Mrs. Praed, Mr. Fitz Praed, the Rev. Canon and Mrs. Barker, Mr. F. U. Sartoris, Mr. Spencer Pratt and his son, Mr. Birch (Cranford), Messrs. B. and J. Arkwright, &c.

After the "mess" some sports were pulled off, the management of which was the task of the Messrs. Woolston. A tug of war for 10s., by ten men of each company, was well contested, but No. 1 Company were too heavy for their opponents, who made, however, a plucky stand. The following pulled:— No. 1 Company: Sergt. Kilborn, Privates C. Cook, F. Moore, Flood, Clayson, Billing, Keller, Farey, Turnell, and Palmer. No. 2 Company were as follows: Corporal C. Clayson, Privates Webb, Steele, C. Watts, G. Garner, T. Coles, W. Cheney, J. Palmer, W. Spencer, and C. Clayson. After the tug of war was a walking match, twice round the orchard, to be walked in two heats and a final. The first two in each heat to walk in the final. 1st prize 10s., 2nd 6s., 3rd 4s. W. Cheney was the first past the tape in the first heat, but was disqualified for unfair walking, and H. Palmer was awarded 1st; H. Hall 2nd. The following also competed: J. Marshall, T. Coles, S. Cauldwell, G. Ballard, and G. Coles. Second heat: T. Coles was 1st, and F. Walker 2nd. The following were also in the heat: G. Moon, W. Ballard, T. Moore, T. Clayson, B. Belsher, and C. Watts. There were several disqualified for running, and as it was getting late the prizes were divided between the four named and the assembly was sounded.

The men quickly fell in, and were paraded in front of the house, and Capt. Clark in a neat speech thanked Mr. and Mrs. Praed and the company who honoured them with their presence, for their great kindness — especially the former, who had made such liberal provision for their comfort. He was pleased to see that so much interest was taken in the Volunteer movement. He was proud that he had been connected with the Corps for 21 years, and that so many of the men had also been so long associated with it. He was also proud that be had two such good Corps, and that they had taken part in the great review where her Majesty so graciously smiled on them. He was pleased the discipline and drill were so well maintained, and he took it that these invitations were a recognition on the part of the county gentlemen of the value of the Volunteer movement. It was satisfactory to find that they were not only being recognized by civilians, but the military were recognising them, and he was sure so long as they had such a force if they were called out no enemy if he landed could ever penetrate to the heart of the country. He was pleased to see that so large a number of men could be mustered at a rendezvous in so short a time and returned to their homes again. He concluded by calling upon them to give three rousing cheers for Mr. and Mrs. Praed for their kindness in receiving them. This was most heartily responded to, the band also striking up "For he is a jolly good fellow."

Mr. Praed in responding expressed the pleasure he felt in receiving the hearty cheers they had given him and Mrs. Praed. He was afraid in the morning the meeting would have had to be postponed on account of the weather, but it had somewhat cleared off, and he hoped they had enjoyed themselves as well as they could under the circumstances. He was sure the drill and the discipline did them great credit, and that the officers and men had cause for mutual congratulations on their efficiency. He heartily thanked them for the manner in which they had received the names of himself and Mrs. Praed.

In answer to a call from the men, Capt. Jackson stood forward and said he did not know what they wanted him to say after what had been said, but he supposed it was that he represented the second company. Their entertainment that afternoon was only another instance of Mr. Praed's interest in the welfare of the Volunteer movement. But he thought that Mrs. Praed had also some share in this the second volume of "The Volunteers at Rushden," and he hoped they should be honoured to a third next year. (Mr. Praed: Yes, you shall have that. —Cheers)

This concluded the programme, and the Corps marched out of the grounds to meet a special train that was run for them at 8.30 from Irchester, having spent a very pleasant afternoon. The strength of the muster, in addition to the officers named, was as follows: 8 sergeants, 2 buglers, and 124 rank and file.

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