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Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st February 1941
War Weapons Week
Weapons Week Objective Now £350,000

Brilliant Progress in Rushden, Higham and Raunds Campaign

From a great beginning on Saturday, when Lady Nunburnholme made the opening speech and Major-General Sir Hereward Wake took the salute from a huge parade of Civil Defence workers, Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Raunds War Weapons Week took four days only to reach the declared objective of £250,000. By that time the Rushden area had beaten Wellingborough’s record of £10 8s. 1½d. per head, and was in fact £40,000 ahead of the corresponding total in Wellingborough’s campaign.

Mr. J. Allen, J.P., Chairman of Rushden Urban District Council, has won his bet with the Wellingborough Chairman, and yesterday had the pleasure of announcing a new objective - £350,000. This will almost certainly be attained, but those who dream of beating Wellingborough’s grand total of £457,115 will have to make tremendous efforts in the time yet remaining.

It has been an inspiring week, bringing gifts to the Treasury by old age pensioners and others, large interest-free investments, splendid co-operation between employers and employed, and wonderful efforts by the schools and Savings Groups. Higham Ferrers was first in reaching its quota – which, without question, is going to be doubled – and each other town and village is playing a worthy part in true patriotic spirit.

Below is the day-by-day story of the district’s war-winning endeavour.

Memorable Parade and Ceremony

Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Raunds War Weapons Week opened brilliantly on Saturday with a spectacular parade of Civil Defence workers and fighting men, some heartening speeches, and a great initial stride towards the financial objective. “We are already halfway there,” one of the speakers told an enthusiastic audience.

Early in the afternoon the principal streets of Rushden were packed with the largest crowd that have gathered in the town for years, and the people saw a procession which was a stirring – and to many surprising – summary of the “Home Front” at Rushden and Higham Ferrers.

In and near Spencer Park the units were marshalled by Mr. A. J. Sturgess with the assistance of Mr. M. S. Boyd. The Higham Ferrers contingent marched down the hill and waited near the “Triangle.” Transport occupied the entire length of Washbrook-rd.

When the procession moved off a long string of armoured military vehicles led the way. The chief marshal was accompanied by Police Inspector Valentine and Special Police Inspector Chamberlain, with a small ex-Servicemen’s detachment bearing the British Legion’s Union Jack.

The first band was a smart military combination sent specially to the town for the occasion, and the second was the combined force of the Rushden Mission and Rushden Citadel, heading the Higham Ferrers section of the parade.

Higham Ferrers Home Guards, shouldering their rifles, were under Ald. H. R. Patenall, C.C. They were followed by the British Legion, British Legion Women’s Section, Air Raid Wardens (Coun. E. J. Wright), Ambulance Division and First Aid Squad (Ambulance Officer E. Hales), Nursing Division and Auxiliaries (Lady Supt. Miss Haddon), Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades and junior organisations.

Rushden Section

The Temperance and Town Bands combined to lead the Rushden section, in which the Urban Council was represented by Couns. T. W. Cox (vice-chairman), W. E. Capon, F. Green, H. Waring, J. H. J. Paragreen, E. A. Sugars, J. George, A. H. Bailey, J. T. Richardson, and T. J. Swindall; the County Council by Mr. Cyril Faulkner, C.C., and the Rushden and District War Bonds Committee by Mr. Walter C. Tarry (chairman).

Four Rushden platoons of Home Guards paraded in impressive strength under the general command of the Company Adjutant, Coun. A. F. Weale. Behind them were the British Legion (Mr. Robert Denton and Mr. E. Bennett), Women’s Voluntary Services (Coun. Mrs. O .A. H. Muxlow), and Air Raid Wardens (Mr. Malcolm Boyd).

Another interesting section of the A.R.P. services was led by Capt. J. Marshall Bailey, M.C. (A.R.C. Officer), and included the uniformed messengers with their cycles, the Report Centre staff, the First Aid Post staff (Commandant Miss W. M. Clipson, S.S. St.J., and Coun. Dr. R. W. Davis) and St. John Ambulance Brigade (Sergt. W. M. Burgess, S.B. St. J.)

The Rushden Scouts, Guides, Boys’ Brigades, Girls’ Brigades, and junior companies made a brave turn-out under their respective officers, and the rest of the procession was the astonishing array of Rushden and Higham Ferrers mobile units.

To all onlookers the extent of the Rushden Fire Brigade, A.F.C., ambulance transport and casualty car service was a revelation. Higham Ferrers made an excellent addition, and the Rushden Rescue and Decontamination Squad made an equally fine impression.

Engines, lorries, vans, trailer pumps, ambulances and cars bearing full crews and equipment in great variety rolled past for several minutes. Rushden Fire Services were commanded by Chief Officer A. P. Timpson, Higham’s by Chief Officer W. Webb, and the Rescue Squad by Mr. T. E. Harrison.

The March Past

There was an inspiring and memorable scene at the War Memorial, where the salute was taken by Major-General Sir Hereward Wake, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., of Courteenhall, formerly of the King’s Royal Rifles.

The military band took up position to play the whole column past, and for 20 minutes the units, moving at a smart pace, were going by the saluting base.

With Sir Hereward were Brigadier-General M. F. Gage, D.S.O., of West Haddon Hall, Lady Nunburnholme, of Arthingworth Manor, Lieut.-Col. H. G. Sotheby, D.S.O., M.V.O., of Ecton Hall, Sir S. R. Wells, M.P. for Bedford, Counc. J. Allen, J.P. (chairman of Rushden Urban Council), Coun. A. C. A. Colton, J.P. (Mayor of Higham Ferrers), Coun. A. O. Fox, J.P. (Chairman of Raunds Urban Council), and Mr. A. Maclean (hon. secretary of the Rushden and District National Savings Committee).

When the procession had passed on via Wellingborough-road to the point of dismissal in Station-road, the military band entertained the crowd with merry music, afterwards returning through High-street to the Royal Theatre, which was already filled in readiness for the formal opening of War Weapons Week by Lady Nunburnholme.

New Hat Nearly Won - Coun. Allen’s Confidence in Success

On the stage at the “Royal” were the party from the saluting base, joined by Mr. John White, Mr. Walter C. Tarry, Coun. F. H. Johnson, J.P. (Chairman of Wellingborough Urban Council), Ald. H. R. Patenall (Higham Ferrers), Coun. W. E. Capon (Chairman of the War Weapons Week Publicity Committee), and Mr. A. Doran, of the National Savings Association.

Coun. Allen was in the chair. “I think,” he said, “the enthusiasm which we have witnessed this afternoon is an excellent augury for the success of our War Weapons Week. I am quite sure that we shall not only reach our objective but a sum far more than our objective.”

There were bursts of applause when Mr. Allen referred to the messages received from Sir Kingsley Wood, Mr. Anthony Eden, Mr. A. V. Alexander, and Mr. Ernest Bevin.

“Some,” continued the Chairman, “may think we have put our objective high, when we see what Kettering and still more so what Wellingborough has done; but it is up to us in Rushden to show both Kettering and Wellingborough that we are not going to be behind.

“You may know that in merry jest I made a bet with the Chairman of the Urban Council of Wellingborough, and I am looking forward to Coun. Johnson paying for a new hat for me.

“I won’t mention his pipe at all, because I think that is out of the question, but I really should like to congratulate Coun. Johnson and the Wellingborough area on the very excellent result they have achieved. It does the county and the country good when people in an area like Wellingborough set us something to aim at.

As Good as Won

“Their Weapons Week has been an unqualified success. We hope ours will be the same, and we hope to beat the Wellingborough total, although my bet is not on the total – I am far to prudent to undertake a bet of that description.”

There was applause and laughter when Mr. Allen added. “I can assure Coun. Johnson that the bet is as good as won already.”

(Mr. Allen’s wager is based on the amount saved per head of the population).

All at Stake

Mr. Stevenson, Deputy Regional Commissioner for Leicestershire, brought warm congratulations from the National Savings Committee. “I have seen something of War Weapons Weeks in many parts of the country,” he said, “but I was agreeably surprised this afternoon.”

The parade, declared Mr. Stevenson, was outstanding – a really remarkable demonstration.

It had become abundantly clear that we were in a fight for everything that we held most dear. It was a total war, not only was everyone affected by it, but we had all got a part to play in it – to produce as much as we could and consume for our personal use as little as we can.

The Germans before the war, had a habit of referring to the British as a degenerate race. Already, however, they had had a rude awakening, and he ventured to suggest that before the war was over they would have the shock of their lives.

Cost of Fighters

We were now spending 50 per cent. of the national income on the war effort, whereas in the last war it took us four years before we were spending at that level. This was the most expensive war ever fought.

In the last war, to put a soldier abroad for a year cost about £350; this time it cost about £650. A man in a battleship cost £750 per annum and an airman £2,500.

Dealing with the question of shipping space, Mr. Stevenson said he wondered if people realised the task that the Navy was facing this time. They were fighting single-handed, and looking after the convoys unaided, whereas in the last war the whole of the work in eastern waters was done by the Australian and Japanese navies.

In the attack on our morale, Hitler’s efforts had been tremendous, but he had not succeeded, and we were a united nation undaunted. The whole nation could join in the National Savings Campaign.

“The National Savings campaign has been a tremendous success,” said Mr. Stevenson, “and this area is one of the best in the region which led the country in the first six months of the campaign. Your aim is high, but I think you will pass it. I appreciate how much hard work has been put into the campaign, and I believe your aim is very nearly the highest of any War Weapons Week in the country.

Fight for Freedom

Major-General Sir Hereward Wake said that everybody who saw it must have been proud of the parade. It gave him a feeling of confidence that Rushden and Higham Ferrers were well prepared to meet any attack – and they had had a dose of it already – which the enemy might launch upon them.

The smartness of the parade was a thing to be remembered and he congratulated all the units on their smartness of appearance.

“I am here,” said Sir S. R. Wells, “on behalf of your Member, who is in the Royal Air Force and is away on foreign service. I am sure he would send you his very best wishes, and trust that your efforts to-day and during the week would be crowned with success.

“We are to-day perhaps more united than we have ever been before. We believe in freedom; we are prepared to fight for that freedom. We believe in freedom of speech, of worship, and of movement. We accept in these days the curtailment of our freedom in our efforts to win this desperate war, and yet, perhaps, we have far more freedom than any country to-day.”

Courage was an inheritance from the past, and in these dangerous times in every city, town and village that courage was shown and upheld. Courage was a fine thing, but courage well armed was more valuable to-day, and the people to-day were ensuring that there should be no lack of equipment and munitions for our Forces.

Wonderful Equipment

Speaking of the North African campaign, Sir Richard said that at Benghazi our men were outnumbered in tanks by five to one and in guns by three to one, yet they achieved victory with but moderate loss to themselves.

This showed that our equipment was wonderful and that they had all the supplies they required.

Our aeroplanes before the war were the finest in the world – there was nothing to touch them, but we must remember that these planes had 40,000 parts, which had to be machined by workers giving almost their life’s blood to turn out what was required.

“We ask for money. We believe we shall get it, and that those who find the money early will bring victory earlier still.”

Sir Richard said it seemed to him that the Rushden area would beat Wellingborough and Kettering, and Bedford’s £461,000 also.

Lady Nunburnholm’s Faith

Lady Nunburnholme received an enthusiastic welcome.

She used the microphone and her speech was full of point and effective emphasis. Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Raunds, she said, had set themselves to raise about £10 per head of the population,

“Frankly, I do not fear for the result of the week. I am certain that this great aim will be realised.”

Lady Nunburnholme mentioned that Northampton raised £1,250,000, an average of £13 per head, Kettering £401,000, an average of £6 per head, Bradford, Birmingham and other places about £20 per head.

All must play their part in providing the money that was required to finance the colossal war effort, the success of which depended very largely upon the provision of an overwhelming mass of the weapons of war.

Courage Needs Weapons

“Our fighting Forces have courage in abundance, and the sooner you can provide them with weapons in plenty, the sooner will victory be achieved. Not everyone can be in the fighting Forces or make munitions, but everyone can make his money fight for victory by saving every penny he possibly can and lending it to the country.

“I have nothing but praise for the splendid spirit of the people of your towns. By your fortitude you have shown you can ‘take it.’ By your kindness to the people who are among you from bombed areas you have shown that you can give it. I have no doubt that by self-sacrifice and devotion to the cause of National Savings you will show that you can lend it.”

After suggesting as a motto “we saved, we lent and we conquered.” Lady Nunburnholme concluded. “I wish the greatest success to this War Weapons Week, and I have the greatest pleasure in declaring it open.”

Song Encored

For the next few minutes Lady Nunburnholme was busy selling Savings Certificates to girls and boys representing the schools of the area, Jean Ward, of Rushden, being the first purchaser.

The audience was then taken in hand by Mr. Bert Eagle, of the Kettering Operatic Society, and joined him in a performance of the topical song written and composed for the occasion.

Mr. Eagle put the verses over with excellent diction and point, and his friendly persuasion soon had the house coming in heartily with the chorus. Mr. Jethro Hall, of Raunds, was the able accompanist.

For his encore Mr. Eagle added “a word from Kettering” in a verse of his own construction.

Moving thanks to the opener, the Mayor of Higham Ferrers said that Lady Nunburnholme, showing the utmost readiness to help the campaign, had visited Rushden twice within a fortnight, thus doing “the double.” That was what they had all got to do during the week – they had got to double everything they had done before.

Even in a bombed district of London, said Mr. Colton, people told him on Friday, “Boy, we are doubling our aim.” He replied, “If you are doubling it, who have had it on the chin and on the nose as well, we who only have an occasional one on the ear are going to do it.”

Mr. Colton mentioned that the amounts allowed for on the progress indicators had been raised – Rushden from £160,000 to £200,000, Raunds from £50,000 to £75,000, and Higham from £40,000 to £60,000.

“We are counting on you to bust the indicators,” he said. “I don’t think I shall be telling you any secret if I say that we are already half-way; but the first half is always the easier, and it is the last half that is going to count.”

Battles of the Past

Seconding, Coun. Fox, of Raunds, said that Lady Nunburnholme had given a splendid lead. Raunds, Higham Ferrers and Rushden in the past, he continued, had fought many doughty battles on the playing fields. In the realm of music there had been great struggles between the musicians of Raunds and particularly those of Rushden. Now they found themselves in the same team, and he could assure them that Raunds was not going to let the team down.

They had had nothing spectacular in Raunds so far, but he hoped the finish would be more spectacular. He was quite sure that as the result of the efforts of Mr. Poole and his helpers they were going to make a good show of it at the Raunds end.

In her reply Lady Nunburnholme said it might seem a disadvantage to follow Kettering and Wellingborough, but “He who laughs last laughs best.”

The Burden

Ald. Patenall proposed thanks to the other visitors and the management of the Royal Theatre, who had lent the building free of charge. Deeds, he suggested, would be the best way of showing gratitude.

“I appeal,” he said, “for such a response that may lighten in some small measure that tremendous burden that is being carried by our gallant Prime Minister. We are all in this job – the £1 man, the £100 man, and the £1,000 man are carrying an equal responsibility.

Coun. Capon, who seconded, thanked Mr. Eagle, Mr. Hall and the children who had taken part in the ceremony, calling for a clap from the visiting child from London who purchased a certificate.

Before the meeting closed the chairman paid an emphatic tribute to Mr. A. Maclean. “The whole of the organisation and a great deal of the preliminary work has been done by him, and if we achieve a huge success, then the major portion of that success will be due to the efforts of Mr. Maclean.”

A large section of the audience stayed on to see a short propaganda film, “Young Folk Show the Way.”

The piano used at the theatre was kindly lent by Messrs. Fraser. Son and Mackenzie, of Rushden.

Rousing speeches in support of the campaign were given at the Rushden cinemas on Saturday evening by Coun. J. Allen, J.P. (Royal Theatre), Coun. A.C.A. Colton J.P. (Ritz), and Coun. W.E. Capon (Palace).

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