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Rushden War Memorial

The town's war memorial stands in the Memorial Garden on the green opposite St. Mary's church. It was designed by J Gotch of Kettering and built by Morris of Rushden, to commemorate Rushden men who died in the First World War (1914-18). The unveiling was on September 25th 1921 by Sir Arthur de Capell Brooke (Bart.) and it was dedicated by the Rector, Rev. P E Robson. The names are listed in alphabetic order on eight vertical panels around the memorial. During the First World War several streets erected memorials to the men who were away serving their country, and sadly added names of those killed or missing. By magnifying the photographs taken at the time, we have been able to read some of the names from one or two of these. The photographs were published as postcards, and probably sold to raise funds to send comforts to the soldiers.

After the Second World War (1939-45), the names of the fallen in that war were added on eight horizontal panels surrounding the base. However, this list is one of three memorials to the WWII men. There is a large inscribed plaque on the wall of the entrance hall at the Memorial Hospital in Hayway, and this preceded the names being added to the main War Memorial. A chapel within St. Mary's church has the names from both WWI and WWII inscribed.

Fifteen years ago, Clive Wood began collecting information following the purchase of a book entitled "Memorials of Rugbians who fell in the Great War", produced by Rugby school to record former pupils and their connections. Each page of the book shows a photograph of the deceased, mainly in uniform, together with a family biography of each man. This book was the inspiration for Clive to begin collecting information on Rushden men who fell in both World Wars. Due to other commitments, the project has not proceded as far as Clive would have liked, and he therefore feels that, in appreciation to those who have helped him thus far, the results should be made available to a wider audience. Clive has now agreed to share his efforts with the Hearts & Soles project, and each page carries an acknowledgement where applicable, to those who helped with this work, and to create a lasting memorial to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Many of the photographs published in the Rushden Echo, and used for memorial cards, were taken by Samuel Powell.

Much of the research about these men has been done by Greville Watson, Peter Inns and Kay Collins. Newspapers have been scoured for additional information by Gill & Jim Hollis who have transcribed many articles; some articles having being previously transcribed by Greville Watson, Clive Wood and Kay Collins.

WWI greeting card
In February 2009 Bill Bates, Rushden born but now of York, came with his extensive files of information collected over five years, and kindly lent them to us. The newspaper reports within the files had been extracted and typed by his daughter Nicky. We copied many of them as our "team" had then not fully searched newspapers and extracted.

Bill also brought us this greetings card (left). It would have been sent to many of our Rushden men in the trenches during WWI.

In October 2010 The Higham Ferrers World War One History Group passed us a CD with photographs of lots of the gravestones, both in Rushden Cemetery and in the War Cemeteries abroad that they have visited.

In 2011 the name of J F Blenco was added to the war memorial for WWI, being a corrected entry for T F Blencoe and two further names were added in the WWII section, being D Hemmington and G A Panter.

added names amendment
Two names added in 2011
Amended name of J F Blenco

Rushden Research ‘Hearts & Soles’ – War Memorial Book

This year being the Centenary Commemoration of the start of WWI, we have compiled a database of all the Rushden ‘Memorial Men’ (420) and have had a booklet printed. The details of each man, his age, parents, birth place, employer, rank, service number, regiment, and the place of burial are given. Some tables by age at death, place of birth, employment, and regiment follow the main list. At the back there is a list by age, and a list by date of death. Several names of men not on the War Memorial but with a connection to Rushden, and those commemorated elsewhere are also listed. Finally a list of the WWII names (123), and other names on the War Memorial, with brief details of each man, is also included. (60pp)

This is a Tribute to all our ‘Memorial Men’ who paid the ultimate price for the freedom of the many. (now out of print)

If you have something to add to a page for a War Memorial Man, please contact us.

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