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Letters & Notes from the Newspapers
In Date Order 1915 Part 2
July - December

Soldiers Not on the War Memorial

The Rushden Echo, July 2nd 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Promotion for Rushden Teacher
We are pleased to report that Mr. G. F. Smythem, formerly a teacher at the Rushden National Schools, who enlisted in the Army Ordnance Corps last September, has now been promoted staff-sergeant.

Pte. W. StarmerThe Rushden Echo, July 2nd 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Soldier Home - Wounded at Aubers Ridge
Pte. W. Starmer (Rushden), of the 1st Northants, was enabled to spend a day at home this week through the kindness of a lady residing in the district of the Lawrence Court Convalescent Home, Huntingdon, where Pte. Starmer has been for the past three wekks, after having been wounded at Aubers Ridge on May 9th. The lady kindly brought Pte. Starmer home in her motor car.

We are pleased to say that the wound in his head has healed nicely, but he has not yet fully regained the use of his right leg, and does not know when he will be discharged from the Convalescent Home.

The Rushden Echo, 2nd July 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Recruit - Mr Len Sargent Enlists
Mr. Len Sargent, eldest son of Mr. Walter Sargent, boot manufacturer, of Rushden, has enlisted as a Private in the 4th Northamptons.

The Rushden Echo 9th July 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Corporal J. Percy Colson - Mentioned in Dispatches - Rushden Soldier at Home
Corporal J. Percy Colson (Rushden), of the 4th Hussars, who, as announced in the “Rushden Echo”, was recently mentioned in Sir John French’s dispatches, spent last week-end at home with his mother, Mrs. William Colson, of Wellingborough-road, Rushden, having been granted three days’ leave from the front. With characteristic modesty he very emphatically declined to give any account of the way in which he had secured the distinction of General French’s commendation.

The Rushden Echo 9th July 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Policeman Promoted in the Army
Police-constable Sawford, of Rushden, who recently joined the R.F.A., and has been transferred to the Scottish Rifles, has been promoted to be lance-corporal. P.C. Mobbs and P.C. Martin, of Rushden, who joined the R.F.A., have also been transferred to the Scottish Rifles.

The Rushden Echo, 9th July 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Steelbacks’ Impressions
Pte J. P. Butts (of Westbourne-grove, Rushden), 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, is now with the British Expeditionary Force, “somewhere in France”, for the second time. He has been wounded but quickly recovered in France, and after that he had frost-bitten feet and had to be sent back to England. Pte. Butts is not a native of Rushden but has made his home here for the last four years. He says:-

“I think a great lot of the place. I am in the Regular Army and was in it before the war broke out, and I can say, and so can a good many more, that the 1st Northamptonshire Regiment have proved themselves a gallant regiment in this campaign. I am glad to say I am still with them, doing my bit.” He adds, “The ‘Rushden Echo’ goes a long way in my regiment”.

The Rushden Echo, 9th July 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Souvenirs from Dunkirk - Rushden Man’s Experiences
G W Bates
G W Bates, brother of Walter Bates
Mr. G. W. Bates, late of Church-street, Rushden, now of the Royal Naval Aeroplane Squadron, Dunkirk, who has been at Dunkirk for the past four months, has been on a five days' leave to visit his wife who resides at Wellingborough. He brought with him many interesting and valuable souvenirs, including a flower-stand made out of a German shell, also a rosary. He has been in the three bombardments. The last bombardment was on June 22. Every window where Mr. Bates and others were sleeping, were shattered out at half-past two in the morning. He brought with him two pieces of the shell which fell against him. He has been up in an aeroplane several times. He has now returned to Dunkirk quite safely. Mr. Bates used to be in business as cycle agent in Church Street.
The Rushden Echo, 16th July 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Dies For France - Escapes from Captivity to Perish in the Labyrinth
The sad news has been received in Rushden that M. Edmond Ilette, son of Monsieur and Madame E. Ilette, of Paris, and formerly of Rushden, was killed in action at Neuville St. Vaast on May 3Oth, at the attack on the position named the "Labyrinth," north of Arras. The late

M. Edmond Ilette was well known in Rushden, particularly amongst the students of the Newton-road evening continuation classes, as he succeeded his father as teacher of French at that institution.

Edmond's father was in Rushden in May and accorded us an interview which was published in our issue, of May 14th. Monsieur Ilette then told us how Edmond was wounded at Montmirail, how he was captured by the enemy and subsequently escaped, being in fear of his life.

We had the privilege of publishing at the same time an interesting letter from Edmond himself. The last time Edmond's parents heard from him was on May 28th, when he wrote to say that he was all right and expected to do some severe fighting. Edmond's brother Alfred is also serving in the French army, having been called up at the beginning of May. Both he and Edmond were born at Northampton. Edmond's regiment have suffered very heavily, up to the present having lost some 1,500 men.

The Rushden Echo, 30th July 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Three Time Promoted - Rushden Man’s Advance
Although it is but four months since Mr. Charles Clark, son of Mr. C. Clark, of “Wellingtonia”, Irchester Road, Rushden, joined the colours he has been three times promoted and has now achieved the distinction of having been appointed Sergt. Gunnery Instructor of the Royal Field Artillery. His younger brother Tom is already at the front with the motor machine gun section and has passed through some thrilling experiences, especially in the battle of Hill 60, as recorded exclusively in our columns at the time.

The Rushden Echo, 30th July, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Germans Cannot Shift Us - Rushden Soldier’s Confidence
In The Ultimate Issue of The War
Private Packwood’s Narrow Escape - Two Comrades Killed
Private T. Packwood (Rushden), of the 1st Beds Regiment, is now at home on 14 days’ leave. He was sent to the front in September last year. Invalided home with kidney trouble about the end of April, he has spent three months in hospital at Blackpool. He is not at all sure whether or not he will be sent back to the front.

Private Packwood has served five years with the special reserve, and was called up on the outbreak of war. Prior to leaving for active service he was employed by the Rushden Industrial Co-operative Society. Interviewed by a representative of the “Rushden Echo” he said:-

“I am pleased to say I have got home with whole skin, though my illness has been painful enough to bear. Although I have not been wounded, I have fought in several big battles, and have had more than one narrow escape. One such was about Christmas time. I was in the firing line at the time, and, during a lull in the rifle fire, I was talking to two pals, one on either side of me, when one of the enemy’s shrapnel shells burst on the parapet just in front of us. Shell splinters, earth, and stones flew all round us, and I was knocked down as smartly as if somebody had smacked me on the nose. Although I was knocked silly for a few moments I soon collected my wits and got under what cover I could find handy, but I saw my poor chums lying with their legs shattered. I did all I could for them with my bandages and theirs, but they, with me, had to remain in the trench for six hours, as the enemy were shelling us all the time.

“During all this time my comrades were losing blood rapidly, and though everything possible was done for them they died before we could get them to the field hospital. As for myself I was astounded to find I was not hurt, and I consider that this was the luckiest escape I had.”

Private Packwood did not wish to further recount his experiences as he said that they were no different from those which have been related by other soldiers in our columns from time to time. He used to get the “Rushden Echo” practically every week when at the front, he said, and it used to be very welcome.

Private Packwood has no doubt about the ultimate issue of the war. The Allies will win, he said, but it will take time, no doubt. The Germans will never shift us from the position we now hold.

The Rushden Echo, 6th August 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Absentee soldier-A Rushden soldier, Private George Bird, of the 3rd Suffolks, was charged at Wellingborough on Tuesday, before Mr. Gent, with being absent from his regiment. Prisoner said that his leave expired on Sunday and he had overlooked the date. It was stated that prisoner, who had difficulty in signing his name owing to his experiences at the front, had suffered from the effects of asphyxiating gas and had twice been wounded. The only leave he had had was from 4p.m. on Friday until Sunday, when he had to be back. The Magistrate expressed his sympathy with prisoner, who was remanded to await a military escort.

The Rushden Echo, 6th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier’s Narrow Escape - A Night of Incidents
Followed by a Dream of ‘Home, Sweet Home’

Driver Frank Griffith (Rushden), of the Army Service Corps, sends us the following letter:-

“I was motoring as per usual the other night on special work, it pouring with rain, and I, having nothing but my ordinary summer’s motoring kit, was absolutely drenched. All of a sudden my back tyre went off with a pop, and you can bet I blessed the thing up hill and down. Well, to cut a long story short, I managed to get my spare tube out and, just as I had about finished putting it in, one of those Jack Johnsons came over and burst just over my head. It gave me a shock for a minute. I thought my tyre had burst again.

“Well, I got on my journey again and had about reached my destination when a big car came round the corner and knocked me yards, but not hurting me. It broke my motor a little, buckled my front wheel, and smashed my lamp, and a few more small items.

“I finished my journey on foot and returned to a house, got a new front wheel and put it in myself and finished it as well as I could, considering what tools I had. To make it more interesting still, when I got back to my Company, I hadn’t been back five minutes when a shell came over and knocked our billet down. We shifted out to another place and there we got down to it. I was not long before I was sound asleep, you can bet, and all night long I had it all over again in my dreams, and at the end I was in England, going for a walk round Hayway with my sweetheart, but was disappointed when I woke and heard the shells whistling still!”

The Rushden Echo, 13th August 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden ‘Bantams’ Join the Suffolk Regiment

Pte. Horace King and Pte. William King, of Rushden, who enlisted in the 12th Suffolk Battalion on July 10th, are in training at Bury St. Edmunds. They are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. T. King, of Portland-road, Rushden. Before enlisting Horace worked at the C.W.S. boot factory at Rushden and William was employed at Mr. Shortland’s, sewing and stitching. Only ‘bantams’ are admitted into the regiment, and there is a difference of only three inches between the tallest and the shortest man. Included in the battalion are about 30 Northamptonshire men.

The Rushden Echo, 13th August 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Soldier Brothers - Recovered from wounds
Corporal Harry Newell, son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Newell, of Washbrook-road, Rushden, has now made a splendid recovery from his wounds, and is on duty at Aldershot.

Pte. Arthur Newell, his brother, who also was wounded, has now recovered and is on duty in England.

The Rushden Echo, 13th August 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Former Resident of Riseley
Midland Railway Drayman Injured in the Hand
Lance-Corpl. Percy Wildman, of the 5th Northamptonshire Regt., who on Tuesday was officially reported wounded, is a Riseley man, the son of Mr. Fred Wildman. For the last two or three years he has been working for the Midland Railway Co. at Rushden as a drayman. On the outbreak of war he enlisted as a private in the 5th Northamptons, eight or nine of his fellow-workmen from the Rushden M.R. Station also enlisting at the same time. Before leaving for the front a few weeks ago he had a few days’ leave, and he took the opportunity of visiting Rushden. On the field he was recently promoted to Lance-Corporal. The wound from which he is suffering is, happily, not a very serious one. A bullet passed through his wrist and came out in the middle finger. He is now at home, and is going on well.

The Rushden Echo, 13th August 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers - Interesting Letters to Rushden Residents
Pleasant Memories of Rushden
Many of the residents of Rushden, with whom the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were billeted, have received letters from their former soldier guests, expressing their regret at having to leave Rushden and their appreciation of the efforts of the inhabitants to make their stay in the town a very pleasant one. We have pleasure herewith in publishing two such letters, sent to Mr. and Mrs. William Elstow, of Crabb-street, Rushden, and typical of the remainder:-

Gunner J. Lloyd
Maxim Gun Section, 7th Batt., R.W.F.
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

Dear Friends,-Just a few lines hoping they will find you all in the best of health. As for myself I am in the pink, only the first three days we were sailing I was awfully bad. I didn’t eat a bit of anything for three days, but I made up for it since! I daresay you know where we sailed from ----. I have a lot more to tell you, but it won’t do. We have had lovely weather since we started rather on the hot side. It was a bit rough as we went through the Bay of Biscay, but I didn’t care what happened to the ship! I was too bad at the time; in fact, I was wanting the ship to sink. It’s an awful feeling. I am enjoying it fine now, but we will see more when we land. We are all as happy as the night we left Dear Old Rushden. I was sorry to leave, but it’s duty and I mean to do a little bit now.

Maxim Gun Section, 1/7th Batt., R.W.F.
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

Dear All,-Just a line to let you know we are still in the land of the living. We went through a terrible time of sea sickness. Oh! it was awful! I never knew what it was before and I am sure I don’t want to know what it is again. You ought to have seen us all lying across each other. It lasted four days, and it was four days I shall never forget. I wish we were back in dear old Rushden, but don’t think we are downhearted. Oh, no, not at all. We are ready for the enemy. We’ll give them rock-oh when we get there, but we’ve got a long way to go yet. We have now been sailing – days and there are another – days at least before we reach our destination. Then there’ll be dirty work. Well, we are not allowed to tell you where we are, but we are in the Mediterranean Sea. The weather is glorious and we’ve nothing to do and a long time to do it in. Soft job, isn’t it. Well, dear Mr. and Mrs. Elstow, we had a fine send off from Good Old Rushden, and we had a fine time while we were there among you. I can only say, All good luck to all, and more especially to you for your kindness toward me and my chum, and I trust to Him above that He will bring us back safely and we shall see each other again.

The Rushden Echo, 13th August 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Recruit Classified as a First-class Shot
Pte. Jim Cure (son of Mr. W. J. Cure of Rushden), of the A Company, 7th Northants Regt., now stationed at Inkerman Barracks, Woking, writing to a friend says:- “We have now finished our classification firing and I had the good luck to be a first-class shot, getting 110 points-105the minimum for first-class. I have come out top in our platoon, and I think 3rd in the Company.”

The Rushden Echo, 13th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier at Home - Interesting Work at The Front - Mechanical Transport
Curious Meeting of Two Brothers
“Germans Prepared for Another Winter’s Warfare: But The Allies Will Win”
Quite unexpectedly, Pte. Harry Norman (Rushden), Category C, 1915, Third Division, Ammunition Park, dropped in early on Monday morning to see his mother at her home in Queen-street, Rushden. A few hours before he was at the front, engaged in mechanical transport work. Being granted leave of absence, he left Poperinghe at 1.30 on Sunday afternoon, reaching Boulogne about 8 p.m. Between 9 and 10 p.m. he took the boat for Folkestone, the voyage taking about an hour and eleven minutes. A good train brought him to Waterloo station, London, from whence he took a taxicab for St. Pancras, and arrived at Wellingborough at six o’clock on Monday morning. Then he took the first train to Rushden, reaching here about 7.30 a.m. There was no time to write to say he was coming, and no opportunity of telegraphing.

When war broke out Pte. Norman was a special reservist. He was at once sent to the front, and has been on active service ever since. He has now finished his term as a reservist, and, having again taken on his military duties be becomes entitled to a short leave of absence, after which he will return. Seen by a “Rushden Echo” representative on Monday afternoon, he said he had been through the whole campaign, and, as a matter of fact, he had not slept in a bed for over 12 months. He went through the battle of Mons and the retreat upon Paris, afterwards going to the Aisne.

“A very curious circumstance,” he said, “happened to me there. I heard a voice shout out “Hello, Harry!” and at once recognised it as that of my brother, Pte. Charles Norman. I knew, of course, that he was at the front, hut had no idea he was in that particular part of the world. He was in charge of about 200 German prisoners, and was taking them to Soissons.

“Other Rushden men I have met out there include Soutar, who used to work for Nurrish and Pallett, also Ted Brown, a soldier named Parker, a Gunner Tom Clark, of the Machine Gun Section. I went and had tea with Tom Clark. I used to get the ‘Rushden Echo,’ and so kept in touch with home news.

“My health has been extremely good. I have not had the slightest thing the matter with me, and have never had to go into hospital. The food at first was a bit rough, but shortly afterwards this was improved, and it has been good ever since. The health of our men at the front is remarkably good.

“On Friday night last I was just behind the last line of trenches near Ypres, but it was in the middle of the night, and we could see nothing but star shells, though we could hear the guns go off.”

Among the many historic spots Pte. Norman has had to visit in the course of his military duties was the famous Hill 60, but, he said, both armies were leaving it severely alone. He has brought home a French coin which he found on Hill 60.

“When do you expect the war to end?” was the inevitable question of our representative.

“I think the Germans are prepared for another winter,” said Pte. Norman. “The Germans are prepared for a long war, but I do not think it will be fought to a finish. I think the end will come on financial grounds, and victory will be with the Allies. The Germans are as well-equipped as we are and they have as large a supply of ammunition. If a British aeroplane goes over their lines they fire shells, just as we do if we see one of theirs. They are not sparing in their use of ammunition, as far as I could see. That was so in our part, whatever it may have been elsewhere.

“I am in charge of a motor lorry. There are over 80 of us in our convoy. We work from the railway station right up to the trenches. Our stopping place is halfway between the railway station and the trenches. We go up to the trenches in the morning and take the food supplies. Then we return and go straight to the station and load up, after which we return to our stopping place and remain there for the night. We sleep on the hay or oats in the lorries.

“Just as we had got to the railway station one morning a German Taube came over and dropped a bomb, killing a French soldier who was on sentry duty on the line. The bomb dropped within a hundred yards of me and I have brought home a piece of the metal.

“A Zeppelin came over our convoy at Balleul and circled round us. They dropped eight bombs on Balleul. One dropped about 200 yards from me, and bits of the bombs flew all over the shop.

“I saw an accident near Abeele to one of our own aeroplanes. Something had gone wrong with the engine, and it fell, the driver and mechanic being killed. I also saw another of our aeroplanes descend in a corn-field, having come down for repairs to the engine, but happily no one was hurt in that incident.

“I was at St. Omer when Lord Roberts died there. When we were at Caestre the Japanese Ambassador inspected us. The Prince of Wales inspected the Maxim Gun Section at St. Omer.”

The Rushden Echo, 13th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Sgt W D Tull & Sgt C H V Clark

Sgt W D Tull & Sgt C H V Clark

Two Pals in Khaki
An interesting photograph taken whilst on leave in Rushden of Sergt. W. D. Tull, of the 17th Middlesex (Footballers’ Battalion), and Sergt. Gunnery Instructor C. H. V. Clark, of the R.F.A., eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Clark, of “Wellingtonia,” Irchester-road, Rushden.

Both are well-known in Rushden, Sergt. Tull being Northampton’s right half-back.

Sergt. Clark’s younger brother, Gunner Tom Clark, has been at the front for some time past with the Motor Machine Gun Section. He took part in the battle of Hill 60, and at that time an interesting account of the engagement from the pen of Gunner Clark was published exclusively in our columns.

The Rushden Echo, 20th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Dental Operator - In The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Pte. R. Mawson, 2308, A Section, 1/2nd Welsh Field Artillery, R.A.M.C., who joined whilst the detachment were in Rushden, now with the Expeditionary Force, was formerly dental assistant to Mr. W. P. Orrell, of Rushden. In a letter to a fellow assistant (Mr. H. M. Johnson) he says:-

“Somewhere-at-Sea. Please excuse paper as it is hard to get. Now for some news. Ever since we left Rushden we have been at sea, and a rotten life it is, too. We are treated just like cattle, if not worse; packed like sardines on board, with no grub fit to eat. Anything fit to drink is a precious luxury on board. When we get water, it is quite hot. It is tremendously hot on board. I sweat until I am as weak as a kitten. We get such things as sennor tea, ships biscuits, and pickles, rank cheese, and sour bread to eat. The fellows are getting absolutely ‘fed up.’ The officers have seven-course dinners, etc., and live as well, if not better, than they did in England. I am a ‘Tommy’ now, so am entitled to a ‘grouse.’ After all is said and done, I can stick it as long as anyone, and am not sorry yet that I am in it. Am writing this on one of the hatches and we are just approaching another port, the third time of stopping. I am taking teeth out on the ship – cold steel, all of it. I was on night duty at the hospital – a bit weird with a fellow delirious. I wish I had brought more soap with me. I have to wash all my clothes in a bucket, and scrub my cabin out, where it is stifling. We are now in port with a Russian warship on one side of us and troopship the other side. There are a lot of bum boats alongside us with melons, grapes, etc., but we are ordered not to buy from them.

The Rushden Echo, 20th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier - Describes The Effect of “Jack Johnsons”
Private S. Groom (Rushden), 1st Cameronians, with the British Expeditionary Force, in a vivid letter, alludes to a communication which recently appeared in the “Rushden Echo.” Pte. Groom, who was born in Rushden and lived here until he joined the Army, three years ago, says:-

“I have seen a Jack Johnson shell bursting near our trench and blowing to pieces seven men and an officer. When we went up the trench to look for the men we found pieces of them here and there.”

The Rushden Echo, 20th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Hurt - While Trying To Save a Comrade
Driver A. C. Ballard (Rushden), of the Army Service Corps, who enlisted on May 17th, 1915, was on the morning of July 17th injured while trying to prevent a heavy engine from falling on a comrade’s legs. He is now in hospital in the Isle of Wight.

The Rushden Echo, 27th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded
Pte. W. A. V. Goodfellow - Injured in the Head - Now in Hospital
Pte Goodfellow
Pte. Walter Albert Victor Goodfellow, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Goodfellow, of High-street South, Rushden, has been wounded. Prior to the outbreak of war, he was working in the finishing department at the factory of Messrs. Walter Sargent and Co., Crabb-street, Rushden. He volunteered in the first week of the war, and joined the 1st Northamptons, being one of the first to go out. Some time ago he was wounded in the ankle, while getting a German helmet, but the wound was only a slight one, and he said nothing about it in his letters to his parents. As a matter of fact they knew nothing about the injury until one of Pte. Goodfellow’s chums told them about it. In one of his letters he describes how he went into the battle of Aubers Ridge on May 9th. They started 800 strong, and after the battle only about 110 answered the roll call. He himself came through without a scratch. He describes how he had to go a month without a wash. He was leaving the trenches recently when he was again wounded, this time in the head.

In a letter to Pte. Goodfellow’s parents the Rev. A. W. H. Selwyn, Chaplain, writes: “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Goodfellow, - Your son asks me to write and let you know that he has been wounded in the head, and is in hospital. He is going on splendidly now, and will be moved to the base in a few days.”

When the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were staring in Rushden recently Mr. and Mrs. Goodfellow had billeted upon them two soldiers of the D Company, 7th R.W.F., Ptes. J. S. Jones and Edward Rowlands. These soldiers send interesting letters. Pte. Rowlands writes: “We started from dear old Rushden that night, and we had the train straight to the docks and into the ship. We haven’t seen a house since we left Rushden – only sea – and we won’t see land for a couple of days. We have had a lucky journey as far as we have sailed, but we shan’t say where we are, nor the name of the ship. I will never forget the first three days. Jack was laughing when I was bad, and I was laughing when he was bad. I don’t know where I can post this letter nor when. We can’t post it on board ship.”

Pte. J. E. Jones, in the course of a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Goodfellow says: “July 30th, 1915. We are in the harbour now till next Wednesday, then we are off to……………..and I hope that God will spare us all to come back safe. If I come back safe you can trust me to come and see you all as soon as possible. We went for a short march last night through the town. It is a lovely place. The weather here is very hot, even too hot for us to stick it.”

The Rushden Echo, 27th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Some Amusing Names - Christening Trenches and Dug-Outs
The Duration of the War - Rushden Cycle Orderly’s Opinion - At Least Another Winter
Pte. F. O. Long (Rushden), Cycle Orderly, 24th Brigade Headquarters, 8th Division, writes to us as follows:-

Aug. 8th, 1915
The “Rushden Echo” received as usual. There is not much to say about the war here, as it has been very quiet on this front lately.

The peasants are busy getting their crops in now, and the fields look lovely. I saw a man working his reaping machine the other day, not fifty yards in front of the muzzles of one of our batteries, and easily within distance of the Germans’ rifle fire.

It is touching, too, to see the way some of these poor people stick to the remnants of what was once a pretty little homestead, while the shells are bursting near them.

People in England cannot realise what it is like out here. I have to pass through a village on my way to the trench headquarters of the Northants. What a picture it is! The once beautiful church is a mere blackened ruin, all that is left being one side of the tower and the wall. The village itself is about the size of Higham Ferrers, and there is not a house without a shell hole in it, and the shops and houses round the church are completely destroyed.

It is amusing to see the names that are given by us houses, trenches, forts, etc., so as to be recognised easily. One road is called Dead Cow Lane on account of there being a dead cow lying on the side of the road. Communication trenches have such names as Safety Alley, High-street, Casey Court, and so on, while an entrance to a sap is called Marble Arch. Dug-outs have such names as Smith’s Villa, Mansion House, Bully Beef Hotel, and one with a telephone inside is called Electric Palace.

One of my chums had an amusing experience the other day. At the present time the regiments have a few men of the new army with them in the trenches to teach them the workings of the trench warfare. One of these – he was quite a youngster – walked up to my chum the morning after he had gone in, and said “What time do we charge, mister?” My chum nearly fell through the parapet. It is especially funny, seeing that we have not moved forward from this particular part since last October. I reckon the youngster thought we had to parade for a charge at a certain time every morning.

As for the duration of the war, I have changed my mind since last winter. I think it will last at least through another winter. The Germans don’t seem to have much ammunition at ordinary times, but we have only to attack them and it simply rains shells, and mostly in vital places, too.

They are sending a lot of men on leave from this Division each week now, and I hope to be home myself in a fortnight or so. Wishing the “Rushden Echo” all the success it deserves.

The Rushden Echo, 27th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Missing - Private Reg. Denton - News Wanted
Mr. and Mrs. F. Denton, of 119, Park-road, Rushden, are very anxious for news concerning their son, Pte. Reg Denton, 9778, 3rd Northants Regiment, who was sent home wounded last Christmas. Until five weeks ago he was in the V.A.D. Hospital, Rust Hall, Tonbridge Wells, and the last letter he sent to his parents was sent from that address. Since five weeks ago nothing has been heard of him and several letters addressed to him at the Rust Hall Hospital have been returned, with no accompanying explanation.

Mr. and Mrs. Denton will be extremely grateful to anyone who can inform them of what has become of their son. They are unaware whether he has returned to the front or not.

The Rushden Echo, 27th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

A Rushden Will O’ Th’ Wisp
Alarming Experiences - How O’Leary Won His V.C.
Germans Disregard the Red Cross - Allowing the Enemy to Rescue their Wounded
A Touch of British Humanity
Gunner Ray Robinson, of the 1st Motor Machine Gun Section, son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Robinson, of 27, Hayway, Rushden, has been spending seven days’ leave at home after eight months exciting experiences at the front. He enlisted in the infantry on September 4th, 1914, and three weeks later was transferred to the motor machine gun section. Arriving at the front on Christmas Eve he went into action about three weeks later at Givenchy.

Interviewed by a representative of the “Rushden Echo” he said:

“I got my first experience of being under fire when the Irish Guards captured the brick stacks at Givenchy about January 20th. It was here that Mike O’Leary won his V.C., and well he deserved it. He, with his men, went out from our trench to attack and were troubled a great deal by a German machine gun concealed on our front. Naturally most of the men threw themselves flat on the ground under the heavy fire, but not so Sergt. O’Leary. He continued to advance on all fours towards the enemy and picked the German gunners off with his rifle, and then collared the gun himself, single-handed. That brave action saved us a lot of casualties, and you ought to have heard us cheer him when he returned, but like the modest man he is he refused to talk about what he had done. I know him well, and he is one of the most unassuming men I have ever met and very popular with his comrades.

“As regards myself I have had more than one close shave. The most thrilling experience I had was near Festubert last month when we were in the reserve trench with the 9th Division Kitchener’s Army, this being their first time under fire. At about 11 a.m. the enemy started shelling us and blew the parapet in just in front of us. At the time I was talking to an Olney chap named George Fowler, who used to work in Rushden before joining the colours. At the time the shell struck the parapet he was sitting with his back to it and the fall of earth completely buried him, but he was got out none the worse for his alarming experience.

“As for myself the concussion knocked me silly, and I had my face skinned with pieces of flying gravel and earth and my nose poured with blood. For a few seconds I thought my number was up, but as soon as I managed to collect my wits I cleared for the dug-out as hard as I could pelt, and beyond a few slight abrasions on the face and bruises on the chest I was little the worse, although it upset me for a day or two.

“Soon after this I had another alarming experience at Bethune, which is about four miles (seven kilometres) behind the firing line. We were in the square with our machines, having our tea, when the Germans dropped three shells into the square, wounding our sentry and two gunners. None of our machines were damaged, but two of the cars had their radiators perforated. Of course, we didn’t wait for the enemy to do us any more damage, as we shifted our quarters like greased lightning, getting about two miles further back.

“Our section has proved very useful, although we haven’t had a chance to do all the work we anticipated, as there has been no great advance. Anyhow, we are useful in that we can nip from one part of the line to another very quickly. It is only our 4th section that have had the chance of any real work. Gunner Tom Clark belongs to this section, and you have already had an account of their valuable work at Hill 60, as I read in the “Rushden Echo,” which I receive every week. Your paper is welcomed at the front not only by Northamptonshire boys but by everybody. It goes the round of my battery.

“There is another incident in which I was concerned that I must not omit to tell your readers. It happened about the beginning of February. We were in with the Coldstreams and Grenadier Guards in the brick fields at Givenchy, when the enemy left their trenches to attack us at dawn. As they approached us they were shouting to us ‘Don’t fire! We are the Engineers coming in!’ As it happened, however, this subterfuge did not deceive us, as we had received word that the Engineers were already in. We let the Germans get into within about 20 yards of our trenches and then we all opened fire together, both machine guns and infantry, completely stopping the attack. The German officer who led the attack fell into our barbed wire just in front of our trenches. He was absolutely riddled with bullets. The enemy left a lot of wounded behind them and one fellow who lay badly wounded about 10 yards in front of our trench was there for about 24 hours. He could speak English and lay there groaning. We told him to crawl into our trench but he said that he could not as he was wounded in the calf and small of the back and too weak from loss of blood to move. It would have been certain death for any of our Red Cross fellows to go out and try to get him in, as the Germans take no notice whatever of the Red Cross.

“After about 24 hours we could see the enemy looking at their comrade and we shouted across to them that if they cared to fetch him in we wouldn’t fire, and after they had taken about half-an-hour to make up their minds a German officer left his trench, followed soon after by another fellow, and picked up the wounded man. The officer saluted us and said in English “Thank you very much.” He carried the wounded man back to his own trench. This did the enemy more good than a dose of shrapnel, as they were very quiet for the rest of the day.

“I am sorry to say that I cannot tell you of anything decent the Germans have done, as I know that at Neuve Chapelle they actually turned a machine gun on our wounded and killed them all. We have had so many experiences of this kind that now we would not trust the Germans as far as we can see them.

“I quite expect we have another winter’s work in front of us, but tell your readers not to make any mistake. We are going to win. We have got ‘em well in hand in Flanders, but I don’t expect that there will be any great advance by either side during the winter, as the weather will not permit of it. The Germans may have another smack to break through to Calais but you can take it from me they will never get there.

“One thing that has struck me as very marvellous is the way the French people stick to their homes. Although they are close to the firing line and continually under shell fire they stick to their homes like glue and walk about the village streets and follow their occupations as calm and collected as you like. You can see them cutting the corn as though nothing was happening, and this quiet confidence must make the Germans riled. The French peasantry are certain that the allies are going to win.”

Ray L/Cpl T Robinson
Gunner Ray Robinson & (right) L/Cpl T Robinson

Gunner Robinson’s brother, Lce-Corpl. T. Robinson, of the 1/4th Northants Regiment, is now at the front with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. He has written to say that he has had a good voyage.

The Rushden Echo, 3rd September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Dispatch Rider at Rushden - Pte. Harold Norman's Exciting Experiences
Petrol for Drinking Purposes - Drinking Water in the Petrol Tank
Hospital Shelled by the Germans - Wounded Blown To Pieces
Dispatch-rider Harold Norman (Rushden), of the ASC, from whom we have at various times published many interesting letters in the columns of the "Rushden Echo" returned to the front yesterday after having spent one month's leave at home. Although he has been at the front since the commencement of the war, a representative of the "Rushden Echo" found him looking as fit as the proverbial fiddle, and as full of fun as ever. Interviewed he said:

"I participated in the retreat from Mons, which started on the night of my birthday, and I thought it was a nice and exciting way of celebrating it. I lost my motor bicycle there, and in consequence was put on to drive a car. We were shifted from one column to another for the purpose of getting the British cars away as they hadn't enough men. I got a car all right and went back to look for my friend, who was right at the back of the column. He couldn't start his car as some silly fool had put drinking water in the petrol tank, and kept the petrol for drinking purposes. We were tinkering about with his car for about an hour-and-a-half, and then the captain came along and told us to smash it up, and clear off of we didn't want to get caught, as the enemy were close on our heels. By the time I got back to where I had left my car, somebody had collared it and cleared off with it, so there we were, left on our lonesome. However, the captain told us to get away as quickly and in the best way we could, so I helped my chum to carry his kit, and after we had walked about a mile and run another, we looked back and saw that the village we had left behind was full of German troops. We then realised what a narrow escape we had had, and started to run again. After we had gone another mile-and-a-half we caught up with another motor lorry which had got stranded through being overloaded.

"Although the cargo of the lorry was biscuits we started to throw the load off, so that we could get away, and finally we lightened it enough to get a start. We were then riding for three days towards Paris, and passed through several large towns, including St. Quintin. When we got there the French people were carrying in our wounded, utilising for this purpose every kind of vehicle imaginable, including perambulators, donkey carts, etc. They put our wounded into the hospital there, but they hadn't been there many hours before the Germans started shelling the place, and the greater part of the poor chaps were blown to pieces, and such as were not were made prisoners.

"After we had left St. Quintin I could not tell you definitely where we went except that we finally got to within about five kilometres from Paris. We then got the order to advance and we about turned and started to drive the enemy back.

"I was present at the battles of Le Cateau and then Marne, and had another narrow escape here. By this time I had been provided with another motor bicycle and was dispatch-riding again, and one day whilst out on a journey I again got lost. I was getting along the road as hard as I could pelt, for I could hear firing behind me, and wanted to get out of range as I thought they were potting at me. Suddenly I heard more firing in front of me, and a bullet went flying clean through my petrol tank. Fortunately, however the hole was in the top of the tank and I lost none of the precious spirit. I kept on, not knowing whether I was going towards the enemy or not, but my good luck stood by me, as I ran into a party of British troops. I told them what had happened, and where I had come from, and as a result the Boches who had been firing at me were all captured, and proved to be part of the German rear-guard.

"After this experience I was sent into hospital for three weeks, suffering from a nervous breakdown, and I was glad to get out of it for a bit, I can assure you. My experiences right up to the time I came away on leave have been much about the same. I can tell you one thing; it is more exciting than driving a Wellingborough motor bus. In my opinion, it is a fine life for a single young fellow, and I would advise any chap who likes excitement and wants a healthy life to join the army before they are fetched. I don't regret joining one bit, and am having the best time I have ever had in my life. Since I have been home I have heard several complaints that we are not doing much good, but in my opinion, we have done very well during the past 12 months. However, I am pretty sure we shall have another winter of it, but make no mistake, we are going to win, and we can't lose.

Rushden Echo, 27th August 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Journalist – In New Corps
A former member of the reporting staff of the “Rushden Echo” – Mr Horace Waring – has enlisted as a wireless operator to be attached to the Royal Flying Corps. The Wireless Operators’ section is of comparatively recent formation and was obviously instituted to increase the value and efficiency of the R.F.C. Of the limited number of vacancies offered by the War Office, we understand that all are filled. The successful applicants will have a short spell of military training and will then proceed to the G.P.O., or one of the schools that the War Office have commandeered, in order to receive instruction in wireless telegraphy.

The Rushden Echo, 3rd September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded for the Second Time - Private Cornelius Walker
Injured by a Shell - Dug-Out Blown Up
Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Walker, of 4 Grove-road, Rushden, have received news that their son, Pte. Cornelius Walker, of the 1st Northants Regiment, has been wounded for the second time. Fortunately his injuries this time are but slight, consisting of a shell wound in the cheek. Private Walker was at home about ten weeks ago, after receiving his first wounds, which were also in the head and face, and at that time he was interviewed by a representative of the "Rushden Echo" and an interesting account of his experiences at the front appeared in our columns. Writing to his parents he says:-

Pte Walker"At last I am sending you a few lines; I expect you have wondered why I did not write. I expect you know that I have been wounded again. It was a week ago last Sunday, Aug. 10th. We were in the trenches and about 5a.m. we were told to get in the dug-outs as our people were going to shell the German trenches. After we had been in the dug-outs a little time and were half asleep the Germans started to shell our trenches, and all at once a shell dropped in the dug-out and blew it all up and I was hit all down the right side of the face and head by some small pieces of shell. One poor fellow had his foot cut right off. I think I am very lucky in not being killed outright. After I was wounded I went to hospital and stopped in that place one day. Then I went to another hospital and stopped there two days. Then I was put on a train and taken to a Canadian Hospital and was there ten days. Now I have got down to the base and have to see the doctor, and I am stopping here for a week. I am in good health and the wound got better, but my head is a little funny. I have lost everything I had."

The Rushden Echo, 3rd September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded - Pte. G. Trusler - Hit by a Whiz-Bang
Pte. G. Trusler (Rushden), of the 6th Northants Regt. has written to his mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. William Trusler, of Glassbrook Road, Rushden, to say that he has been wounded and now in hospital.

He writes:-

"I was wounded on August 21st by shrapnel. It caught me in both my legs and my right hand, but I am glad to say that it was not so bad as I thought it to be and I am getting along as well as I can expect, so I think I shall be all right here as it is a fine hospital and good doctors and sisters, too. I was hit by one of those whiz-bangs which I suppose you cannot account for. Well, they are shells which don't make a noise until they go whiz and then a bang. Of course, the mischief is done then. It is no good you trying to hear them coming, as if you do you are likely to get a crack with one."

The Rev. T. L. Bruce, Church of England Chaplain of No. 1 Canadian General Hospital, France, writes to Mrs. Trusler, as follows: - "Your son is in hospital wounded in the hand and both legs. He is progressing favourably but, of course, the wounds will take some time to heal. He is comfortable and cheerful and you can rely upon everything possible being done here for his comfort and recovery."

The Rushden Echo, 3rd September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Killed - Pte. Denis Denton
Pte. Rightout Wounded - Unofficial Intimation
A letter has been received by Mrs. D. King, 17 Victoria-road, Rushden, from her son, Pte. Fred King, 4th Northants, who is in the Dardanelles, giving unofficial intimation of the death of Pte. Denis Denton, and the wounding of Pte. T. Rightout, both of Rushden, and both in the 4th Northants. Pte. King writes as follows:-

"Just a few lines to let you know I am still going on all right. We are having a rough going on out here as we have not had a wash or a shave since we got off the boat, and we don't know when we are to be relieved so that we can get one. You ought to see Freddy (the writer's pal) he does look a beauty with his beard on, and so do I. Tom Rightout (son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Rightout, Pemberton-street, Rushden) soon got wounded the first day we got here. Please excuse the writing as I am in my dug-out doing it. Denis Denton (son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Denton, Grove-street, Rushden) got killed last night."

Mrs. Denton also received a letter from Pte. Fred King informing her of her son's death and we regret to state that the news has greatly upset her. She fell seriously ill on the morning of Wednesday while near the Co-operative factory.

Pte GilbertThe Rushden Echo, 3rd September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier - Recovering From Wounds
Private Ray Gilbert, Rushden, of the King's own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who was wounded in the leg on April 18th is, we regret to say, still in hospital at Newbury, Berks. It is, however, gratifying to report that he is now making better progress towards recovery under antiseptic bath treatment.

The Rushden Echo, 3rd September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Seaman Wounded - Exciting Work in The Dardanelles
Lifted into the air - By an Explosion
A thrilling story or his experiences in the Dardanelles was given by Seaman J. Thompson, (Rushden), who has been at home on a brief visit and who returned to duty on Wednesday. He assisted in the landing of troops on the Turkish coast, being one of the crew of a tug plying between the transport and the shore. The tug was constantly under shell fire, and during one of these excursions Seaman Thompson was wounded through an explosion on the boat. The force of the explosion lifted him clean into the air. The small tug was hit time after time and holes were constantly being made in her sides, but these were plugged by the crew as fast as they were made, and for some little time she was kept afloat. Finally, however, she was so badly holed that it was found impossible to keep her afloat any longer, and the crew had to abandon her to her fate.

Seaman Thompson was reported missing from his ship and it was feared that he was dead, but he had, as it happened, managed to get ashore and here he did good work in the trenches for some time, his soldier friends having provided him with equipment, including a Turkish rifle and an Australian cap. Finally, he was able to re-join his ship and received a cordial welcome from his shipmates, who had given him up for lost. Seaman Thompson brought the Turkish rifle home with him as a souvenir, and it is now at the Rushden Town Band Club.

The Rushden Echo, 10th September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded - Pte. C. Lipscombe
Pte. C. Lipscombe (Sussex-place, Higham-road, Rushden), B Co. 1/4th Northants Regt., now with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, writing to Mr. C. Blackwell, Town-yard, Higham Ferrers, says:-

"I have had a go in the first firing line and got out safe, but at day-break I volunteered, with five more, to go down a hill that we took during the night, to fetch some rations up, and got down and back safely, but as I was talking to Bill Marsden about fetching some sugar up, a sniper grazed my left shoulder, so now I am on a good hospital ship. Arthur Newby (Wellingborough-road, Higham Ferrers) was all right when I left. He gave me a fag while I was being done up."

Pte ParsonsThe Rushden Echo, 10th September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded - The Suvla Bay - A Local Musician
News has been received that Private Edgar Parsons, of the 1/4th Northants Regiment, has been wounded in the new landing at Suvla Bay, in the Dardanelles. Private Parsons is the son of Sergt. W. Parsons, of the ASC Motor Transport, who is now serving in France. Private Parsons enlisted soon after the war broke out, and set sail with the Battalion on July 29. Both Sergt. Parsons and Private Parsons were well known cornetists in Northampton and also played with the Rushden Military Band.

Pte BishtonRushden Echo, 17th September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded

Private J. Bishton, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Bishton, of Higham Ferrers, formerly of Higham-road, Rushden, reported in our last issue wounded in the Dardanelles.

The Rushden Echo, 17th September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier at Home - After Thirteen Months of War
Another Winter’s Campaign? - Meeting With Rushden Men
Private Isaac Tuckey (of Rushden), of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, has been spending seven days’ leave with his sister, Mrs. A. Underwood, of 53 Sartoris-road, Rushden, after having been at the front since August 13th 1914. Interviewed by a representative of the “Rushden Echo” Pte. Tuckey said:

“I have come home for a rest and don’t want to think about the war while I am here. I have come home to forget it, as I shall soon get reminded of it when I get back. I was very glad to obtain leave, which was given to me on Tuesday, Aug 31st, but I didn’t start for home until the following day, from which time my furlough started. Just before leaving for home I came across one of the battalions of the ‘Steelbacks’ and met several fellows I knew, including young Trussler, whom you reported wounded in last Friday’s ‘Rushden Echo.’ He was wounded the day after I met him. I also met Pte. Bridgement whose parents reside in Glassbrook-road, Rushden. I am pleased to say that so far I have come through without a scratch, although I have had more than one narrow escape, which I prefer not to talk about. I have been pleased to receive the ‘Rushden Echo’ which my sister sends me every week. This has kept me in touch with things that are going on at home, and had I not received it I should not have known of casualties to many Rushden chaps that I knew. Some letters published in your columns from chaps in the firing line have been very good and have interested me greatly. Others have been very amusing and have caused bags of laughter. Some of the chaps are very good at telling tales, but soldiers are noted for spinning a good yarn.

“Personally I cannot yet see the end of the war, and I quite expect I shall have to face another winter there, and this is dreaded by all the soldiers in the firing line, and I don’t suppose the enemy will like it any better than we do. I am not doing work in the trenches, but am on the transport, and in that work I have all the excitement I want.”

The Rushden Echo, 17th September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Not Killed - Rushden Soldier Alive and Well
An intimation from the War Office was recently received by Mr. and Mrs. Whiting, of East Grove, Rushden, that their son, Pte. F. S. Whiting, of the 1st Northants, had been killed on Aug 30th. Happily however, a postcard was received last week from Pte. Whiting himself, written since that date, and a letter was received from him on Monday, stating that he was quite well and was with his regiment.

The Rushden Echo, 17th September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Trooper in South Africa
Mr. H. H. Hobbs, of Colwyn House, Griffith-street, Rushden, has received another letter from his son, Trooper W. H. Hobbs, formerly of the Natal Light Horse. Trooper Hobbs writes:-
"I see you expect me home with the South African troops. I have not got over the last lot yet, as I am still under the doctor, and am in a poor state of health, covered with veldt sores through having no food. Otherwise I am all right. I hope the Rushden boys are answering the call."

The Rushden Echo, 24th September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier in France
Pte. Arthur Lett’s Narrow Escape - Capturing Trenches - Filled With Dead Germans

A son of Mr. and Mrs. William Lett, of 74 Crabb-street, Rushden, (Police Constable Arthur Lett, of Merthyr, South Wales) has seen active service with the Grenadier Guards.

Members of the Merthyr Borough Police Force and his many other friends were glad to welcome P.C. A. Lett, of the Borough Constabulary, and of the Grenadier Guards, back to Merthyr this week. He has been in the firing line in France since November. He was besieged by his comrades outside the Central Police Station on Tuesday, and as far as orders would permit him he gave some interesting experiences. He thinks a great deal of the British soldier. At the end of last year, he said, the weather was very bad, and on one occasion his regiment was bombed out of a trench, which was later blown to pieces by German shells. “We were often up to our waists in water,” he said, “and that was one of the hottest fights I have been in.” P.C. Lett had some narrow escapes. During a bombardment of the now famous brickworks at La Bassee a piece of shrapnel struck him on the shoulder, which gave him a great shock, but left him unwounded. Later a piece of shell blew away the top of his bayonet. He had just left his position in a trench at Givenchy when a shell exploded and blew the parapet to pieces. Every man nearby was wounded. He has been in a good many attacks, and assisted in capturing German trenches, which they found filled with dead Germans. P.C. Lett looks remarkably well, and says he is fit and ready to return to the fighting line.

At one time he played for Merthyr Town A.F.C., and for the old Merthyr R.F.C.

Mr. and Mrs. W. Lett have been to Merthyr to see their son, and found him looking wonderfully well.

The Rushden Echo, 24th September 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Near The Garden of Eden - Rushden Soldier’s Interesting Letter
Among The Araus - Improvements under the British Flag
Driver Percy W. Long - Suffering from a Poisoned Finger

Driver Percy W. Long (son of Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Long, of Beaconsfield-place, Rushden), with the British Indian Expeditionary Force, writing to the editor of the “Rushden Echo” on August 19th says:-

“After three months of existing on the Persian Desert we have at last found a spot where we can live. We are again by the Shatt-ul-Arab, and the dates, which hang in huge bunches, are just ripening. The grapes and apples are finished but we look forward to the pomegranates and almonds.

“I have been into Busra for a look at the improvements, and to me they were wonderful. My battery was the ‘first in the field’ where Busra is concerned, and we saw that ancient town at its worst. We were disgusted at the filth and loathsome ‘bazaars’ (streets), and the diseased and filthy looking inhabitants. Murderers and thieves were there in abundance, no police to keep them under. What do I see now, under British rule? Clean and widened streets and roads; hospitals and free medical treatment for the diseased and sick; inoculation and vaccination practised every day to rid the natives of plague. Policemen, sweepers, lamplighters and watchmen are to be seen carrying out their duties. Here in the market place is the scaffolding where spies and murderers have suffered the dread penalty. A flogging post is also a prominent feature.

“Then again, when we crossed Ashar Creek, it was across a rickety and rotten old bridge that had been there for hundreds of years. To get our guns across was a delicate job and we were not sorry when it was finished. But now, Busra can boast a fine steel and stone bridge with a movable centre, which allows the Arab dhows to pass up the creek at high tide. This bridge is now the pride of the inhabitants, who are greatly benefiting under our care. Men and boys who hitherto did nothing but hang about the dark and obnoxious tea-shops are now employed by the commissariat, pioneers and various other corps, and, in fact, all units have them. I myself have eight Arab boys under me, and they carry water, keep the horse lines clean, and run errands, for the large daily wage of eight annas (eight pence). I have developed a poisoned finger, and that is the reason for my being in charge of them. I am learning Arabic, to replace my Hindustani, which is the language they seem to understand best. It is the same in every town we have taken here. No sooner do we occupy a place than various schemes are floated, and carried out, for its betterment. Things are very quiet here at present, but who knows what may happen in the near future. I dare not say, so I invite your readers to study the map and guess.

“I am grateful to you sir, for your kindness in forwarding the ‘Rushden Echo’ to me each week. My comrades are just as anxious as I to read the ‘letters from the front,’ which are of a very varied description, and from all quarters. I am just a wee bit envious when I read that many of my old schoolfellows are weekly arriving home on leave from the front. I wish I could do so. I was unable to do so before we commenced this campaign, but it is well-nigh impossible to do so now.

“I must wish you and all your readers the best of luck, from the vicinity of the Garden of Eden.”
Notes from his brother Pte T J Long.

The Rushden Echo, 1st October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Victims - Two Wounded
Mrs. H. Cooper, 86, Queen-street, has received a field card to say that her son, Pte. Ray Cooper, 7th Northants, has been wounded in France and is in hospital, but is going on well.

Mrs. G. Cook, 37, Queen-street, Rushden, has received a field card, dated 28th Sept., from her son, Drummer George Cook, 7th Northants, who is in France, to say that he is wounded and in hospital, and is being sent down to the base.

The Rushden Echo, 1st October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Injured — Pte. Ernest Hodson — Wounded a Third Time
Pte. Harry Elstow Also in Hospital

Pte. Ernest Hodson, 8006, of the 2nd Bedfords, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Hodson, of Crabb-street, Rushden, has, we regret to say, been wounded a third time. In a postcard to his mother he writes:-

“Sept. 29th – I have been wounded in the left hand and thigh, and it is now getting on fine. Harry Elstow is also here; he is hit in the forearm. I don’t know which hospital we are going to. I am writing this in the train at Birmingham. I will write again when we are settled. Don’t worry as the wounds are getting on nicely.

With the postcard was a letter from Mrs. Price, of 15, South-street, Bushbury, Wolverhampton, as follows:-

“Dear Madam, - Your son gave me this p.c. to post for him as he was passing on our line at a siding. We often go to see the troops and the wounded go through. You son looked merry and bright. I should like to have a line to know how he is getting on, as I have got one son in the Leicester Regiment.”

Pte. Hodson has twice before been wounded, but this is the first time he has been sent back to England. In our issue of August 12th we stated that he had been brought before the notice of his Commanding Officer for good work at Neuve Chapelle.

The Rushden Echo, 8th October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded - Pte. Wallis Tysoe Shot Through the Thigh
Pte. Wallis Tysoe, 1st Northamptons, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tysoe, of 54, Wellingborough-road, Rushden, is in hospital in Manchester, wounded. Six months ago Pte. Tysoe enlisted in the 3rd Northamptons, and was subsequently transferred to the 1st Battalion. He went into the trenches in August. It appears he was shot in the leg, the bullet going through the thigh. Though he has lost a lot of blood he is going on satisfactorily. His parents removed to Rushden from Northampton a year or two ago.

The Rushden Echo, 8th October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded - Private Ray Cooper
In the Care of Dr. Greenfield - Piece of Shell taken from his Neck

Further news has now been received by Mrs. H. Cooper, 86 Queen-street, Rushden, from her son, Pte. Ray Cooper, whom we reported wounded last week. The wounded soldier states that he has arrived at Rouen Hospital after travelling from the firing line during a period of 36 hours. He lost all his pals, but the doctor at Rouen hospital was Dr. Greenfield of Rushden, and a pleasant meeting took place between patient and doctor.

Pte. Cooper says that Dr. Greenfield and the staff of the hospital were very kind to him. Dr. Greenfield extracted a piece of shell from his neck. He was also injured in the ear, but is going on well.

Pte. Cooper joined Kitchener’s Army twelve months ago and had been in France three weeks when he was wounded. He was hit on Sunday, Sept. 26, in the great advance.

The Rushden Echo, Friday 8th October 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Twice Wounded
Pte A Ward, Rushden, 2nd Northants Regt, spent last week at home with his father and mother, after having been in England since last March. He was wounded at Neuve Chapelle on March 10th and since his return to England has been twice in hospital. He has now quite recovered and expects to return to the front shortly. He left Rushden on Monday.

Kettering Leader, 8th October 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Men Who Fought and Bled
Private G. Mackness, husband of Mrs. Mackness of Robert-street, Rushden, is reported wounded in the neck and shoulder by bullets while fighting with the 1st Northants Regiment in France. He is now in hospital in Manchester. He is one of the four soldier sons of Mr. G. Mackness, of Denmark-road. Sidney is with the 2nd Northants in France, Edward is the 2/4th Northants and Charles is an artillery driver.

The Rushden Echo, 8th October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Injured - Drummer George Cook - Now Going on Nicely
Chaplain’s Sympathetic Letter - Another Rushden Man in Hospital
Drummer George Cook, 17078, 7th Northants, whom we reported wounded last week, has sent particulars of his wound to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. G. Cook, Queen-street, Rushden. He says:-

“I hope you haven’t been worrying over me, for I am quite all right. My wound is not very bad. I got a piece of shrapnel in my right shoulder and it upset my arm a little, so that I could not write before. I didn’t see much of it, because we were in reserve on Sunday night and I got in a German trench against La Bassee, but I saw enough of it in that short time. I am in a hospital in Ipswich, nice and comfortable. I was amongst the first to get wounded in our regiment, worst luck. I don’t know how they got on, for I had to leave them as soon as possible. There is another Rushden fellow here. His name is Gill. But I can’t say that I know him.”

In a previous letter Drummer Cook says he has been in two hospitals in France, and his wound was not at first properly seen to but was going on fine at his arrival at Ipswich.

The Wesleyan Chaplain at Drummer Cook’s camp in France also wrote as follows:-

“I visited your son to-day. He wishes me to tell you that he was wounded in the great advance. His wound is in the shoulder, and fortunately is not dangerous. He is fairly comfortable, and I hope he will soon be in a fine way towards complete recovery. Don’t be too anxious about him. He is having every possible attention and seems very bright and cheerful. But he needs your prayers, and I say this remembering my own dear mother. I have very great faith in a mother’s prayers.

Drummer Cook joined Kitchener’s Army in February, and the day following his enlistment was drafted to Southwick. He was shifted from Southwick to Shoreham, from then to Inkerman Barracks, Woking, and finally about five weeks ago, went to France. He was a butcher at the Co-operative Butchery, Queen-street, Rushden, before enlisting.

Rushden Argus, 8th October 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Man Wounded Three Times
Pte E Hodson, 2nd Bedfords, son of Mr and Mrs C Hodson, of Crabb-street, Rushden, has been wounded for the third time. He has been sent back to England. In a postcard which he sent to his mother he also mentions that Pte Harry Elstow is wounded.

Rushden Soldier has Both Arms Broken
Mrs E King, of Washbrook-road, Rushden, received news on Sunday that her husband Pte E King, of the 1st Northants Regt., has been wounded in the great battle. Later news reveals the fact that he is now at Adelaide Hospital, Dublin, and unfortunately has both arms broken. Pte. King went out in August 1914, and this is the second time he has been wounded.

Rushden Soldier Shot and “Gassed”
Pte W Austin, son of Mr and Mrs Austin, 138 Cromwell-road, Rushden, has been shot through the thigh while fighting with the 1st Northants. He is now in the Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow, Bucks, and is suffering from gas poisoning as well as his wound. Mr and Mrs Austin have another son in France—Pte Sidney Austin, of the Beds. Regiment.

Rushden Men Sniped and Thrice Wounded
Further news has now been received of Pte C C Jackson, of Rushden, who writes: “I got hit last Sunday about four o’clock by a sniper. The bullet went straight through my forearm. I lost a lot of blood and rest with it, but it is coming round grandly now, so you need not worry. I suppose I shall be in England soon—all the others I came in the hospital with have been sent. They have been keeping me back because they thought I had a bone broken, but now they say it’s all right, so I shall soon get across, I suppose.”

Mrs Boyson, of 74 Cromwell-road, Rushden, has heard from her husband, Sergt. T G Boyson, of the 7th Northants, stating that he has been wounded in three places in the recent fighting. He joined the Northants regiment twelve months last September from the Co-operative Factory.

The Rushden Echo, Friday 8 October 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden CWS Employees - Wounded Soldiers - The 7th Northants on the Great Advance
Mrs W Clayton, 151 Queen-street, Rushden, has received a postcard from her son, Pte J Sanders, 9th Royal Sussex Regiment, to say that he is in the 2nd Western General Hospital, Hollywood Park, Stockport, having been wounded in the left arm on Rushden Feast Sunday, during the recent British advance. He enlisted in Kitchener's Army twelve months ago and was drafted to the 8th Royal Sussex Regiment five weeks ago. Another son, Harry Clayton, enlisted on Monday, and still another son, Frank Clayton, an interview with whom we published some time ago, is in France. Another son, Sam Clayton, the eldest son, was killed in the battle of Mons as reported in the "Rushden Echo" at the time.

The Rushden Echo, 15th October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Injured
Private Albert Griffiths - Wounded in the Thigh

Private Albert Griffiths (Rushden), 4th Northants, was wounded in the Dardanelles on Sept. 24. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Griffiths, of 136, Cromwell-road, Rushden. Writing from the Red Cross Hospital, Giza, to his parents, he says:

“I am still in the land of the living, but sorry to say I am in a hospital with a wound in the left thigh, but don’t worry. I am going on all right, as it is not much. I shall be all right in a week or two. So do not write until you hear from me again. I have come a bit nearer to England, but I think that will be as near as I shall get, there is not much luck of getting home from here for a day or two. I hear you have your soldiers back at Rushden. I think they are very lucky chaps, and I wish I was there, too; never mind, we shall make the best of it.”

The Rushden Echo, 29th October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Brothers
All Three Been to The Front - And All Three Injured
Pte Albert Burton Interviewed

Private Albert Burton (Rushden), of the 5th Northants Regiment, is spending ten days leave with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. Burton, of 60, Crabb-street, Rushden, after having been in hospital about four months with a fractured thigh, which he sustained through a fall when coming away from the trenches “somewhere in France.”

Interviewed by a representative of the “Rushden Echo,” he said:-

“I did not receive my injury from the Germans. I was coming out of the trenches four months ago when it had been raining pitchforks, and that had made the ground very slippery. I was very heavily loaded, and all of a sudden I slipped and fell heavily to the ground. At the time is shook me badly, but I didn’t feel much pain, and I picked myself up and the kit I had dropped, and hobbled to my billet the best way I could. I kept on work for two days after that, but finally I couldn’t stick the pain any longer, and had to go to the doctor. He examined me found that my right thigh was fractured. He said it was a mystery how I had been able to keep at work under the circumstances.

“I was in four hospitals in France before I was allowed to come home. I arrived in England on August 9th or 10th and entered Northumberland War Hospital, Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne, where I remained until I was allowed to come home last Friday. There the doctors and sisters were very good to me. They gave me every attention and treated me very kindly, for which I am very grateful. However, I am very glad to get back to good old Rushden.

“I enlisted as soon as war broke out, joining the County Regiment, but after two or three months’ service I was given my discharge owing to a slight physical defect. I hadn’t been home many days before I received one of the papers that were sent out on which you were asked to state if you would come up for service if necessary. On it I signified my willingness to come up if called upon, and in the following March I received notice to report myself at the nearest recruiting office within seven days. This I did and I was sent to the depot at Northampton, and accepted without any difficulty. After about four months training I was sent to the front, arriving in France in July this year. I was put on to pioneer work straight away, vis., building parapets, etc., and continued that sort of work up to the time I received my injury. I was only there about five weeks before I met with my accident so I haven’t much to tell your readers about the war, although things were very lively out there when I left.”

Mr. and Mrs. Burton have also two other sons in the colours – Private Fred Burton, of the 5th Northants Regiment, and Private Arthur Burton, in the 9th Royal Sussex Regiment. Both have been to the front and both have been wounded. Fred is now with his regiment at Gillingham, Kent, after having been in hospital about two months, and Arthur is still in the Canadian Hospital at Taplow with three wounds in the left knee.

Rushden Argus, 29th October 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Life-Saver Wounded
Pte Fred Letts
Another Rushden Territorial has been wounded at the Dardanelles. This is Pte. Fred Letts, son of Mr. and Mrs. Letts, of 25, Pemberton-street, a young man well known in the town. Official news sent from the Record Office at Warley states that he was reported from Alexandria as wounded. Private Letts has since written home from the 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea, stating that on October 3rd he was struck by a piece of shell about six inches long, and received wounds in the left breast and left arm. He is getting on as well as can be expected. Pte. Letts was called up with the other Territorials when the war broke out, and formerly worked at the factory of Messrs. John Cave and Sons, Ltd. He is now twenty-one years old. In November, 1912, he was presented by Mrs. Browning with a special medal for life-saving on three occasions. This was during the time when he was a patrol-leader in the Rushden Boy Scouts. Mr. and Mrs. Letts have two other sons, Frank and Harold, and both are in the Army training for the front.

The Rushden Echo, 29th October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded - Private Fred Letts
Injured in the Arm and Breast
A Cheery Letter - “Don’t Worry About Me”
Mrs. W. Letts, of 23, Pemberton-street, Rushden, has received official news that her second son, Pte Fred Letts, of the 4th Northants Regiment, is wounded. Prior to receiving the official news, the injured soldier had written to his mother himself as follows:-

“I am writing these few lines to let you know that I have been wounded, but not seriously. I got wounded on Monday, Oct. 3rd, and I am getting on as well as you can expect. I am on the hospital boat now on my way to hospital and I will write you when I get the chance and let you know what hospital I am in. You need not worry about me because I am all right, and I shall enjoy myself whilst I have got the chance. I might be sent to England, and a good job, too, if I do, but you never know. I got wounded after breakfast time with a piece of shell about six inches long, but it is not anything to worry about. I will write to you as often as I can so that you know how I am going on, but I am all right up to now, and I hope I shall hold like it. By the time you get this letter I shall be nearly better, and then I shall be able to get about and enjoy myself. I got wounded in the left breast and the left arm, and when the piece of shell his me I thought it was going to knock me into next year, but they soon got hold of me and took me to be dressed, and now I am getting on fine, and I shall be in hospital in another two days. I am like in hospital now on this ship. We have the best of everything to eat and get looked after all right, so, you see, we don’t hurt out here. I only hope they send me to England, and then I shall be all right. The climate is a bit too hot out here and if I get to England you will be able to come and see me, and it will seem nice to see you again. You can tell all who enquire after me that I have been wounded but I am getting on all right, also tell Harold and Frank (his brothers). You never know when you are going to get hit out here, and I am thinking myself very lucky to get off so lightly. If I am sent to England I will write and let you know, but I am all right up to now, so don’t worry about me. You can tell Dad to tell Mr. King Skinner and the foreman and all I know at Marlow’s that I have been wounded, and am getting on all right at present. When I was put on this boat I thought I was going to heaven after eating hard biscuits for eight weeks. The first meal I had on this boat was my dinner, and I had chicken. I thought to myself ‘I am in it this time.’ We get a good living on this boat and you know I shall get better than this when I get in hospital.”

Under date Oct 21st Pte Letts writes:- “My wound is going on fine now, and my arm is nearly better. My chest is going on fine. You will be pleased to hear that I am in England. I am in hospital in London, so you will be able to come up and see me some week. I shall soon be out of bed now, and then I shall be able to walk round the grounds with you.”

Pte. Letts is in the 2nd London General Hospital, No. 32 Ward, King’s-road, Chelsea. He was formerly a Mission Hall Sunday School scholar and patrol leader of the 1st Rushden Troop of Boy Scouts and it will be remembered that in June, 1912, he was awarded a silver medal and certificate for saving three lives from drowning, as reported in the “Rushden Echo” at the time. The gallant deeds for which Pte. Letts was awarded such well-earned distinction were as follow:- Saving a lad from drowning Sept 2nd, 1914; saving a brother Scout from drowning in the River Nene, June, 1911; and saving a brother Scout from drowning in the River Ouse, August, 1911.

It is worthy of record that Mr. and Mrs. W. Letts’s three sons are all of them in the service of their King and country, as is also Mr. and Mrs. Letts’s daughter’s husband, viz., Pte George Childs, of the 3/4th Northants. Pte Harold Letts belongs to the same regiment, and Pte Frank Letts is in the 2/4th Northants.

The Rushden Echo, 29th October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Injured - Pte. S. A. Sibley
Blinded in One Eye - Suffering From Shock
Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Sibley, of 116, Wellingborough-road, Rushden, have received official news that their son, Pte. Sidney A. Sibley, 17607, 1st Northamptonshire Regiment, is ill at the 2nd Canadian General Hospital, Le Treport, suffering from shock sustained on October 13th. Writing home to his mother under date October 20th, Pte. Sibley says:-

“Just a line to let you know I am alive, and that I am going on as well as can be expected. I am sorry to tell you that I am blind in my right eye but there is hope of my getting my sight back. I was very lucky I was not killed. I expect you have been worrying about me since you received my field card saying that I was being sent down to the base hospital. I am in a great hospital on the coast of France at Le Treport. The hospital is situated on the top of the cliffs, and we are able to see the town and sea below, which is about 400 feet down, and it is a fine sight. Whether I shall get to England or not I do not know, but I will let you have a line as soon as possible.”

Since receiving the above Mr. and Mrs. Sibley have heard that their son is in King George Hospital, Stamford-street, London. He is going on as well as can be expected.

The Rushden Echo, Friday 29 October 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Private Horace Gilbert - Rushden Soldier in Action
As a Bomb Thrower in The Great Advance
Pte Horace Gilbert 15304, C Company, 7th Northants, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Gilbert, 15, Victoria-road, Rushden, writes from Flanders to say that he was in the great British advance. He says:-

Pte Horace Gilbert“How I got through it God only knows.” Pte Gilbert formerly worked at the CWS factory, Rushden.

In a later letter Pte Gilbert says:-
"We are in the trenches again. We have been in seven days, but it is not so hot as it was before. I hope we shall soon be relived, as we are getting a bit tired of it. I am not with the company at present, as I am a bomb thrower, and it is very risky work. On Wednesday night I and another chap had to go 40 yards in front of our trenches, to listen for one hour for the Germans, and them two more went out, and so on through the night. Talk about tying your nerves up for a start. I am writing this in a little dug-out, and the Germans are in the same field about 100 yards away, but they are a lot nearer in some places, only half that distance where C Company are. Have you heard about any of the Rushden boys that are missing - E George, H George and Clifford Thompson, all of C Company." Pte Gilbert receives the "Rushden Echo" every week.

J R BettsRushden Echo Friday 29th October 1915, transcribed by Susan Manton

Rushden Steelback - Has a “Touch of Gas”
Pte J. R. Butts (Rushden) 9781, B Co. 1st Northants writes as follows:-
“I thank you for your most welcome paper, the “Rushden Echo” which I receive every week. It seems a treat to read what our Allies have done as we don’t get any news only what you kind people send us in your papers. I am glad to say I am in the best of health. I was in that great advance on Sept 25th and that attack on October 14th, which I got through without a scratch. I shall never forget it. I cannot explain it to you as we are not allowed to, but I expect you can guess what it was like. I got a sniff of gas, but soon got over it, nothing to hurt; and I am glad to say I am quite all right.

The Rushden Echo, 29th October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Three Rushden Brothers
Mr. H. C. Swindall, third son of Mr. T. Swindall, J.P. (chairman of the Rushden Urban Council), has gone to Chatham to join the Royal Naval Sick Berth Reserves. His two brothers are already serving their country.

The Rushden Echo, 29th October, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Recruit - Now The Regimental Barber
Pte. A. Dicks, 65718, 104th Field Ambulance R.A.M.C., of Orchard Place, Rushden, who enlisted a few weeks ago, writes from the Y.M.C.A. camp at Eastbourne, to say that he is now the regimental barber. Before he enlisted he was employed by Mr. A. Smith, hairdresser, High Street, Rushden. He says that he likes the Army life all right. He gets good food and plenty of hard work, but he likes being under canvas. Recruits have been coming so fast at Eastbourne this last few days that many have been sent back, as there is nowhere to put them.

The Rushden Echo, 5th November 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier - Suffering from Rheumatism
Through Neuve Chapelle and Aubers Ridge - Without a Scratch
Pte. P. Brawn (Rushden), of the 1st Northants Regt, son of Mr. and Mrs. B. Brawn of 116 Harborough-road, Rushden, has been at home on ten days’ leave, having been in hospital at Chipstead with rheumatism. He had been at the front since January 11th 1915, and went right through the battles of Neuve Chapelle and Aubers Ridge without a scratch. He has now quite recovered, returning to his depot on Monday last, and he expects to return to the front shortly.

Cornelius WalkerThe Rushden Echo, 5th November 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Injured - Pte. Cornelius Walker - Wounded a Third Time
Pte. Cornelius Walker, 1st Northamptons, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Walker, of Grove-road, Rushden, has, we regret to state, been wounded a third time. On Sept 3rd it was reported he had been wounded a second time, the injuries being then but slight, and consisting of a shell wound in the cheek. He speedily recovered from this injury and was not sent back to England. He had only returned to the firing line a fortnight when he was again wounded, this time being struck in the thigh with a bullet. He is now in hospital in London.

J R ButtsThe Rushden Echo, 5th November 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Steelback has a “Touch Of Gas”
Pte. J. R. Butts (Rushden), 9781, B Company 1st Northants, writes as follows:-

“I thank you for your most welcome paper, the ‘Rushden Echo,’ which I receive every week. It seems a treat to read what our Allies have done as we don’t get any news only what you kind people send us in your papers. I am glad to say I am in the best of health. I was in that great advance on Sept 25, and that attack on Oct 14, which I got through without a scratch. I shall never forget it. I cannot explain it to you, as we are not allowed to, but I expect you can guess what it was like. I got a sniff of gas, but soon got over it, nothing to hurt; and I am glad to say I am quite all right.”

The Wellingborough News, Friday 12 November 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

1/4th Batt. Northants Regiment - List of Casualties from Aug. 15 to Oct. 15,1915
The Rev. T. G. Clarke, Chaplain 1/4th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment and official correspondent of the 1/4th and 6th Battalion forwards us the following list he has compiled of casualties of the 1/4th Battalion now serving in the Mediterranean Expedition. In addition to the following about 200 officers and men are on the sick list. [list of dead follows]

The Rushden Echo, 12th November 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Gunner BrittinRushden Soldier Wounded - Private C. Seamark
Hit in the Face by a Shrapnel Bullet - Gunner Brittin’s Narrow Escape
Mrs. Brittin, of 125 Cromwell-road, Rushden, has received an interesting souvenir from her son, Gunner A. Brittin, of the R.F.A., who is with the British Expeditionary Force in France. The souvenir is a nose-cap of a German shrapnel shell which burst too near hand to be comfortable. Gunner Brittin also enclosed one of the bullets which the shell scattered when it burst. In the letter which accompanied the relics he said that he had to make an-excavation three feet deep to recover the nose-cap.

Pte. C. Seamark, of the 1st Northants Regiment (better known as “Stringer”), Mrs. Brittin’s son-in-law, is, we regret to say, in hospital at Leicester suffering from wounds in the face, received in action in France on Oct. 8th.

Mrs. Seamark visited her husband last Saturday week and found him as well as can be expected. He told her that his company had orders to go into some reserve trenches, and as he was bending down to pick up his equipment, a shrapnel bullet struck him in the face, about half-an-inch below his temple and, travelling downwards, lodged under the jawbone. In its course the bullet knocked out two of Pte. Seamark’s teeth. When Mrs. Seamark visited her husband the bullet had been extracted. The doctor said that he was fortunate to be alive.

The Rushden Echo, 12th November 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

More Steelbacks Missing
Fifty-six of C Company, 7th Northants, have been officially reported missing since Sept. 27th, and about 140 of the whole battalion.

The Rushden Echo, 12th November 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier With The Mediterranean Force
Albert RichardsonWriting to his mother (Mrs. Richardson, of 1 Essex-road, Rushden), Pte. Albert Richardson, G Company, 3rd Northamptons, says:-

“Writing paper is very scarce out here. The only writing paper you can get is from home, and it is four or five weeks before it reaches us. I am glad to tell you that we haven’t been out in the firing line since the first fight; we have been doing fatigue duty on ships, unloading and loading. I was on the ship for seven weeks, without once going on shore, but I was quite happy. After that we were taken to a small island. There we had to do fatigue duty the same; we were also guarding Turkish prisoners, but we were far from the firing line. Last Thursday we had another move; we had about four hours’ run in a ship, and we landed on a part of the Peninsula. We are now within a few miles of the firing line. We can hear the guns and sometimes there are shells flying over our heads, but they haven’t done any damage to our lot yet.

The Rushden Echo, 19th November 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Sapper’s Praise for the Northants Regiment
Sympathy to the Bereaved

Sapper E. Darnell (Rushden), formerly of the 15th Hussars, has been transferred to the Royal Engineers. From “Somewhere in France” he writes to us on Nov. 10th as follows:-

“Just a line in order to thank you for your kindness in sending me the “Rushden Echo” so regularly, I always receive it on Monday or Tuesday morning, therefore I am kept in touch with the doings of Rushden very well. For my part, as regards the war, I think it will last at least another year, perhaps more, though I hope not. I send in this short letter my deepest sympathy to all those persons of Rushden who have lost anyone in this dreadful war, husband, son, or brother.

“The chief casualties of Rushden have occurred in our own County Regiment. What a great and splendid name they have won for themselves, and they are led by some of the best officers in the British infantry, without doubt. The Guards have a good name for them too, wherever you go in France.

“With all kind regards to the Rushden people and the good old ‘Echo’ which, like ‘Jonny Walker,’ is still going strong.”

The Rushden Echo, 19th November 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Prussian Guards’ Advance - Stopped by British Artillery
Rushden Cycle Orderly With The Brigade Headquarters
Pte. F. O. Long (Rushden), cycle orderly 24th Brigade Headquarters, 8th Division, writes as follows:- “Oct. 20th I have just been reading my chum’s letter in last week’s ‘Rushden Echo,’ and it interested me very much as it is quite correct, which cannot be said of some letters one reads in the papers nowadays. I should like to say a word or two about the recent operations. We had four days’ bombardment before the attack was made, and I, in my capacity as orderly, had as usual, to carry messages to the battalion from Brigade Headquarters. It was wonderful to watch, I can assure you.

“All along the German lines could be seen nothing but smoke, earth and debris flying all over the place. Our artillery worked splendidly, and although we didn’t make any appreciable advance we did just what was wanted of us, and that was to draw the German reinforcements from --------- in order that the people on our right could make a successful advance.

“Our observers saw them coming up in lorries and motor buses – Prussian Guards, etc. – and I can tell you our artillery soon got the range of them and played Old Harry with them. Our Brigade is at present attached to a new division for the purposes of instructing them in the art of trench warfare.

“The rainy season has just started here now, so we are starting to get settled down to another winter, although it will not be nearly so bad in the trenches this year as last. We have learned a few things in 12 months. I am glad to say I am still keeping fit, and have escaped without injury so far. The nearest I have been to ‘blighty’ is when I received a bullet through my coat behind the shoulder, when I was drawing rations one night.

I am very glad to see the splendid response Rushden is making to the country’s call. If only larger towns recruited as many men in comparison to the size. I don’t think there will be so much begging and praying for men. For my part I would like conscription to become law, and so would most of us out here. It is very easy to read a paper in a nice comfortable armchair and shout ‘Bravo Tommy’ when we have a success, but that’s not what we want. We want deeds not words. Any man who is a man should not hesitate a moment when he knows, or should do, that the country has never been in greater danger than it is now. I’m not a recruiting lecturer or anything like that, but I’d like to talk to a few of those ‘won’t come till I’m fetched’ people.”

The Rushden Echo, 19th November 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier in France - What The Germans’ Say
“We Will Not Fire if You Will Not”

Pte. Athel Miller (Rushden), of the 7th Northamptons (son of Mr. Elijah Miller, of Moor Road, Rushden), writes from France to his father on Oct. 23rd as follows: “Do not worry too much about me, as I will look after myself all right, and try to be happy in these hours of darkness, but some day there will be a shining light appear through the darkness, and then it will be all sunlight for us all. I sometimes think of you all at home, and long to see you all again, but there is my duty to try and do a bit for the dear Homeland. Well dad, as you say, if the people of England had seen that battle we were in they would have thought the world had come to an end. I have seen in the papers that we had done it well, and they praised us up to the highest. The old soldiers of the 1st Northants said it was a wonderful charge we made, and they were surprised at that being the first time in the trenches. I saw the ‘Rushden Echo’ this week, and saw that Mr. Cooper has died. How long has he been ill? I also saw that an old pal of mine has died of wounds, and that is Charlie Harley. I also saw that they got a few more men to join the Army, and if they have the heart in them there would be a lot more join if they saw the state the places are in out hear. I am writing this within the sound of the big guns.”

Writing again on October 24th he says: “We went into the trenches on Tuesday night, October 14th, but I did not go, as I was on guard at Battalion Headquarters all the while. We were in them eight days and nights, and I am sorry to say we had six or seven killed, and a few wounded. We cannot advance, and they cannot where we were, as it is where the Belgians flooded it, so we cannot have a pop at them. You can sometimes hear the Germans say, ‘If you do not fire we will not.’ They are a very quiet lot of Germans. We shall go into the same trenches again, as I think it is our winter quarters here. We are now having a rest in a camp which is in a little wood. We are in huts.”

Rushden Echo, 19th November 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Long Service - Rushden Oldest Soldier
Pte. A. Davis, whose home is 12 Pratt-road, Rushden, and who is now serving with the British Mediterranean Force, was 54 years of age last January. He enlisted in 1883 in the Buffs, and has been in China, India, and many parts of the world. He was called up as a reservist during the South African War and went through the entire campaign, although when called up, he had only a couple of months before completion of his term as a reservist.

On the outbreak of the present war he re-enlisted in the Bedfords and was transferred to the Essex Regiment.

Pte. and Mrs. Davis have two sons with the Colours, and another one enlisted but has just been discharged owing to an injury to his arm.

The Rushden Echo, 3rd December 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Alive - Private G. Trusler - A false Rumour - Pte. A. Trusler Wounded
We have pleasure in contradicting a report that has been freely circulated round the town that Pte. G. Trusler, 13128, of the 6th Northants, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Trusler, 109 Glassbrook-road, Rushden, had been killed in action. Immediately his parents heard the rumour they wrote to Col. G. Ripley, and received a letter from him under date November 27th in which he said:

“I am happy to tell you that as far as I know Pte. G. Trusler is alive. He was slightly wounded on August 21st and returned to duty on November 4th. Had he died I should have been informed. I make a point of writing at once to the next-of-kin of any men of my regiment killed or died of wounds in order to save their feelings by hearing reports false or otherwise as I am sorry to hear you have.”

News has been received, however, that 10229 Pte. A. Trusler (Rushden), of the 5th Northants, uncle of Pte. G. Trusler, was wounded in the knee on November 20th and is now in King George Hospital, Stamford-street, London. He is progressing favourably.

The Rushden Echo, 10th December 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Marine At Home - Superiority of The British Navy
A constant and Silent Vigil - Big Smash-Up Coming
Gnr W King
Gunner W. H. King, Royal Marines, of 32 Brookfield-road, Rushden, has just been home on seven days’ leave. He is well in health and is looking very bright and cheerful.

“My experiences have been both interesting and exciting,” he told a “Rushden Echo” representative, “but I am afraid I can tell you very little about them. I should very much like to tell you everything I know, but whenever anything happens at sea, we are all at once given orders to say nothing about it. This seems to me rather ridiculous in a way, because after we have received our instructions for complete silence, we read the newspapers and find that the thing we have keep silent about has been immediately spread all over England.

“However, I may tell you this much: I am stationed on H.M.S. Nottingham, a light cruiser and, since the war broke out, we have been engaged in patrolling – where – I must not tell you.

“People must not think that we have been having an easy time of it in the Navy. We have been very busy indeed since the outbreak of war. We are always dressed, and we stay up day and night. True, we have had few engagements with the enemy. I was in both the Heligoland and Dogger Bank fights. They were exciting, but since then we have been keeping a constant and silent vigil, watching and waiting for ‘Der Grand Fleet’ to come out of the Kiel Canal. When they do come, as I believe they will in the end, there will be a big smash-up. I do not think we shall have a walkover, either. There will be great losses on both sides, but the superiority of the English Navy will undoubtedly come out on top.

“The German navel gunners are not such fools as people make them out to be. I was in the Kiel Canal a month before war broke out, and I gathered some information about the German Navy. All the chief gunners are well trained men with experience. They are not all conscripts either. Many of them are old and willing sailors, and their duty is to train the young conscripts that are brought up to fill the Navy.

“Of course, there is no doubt that the English naval gunners are far superior to the Germans. The chief reason for this is, that while the German Navy practices it’s shooting in calm peaceful waters, the British gunners have to get used to the rolling and pitching of the water in the open sea. The longer the Germans stay in the Kiel Canal, therefore, the worse it will be for them, because the English gunners get more expert every day at shooting during rolling and pitching. The Germans get no practice at this, so you see we have a big advantage over them.

“We are, again, superior to the Germans in the number of ships, but, nevertheless, I think we shall have a stiff fight when the German ships do come out. We think of nothing else but this coming fight when we are at sea.

“I might say a word about some of the officials of the Navy. We think Mr. Winston Churchill is a fine man. He has rendered the Navy some valuable service, and he was often amongst us. Now, of course, he belongs to the Army, having sacrificed his big salary to go to the front. Admiral Jellicoe is thought a great deal of. He is in supreme command, of course, but he is more with the battle-fleets than with us – the cruiser fleets. Sir David Beatty is our favourite. He is second in command and he is well worshipped.

Rushden Echo, 10th December 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushdenite HonouredMr. Harry Cook, of Rushden, a former member of the Rushden Company V.T.C., who is now serving in the Dardanelles with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, was recently honoured by being picked out as one of a Guard of Honour to Lord Kitchener.

The Rushden Echo, 17th December 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Brothers - Three in The Forces - A Pattern of Patriotism
Many Rushden people will remember Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kirby who formerly resided in Portland-road, and who left Rushden about four years ago to reside in Ipswich. Our readers will therefore be interested to know that all their three sons – Harry, Tom and Leonard – are serving with the colours.

Pte L Kirby Sgt T Kirby
Pte L Kirby
Sgt T Kirby
Harry is a 2nd A.M. in the Royal Flying Corps, 18th Squadron, and recently made his first flight in an aeroplane. He was taken up 2000 feet and says he felt pretty bad when coming down. He is at present stationed at Norwich.

Driver Leonard G. Kirby, 258, is in the East Anglian Howitzer Brigade and is in France.

Sergt. R. Tom Kirby is in the 6th Leicestershire Regt. 10154, B. Co., and has twice been to France. On each occasion he was wounded and at present is in England.

All three soldiers are natives of Rushden and were educated at Newton-road schools.

The Rushden Echo, 17th December 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded - Pte. Frank O. Long - Reported Badly Hurt
Pte. Frank Oliver Long, of the 2nd Northants Regiment, son of Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Long, of Rushden, has, we regret to say, been wounded while with the British Expeditionary Force in France. Mrs. S. C. Long received the following letter, dated Dec. 10th, from Sister M. E. Stewart, of the 26th Field Ambulance, B.E.F.:-

“Dear Mrs. Long, -- I am sorry to have to tell you that your son, Pte. Long, was brought into our hospital yesterday, having been badly wounded in the abdomen. He has had an operation, and is now going on as well as can be expected.”

The Wellingborough News, Friday 17 December 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

A Narrow Escape
Sapper W C Taylor, of the RE, writes home to his father, Mr W H Taylor, baker, of High-street, Rushden, telling a very narrow escape. He says: "It is very wet out here and the floods are out. There was a terrific gale the other night. I thought every moment that the place was going to be carried away. I shan't half keep the armchair and the fire company when the war is over. I shall not forget the 8th of December in a hurry. We were under shell fire. They make a whistling noise getting louder and louder as they come near until you see the earth and smoke shoot up in the air and then the shell bursts and shakes the very ground you stand on. I was going through a chateaux, and one burst, and the dirt fell all around me. I didn't say much, but I thought a lot and wondered where the next would fall."

Rushden Echo, 31st Dec 1915, transcribed by John Collins

Rushden Soldier Wounded - Private Percy Percival - Injured in Right Arm

Mr. and Mrs. D. Percival, of ‘Mantonia,’ Newton-road, Rushden, received a letter on Tuesday morning from their son, Pte. Percy Percival, Northants. Regt., in which he said he was in a hospital at Manchester, having been wounded in the right arm. He is going on well and said he would like to know if Pte. Walter Bates, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bates, of Bedford-road, Rushden, was quite all right.

Rushden Runner - Sapper Johnny Brown - Still Winning Prizes

A Rushden Sapper in the 4/1st East Anglian Field Company, Maidenhead, writes to us:-

 “I thought it would interest you, also the Rushden people, to know that some of Rushden boys are still to the fore as regards sport, etc. Sapper Johnny Brown, of our company, the old Windmill player, has done very well at his old game, running. He won the quarter mile scratch at our sports on Whit Monday. He was also successful in two other events, these being the sports of the Kent R.E., who are also stationed here. The 4/1st Relay, of which he is a member, are still unbeaten, winning five times at different sports round the district.”

The Rushden Echo, 31st December 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Four Wounded by a Bomb - Rushden Soldier Injured - A Narrow Escape
Pte. Ray Cooper Home for Christmas
Our Artillery Superior to the German’s - Five British Shells to One German

Another Rushden soldier got home for Christmas in the person of Pte. Ray Cooper, of the 7th Northants, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Cooper, of 86 Queen-street, Rushden. Pte. Cooper, who enlisted on Sept. 8th 1914, was sent to the Western front on Sept. 1st 1915.

Interviewed by a representative of the “Rushden Echo” he said:-

“Although we landed in France on Sept. 1st we did not go into action until Sept. 25th, viz., at the battle of Loos. The real action started about 6.55 a.m. on Saturday, but it was not until the evening that we got into it. We were then given orders to move up in support of the 9th division that had broken the German lines earlier in the day and were moved into a trench which they had taken from the Germans.

“It was a very unpleasant experience for those of us who went into the trenches for the first time, as there were dead on both sides lying about. We had a fairly quiet night except that the Germans kept sending over plenty of shrapnel. On the Sunday morning, although we were not subject to any direct attacks, there was a rare lot of bombing going on and that kept things pretty lively. At 5.45 p.m. the same day a bomb fell right in the middle of a group of four of us and wounded us all. I got it in the neck literally, as a piece struck my ear and then embedded itself in the flesh just below the ear.

“It was a narrow escape, although it could not be described as a serious wound, but the fragment was afterwards extracted from the back of my neck. Anyhow the wound kept me in hospital at Roen for rather more than a week, and then I was sent to another hospital at Etaples, where I remained for nearly a fortnight. I was then sent back to the battalion who were then holding a different part of the line.

Things were pretty quiet when I got back, there being nothing but artillery duels. After I had been back a month with the battalion, I developed throat trouble and was again sent into hospital, this time at Boulogne.

After three days there I was sent to England and entered hospital at Tunbridge Wells where I was kept eleven days. I was then allowed to come home and arrived in Rushden on Dec. 18th and jolly glad I was to get there.

“I might mention that our artillery is now much superior to the German’s as we are firing five shells to every one of theirs, and well they know it. I don’t see the war ending yet awhile as the Germans have got such strong positions, but, for the matter of that, so have we.

“I am very sorry to say that I have lost many of my friends in my platoon which was composed almost entirely of Rushden Men.

“When I went into hospital the first time they were all with the battalion, but when I went back it came as a shock to me to find that my friends Ernest George, Charlie Bunning, Ralph Robinson, Cliff Thompson and Cecil Brains were all missing. I cannot say what has become of them as we have received no news of them whatever. Charlie Bunning, and Cliff Thompson were seen and spoken to on the Monday morning following our big attack, but they were missing after the German counter attacks on that day.”

The Rushden Echo, 31st December 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Man Gassed - Now Recovering
Pte. A. E. King (Rushden), of the 7th Northants Regiment, has just spent nine days’ leave with his parents after having been in hospital nine weeks; suffering from gas poisoning. The military authorities, we understand, now consider him fit to resume his duties, and he proceeded to the depot at Northampton on Saturday evening.

It was during the battle of Loos that Pte. King was incapacitated through inhaling German poison gas. He is feeling about all right again now, but still has a cough. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur King, of Woburn Place.

The Rushden Echo, 31st December 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Local Family’s Patriotism - Sailor’s Marvellous Escape
Soldier Under a Gas Attack - The Value Of The Smoke Helmets
Mrs. H. C. Denton, of 1 Crabb-street, Rushden, who has 13 brothers and cousins serving with the Colours, has received the following letter from her brother, Gunner R. Lilliker, R.F.A.:-

“Thanks for the paper. I see Northamptonshire has done well in recruiting lately. I suppose there are still a few left outside the scheme. If I see any when I come home I won’t half tell them off. Well, I expect you will have seen about the gas attack last Sunday. I was in that, and we didn’t half get it for several hours, but, thanks to the smoke helmets, we got through all right, and I am feeling quite well.

“Of course, we felt a bit off colour for a time, but with all their gas and shells they did not get what they wanted, and we gave them a few to let them know we were about. I don’t think Frank (his brother) got any of it. It is awful stuff.

“Well, it is Christmas, and I think we shall have a nice time. The officers are looking after us well. I suppose things will be quiet at home, but I hope we shall be able to make up for it when it is over.”

Another brother, Richard, 1st class petty officer on board the Albemarle, and who it was feared had lost his life in a terrible storm which broke over that vessel a short time since, is now in Haslar Hospital, and it appears from his letter that he had a marvellous escape. On the day of the storm, he says, he was quartermaster on the watch at the wheel, and the waves took two officers first and then killed a third. He proceeds: “Another big wave came over us altogether. I knew no more until two hours after. I think it a miracle we kept on top. I don’t think I have seen such big waves before. I am now getting on nicely. I have a broken leg, fractured ribs, and a broken shoulder blade.”

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