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Irchester Soldiers Notes - WWI
Letters and Newsclips about Soldiers and their Experiences.
Reports in Date order

Rushden Echo, 23rd October 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

An Irchester Family – Five in the King’s Servcie
Mr Watts, of Farndish-road, Irchester, has five relatives serving in the present war. Private F King, of the Northants, is lying in hospital at Leicester, having received a wound at the battle of Mons on Sept. 30; a brother-in-law, Segt. A Mason, is with the “terriers” in training; a nephew, Private T Dickenson, is serving in the fighting line with the Northumberland Fusiliers; and another nephew, Private A Weller, belongs to the West Lancs Territorials. At Weymouth Private Charles King is in Kitchener’s Army. As reported in this issue, Mr Watts had lost a son on the cruiser “Hawke” which was sunk last week by the Germans.

Rushden Echo, 23rd October 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester’s Second Rally – Soldiers from Egypt
Lance-Corpl. Hayes, in company with Privates Belbin and Moulton, arrived home this week from Egypt for a brief holiday before entering on hostilities with the enemy. Needless to say, the soldiers have created quite a sensation in the village. Not only have they been enthusiastically received but they fully appreciated the short stay at home before going on the scene of war. Recruiting should be stimulated if the crowds collecting round the newly arrived soldiers is a standard of judgment.

Rushden Echo, 23rd October 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester Soldier Wounded - May Prove Troublesome
Private J Goosey, son of Mr S Goosey, of Farndish-road, Irchester, and a reservist of the Beds Regiment, writes to say that he has been injured. He has been conveyed from France to a hospital in Kent, from where he sends a message to the effect that his elbow has been rather badly hurt. We understand that the wound does not endanger his life, but may prove very troublesome from the point of view of the usage of the limb.

Rushden Echo Friday 4th December 1914, transcribed by Susan Manton

Irchester Man’s Good Work - In the Royal Field Artillery
Gunner George Dodson, of Irchester, in the R.F.A., who is acting as cook, writes:- “I am very comfortable here now. We are in a farm house. I have a stove to cook with. We are resting for a fortnight or so and I am very glad we are as the weather is very sharp now; the ground is covered with snow and the ice bears. I have had a washing day today. I don’t care much for the job but we have to do it, or we should soon have enough mates to carry us about.” [is the same Pte. G Dodson chauffeur to John Clark??]

Rushden Echo Friday 25th December 1914, transcribed by Susan Manton

Irchester Man in the Trenches - Fur Coats
Private William Richardson, A Company 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment writes to his parents at Irchester:- “We get on all right here. The people in England are very good to us, they have sent us fur coats; and we get plenty of cigarettes and tobacco. I got the mittens just as we were going into the trenches. When I have my fur coat on you would hardly know me; we can do with them, as it is very cold here. We go into the trenches for three days and then we get released for three days, so that it is not so bad.”

Rushden Echo, 1st January 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

How to End the War – Irchester Man’s Appeal
Corporal Fred Bayes, writing from the front to his parents at Irchester, who have four sons in the Army, says “I am afraid it will be a long time before the war ends if they don’t enlist a bit quicker. The sooner men enlist the sooner will this war be over, as we require a large army against the enemy’s. I do not like the idea of the papers saying, as they do, that the Germans cannot shoot. I think they can, or at least some of them, when they want to.”

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

Irchester Soldier Wounded
Intimation has been received at Irchester that Private F Partridge, of Irchester, was wounded on March 12. Two days before, a postcard was received saying he was quite well.

Rushden Echo, 9th April 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Near Go – Bombs Dropped from a German Aeroplane

Driver W. Robinson, writing to his wife at Irchester, says:- “We are having better weather now, but it is still cold. Last Saturday (March 27) we had a visit from the Kaiser in a way we did not expect. We were having our breakfast outside our huts where we are living when we saw a German aeroplane flying towards our lines, and also two French machines chasing him. We thought of seeing a fight in mid-air, but instead of that he dropped two or three bombs on us. Two of them landed on one side of our camp, and other dropped about twenty yards away from us. We stood there for a minute, for we did not know which way to turn.

“When we got over the shock, which was but a second after, we did a sprint to the hole which it made in the ground, and we have all got a piece of the bomb which he dropped. I will send a piece home the next time I write. It was a good shot, according to the rate he was flying, but it is a good job he did no damage. We had a lucky escape.”

Rushden Echo, 21st May 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester Soldiers Wounded and Missing
The following casualties in the fighting on Sunday week, when the Northamptons were in the thick of the struggle, are reported.

Wounded: Lance-Corpl. Fred Bayes (second time wounded), Privates John Moulton and Frank Moulton (brothers), Jabez Norman (the photo of whose Princess Mary’s casket appeared a short time ago in the “Rushden Echo”), Charles King and Harris.

Missing: Privates William Richardson and George Clements.

Herbert LettsRushden Echo, 28th May 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester Man Wounded in Action
In the Dardanelles

Mr and Mrs Jabez Letts, of Irchester, have received news that their son Pte John Letts has been wounded in action, in the Dardanelles. He is now in hospital at Malta Barracks. Pte Letts is a brother of Stoker Herbert Letts, (pictured) an interview with whom was recently published in the “Rushden Echo.”

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

Houses and Churches – Knocked Down by German Guns
“Bedfordshire Regiment have made a Name”

Writing to his parents at Irchester, Pte. H. Clements, 1st Bedfordshires, says:

“We are still in the trenches, now thirty-six days, and I shall be glad when we get relieved, so that we can go back for a rest and change of clean clothes, a bath, and clean up, as it will be nice to be away from the noise of the guns and bullets flying about.

“We are having some grand weather out here, and hot too. I hope it will keep so, for we get a lot better. The things look lovely out here, but the farmers are losing all their hay, and I expect they will lose their harvest too, for they can’t cut it down, as our guns are all over the place. I shall be glad when this dreadful ar is over, and I have the luck to be back in dear Old England once more. We will have a joy time together then. . . . .

“I think it is about time some of the single young men joined the Army and had a go out here. They would do so if they could see what the Germans have done to France and Belgium. It is terrible to see all the houses and fine churches blown down by their big guns. I should not like to see England come to the same fate, and shall keep doing my bit as long as I can. I think the Bedfordshire Regiment have done a good bit and made a good name, and I know they will keep doing their best to keep the flag flying. Every young man should enlist today, for their King and country need them.”

Rushden Echo, 15th September 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester - It is unofficially reported that Pte. Wm Joyce, Surrey Regt., of Irchester, was killed on Sept. 1st.

Rushden Echo, 9th March 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Military AbsenteeWm. Bayes, a private in the 1/4th Northants Regt., of Churnwell-lane, Irchester, was charged at Wellingborough on Saturday with being an absentee from his regiment, stationed at Hatton Camp, since Feb. 12th. — P.C. Crisp said that since Feb. 13th he had been endeavouring to find and arrest the man. That morning he found prisoner in the house of Mrs. Fowler, and arrested him. — Remanded to await an escort.

Rushden Echo, 16th March 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Wounded - Pte Fred Wass, Northants Regiment, of Irchester, wounded in the shoulder, is in hospital at Manchester.

Wounded - Pte Isaiah Smith, Transport Section, Royal West Surrey regiment, of Irchester, is reported wounded.

Rushden Echo, 23rd March 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Sergt. A H York, Middlesex Regt., son of Mr A York, carrier, Irchester, has been wounded and is in hospital in Birmingham.

Killed - Pte Wm M Needham, Northants Regt., son of Mr Harry Needham, Coronation Villas, Irchester, is reported killed. He was, prior to enlistment, employed on the Midland railway at Rushden. He was a married man and resident in Rushden.

Killed - Corpl. Harry Baxter, Sherwood Forrester, son of Mr Geo Baxter, signalman, of Wollaston-road, Irchester, has been killed in action.

Prisoner of War—In our issue of March 9th we announced that Corpl. Charles Smith, son of Mr and Mrs G Smith, of Wollaston-road, Irchester, was reported wounded and missing. We are now pleased to say that Mr and Mrs Smith on Sunday morning received a letter from their son, stating that he is a prisoner of war in Germany. Corpl. Smith was formerly a Scoutmaster at Irchester.

Sgt. Riddle Honoured—On Friday last, at Hazeley Down Camp, Winchester, at parade of the London regt. (Civil Service Rifles), the following order was read by the commanding officer: “1817 Sergt. H B Riddle, London Regt. The King of Italy has been graciously pleased to confer on this N.C.O. the Bronze Medal for Valour. Congratulations from the officer commanding the London regt., and also congratulation from the General Officer commanding the Division.”

The Argus, 23rd March 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester Man Prisoner of War
Sergt. C. H. Smith, previously reported missing, has sent home a card to say that he is a prisoner of war at Dumlin, Westphalia.

Rushden Echo, 30th March 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

WoundedPte. Fred Bull, East Yorkshire Regt., of Irchester, has been wounded in the face, and is now in a French hospital. This is the third time he has been wounded.

Rushden Echo, April 27th 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Pte. Archie Percival, Inniskilling Fusilliers, son of Mr. H. Percival, of Irchester, has been wounded in the thigh, and is in hospital at Rouen.

Pte. John Norris, Northants Regiment, of Irchester, has been wounded, and sent to a base hospital.

Lance-Sergt. C. H. Smith (Irchester, Northants Regt., previously reported missing, was on Wednesday officially reported a prisoner of war.

MissingLance-Corpl. H. Baxter (Irchester) 24706 Sherwood Foresters, was on Wednesday officially listed as missing.

Rushden Echo, 11th May 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester - Pte. Harold Percival, Middlesex Regt., was wounded on April 28th by shrapnel in the thigh, and was sent to Napsbury Hospital, Herts.

Rushden Argus, 18th May 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester FlyerLieut. Ernest Percival, of Irchester, and of the Norfolk Regt., attached to the R.F.C., who was reported missing, is now officially advised as “a prisoner of war” in Germany. His machine was brought down about four miles beyond the English lines.

Rushden Argus, 3rd August 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester Man Prisoner of War
Mrs. H. A. Pettitt, of High-street, Irchester, has received two postcards from her brother, Pte. Reg. Wildman, who was taken prisoner at the battle of Gaza. He is now interned at Jaribaschi, near Adana. Pte. Wildman says he is quite well, but makes a request that nothing should be sent to him.

Rushden Echo, 31st August 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

WoundedRifleman H Robinson, Royal Irish Rifles, of Wollaston-road, Irchester, formerly a butcher, was wounded by being buries through the explosion of a shell on August 15th. He is now in hospital at Bristol. He enlisted in October 1916, and went to France in January last.

Rushden Argus, 21st September 1917 Pte. J C Green
Pte. J. C. Green
of Irchester

Tyneside Scottish

Severely Wounded

Rushden Argus, 5th October 1917 Pte. J C Green
Pte. Ar. Robinson
of Irchester

Yorkshire Regiment


Rushden Echo, Friday 12th October 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester - Two Men Wounded
Pte. Leonard Chapman, Irchester, Cambridgeshire regiment, wounded in the left arm, is now in the War Hospital at Chichester.

Pte. Harold Salisbury, Irchester, Northants Regiment, wounded in the buttocks by gunshot, is now in a Canadian Hospital in Kent, making good progress.

Rushden Echo, Friday 19th October 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Amputated ArmPte. Albert Spencer, 40762, Inniskilling Fusiliers, son of Mr G Spencer, Wollaston-road, Irchester, was wounded on Sept. 25th, receiving a gunshot wound in the right arm. He was at a clearing station when the official notification was sent off. His right arm has been amputated as far as the elbow.

Rushden Echo, 2nd November 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

WoundedPte Harold Percival, Middlesex Regt., son of Mr H Percival, of Irchester, is wounded for the second time. He had only been back at the Front about eight weeks. The first time he was wounded in the left leg, and on this occasion the wound is in the right leg.

Rushden Echo, 9th November 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irchester - WoundedPte. James Payne, M.G.C., son of Mrs. William Payne, High-street, was wounded in the right hand on October 31st, and is in hospital at the base, France. He formerly worked for Mr. Fred Corby, currier, Rushden.

Rushden Echo, 5th April 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Sgt. G. Goddard, of the Wiltshires, eldest son of Mr. Hos. Goddard, School-road, Irchester, who has been at Salonika since August 1915, is now in England, training for a commission.

Sgt. H. B. Riddle, London Regt., is in training as an air pilot in the R.F.C.

WoundedFitter H. Spencer, R.F.A., was wounded on March 25th, receiving shrapnel wounds in the left arm and legs. He is now at Birmingham Southern Hospital. He had previously been gassed and had only returned to France about three weeks ago. He is a nephew of Mr. and Mrs. T. Fox, Post Office, Irchester, with whom he had resided for some years before joining up. He is now getting on nicely.

Rushden Echo, 26th April 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden's Casualty List
Official news has been received by Mrs. Lambert, of 34, Irchester-road, Rushden, that her husband, A.B. Jim Lambert, of the Royal Naval Division, has been missing from his unit since March 24th. Seaman Lambert, who is a native of Higham Ferrers, had resided in Rushden for five years up to the time enlistment, and was employed by Messrs. Wm. Claridge and Sons, boot manufacturers, Rushden. He went to France on December 18th, last year. A relative of his in a letter to the missing seaman's wife writes under date April 9th: "We were inspected by General Parsons yesterday, and when we were massed together, he told us that he had received a report to the effect that the "Anson and Hood Battalions" of the R.N.D. were mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig's dispatches for courage and heroism, for when an Army regiment gave way against the pressure of the Germans who surrounded a large battery of Artillery, the two battalions mentioned made a diagonal attack (one of the most difficult attacks in warfare), and not only saved the situation and the battery, but held the line (at what cost)." A.B.'s Lambert, S. Langham, W. Hanger, and A. George, of Irchester, all of whom are reported missing, belonged to one of the battalions above mentioned.

The Rushden Echo Friday 3rd May 1918, transcribed by Susan Manton

Wounded a third time
Pte. F. Bull of the Northumberland Fusiliers was wounded by gunshot in the left arm and shoulder on April 15th or 16th. This is the third time he has been wounded. He served first in Gallipoli. He is now at Fir Vale Hospital, Sheffield and is going on well.

Mrs. Carr, of London End, Irchester, received official news yesterday morning that her husband, 40185, Pte. A. H. Carr, Northants Regiment, has been missing since March 25th. Pte. Carr, who formerly worked for Messrs. Bull and Clayton, boot manufacturers, Rushden was mobilised with the Territorials at the outbreak of war. He has twice been wounded, and has also had enteric fever. He fought through the Dardanelles campaign and was subsequently transferred to the Western Front, coming home on leave last Christmas.

Prisoner of War
Pte. C. Vendy, of the Leicester Regiment, was taken prisoner on the St. Quentin front on March 21st.

Military Medal
The Military Medal has been awarded to Pte. H. Percival of Irchester, for bravery on the field. Before joining up he was carter for Messrs. Ellis and Everard, coal merchants, of Irchester.

Pte A H CarrRushden Echo Friday May 10th 1918, transcribed by Susan Manton

Irchester soldier missing - News wanted of Pte. A. H. Carr.
Mrs. Carr, of London End Irchester, Northants, would be glad to receive news concerning her husband, Pte. A. H. Carr, 40185, Northants Regiment who is reported missing. Prior to the war Pte. Carr served six years in the Northamptonshire Territorials. He was mobilised when war broke out and went through the Dardanelles Campaign, being subsequently transferred to the Western Front. He formerly worked for Messrs. Bull and Clayton, Rushden.

Rushden Echo, 12th July 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

WoundedLance Corporal G. H. Warner, Northants regt., received wounds in the left hand and arm on June 30th. He is now in the V.A.D. Hospital at Cheltenham, and is making satisfactory progress. Lance Corporal Warner, who is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Warner, Farndish-road, Irchester, has been in France for three years.

Rushden Echo, 13th September 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

WOUNDED A FOURTH TIMEPte. Harold Percival, son of Mr. Hanan Percival, Lucas Yard, Irchester, is in hospital, suffering from shrapnel wounds in the left lung and arm received on August 24th near Arras. This makes the fourth time he has been wounded during the last 16 months. He was an employee ot Messrs. E. Parsons and Sons, Ltd., and joined the Colours in March, 1916.

Rushden Echo, 4th October 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Casualties - Pte. O. Green, Suffolk Regt., son of Mr. C. Green, Farndish-road, is missing.

In Aid of the Discharged Soldiers’ Fund primroses were sold on Saturday.

Rushden Echo, 13th December 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Home AgainA.B. Arthur George, Hood Battalion, R.N.D., who has been a prisoner of war in Germany, has arrived safely at Irchester. Ptes. F. Brudenall and O. Green have also returned home.

Rushden Echo, 27th June 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins

Military Medals to Local Men

The Military Medal for bravery in the field has been awarded to the following men, all of the Northamptonshire Regiment:


Pte. Fairey, G. E. C.


6th Bn


Pte. Sharpe, F. E.

Lt. Irchester

1st Bn

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