At a special meeting of East Northants Joint Hospital Board, at the Council Chambers, Wellingborough, it was decided to accept tenancy of Rushden Isolation Hospital for use as a Small Pox Hospital, at a rental of £100 per year.
Rushden Manor Estate ARP Service was formed among fifty houses in Upper Park Avenue, Rose Avenue and Church Hall Road. Members were willing to dig foundations for communal shelters in the area.
Lieutenant Gertrude Annie Cocksedge, aged 24, of Rushden Salvation Army Corps, was killed in London. She had returned from selling “The War Cry” to her house when a bomb struck it. She died of her terrible injuries a few hours later.
Rushden High Street Fire-Watching Committee organised a service of voluntary patrols for duty during “Alerts”.
An additional air‑raid siren was erected in the Park Road district.
Rushden decided to give up its experiment of a school canteen. A move by the County Education Committee to have the decision reversed was unsuccessful. There were a number of mothers in Rushden who, being occupied in the factories, were unable to give proper attention to meals for their families.
The John White 1940 Report showed that, during the year, the company, together with its directors and employees subscribed £5,000 towards the purchase of a Spitfire, which was named “Fighting Temeraire”.
Every householder in Rushden received a leaflet recommending them to label every article of furniture and possession with name and address and, where possible, to add an address in the neighbourhood where it could be stored in order to identify property scattered among debris in streets.
Rushden Area War Weapons Week ended with a wonderful total of £406,043, representing £16.18s.2d per head of the population. The original objective was £250,000 but in midweek it was raised to £350,000.
The Rushden Squadron of the Air Training Corps intended to obtain the offer of service by Mr Eric Tomkins, former international schoolboy, for games training.
Showing at the Ritz at Rushden - Charlie Chaplin in “The Great Dictator”.
The UDC Surveyor informed the Council that the much-used basement at the Queen Street School was unsuitable in its present condition and needed strengthening. The erection of twelve surface shelters in various parts of the town was agreed.
The surveyor reported at a UDC meeting that 115 tons of sand and 3,850 sandbags had been distributed free of charge. 450 bags were supplied at a charge of 3d each to business premises. The whole of the spare land at Rushden Hall was to be planted with vegetables, particularly carrots, onions and potatoes.
Between eleven and twelve hundred five‑shilling postal orders were dispatched by the Rushden Serving Men’s Parcels Fund to local men and women serving in the Forces. Each was accompanied by a greetings card, which was inscribed with a suitable verse specially written by R.W.N. [Reg Norman].
The Water Board suggested that stirrup pumps, being rather an improvement on the conventional garden hose, should be used in places where flowers and cabbages grew.
The half yearly figures of the Rushden Industrial Co‑operative Society showed that the greatest increase in income was that of fried fish from £782 to £2,064, but in view of well‑known circumstances the only remarkable feature of this item was the actual gathering of the fish from war‑infested seas.
Mr and Mrs Frank Thomas Bates of 73 Harborough Road, Rushden, received news from the Admiralty that their son, Wireman Reginald Stanley Bates, who had been serving on HMS Hood was missing, presumed killed. He was aged 21 years and formerly employed by the Rushden Central Electric Company. He had five brothers. The loss of the “Hood” in action against the German warship “Bismarck” near Greenland was announced.
Mr John Samuel Clipson died peacefully at his residence in Church Street. He was 84 years of age. He was the second subscriber for the telephone in Rushden and afterwards secured the phone number 1. He was the first local rider of safety bicycles (after many adventures on the penny farthing type), and the first local owner of a private motor car. A tribute at the interment ceremony described him as “one of the builders of Rushden”.
A meeting of Rushden UDC heard that the Regional Technical Advisor had approved the scheme for 111 shelters in Zone 1 and had accepted the tender at a total cost of £16,632.10s to accommodate 4,260 people. The tender was covered by a 100% Government grant. The shelters were erected and the architects were proceeding with a scheme for the second of the four zones.
Hundreds of letters from the “boys” poured in following the July distribution of five‑shilling postal orders by the Rushden Serving Men’s Parcels Fund. One man wrote, “It pleases me when I receive the Rushden Echo and read of the good work being done by the good-hearted people at home. It has always been the same in Rushden”. Another man said, “I like the very aptly put verse of poetry it suits the times perfectly”.
Regional and county experts watched a mock air-raid at Rushden and spoke in high praise of the town’s ARP services. Incidents were staged involving about 75 casualties, several fatal. There was a serious one at the Ritz cinema, a bomb having fallen on the stage end during a performance. Another bomb had cut College Street with a large crater, putting electricity and water supply out of commission.
A wartime day nursery for children from two to five years of age was to be established at Rushden. The County Medical Officer had inspected a site in Spencer Park, where a hut holding sixty children could be erected. The Park Committee suggested that, as by far the largest number of artisan dwellings are in the West Ward, a more suitable site would be near the Tennyson Road Schools.
Great news was released for publication of the Spitfire, “Impregnable”, the gift to the county from John White (Impregnable Boots) Ltd. The £5,000 plane gained a distinguished record in the hands of a brilliant Polish squadron of the Royal Air Force. It definitely destroyed two Messerschmitts and played havoc with others. It had been operating since May.
At a meeting of RUDC, there was an impressive report on Rushden’s Voluntary Fire Guard organisation, with its 2,500 members. Equipment in their hands included 220 ladders, 250 long rakes, 280 long shovels and 625 stirrup pumps. All were equipped with steel helmets, and armlets had been ordered.
Eighty-seven members of the Rushden Youth Service Corps Dancing Group enjoyed their first meeting at the Adult School when dancing instruction was given to them in two age groups by Miss Peggy Webb MRAD who dealt principally with the elementary steps. There were forty-six juniors and forty-one seniors.
Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Raunds went all nautical for the Warship Week Campaign in February. The three towns and their neighbouring villages set out to finance and adopt HMS Quorn, a modern destroyer of the Hunt Class.