|Rushden Echo and Argus, May 2nd 1941, transcribed by Kay Collins
Evacuees - Letters to America - 1941
Grateful for Red Cross Gifts - Evacuees In Rushden Get Nice New Clothes
American Red Cross workers who have been kind to evacuees at Rushden will soon know what the children think about them. Boys and girls from Walthamstow and the L.C.C, area have been writing letters to say "Thank you" for the nice new clothing which has recently reached them from the good folk of the U.S.A., and their messages speak volumes about the war and American friendship.
Sheila Smith has come to Rushden for shelter from "enemy action" and attends the Park-road Assembly School, where all the children are evacuees.
"I am sending yon this little letter,'' writes Sheila in her large, round hand, "just to show how I appreciate for what you have done for us .... I also appreciate for the guns, metal and a lot more other things.
"My mother and sister thank some of the Red Cross people who have searched for my sister's husband, who is, I am sorry to say, still missing."
"I will be glad when the war is over," confides Alan Pegg. "It is not very nice carrying your gas masks about or leaving your mother, but you have to stick it. The work of the Red Cross Society of America is one which helps to bring understanding between the people of the world. We are going to try when we are grown up to help in the same way, for only when there is understanding and mutual helpfulness will there be peace.''
Doris Was Bombed Out
Doreen Magnitsky has some news which will not be lost upon those who read:
"I am sending you this letter to show mine and a lot more children's appreciation for what you have done in helping our evacuees and bombed-out people. I have been bombed-out myself, but my house is not right down. I am a Londoner, and the raids were so bad in London I came away, but I am quite happy where I am. Some children in my school have had some clothes from the American Red Cross Society. I thank you also for helping wounded people."
Here is Terry Cummings: "We evacuees are very grateful for your help with supplying us with clothes. We are very thankful for the war things you have given us. If not for this, England would be in great danger. All your clothes are very warm.
We are glad we got in touch with you. We do not know what we would do without you. Nearly all my clothes come from your Red Cross Fund. We are very thankful for the war things
"We all send you our love," says Doreen Staples, aged 11. "We are all longing for peace so that we may live with our parents and friends very happily. We all hope that the evacuees in America are all keeping their chins up. I sometimes listen to the wireless and hear some of the evacuees speaking to their parents, and I enjoy it very much."
Quick Work on the Films
In a long and excellent letter Ida Stubbs, aged 13, whose sister Irene is in America, declares "It is very nice of you to think so much of the English people and to help us bring Victory to our beautiful land .... I have seen you carrying out your duties on the films, and if you carry them out as quick as you did then, I am sure you will be able to save quite a number of lives.
"We have another evacuee school near us, as they all come from the heart of London. The boys of my class and the second class play football against them, and we win them. That is just like the English and the Germans, we shall always win."
Ida hopes that the children evacuated to America are being good.
"In our school" writes 12-year-old Jean Blackwell, "we are all one big family, and when one child is helped it seems as if we are all helped."
Ronald Thomas attends the County Boot and Shoe School. His letter is sadly eloquent:
"My home is in London, but we had to run for our lives because of the bombs and fires: We haven't got a Father. He died because of the other war. My big brother is in the Army. When this war is over, perhaps you would like to come and see us. We shall always be pleased to see you. Now that you have sent us a lot of ships and guns, the war will soon be over and you will be able to come to London."
His Smart Plaid Shirts
Eric Thomas, at the same school, says he feels very smart in his new plaid shirts "We had to leave London because of the bombs," he adds. "My mother thought we would surely be killed."
An eloquent letter of thanks is also sent by Mr. William E. Taylor, a Walthamstow headmaster, who declares: "If you good people could only see the shining eyes and delighted faces of some of the little boys and girls when they receive their gifts from the hands of the local W.V.S. ladies, you would feel more than compensated for all our labours and your many sacrifices. Mav God bless you and preserve you, and may this generous gesture on your part be the means of binding our two nations together in a bond which will never be rent asunder.”
By "Mister Cobbler" (in the same paper)
Gifts From America
A few months ago I went to the Boot and Clothing Fund depot and thought how well stocked it was. On Wednesday afternoon I called again and found that the stock had increased tenfold. It was amazing. The trestle tables were heaped high with garments. Case after case cram-full of new clothing was pulled out from beneath them. No shop could have been better prepared to fit out a child from head to heel, from skin to overcoat, with garments of excellent material and workmanship, smart design and attractive colours. And I he reason for the abundance is American nelp. It is a strange world in which proud Britain, traditionally the helper of others, receives with gratitude these gifts from overseas; but there is good in the travail that brings the Americans and ourselves together in bonds like these. The old Post Office ought to have a shop window, and the window should be full of American kindness, so that all Rushden can see and understand. It is not merely a question of generosity; it is tbe harvest of labour, for many of ths articles were fashioned by hand. There are socks such us a mother knits for iier own son, and exquisite woollens for babies and growing girls, with scarves, mittens, dresses, suits, overcoats, shirts and footwear in profusion. Each bundle bears the special label of some Chapter of the American Red Cross, and many a garment has a tab on which the town or district of origin is shown. The boots and the lively long trousers smack unmistakably of the U.S.A.; so do the boys' plaid shirts, which, it appears, are raging favourites because of their turndown collars, their warmth, and, above all, their affinity with the cowboy pictures There are even skeins of wool among (be gifts, and the wool in general is of a grade which has become scarce, to say the least, in war-bitten England. I can well believe that some of the evacuee children who receive these splendid gifts have never known such comfort before. I said I wished that all Rushden people could see what America is doing, and Mrs. Weale, who takes charge of the depot, replied that anyone who feels interested will be welcome to call on a Wednesday afternoon.
It is well to point out that the Boot and Clothing Fund does not forget the local children (and their parents) who, perhaps because of war conditions, need some assistance. Actually the work is very comprehensive, and, though everything is made as simple as possible, the groups of beneficiaries are sub-divided for good and sufficient reason. The American gifts are, of course, for the direct relief of war distress, and no.charge is made for them. They all go to needy cases, end within the last few days have been the means of warming and transforming newly bombed-out children who arrived in a condition which would melt any heart. I have a list of 1,014 American garments which have arrived this year, and it contains as an additional item "four crates of clothing for people bombed out". Quite useful help can be given to women who need clothes. The evacuee children, apart from the urgent distress cases, may not receive equipment until a form has been signed by their parents, because the official policy is that some payment should be made where the family has the means. So far as local supplies are concerned, they are now devoted chiefly to local children, and the supply and repair of shoes is an important part of this work. Stout and serviceable boots end shoes are purchased locally, and the repairsnumbering 250 last month-are, of course, done by local craftsmen, the manufacturers generously gifting leather for this purpose. Here, again, a reasonable contribution is asked of the parents, and nearly £14 was handed in at last Monday's meeting of the committee. Clothing is still made and repaired by the devoted staff of the depot and by the Parents' Association of the Alfred-street Infants' School, whose members tre particularly helpful with knitted goods. The public will certainly be interested to know that the present depot has not yet cost the fund a penny. Neither a gas bill nor a postage stamp has been charged up.