The Rushden Echo and Argus, 13th September 1940, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Evacuees At Rushden - Hundreds Arrive from Colchester Area
Scenes which occurred immediately before the war were repeated on a smaller scale at Rushden on Thursday, when people from the Colchester district came to the town as evacuees.
The town was scheduled to receive 600 adults and children mostly in family groups, but without the able-bodied men and about half that number arrived yesterday. As in the case of last year’s London evacuees, they had detrained at Wellingborough and completed the journey in buses. They were tired after travelling since 9.30 in the morning.
Three schools were the reception centres. Mr. O. L. Ash was in charge at Highfield-road, Mr. S. Howitt at the Intermediate School, and Mr. W. A. E. Sherwood at Newton-road. Refreshments awaited the travellers; W.V.S. members were on duty; regular and special police assisted at each centre, and many motorists lent their cars.
Billeting officers, the great majority of them ladies, worked valiantly in the short time available before nightfall. As many as possible of the visitors were placed in suitable homes, others were lodged temporarily, and some were taken to an hotel for the night.
The work of billeting was to be resumed this morning (Friday), when the other 300 evacuees, having slept at Wellingborough overnight, were expected to arrive. Mr. W. L. Beetenson (Clerk to the Council) is in charge of the reception arrangements, assisted by Mr. E. F. Tomkins, the billeting officer.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 13th September 1940, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Evacuees’ Hostel - Rushden Villa to be Used for Sheltering Children
Arrangements are being made for the opening at Rushden of a hostel for evacuees. “The Beeches,” Higham-road, for many years the residence of the late Mr. Fred Corby, was taken over for this purpose some time ago and is now being prepared for use.
The hostel will be under the control of the County Council and is expected to ease billeting problems in Rushden, Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough and Raunds. If the original plan is carried out it will receive children who are found unsuitable for billeting in private homes. A similar institution is being opened at Daventry.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 27th September, 1940, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Blitzkrieg Victims - Brave Little Londoners Find New Homes in Rushden
Though some had lost their homes, spent many nights in shelters, and undergone other heavy “Blitzkrieg” ordeals, the 350 London children who arrived in Rushden for billeting on Sunday showed little evidence of the strain which has been imposed on them. Many of them displayed the gaiety of holidaymakers and were eager, above all things, to see “the country.” A boy was asking, “Where’s all the farms?” and a girl took from her pocket some bread supplied by her mother “to feed the cows.”
The children were from several districts. They were accompanied by teachers and helpers and came in by ‘bus from Wellingborough. Four schools were used as reception centres, and, as many billets had been secured in advance, the arrangements worked smoothly and quickly.
The recent influx of adult and child evacuees, both in organised and unofficial groups, has exposed the extreme inconvenience of the food control arrangements at Rushden. It is realised that the town must have an office open daily, and arrangements for this were made so far as the present week is concerned.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 11th October 1940, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Child Evacuees - Tributes at Funerals from Rushden Sunday Schools
The burial of Lorna Pain, an eight-years-old schoolgirl who had been evacuated to Rushden, took place at the child’s home town on Tuesday.
Lorna was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. Pain, who have four other children two girls (also evacuees at Rushden) and two older boys. She was billeted on Mr. and Mrs. Clark.
The bereaved father is a postman.
A spray of flowers was sent by the Rushden Independent Wesleyan Sunday School.
The death has occurred of Cecilia Janet Chase, aged seven years, one of the six children of Mr. and Mrs. G. R. Chase. The mother and all the children have been in Rushden as evacuees. Five of the children have attended the same school, and Cecilia and one of her brothers were in the same class. The bereaved father is a full-time air raid warden.
Cecilia was staying with Mr. and (words missing).
There was a funeral service at the family’s home town on Tuesday, and a floral spray was sent by the Rushden Independent Wesleyan Sunday School.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 25th October, 1940, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Evacuee Fined For Assault - Court Story of Street Scene at Rushden
A scene in Rushden High-street between a London evacuee and the daughter of a Rushden woman with whom she had been billeted was described at Wellingborough Petty Sessions on Friday.
It was stated that the London woman twice knocked the victim of the assault down, knocked her hat off and pulled her hair out.
Mrs. Edna Grace Parker, of 15, The Crescent Rushden, summoned Mrs. Ella Peters, late of East Ham and now of 83, Irchester-road, Rushden, for common assault on October 9th.
Peters was fined 15s., had to pay 5s. costs, and was bound over for 12 months. She was given a month to pay, when amid tears she said she had no money, but her billeting allowance.
Mr. J. Steer Parker (Parker and Son, Wellingborough), who prosecuted, said that defendant was billeted with Mrs. Parker’s mother and resided there for a week, later going elsewhere.
His case was that his client was walking in Rushden when she saw defendant and asked her in a proper manner to stop spreading allegations about her mother. He said that defendant had been saying it would be a good job if Mrs. Parker and her mother were to go to London to be bombed.
At the meeting in High-street defendant started to strike his client, who was twice knocked down and had her hair pulled out. People in the Rushden district did not want behaviour of this character in their town.
Edna Grace Parker said she was walking with her mother in High-street, Rushden, on October 9th when she saw Mrs. Peters.
She recognised her as an evacuee who came to stay at her mother’s. Her mother had taken Mrs. Peters in and witness herself took in other evacuees who had come with Mrs. Peters. Mrs. Peters claimed some distant relationship with her father. Later the evacuees left, having secured other accommodation.
Witness said that she asked Mrs. Peters to stop spreading stories about the way she was treated when billeted with witness’s mother.
Mrs. Peters then struck her and knocked her down. She got up but was knocked down again, had her hat knocked off and her hair pulled.
“I tried to get away,” she said, “and my mother appealed to a passer-by for assistance.”
A man came up and parted them.
Mr. Parker : Did you at any time strike Mrs. Peters? Mrs. Parker : Only in self-defence. I put my hands up to defend myself.
Asked if she wished to question witness, defendant denied that she struck the first blow. In tears, she told the magistrate that within the last week her home had been destroyed.
William Seamarks, of Rushden, said he was near the Palace, Rushden, and saw Mrs. Parker and Peters in conversation. They were talking rather loudly and people looked. Later blows were struck and it was “rather a muddle.”
He said that Mrs. Peters struck Mrs. Parker first and Mrs. Parker tried to defend herself with her shopping basket.
Cross-examining Seamarks, defendant suggested he was a friend of Mrs. Parker and was favouring her.
Seamarks : I never saw her before. I would rather be at work than giving evidence here.
The defendant, Mrs. Peters, on oath, said that Mrs. Parker came up to her and accused her of spreading stories about her mother. Mrs. Parker struck her first, and all she did was to defend herself.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 1st November 1940, extracted by Gill Hollis
How Rushden Helps the Evacuees
Wednesday afternoon at the Boot and Clothing Fund depot more familiar to many as the old Post Office. Here, as described in “Talk of the Town” recently, much help is available for local and evacuee children who may be in need of things to wear.
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 1st November, 1940, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden’s Host of Visitors
Shelter Found for Thousands of Children and Adults
Rushden is now sheltering more women and children from other districts than it did immediately after the big evacuation of London in September, 1939.
Last Saturday, according to the weekly return prepared by Mr. E. F. Tomkins, Billeting Officer to the Urban Council, there were 975 unaccompanied children, 210 accompanied children and 210 adults in the town as organised evacuees. Also on the books were 563 children and 566 adults who came to Rushden as unorganised refugees.
The billeting authorities were therefore providing for 2,524 persons 1,748 children and 776 adults. In addition to this host are many people probably not less that 1,000 who have come to the town as private visitors.
The Librarian (Miss M. Perkins) reported that 25,734 books were issued in the September quarter an increase of 4,271 compared with the third quarter of 1940.
Membership was 4,850 (an increase of 225 since June). New books numbered 647 and cost £130, in addition to which 44 had been presented, 29 of these being from the library of the late Miss Mary L. Pendered.
Library hours for the issue of books were now : Mornings 10 to 12.30, afternoons (except Thursday) 3 to 7.
Mrs. Muxlow noted that the membership included 664 evacuees.
|Rushden Echo & Argus, 18th February 1944, transcribed by Kay Collins
Back Home From Bermuda - Rushden Boy’s Impressions of Sunny Island
With an attractive accent and a tan that tells of a sunnier climate than our own, Bryan Smith, the 15-year-old son of Mr and Mrs F Smith, of 33 Highfield-road, Rushden, has arrived home from Bermuda.
It was in August 1940, at the invitation of his uncle, Mr E T Sayer, that Bryan was evacuated from this country with his young cousin, Gaenor Sayer, of 2 Station-road, now 10 years of age.
In 13 days, after quite a rough trip and seeing “a bit of action” he arrived at Bermuda, an island 25 miles long and at no point wider than 2½ miles. His destination was Hamilton, the capital, with its population of about 6,000, where his uncle is editor of the “Royal Gazette.” Mr Sayer himself is a Rushden man and commenced his journalistic career on the “Rushden Echo.”
Bryan and his cousin were the first British evacuees to arrive in Bermuda, and received an enthusiastic welcome, parties being organised in their honour.
The climate was beautiful, Bryan told our reporter, and there was plenty of swimming, while almost every conveyance on the island was horse-drawn and the people went in for cycling a great deal; but he had perceived that you needed a lot of money, for prices were so high there.
His education was received at a convent, and the lessons were quite different from those here (Bryan formerly attended the Alfred-street School). In his spare time football and baseball were his recreations.
The scenery was very beautiful and the houses were all made of limestone with white roofs, which by law should be whitewashed every year. There was no reservoir system, and water had to be stored in tanks. All the windows were fitted with shutters to prevent the roofs from lifting off in the event of hurricanes, five of which occurred last summer.
You could procure as much clothing as you wanted. The butter and sugar ration was the same as ours, but meat was plentiful, and so was fruit such as bananas and water melons.
A number of American film stars visited the island to spend their vacations and to put on shows, and Bryan saw Alice Fay and Martha Raye.
The return journey took seven days, and he brought along with him various types of rock and a number of cedar articles.
Bryan is now looking for an office job. He says “There’s no place like home,” but he feels grateful for the wonderful way he has been treated in Bermuda.
Gaenor Sayer will remain in Bermuda for the present.
|Rushden Echo & Argus, 25th February 1944, transcribed by Kay Collins
Gaenor Springs A Surpise - Rushden 10-year-old Walks in from Bermuda
Carrying a large doll and other personal luggage, a bright little girl of 10 years alighted from the train at Rushden on Thursday morning and walked alone to her home. This was the end of her journey from Bermuda.
Gaenor Sayer had travelled from a seaport faster than the telegram which was to give warning of her arrival. Her grandmother, who happened to be in the garden, was the first to see her and hardly knew her. Then followed the thrill of reunion with father and mother, for by lucky chance Daddy L.A.C. G W Sayer was home on leave from R.A.F. duties.
Aircraftman and Mrs Sayer had had no idea that Gaenor thinks that her father who was in Civvy Street when she left England in 1941 looks smart in his Air Force blue. She has already changed his title from “Dad” to “Pop.” In turn her parents think she has grown and altered quite a lot.
Expressing the opinion that home is best, though Bermuda was grand for a holiday, she remarked on the advanced education she received over there, the beautiful scenery, the fruit, and the ice-cream she will miss in the summer. She was waiting excitedly to meet her cousin, Brian Smith, who came back from Bermuda three weeks ago and started work on Thursday morning.
Articles brought back by Gaenor include a necklace of shark’s teeth.
|Rushden Echo & Argus, 14th July 1944, transcribed by Kay Collins
Evacuee Babies Reach Rushden Voluntary Workers’ Great Help
Part of Rushden’s assignment of evacuees arrived on Tuesday evening. It was almost 9p.m. when they began to arrive at the five schools in the town from Wellingborough by ’bus. The expected number was 800 and practically all were mothers with babies in arms.
The train bringing the contingent from London was actually very late at the Wellingborough Midland Station. At Wellingborough the evacuees were taken to the Victoria schools for tea and medical inspection. The arrangements were made by the Chief Billeting Officer (Mr F E Gadd) with assistance from Mr A Hewitt (assistant billeting officer), Mr H Battson, Mr H Cheney and Mrs C E Groome.
Buses bringing the visitors to Rushden were naturally later than expected owing to delay on the rail.
W.V.S. members, wardens and other C.D. workers, Special Police, billeting officers (mainly school teachers), etc., were all “at the ready” to deal with placing of the evacuees. Many came from Dalston, Hackney and Clapton. In addition to members of Rushden’s uniformed youth organisations present to act as messengers, large groups of children and some adult onlookers gathered at the schools to see the excitement.
Some private billets were available but unfortunately a large number of mothers and children had to sleep in the schools on Tuesday nightone woman having five children in her care. On Wednesday morning private billets were still being eagerly sought and in at least one case an offer of the home, if the evacuees could look after themselves during the absence of the husband-and-wife householders, was almost leaped at by an adult with children. Those taken to private billets were handed a package containing canned meat, milk, also sugar, etc.
One reason why so many of the evacuees had to spend the night in schools and rest centres was their unfortunately late arrival. Checking-up of individual family members, etc., takes time, and, further, so many of the private billets which had been offered were for school children. When the evacuees were found to be quite different from what had been expected, and at such a late hours, private billets could not be found in sufficient numbers. All the voluntary and other workers trying to carry out the billeting arrangements on Tuesday evening worked excellently and without sparing themselves. By Wednesday evening the problem was getting nearer solution.