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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 9th September 1949, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Mr. Edwin Bernard (“Ted”) Smith
Member of Rushden
Temperance Band
since his father enrolled
him at the age of five,

Mr E B Smith

has retired from
playing service after
nearly 50 years

Mr E B Smith
Fifty Years with the ‘Temps’
Rushden Bandsman has Retired

When Rushden “Temps” played the test pieces in the Belle Vue contest on Saturday their senior member, Mr. Edwin Bernard (“Ted”) Smith, finished his active career as a bandsman after nearly 50 years of musical work.

Though not yet a veteran in the usually accepted sense, Mr. Smith has been with the “Temps” longer than any other member.

He was not yet six when his father, the late Mr. Bernard Smith, who played in the band for 44 years, had him enrolled as a member. Soon the youngster had a cornet “to play with,” and scales and hymn tunes were mastered under father’s guidance. At the age of ten he was attending band practices, and before he left school there was the thrill of making his first public appearance with the band – in a concert on “The Green.”

His first contest was Belle Vue in September, 1909, and he was then 15. How many contests he has attended since then, and how many prizes the band has won are questions which have passed beyond his reckoning. Except during the First World War he has never belonged to any other band.

Proud Moment

Before that war he had taken up the tenor horn. He remembers playing solo horn at Crystal Palace in 1913, and in the same year came one of his proudest moments when the quartet to which he belonged was first among 37 at Leicester.

During the war he played bugle and flute for the 5th Northamptonshire and solo cornet for the 12th Division Band in France. In 1917 he was captured by the Germans, but even as a prisoner his musical instinct was on the alert and for 100 marks he secured a cornet – which he still possesses – from a Russian prisoner.

Rushden Echo. 11th January 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Prisoner of War
Bandsman E. B. Smith – Working Hard in Germany

Bandsman E Smith
Mr. and Mrs. B. Smith, of 77 Robinson-road, Rushden, have received an interesting letter from their son, Bandsman E. B. Smith, 13752 Northants Regiment, aged 24, a former player in the Rushden Temperance Band, who is now a prisoner of war in Germany, in the course of which he says:-

“At last I am able to answer a letter from you, posted on September 25th. First of all, I am glad to know that you were all well then, and hope you are now. I must thank you for sending the money I had about a fortnight ago. It is put in a kind of bank, and I am only allowed so much at a time, and some is kept until after the war. I bought a cardigan with what I had. I do hope you were not kept waiting until you heard from me before you knew of my whereabouts. I suppose you are restricted to correspondence the same as I am. I am still at the same place (the dairy farm), and now quite used to the work and also being by myself. It took a bit of getting used to, I can tell you. I am alright, except for clothing, but am expecting some every day. I have 20 head of cattle to look after and two horses, so you can guess I am kept busy. Of course, some days are easy and some very hard. I put about 17 hours in every day, but I don’t mind as long as I’m well, and it ‘s far better than the front. Please drop a line to anyone who writes to me, and let them know I can’t do much writing. What I am allowed I send to you, of course. Thanks them for me, and tell them not to leave off writing. It did seem a treat to read a letter after 20 weeks. I have read these three letters six times already. It is 20 weeks today that I was captured. It is very cold here now—several feet of snow in some places. Just keep knocking along, and all doing your bit until after the war, and we will have a good time when we all meet again.”

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

Bandsman E B Smith in Germany
Bandsman E B Smith, 13752, 1st Northants regiment, son of Mr B J Smith, dairyman, Robinson-road, Rushden, writes home from Bavaria, where he is a prisoner of war. In a letter dated January 26th, he says:-

“Pleased to say I have at last received a parcel of good underwear and also the Comforts Fund parcel, with the much-needed belt. Will you let the secretary of the Comfort Funds know that I have received parcel No. 2451, with most of the articles as stated in the invoice, at the same time thanking them? At present I can send only two letters a month. I have quite settled down now, and am used to the work, and I am being treated well in return. I have received no cigarettes yet. I often wish for an English one. There is no other Englishman in the town, and the nearest are half-an-hour’s walk away. It seems as if the war would never finish, but I must not despair, as every cloud has a silver lining—perhaps they are all unlined at present.”

In a subsequent letter he says:- “I sometimes feel a bit down-hearted, but I always think of your (his father’s) words, ‘Only look at a day at a time,’ and I buck up again. I am held responsible for a great deal here, but have given satisfaction up to the present, and that is no small thing, as you know, with 20 head of cattle (14 milking cows).”

After 1918 Mr. Smith sent out the postcards that brought Rushden men together to revive the Temperance Band. Later he was secretary for several years, and to-day he is chairman. On the original executive of the Northamptonshire Brass Band Association he has served continuously for 17 years and until this year had never missed a meeting.

Old Times

Mr. Smith has been senior member of the “Temps” since his father retired in 1930. He is also firmly established as the humorist of the band, and many a journey has been brightened by his cheerful quips. Modern journeys, however, are less tough than those of old, for in the early days the men went out in Jim Sargent’s brakes and sometimes reached home just in time to have their breakfast and go to work.

The “Temps” were the first party to go out from Rushden in a mechanical vehicle, and Mr. Smith was with them – and probably passing a few remarks – when they sallied forth on a lorry fitted with seats.

“Banding to-day is very different from what it was,” Mr. Smith assured us. “The music in the old days was mostly selections from opera, and if you had some good soloists, with enough men to accompany them, you were all right. To-day the music is more complex and every part is liable to be a solo part. It is definitely more interesting. You have got to be a good man on the bottom or intermediate parts – quite as good as on the top.

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