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Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st January, 1944, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Canadian Visitors at Rushden
Soldiers Study Modern Boot Manufacture

  Since March of last year 11 Canadian parties have inspected this factory.

  “They are a nice lot of fellows,” said Mr. F. Clifton, the manager.  “They seem very appreciative of what has been done for them.”

  The visits are highly popular with the employees, who are more than pleased to see these Canadian cousins and answer their eager questions.

  These and other educational tours have had as their object the showing of Britain in her true perspective to as great a number of Canadian soldiers as is possible, so that on the cessation of hostilities they may carry back to Canada a clear and accurate picture of the British way of life.  The detailed organisation is undertaken by the British Council in the closest co-operation with the Canadian Army Educational Services, utilising to the full the many resources at the Council’s disposal.

  Visits are paid to places of historical significance, to farms, and to factories and industrial plants.  The latter have proved to be of particular interest to the Council and to the soldiers themselves, affording as they do the opportunity for Canadian soldiers to meet their British counterparts, thus enabling them to exchange ideas and to compare methods and other points of mutual interest.

Their Own Job

  One hundred and fifty men in all have visited the Rushden works.  They were all men who are either Canadian shoemakers in civil life, or who have been trained by the Army to be boot repairers in wartime, for even now, in this advanced stage of almost inhuman mechanisation, each unit of the Army still retains its own invaluable boot repairers.

  Most of the men were already conversant with a great deal of the machinery that was shown to them; indeed, on one or two occasions the soldiers operated certain of the machines to see whether they still retained the skill they possessed in civil life – for the Army does not provide the opportunity of making boots, but only of repairing them.

  It can be seen how very easily British and Canadian ideas can be exchanged and contrasts and comparisons made, and it is by means of this very exchange of ideas that the Council aims at improving the Canadian’s knowledge of the true Britain and our own knowledge of the Canadian viewpoint.

Canadian Leather

  Many factors provide additional interest for the soldiers on these visits, and at Rushden it was of very great interest for them to see and handle hides which have been imported from Canada, and which are to-day accounting for a major proportion of the factory’s output.

  The Co-operative Wholesale Society has shown a marked and welcome willingness to facilitate these tours.  Wheat farmers from the prairie states of Western Canada have visited a C.W.S. flour mill, Army camouflage experts have been to a C.W.S. paint factory, textile operatives have been to one of the Society’s textile factories, and pig farmers and breeders have been to a C.W.S. bacon factory.

  Places of historical interest visited have included the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, H.M.S. Victory at Portsmouth, and Eton College.

  On their Rushden visits the Canadians have invariably been provided with lunch and tea.

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