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Gold Medal for Boot Design

The medal
Boot & Shoe Trades Journal, 15th June 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Our Army Boot Competition - Although the new Minister of Munitions has done wonders in so short a time in bucking up the makers of shells and other things without which the war cannot be speedily terminated, the indications are that the Allies will have to face another winter campaign, or, if not, there will have to be an army of occupation for some time—maybe years—to come. It was with this idea in mind, and having heard from different quarters that the puttees in the trenches did hamper the circulation and predispose to frostbite, that we offered a JOURNAL Medal for the best designed winter boot which would dispense with the use of puttees, and which when the cost of puttees and boots were combined would not cost very much, if any, more.
The response to this appeal has at the moment not been as large as we expected, and we attribute this to the fact that most men are too busy to think out new ideas. We want the competition to be as wide as possible, in order that the winner may have some reason to be proud of the fact that he has won in a fair field; therefore, in order to ensure that the race shall be to the swift we have decided to leave the competition open for another month.

E. C. Miller
Burton Latimer
Boot Design
Despite looking through the whole of 1915 and the first part of 1916 of the Journal, we found no further report, nor the outcome. The snippet below was found in the Rushden Echo, and already knowing the family had the medal, this set us on a quest to find out more. His father ran Millers Stain & Polish in Rushden. At the time Eddie was working for Buckby Bros. as a pattern cutter in WWI and after the War he moved back to Rushden and he was involved in several companies here. His initials were E J not E C.

Rushden Echo, 10th December 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Gold medal—It is with gratification that we record the fact that the gold medal, offered by the “Boot and Shoe Trades Journal” for the best model of a trench boot, has been won by a Rushden man—Mr. E. J. Miller, son of Mr. Jeffrey Miller, of 53 Queen-street, Rushden. Mr. E. J. Miller is now residing at Burton Latimer.

Shoe Trades Journal, 10th December 1915, courtesy of John Garley

Our Army Boot Contest—After much thought and reflection on the part of all those who have seen the sample uppers and boots sent to us in response to our invitation, the Gold Medal has been awarded to Mr. E. C. Miller, Kettering-road, Burton Latimer. We must, however, point out that even this boot, good as it is in many parts, is not likely to be officially accepted as a trench boot. The authorities have decided upon a rubber thigh-boot for this purpose; but, with some minor alterations, Mr. Miller's boot might be a useful one for operations in the Balkan States, and regarded as an Alpine or mountaineering boot. The K.A.C.D., in dealing with footwear for trench purposes, have faced the music boldly by going in for, as we say, a thigh-boot.

Boot & Shoe Trades Journal, 5th February 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

We understand that the chief viewer at the Army Clothing Stores, together with one of the principal buyers, has been over in France, investigating the complaints received concerning the British Army boots. Surely this visit was hardly necessary. There have been plenty of dead men and plenty of dead men's boots, the latter being capable of scientific study. Our complaint is that there was no subsequent study of the materials employed in the making of Army boots; and, whilst we do not in the midst of our troubles and our trials wish to set up difficulties, we shall, when this awful war is finished, have some serious questions to ask............

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