What was ‘Salute the Soldier’ Week? – ‘Salute the Soldier’ Week was a fund raising scheme to encourage civilians to save their money in Government accounts, such as War Bonds, Savings Bonds, Defence Bonds and Savings Certificates. Cash would be paid into Post Offices or Banks. In much the same way as War Weapons Week, it would coincide with a week of parades, exhibitions and other war paraphernalia.
In 1944 it was decided the national scheme would be themed around raising funds to equip an Army that would be good enough to take on the German Army on their own ground. A target for the Mildenhall Rural District Council area was set at £75,000 and it was proposed that Brandon’s contribution to this should be £15,000.
How did Brandon raise funds? – It all started, as it had done in previous years, by a large parade. Five hundred members of the Services, Civil Defence and Youth organisations started the parade from Crown Meadow and headed on to the Market Hill, where the salute was taken by Colonel J.M. Gawthorpe,C.B.E., T.D., of Cambridge.
SALUTE THE SOLDIER WEEK
July 15th to 22nd, 1944
Full Week’s Programme of Attractions including:
CONCERTS, PARADES, REVUES, MILITARY BANDS,
SPORTS, GARDEN FETES, DISPLAY, DANCING,
COMPETITIONS, etc, etc, etc.
See programme for full details
Salute the Soldier with your
Savings this Week.
The parade was headed by the band of the 5th Battalion Cambridgeshire Home Guard and among other organisations taking part were
- the band of the 392 Squadron A.T.C. of Newmarket,
- members from the U.S. Army Air Force,
- 2nd Cambridgeshire Home Guard,
- Army Cadet Force,
- National Fire Service,
- Civil Defence,
- Youth Movement,
- Girl Guides
- Boy Scouts.
After the parade there was an open air service on the Market Hill, which was conducted by the Rev. G. Kirkpatrick, Rector of St. Peter’s, Brandon, along with assisted by the Rev. H. Tyrell Green, Rector of Santon Downham, Rev. D.H. Bareham, a Baptist Minister. The singing was led by the massed choirs conducted by Mr. A.E. Chapman, organist and choirmaster at St. Peter’s Church, Brandon.
After the service the Chairman of the Brandon Savings Committee, Mr. F.W. Gentle, said that in the past fund raising efforts Brandon had come out with flying colours and that he did not think the town would let them down. He also expressed his appreciation of the part taken by the Americans in the day’s parade.
Colonel Gawthorpe thanked everyone for the support given in the past and said that the Salute the Soldier Week had been launched when resources were most need for an assault on Germany following D-Day. He had seen the men training and people should now make sure that the soldiers should not lack for any equipment and stores. The men had to have munitions and these had to be paid for and taxation had reached its limit with money lacking. He even urged the necessity of the young starting a Savings Bank account as a means of encouraging thrift!
Major J.W. Fredericks of the U.S.A.A.F. also spoke and stressed the need for close co-operation between the United States and Great Britain, not only during the war but also after the war and wished everyone success in this campaign.
Mr H.G. Barker who was Assistant Commissioner for National Savings, Cambridge, told the people that he hoped the campaign who show the soldiers that ordinary citizens would go without their luxuries so that the soldiers could have what they needed.
Mr. H. Lingwood, Chairman of the Brandon Parish Council offered a vote thanks and this was seconded by the Hon. Secretary of the Brandon Savings Committee, Mr. T.A. Green.
The Home Guard organised a sports meeting at the Recreation Ground and a large crowd was drawn to the occasion. Also attending were The Wisbech Town Silver Prize Band.
Other attractions included:
A baby show 6–9 months old:
1st Brian Muteham,
2nd Annette Rutherford A baby show 12-18 months old:
1st Irene Makins
2nd Graham Dukes A baby show 8-24 months old:
1st John Decamps
2nd Brenda Baskett Tug of War:
1st Brandon Home Guard
2nd Mundford Home Guard Ladies Ankle Competition:
1st Miss. M. Butcher
2nd Miss M. Mail
3rd Miss L. High
Rifle Range Team:
1st Lt. Smith
Rifle Range Individuals:
1st F. Royal
2nd Lt. Smith
3rd Sgt. Bocock
There was also a baseball match between two teams of Americans, and dancing.
The total figure raised for ‘Salute the soldier’ for Brandon was £18,869 2s 11d.
Other regions included:
- Elveden £4,197 15s 10d
- Lakenheath £8,724 12s
- Santon Downham £634 5s
- Wangford £1,082 12s
The total for the Mildenhall Rural District Council region was £114,101 8s 7d.