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MARTINS BANK LIMITED

     Staff Manager’s Department

          Water Street

              LIVERPOOL

         

     February 1944

To the Staff

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Once again it is my pleasure to write to you on domestic and personal affairs. The winter months have witnessed no further demands Ministry of Labour on our clerical and managerial strength, though what the future may hold is not known. I am confident, however, that if there are to be yet more claims they will be answered in a victory spirit.

 

You would be very pleased to see the name of Mr Furniss in the list of New Year Honours. I  am sure every member of the staff desired to be associated with the congratulations offered to him upon the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire conferred upon him.

 

The beginning of the year was also notable for Mr Furniss in that during the month of January he completed fifty years in the service of the Bank.  It is a proud record and we all tender our respectful congratulations.

 

The name of A H. Birse of London Foreign appeared in the New Years Honours and felicitations are offered to him on the award of C.B.E.  As you may be aware, Birse is on the staff of H.M. Embassy in Moscow. He took part as an interpreter in the Teheran conference, and his photograph appeared in the “Times” of 7th December last with those of the leaders of the United Nations on the occasion of the dinner party, given there to celebrate Mr Churchill’s sixty-ninth birthday.

 

At the Annual General Meeting of the Bank held on the 25th January 1944 a shareholder paid a tribute to the members of the Staff who have joined the forced or who are on National Service, and conveyed the thanks of the shareholders to those of the Staff still remaining. When thanking the shareholders for the resolution, the Chairman of the Bank, Mr F.A. Bates M.C., A.F.C., D.L., said:-

 

“We naturally think on a day like this of all the staff that are away, and perhaps in sending them this resolution of thanks, it would be fitting also to send them a message that we are looking forward very earnestly to their return and are getting ready to make use of their services when they come back”.

 

I am sorry that owing to the shortage of paper and for other reasons, it will not be possible to send a copy of the above quotation to all who are away on Service. I should be grateful therefore, if members when they have read this letter would very kindly forward it to one of their friends on Service. From time to time I receive word from colleagues overseas in which they mention with evident satisfaction that they have seen one or other of these letters and telling me how they have passed it on to any Martins Bank men serving in their neighbourhood.

 

Congratulations are due to H. Ryder of Burnley (now with H.M. Forces) who passed second in the whole list of candidates in the 1943 Institute of Bankers Examinations. He obtained distinction in Banking and Foreign Exchange, and also gained the Whitehead prize for Foreign Exchange. Incidentally he further received the prize of £5. 5/- which the Director and Chief General Manager gives annually to the member of our staff who achieves the highest place amongst our candidates. It is to the credit Burnley Branch that no fewer than three of our colleague who passed Part 2 have been at that Branch.

 

It recent months is has been a pleasure to have had calls from serving colleagues.  A number of them have looked in to say “au revoir” whilst on embarkation leave.  Others home from abroad have dropped in.  Included in their number were C.N.C. Windle of Cheltenham who had been serving as the only English officer on a Polish destroyer, K.W.Williams of Head Office who told of his experiences whilst on a frigate in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean and P. Huddleston of Head Office now recovering from wounds received in the attack on the Mareth Line

 

Many have written from far afield and it is always a pleasure to hear of the movements and experiences of such colleagues.

 

T. B. Swift of Waterloo now with M.E.F. wrote recently to say he had been "on leave by the seaside, plenty of fruit, grapes, peaches, plums, bananas and chocolates and sweets in plenty". K.C. Batten of Oxford has had a variety of experiences with the Royal Navy included in which have been participation in the invasions of Sicily and Italy. He is now in charge ,of his own craft "somewhere in the Mediterranean". E.S. Doughty of Manchester Office, has written his impression of the naval action which resulted in the sinking of the Scharnhorst. He was serving in H.M.S. Jamaica and when the German battleship had been crippled. Jamaica was ordered to "go in and finish her off".  She closed in until about 1½ miles away and as Doughty puts it "the Scharnhorst took our full broadside with terrible effect. Torpedoes were released, two tremendous underwater explosions were heard and felt and when we looked round the Scharnhorst could not be seen."

 

A letter from Raymond Usher of North Eastern District Office was received recently in which he stated he had met Martins men on several occasions during his three years in the Middle East. D.M.P. Hulbert of London District Office is serving as a Torpedo Officer in H.M. Submarine Tuna. A month or two ago the Press announced the return of the Tuna to home waters after four patrols in the Mediterranean during which she sank three U boats.

 

E.O. Browne of Miles Platting writes from Italy in cheerful strain though he permits himself the complaint that sunny Italy is not living up to its reputation.  G.E. Vaughan of Eastham is pleasantly surprised to find himself comfortably placed in Kenya Colony. P.L. Verity of Manchester Foreign has written from his prison camp in Germany. He mentioned that recently a few former prisoners from Italian camps had joined them. He also referred to the fact that his baseball team had played a French Canadian team in a recent match.

 

Others from whom I have heard include F.H. Mathias of Taunton now in India, J.C. Greenhalgh of Ashton writing from a coconut grove near Columbo and J.E. Cooper of Ambleside who stated that he had been staying in the Sultan's Old Palace at Tunis, 'the Officers' Mess’ being situated in the harem. He suggested the wives must have been doing war work as he never saw any of them!

 

H. Boothman of Gatley has written cheerfully from India where he says he has opportunity of exchanging Views with several banking men. J.H. Gummerson of St Lukes now in the Middle East, reported having run across Ian Clark of Ormskirk in an Officers Club in the wilds. A.C. Byrne of Carnforth Is camp building in the East and describes a trip he had had through a mountainous part of Assam, set in magnificent scenery. W. Howarth of Manchester District Office writing from Bombay referred to the great privilege he had enjoyed in being a guest H.E. the Governor at dinner in Government House. D. McNair of London District Office is also in Bombay and speaks of having met L.E.V. Hall of Kingsway and J.W. Greengrass of Fenchurch Street. He also mentioned that he had met G.C. Lawrenson of Hendon and J. Russell Brown of Baker Street and that Lawrenson had dropped across E.H. Jackson of Newcastle City Office. F. Highley of Manchester District Office has arrived in India and says the "high spot of the journey was our call at South Africa where we were treated like lords, and the people could not do enough for us”. I would add that many of our colleagues have spoken in similar strain of the generous hospitality of the South African people

 

M. Holloway of Market Place, Huddersfield, now in India, W.C. Frost of Great Crosby in Southern Rhodesia and C.L. Sorenson of Heathfield have all written recently. A.N. Smith of Holmfirth refers to perpetual sunshine and the blue Mediterranean being all very well but says “give me a good old English fog and a sight of the Manchester Ship Canal and even a few more balances and I would be quite content”.

 

I have to report with great regret that since I last wrote the following serving members have lost their lives:-

 

     W.V. Steed of Cocks Biddulph, killed in action in. Italy December, 1943,

      J.B. Barrett of Dartford, previously reported missing, formal notice of death received in December,1943.He      was buried near Neuwied in Germany.

     D.H.C. Ure of Birkenhead Killed in a flying accident in November, 1943.

     L.R. Clark of Lombard Street, killed whilst driving a staff car in Sicily.

      D.S. Evans of Lombard Street, killed in a flying accident in October.1943.

     C.A. Bell of Stockport previously reported missing from bombing operations now officially assumed to have died.    

      W.H. Evans of Head Office Messenger Staff, killed in action, in the Central Mediterranean in September, 1943

 

The sympathy of all is warmly extended to the relatives of these colleagues.

 

The  list of those missing is a lengthening one and since I last wrote to you the following names nave to be added:-

 

  E.S. Cowell of Newbiggin since December 1943 on naval operations,

     A.H. Duringer D.F.C. D.F.M of Birmingham since January 1944 on operational flight over Germany. In      November last Duringer was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. It will be remembered that he was decorated with the D.F.M. in August 1942. The citation covering his latest award states Flight-Lieutenant Duringer has always displayed the greatest enthusiasm for operational duties. The crew of which he is a member' has been engaged on several occasions by enemy fighters. In June 1943 in a combat with enemy fighters, his aircraft was very severely damaged, but Flight-Lieutenant Duringe displayed a high degree of skill and initiative and a complete disregard for danger, calmly continuing to perform his Duties and rendering valuable aid to both the captain and navigator. This officer has shown great courage and resourcefulness throughout both his tours of operational duty.

   J.J. Martin of Kendal since January,1944, on operational flight over Germany,

  Eric Bardsley of Gatley since January,1944 on operational flight over Germany.

 

Your thoughts will be with the relatives of these members in their anxiety and I earnestly trust news of their safety may be received.

 

      D, Waud of Houghton-le-Spring from whom nothing, had been heard for a long time is now reported a prisoner   in Japanese hands.

     A, Whitworth of the messenger staff at Blackpool is also reported a prisoner in the hands of the Japanese.

 

Whilst it is gratifying to know of their safety recent revelations as to the treatment of prisoners of war in the far east increases our concern for those of our colleagues in captivity there.

 

  C.D. Stevens of Westgate who as reported in my last letter was in hospital in the Middle East after his exchange   from a prison camp in Italy is now back here in hospital near Hexham.

 

A week or two ago I was very pleased to learn that J.W. Moore of North Eastern District Office had escaped from a prisoner of war camp and safely reached the British lines.

 

In addition to the further award made to A.H. Duringer mentioned earlier in this letter I learn with pleasure that P. Huddleston of Head Office has won the Military Cross. As yet I have no details but hope to let you know more about this in a subsequent letter.

 

I am also very pleased to announce that J.L.W. Wagland of London Foreign has been awarded a bar to the D.F.C. he won in 1940. The official citation reads-

This Officer has undertaken a large number of sorties and his navigational ability throughout has been outstanding. On two occasions in September Squadron Leader Wagland participated in sorties which demanded skill and determination of a high order. In addition to his good work in the air, Squadron Leader Wagland has rendered excellent service in the training of aircraft crew."

 

The following is an extract from The London- Gazette of 14th January. 1944:-

"The King has been graciously pleased to give orders for the publication of the names of the following personnel who have been mentioned in despatches by Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief". Included in the names is that of H. Neville Thomas of Castle Street, Liverpool, and it is a pleasure to be able to report this distinction.

 

The thoughts of those at home will be more than ever with members away on Service in the coming days in which tremendous events seem destined to take place. In your name I wish them the best of luck and a safe arid speedy return.

 

In conclusion may I offer a welcome to those of you who have come into the Bank in a temporary capacity since I last wrote.

 

Yours Faithfully

SMD Signature

Staff Manager

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