MARTINS BANK LIMITED
Staff Manager’s Department
2nd March 1943
To the Staff
Ladies and Gentlemen
One of my first pleasurable duties on our return to Water Street is to write another informal letter with the desire to keep you informed on matters relating to the personal side of the life of the Bank.
The ranks of those remaining to carry on work of the Bank have been further depleted by the insistent claims of National Service and the number of our men colleagues on permanent staff now away has risen to 1,370. In addition, upwards of 50 of our women colleagues of the permanent staff have left for the various services. It is worth noting that these figures exclude the many members of the temporary, staff whose assistance has been highly valued whilst they were with us but who have now left the Bank for National Service. The majority of these departures followed discussions between the Clearing Banks and the Ministry of Labour after the issue of the Kennet report. All have good wishes of their colleagues. It is not known yet whether there are to be any more releases but further discussions are expected to take place shortly on the subject.
It is a continuing pleasure to have news of our serving members from various parts of the World front. It is clear that a number of them are holding positions of much responsibility and in addition to being grateful to them we can rightly claim to be proud of their contribution to the cause.
W.H,L. Swain of Levenshulme wrote recently of his experiences in Central Africa where he was in charge of an important R.A.F. detachment engaged on liaison work. A.O. Black of Arwick has sent news of his training in Canada where he says that he and all the R.A.F. are overwhelmed with the generosity and good heartedness of the Western Canadian people. H.A.Lewe of Curzon street has been afloat in a sloop on convoy duty to Iceland and also took part in the Oran operations. After a few interesting months in Palestine, R. Ashburn of Manchester City Office now finds himself attached, to a fighter group of the U.S. Army Air Force in the Middle East. J.R.Dakin of Morpeth also in the Middle East was for a time acting as Pay & Accounts Officer at a prisoner of war camp dealing with the finances of the camp and its 10,000 prisoners. R.G. Thackeray of Wyke writes from Malta. He refers to the thousands of miles he has travelled and states he has seen Banks buried in the jungles of West Africa, situated in the olive groves of Palestine and sweltered in the heat of Egypt. E.L. Empsall of Leeds sends news from India – he is in the choir of the Calcutta Cathedral. J.E.S.Mason of Sheffield writes cheerfully from Cairo where he had the pleasure of meeting a district colleague in the person of A.W.J. Roberts of Harrogate who subsequently got into touch with D. Feather of Head Office and shared an informal lunch with him in the Western Desert. W. Oldroyd of Bridlington is in North Russia looking after naval stores. He also spens weary days counting and balancing his cash, consisting as it does of several hundred of thousands of Roubles. Others of whom we have had welcome news include F. Barton of Manchester Inspection Staff now with the Faroe Island Forces, H.C.Page of Bexley Heath who is in charge of a unit of the R.A.F. in North Africa, W. Howarth of Manchester District Office now in India, J.D.C. Thompson of London District Office, who moved from India to Burma and as he puts it “only just got in and only just got out”! His colleague, Corbett Price, tells of his experiences whilst recuperating in Palestine after a period in hospital there. In company with a colleague from the Northern District - (whose' name he does not mention) he hitchhiked from Jerusalem back to the line again. D.G.West of Anfield Liverpool, who was wounded in Libya a year ago is now back in England happily making a good recovery. You will be very interested to know the soldier on duty shown on Page 27 of the official M.O.I publication "The Battle of Egypt” is Andrew Heughan of Bingley Branch. A. Morris of Shudehill has written of his experiences in the big North African convoy. He was entrusted with the task of exchanging ordinary Dollar and English £ notes into the special currency the United Nations are using in.the war zones.
A.H.Birse of London Foreign is now with the British legation, in Teheran. I gather that with his knowledge of languages he was of considerable assistance during recent important consultations.
C.N.C. Windle,of Cheltenham, who is serving on a destroyer has been stationed in Russia and has had his share of excitement. Ian Buchanan of Liverpool City Office is,now in North Africa. T.B. Swift of Waterloo wrote from "somewhere abroad". He referred to the beauty of the town and the fine Banking premises. He added, feelingly, I imagine, that the hours of business were 9 - 12.30 and closed all day Saturday!
I greatly regret to have to announce that the following have lost their lives on service since I last wrote to you –
J.N. Gullan of Birkenhead - killed in a flying accident,
A,R..Holmes of Baker St. - previously reported missing in a raid on Kiel now reported killed.
T.H.Morrison of Southport - killed in a flying .accident.
N.T.M.Burrell of London Office - died from wounds in Egypt.
T.R.Parry of Heywoods - killed in a flying accident.
R.Hounslea of 99,Stanley Road,
Bootle. - Died in prisoner of war camp.
T.H.Baird of East Branch,Liverpool - killed in a motor accident,
N.F.Ventham of Mottingham - killed in an accident on a flyingfield after having taken part in several operational flights,
R.H.Turner of Dalton - killed in an accident abroad
M.J.F.Teasdale of London Office - killed in a flying accident.
The sympathy of all is generously extended to the relatives of these colleagues and also to those of G.B. Hardman of Cheetham who is posted as missing believed killed.
I also, regret to have to announce that A.M. Camplin of Bexhill is missing, following an operational flight.
Though it is reassuring to know they are safe, you will be sorry to learn that the following names have to be added to the list of members who are prisoners of war.
R.S. Hall of Forest Hall, in Italy.
W.S.Blaylock of North Eastern District Inspection staff, previously reported missing, now a prisoner in Italian hands.
C.D.Stevens of Westgate, in Italy.
A.B.Briggs of St.Annes, a prisoner in Singapore.
Al1 will join in congratulations to G.A. Townsend of Brown Street, Manchester and I.G. Clark of Ormskirk both of whom have been awarded the Military Cross for their distinguished work in the Middle East.
You will be pleased and interested to know that Mr Furniss recently wrote to Mr. Knight Woolley of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co, intimating that some of our staff, in remembrance of his firm's great kindness in sending parcels to our prisoners of war, would like to offer hospitality to members of his staff who may be on service in this country. Mr.Furniss has mentioned to Mr.Woolley that the Bank has a Rest House at Ambleside and that we should be very pleased from time to time to offer his members facilities for spending some of their leave there if they would like to do so.
An announcement of our rest period arrangements has already been circulated. I trust it will be possible to carry it through without interruption, though it is quite certain that heavier burdens will have to be carried in view of staff depletion and I must table a special plea for the utmost co-operation of every member in this direction.
I would remind you that reservations should be made for accommodation at the Ambleside Rest House without delay.
May I again in your name and on my own behalf offer a welcome to those who have entered the Bank's service in a temporary capacity since my last letter.