MARTINS BANK LIMITED
Staff Manager’s Department
To the Staff
Ladies and Gentlemen
In setting out to write to you again on matters of an unofficial and personal character, I do so with a sense of pleasure. As the. war spreads and its claims become increasingly insistent, human relationships assume a deeper meaning and, whilst our individual problems grow, there is much evidence of sympathetic concern for friends and colleagues.
Since my last letter, practically all those whose deferment expired at the end of March have left us for various branches of the Services, though a number have been placed in a low medical category and will remain with us for the present at least. As you are aware, it has been necessary to release an equivalent number of fit men hitherto deferred in order to conform to the existing agreement with the Ministry. These colleagues will take with them our best wishes when they leave us for what we trust will not be too long a period. So far some 1300 men have gone from our Bank to serve the country and the cause to which it is pledged. In addition upwards of 160 of our women colleagues have left to take up duty in the Forces or in a branch of war industry. Many more women, of course, are awaiting their call. It can be claimed that the Bank is making no mean contribution to the national effort. None the less, the call is for still greater effort and it seems probable that further claims will be made on our limited man and woman power when the Kennet committee makes its decisions known.Until that time, it is understood, that no deferred labour will be withdrawn from the banks.
It is a pleasure to hear from one and another of our members now scattered in various parts of the world, Those of us whose lot it is to remain in the Bank may at times feel envious of the experiences many of our colleagues are having, for, reading between the lines of their letters, one senses many things which whet the appetite for more information. No doubt when peace comes much which now must remain secret will make absorbingly interesting hearing. A,H, Birse of London Foreign, who as you may be aware, is in Kuibyshev, wrote from there in July and referred to the signing of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty and the warm welcome it received from the Russians. He said, "One" could see evidence of this not only in the press and the greatly improved official atmosphere, but in individual contacts as well. Some of my colleagues have been stopped in the street by strangers and asked whether they might be allowed to shake their hands.” In a recent letter from J.R. Smith of Walton, who is in the Middle East, he refers to frequent meetings with T.T.Samuel of Walton, A.C. Bater of West Kirby and W.H.Poe of Central. He also says that he ran across J.S.Barlow of Chief Accountant's Department, who is making a name for himself in the singing world and has broadcast on two occasions. B. Rowbotham of Ainsdale, writing .from somewhere on the high seas, mentions that he has travelled widely and though he is precluded from quoting places, he assures me that the slogan “Join the Navy and see the world” has truth. News of I.G. Clark of Ormskirk reached me recently. He has had a variety of experiences, In the early days of the War, he was sent to Palestine and later was in the first Libyan campaign. Subsequently he fought in Greece and Crete, ultimately escaping to Egypt. Another colleague, G.V.Murphy of Cocks Biddulph Branch, now a prisoner of war, wrote earlier in the year from Palestine. Whilst on leave, after his Tobruk experiences in the first siege, he ran into J.A. Jaques, also of Cocks Biddulph, in a Cairo Cinema - they were able to spend a couple of days together.
It is with great regret that I have to let you know that the following have lost their lives in action since my last letter –
J,P. Rowntree of Bexley Heath, previously reported missing, now reported to be presumed dead,
H.K. Lonsdale of Wigan, killed through enemy action in the Isle of Wight,
J.B. Bushby of Lancaster, who crashed off the Shetland Isles with a fully loaded plane.
J.G. Mutter of Head Office Relief Staff, killed in a flying accident.
T. Snowdon of Barnard Castle, killed whilst serving in the Middle East
J.S. Leather of Head Office, killed during a raid on Bremen, and
C.C. Robson of Northumberland Street, now officially reported by the Admiralty to have died on War Service.
I know your sympathy will be generously extended to the relatives of these colleagues.
I also have to announce that the following additional names must be added to the list of members who are Prisoners of War –
C.A. Taylor of Lowndes Street in Germany,
E.J. Downs of Head Office Relief Staff,
J.D. Surtees of Chester Road, Sunderland, in Italy,
K. Young of North Eastern District Office in Italy,
G. V. Murphy of Cocks Biddulph in Italy,
J.W. Moore of North Eastern District Office in Italy
R.Hounslea of Strand Road Bootle in Italy",
A. Ellison of Darwen in Italy.
It is reassuring to know that they are safe.
Anxiety continues on behalf of the following who are reported missing –
G.W. Butler of Curzon Street in the Middle East
A. Whitworth of the messenger staff at Blackpool in Malaya,
F. Raine of Laygate, in Malaya,
G.D. Ingham of Elland, in Malaya,
A.B. Briggs of St. Annes-on-Sea, in Singapore,
A.R. Holmes of Baker Street, following a raid on Kiel,
C.A. Bell of Stockport, in Bomber Command operations,
W.S. Blaylock of Inspection Staff, North Eastern District, in the Middle East and
P. Walker of Smithdown, following a raid on Hamburg.
We all share the sincere hope that news of the safety of these colleagues may be forthcoming.
Congratulations will be gladly offered to the following members who have recently received, decorations –
R.B. Clark of New Biggin, the Air Force Medal for exceptional valour and devotion to duty,
R.F.C. Durbin of Bromley, the British Empire Medal for shooting down a Heinkel,
J.C. Willis of Silsden, the Military Cross for gallantry in Libya,
A.H. Duringer of Birmingham, the Distinguished Flying Medal in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty,
G.A. Townsend of Brown Street, Manchester, for gallantry in the Middle East, and
T.T. Warriner of Kendal, mentioned in Despatches.
J.W. Moore, who as mentioned earlier in this letter is a Prisoner, was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry and subsequently promoted to commissioned rank on the Field.
The generous action of our friends, Brown Brothers Harriman and Company of New York in sending parcels of food to our Prisoners of War, through the American Red Cross, has been much appreciated. A few days ago, however, a letter from partners brought the news that, to their great regret, they are compelled to discontinue this practice. The following quotation in a letter from the American Red Cross to our correspondents explains the position -
"This is to notify you that the acceptance of orders for delivery of standard American Red Cross food packages to individual prisoners of war identified by name is discontinued.
Now that we are a belligerent, it is the objective of the American Red Cross to provide all American prisoners of war with standard food packages at regular intervals. The sending of additional packages to particular prisoners would not only be inequitable, but might cause a breakdown in the system of providing all prisoners with standard packages regularly. Since we do not plan to accept orders for delivery of parcels to identified American prisoners of War, we cannot continue to accept such orders for prisoners of other nationalities”
Brown Brothers inform us that they plan to follow closely the policy of the American Red Cross and should it change to enable them again to send packages to individuals they will not fail to act promptly. Mr.Furniss has written stating that he fully appreciates the position. He also extends the gratitude of the Chairman, the Directors and all at the Bank for their great kindness.
Rest periods have now practically finished and though it is disappointing to be denied the additional leave of 3 days or a week, as the case may be, I am sure there will be no complaint, having in mind all contemporary circumstances. Full advantage has been taken of the Rest House at Ambleside. It is a self-evident tribute that many have paid a return visit and a number who have had a first holiday there have written to express their pleasure.
May I, in your name, offer a welcome to those who have joined the Staff since I last wrote to you?