In the autumn of 1915, Volunteer Training Corps were being formed all over the country, and on Wednesday, 24 November, the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph printed the following account of a meeting held in Raunds on the previous Monday. The aim of the meeting was to try to rouse the town into forming their own Corps:
New Company Formed at Raunds
A public meeting, arranged by the Urban Council in response to a letter received from Mr Herbert Dulley (Battalion Commandant of the Wellingborough & District Volunteer Trainings Corps), asking the Council if they would try and form a Volunteer Corps in Raunds, was held in the Temperance Hall on Monday evening when Mr John Adams, JP, CC, (chairman of the Urban District Council), presided, supported on the platform by Mr H Dulley, Mr A G Henfrey, and Mr J Shelmerdine. Included among the rather limited attendance were noticed Messrs A Camozzi, G E Smith, W Agutter (members of the Urban District Council) and Mr W F Corby (clerk to the Council).
The Chairman explained that the meeting had been called on receipt of a letter the Council had received from Mr Dulley, asking for a Volunteers Corps to be formed in Raunds. The Council did not commit themselves, but thought that a town’s meeting should be called to consider the matter, and Messrs Dulley and Henfrey had come over to explain the objects of the Corps.
Mr Dulley, on rising, said it was a question that all were in agreement with, and was for two objects viz: The recruiting of the Territorial Forces and for home defence. Five hundred of their members had gone to the Regulars or the Territorials. This fact he thought, justified its existence. It was the duty of every man in this crisis to do what he could. They wanted to form a Corps in Raunds to help protect the railway bridges in this district, and he hoped that a good number would join, and the more that joined the lighter would be the duties. He was very grateful to Raunds for asking him to come over and try to form a Corps at Raunds.
Mr A G Henfrey and Mr J Shelmerdine also addressed the meeting.
At the close of the addresses Mr Shelmerdine proposed, and Mr W Wilkins seconded, that a Volunteer Training Corps be formed at Raunds. This was carried and several gave in their names to join. On the proposition of Mr G E Smith, seconded by Mr A Camozzi, a vote of thanks was accorded to the speakers. Mr Dulley responded, and also moved a similar vote to the chairman, which Mr Henfrey seconded, and in doing so said he hoped every one in Raunds would join and do their bit. The speaker stated that he had been to Raunds to play cricket and football, and with the Fire Brigade, and Raunds always wanted to be in front. He hoped that they would try and do the same with a Voluntary Training Corps. Mr Adams responded and said that he would be pleased to give £5 towards the equipment.
However, the Rushden Echo then related that on Monday, 17 January 1916, Messrs Shelmerdine, Camozzi, Batchelor, Hodson and Agutter, the committee appointed by the Council to consider the raising of a Volunteer Training Corps in the town, had reported that “the time is not opportune nor the conditions favourable for further proceeding with the establishment of a Corps”. Their recommendation was accepted.
And on Monday, 21 February, the committee reported again, saying that they had further considered the matter and in view of the fact that the Volunteer movement would shortly receive Government recognition and control, thought it polite to defer proceeding until the Government’s intentions were announced. Once more their recommendation was accepted.
Nothing more was heard on the matter until October 1916, when the Rushden Echo reported that on the last day of the month yet another public meeting had been held to consider the formation of a Corps. Mr John Adams, JP, CC again took the chair and both Captain’s Dulley and Henfrey once more addressed the assembly.
Captain Dulley explained that the Volunteers were required to make themselves efficient and to hold themselves ready in case of any emergency, and that Raunds ought to be able to raise at least 120 men. Captain Henfrey said the town ought to form a Volunteer Corps, as if not, Raunds would be the only place in the district in the boot trade without one!
Then, echoing his actions of twelve months previous, Mr J Shelmerdine, JP, proposed “That a Volunteer Corps be formed in Raunds”. This time, about 40 men responded and put their names to paper.
However, after then, silence! No further reports of meetings or related activities appeared in the local press, leaving one to draw the conclusion that Raunds did indeed remain as the only place in the district in the boot trade without its own Volunteer Training Corps during World War 1.