VAD Commandant Green to stand down

[Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph: December 2nd, 1919]

On Saturday a very pleasant evening was spent at the Dujon Restaurant [George Street] by the members of the local No 1 Voluntary Aid Detachment connected with the British Red Cross Society, who were the guests of their Commandant, Mr J. W. Green. The company also included Mrs J. W. Green OBE, Mrs R. Durler OBE, Mrs Hartop, Miss Hobbs, the Misses W. M. and E. M. Green and Dr Archibald, and about 40 guests sat down to an excellent repast provided by Messrs Dudeney & Johnston.

After the dinner, 'The King and Royal Family' was loyally and heartily proposed by the host, who also acted in the capacity of Chairman in his usual jovial manner.

A 'Silent Toast' was given in honour of the three members of the Detachment who left to go overseas and had made the great sacrifice. The Chairman made a touching reference to each of the heroic three – Messrs W. H. Trotter, Richardson and Herbert Clark (torpedoed).

J. W. GreenIn proposing 'Continued Success to the British Red Cross Society and St John Ambulance Brigade,' Mr Green said that the limited time at his disposal made it impossible for him to detail the glorious and wonderful work which had been accomplished by the British Red Cross Society. Those present were members of the British Red Cross Society, and they should be proud of it. The men on each side of the table had done most excellent work at Wardown Hospital in a quiet way. After doing a full day's work in their ordinary capacities, they had walked to Wardown or gone down on a tram – if they could get in it – and had done great service.

He was sure the committee of Wardown Hospital greatly appreciated the useful work which had been done by the Detachment, whose splendid efforts had proved a devotion to duty of which he, as their leader, felt very proud.

He also mentioned the services rendered by Mr Percy Young at Netley, and said that he was glad to welcome Mr Young there. Continuing, Mr Green said that he was very pleased to have this opportunity of thanking his men – possibly for the last time as their Commandant – and he hoped his friendship with them had been cemented.

He was disappointed that Lieut-Col Stevens, he County Director of the British Red Cross Society, had been prevented at the last moment from attending the dinner, and therefore could not reply to the toast. He (the speaker) was very glad to welcome Dr Archibald there that evening and thought the company would not be complete without the doctor's presence.

Dr Archibald, whose popularity was evinced by continued applause, replied. He said he felt at a disadvantage in replying to the toast, as his military duties took him away from the town on August 7th, 1914, and he did not get back until last April. He had therefore not been in close touch with the activities of the local branch of the British Red Cross Society, but since his return had heard nothing but praise from patients and others of the excellent work which had been done at Wardown Hospital.

The toast of 'The Chairman' was proposed by Section Leader A. Dines and Section Leader Weatherhead. Section Leader Dines said the Chairman, as their Commandant, had faithfully led the Detachment since 1911, whether at Bedford, Ampthill, Hoo Park or the Dujon Restaurant. Their Commandant did not lead them inside Wardown, but turned them over to the Queen and Princesses of his own household.

Section Leader Weatherhead said the men of both sections desired to show their esteem and respect for their Commandant by presenting him with a walking stick, which he hoped would be accepted with the best wishes of his old boys.

The presentation was then made to Mr Green of a handsome ebony silver-mounted walking stick, bearing the following inscription: “Presented to J. W. Green, Esq, with best wishes from the Men's Sections of the Luton V.A.D., 29-11-19.”

Mr Green, who was given musical honours and ringing cheers, said that he did not know that he was going to receive this token of their goodwill, and he accepted it with very much pleasure, as it was just what he wanted. He had not lost a stick or umbrella for the last 30 years, and he never went out unless he carried either. It was not an “every day” stick which he had been presented with, and he should reserve it for special occasions.

He thanked the members of the Detachment for their kindness. It was about the last time he would have the honour of addressing them as their Commandant, and he thought his position should be filled by a younger man, and his resignation was not in the hands of the County Director, Lieut-Col Stevens. Lieut-Col Stevens had told him it was not a question of a younger man, but a question of the right man, and had kindly said that he (the speaker) was the right man.

Mr Green said it was very good of the members to appreciate all he had done. He had tried his best, and now felt the time had arrived when he must say farewell. He would have to talk over the matter with the two Section Leaders and see whether some local gentleman could be found to take the post of Commandant, as there was still a lot to be done, and he hoped that the Detachment would prosper and the membership increase. He wished to thank them all from the bottom of his heart.

A presentation of badges and certificates was made by Mrs J. W. Green to the following men – County Badges: D. Clark, W. J. Weedon, W. H. Trotter (widow of), Robert Martin and Alfred Maddock. Five years service badges: William H. Weatherhead, G. Longley, H. S. Thorne, A. Revell, A. Munday, A. Thorne, J. J. Shackleton, A. How, T. Burnham, Arthur Dines, Sidney Moody, Edward Northwood, Albert Beckwith, William Burgess, Herbert Challice, Charles Crick, George Mitchell, Alfred Clarke, Arthur Cook, Edward Leverett and Edward Dyer. The rolls of honourable service: William H. Weatherhead, Joseph Shackleton, Arthur Munday, Percy Young, Frank Hucklesby, Arthur Dines, Sidney Moody, Edward Northwood, Albert Beckwith, William Burgess, Herbert Challice, Charles Crick, George Mitchell, Alfred Clarke, Arthur Cook, Edward Leverett and Edward Dyer.

A vote of thanks to Mrs Green was proposed by Section Leader Weatherhead and seconded by Mr Northwood. Mrs Green was given a rousing and warm-hearted reception, the company singing 'For she's a jolly good lady'.

Mrs Green referred to Wardown Hospital, and said that all the ladies present that evening had loved the work there, and felt it their duty to do it. She thanked the men of the Detachment very much for what they had done, as she knew what very useful and necessary duties they had carried out nightly at Wardown, after putting in a full day on Government work. Mrs Green further stated that she hoped the British Red Cross Society would continue, and urged those present to remain united.

Sister Hobbs briefly thanked all of the men for the good work she knew they had done at Wardown.

An excellent concert was given by three members of the Three Arts Club. Miss Julia Larkins gave clever child impersonations and songs at the piano. Mr Wilson James told many amusing stories, and Mr Gale Gardner charmed the audience with his delightful baritone voice.

At 10.30 the proceedings were concluded by the singing of the National Anthem, which ended a most successful and enjoyable gathering.