THREE CAMBRIDGE MEN
CITIZENS PAY TRIBUTE
The intense regard and respect for the members of our forces, especially overseas, was evidenced at the Town Hall on Saturday Night, when about 800 district residents assembled and gave three Cambridge men a royal welcome home.
Wing-Commander E.P. WELLS, D.S.O., D.F.C. and Bar.
Sergeant KEITH HORN (Operator-Gunner)
Gunner THOMAS J. CHARD (Artillery)
The Town Hall presented a gay and joyous scene, and when the three men entered the hall and approached the stage through a most representative guard of honour of ex-servicemen, they were applauded to the echo.
The Acting-Mayor (Mr A. H. Nicholl) in welcoming home the three men on behalf of the people, said it was a most pleasant duty to welcome home such a distinguished guest as Wing-Commander E.P. Wells, D.S.O., D.F.C. and Bar; also Gunner Thomas Chard and Sergeant Keith Horn.
All present were well aware of the splendid record of Wing-Commander Wells. Gunner Chard had served his country well. He had seen two and a half years of service, and had been through the Greece and Crete battles and the second Libyan campaign. Sergeant Keith Horn had also served his country well.
"Apart from the importance of the occasion there was one thing the guests could feel certain of, and that was the sincerity of the welcome," said Mr Nicholl. "I would take as my text two words, and they will sum up all that I could possibly say. They are 'Welcome home.' Welcome home Wing-Commander Wells, Thomas Chard and Keith Horn. No words can express the pride and pleasure of the people of Cambridge in following the notable career of Wing-Commander Wells and of how fervently they wished that he might be spared to return to them. The wish of the people had now been realised, and it was pardonable on the part that they wished to share in the joy of the parents."
Mr Nicholl remarked that it had been said that courage is a password to respect, and with such guests as they had with them that night it was impossible for the good name of this country throughout the world to lessen. While they were celebrating a joyous occasion they must not forget to remember and sympathise with the parents and relatives of men who had fallen. To all members of the army, navy, air force and nurses who had so gloriously served their country in this war so far they would pay tribute. It was a tribute beyond the powers of words to express, and so, on behalf of the people, he would extend to Wing-Commander E.P. Wells, Gunner Thomas Chard and Sergeant Keith Horn the wish of good health and fortune in the future, and he would close by saying to them: "You are a credit to your country. Welcome home, and well done." - (Sustained applause).
On behalf of the Returned Services' Association, Mr R. Newcombe (president) added an equally warm welcome. "It is unique," said Mr Newcombe, "that as we welcome home Wing-Commander Wells we are finishing the work of preparing his old home as a club for men returning from the present war. What Wing-Commander Wells had done so had the other two men to the best of their ability. He was certain that whatever Wing-Commander Wells's mission may be he would carry it out well.
In rising to reply. also on behalf of his two mates, Wing-Commander Wells was given a great reception. "Good Old Bill" was voiced strongly and feelingly by one of his former schoolmates, and the reply of the wing-commander was typical of "Bill." He thanked them all for a very genuine welcome home. They had not expected anything like it. The wing-commander also spoke in special appreciation of the parcels the boys regularly received from the ladies of the Patriotic Committee.
At the conclusion of his reply three ringing cheers were given for the guests.
The "welcome home" was followed by a most enjoyable dance. Among those present were many servicemen, including some visitors on their way to Rotorua. During the course of a bountiful supper served by the ladies of the Patriotic Committee, assisted by members of the W.W.S.A. the guests of the evening were able to be greeted by a host of friends.
Wing-Commander Wells arrived home from Auckland on Tuesday morning last, and it was fitting that he was met only by the two people that mattered most - his father and mother. Interviewed after their son's arrival, both Mr and Mrs Wells expressed happiness to "The Independent's" reporter. It can be appreciated that there was a similar reaction on the part of the relatives of Sergeant Horn and Gunner Chard.