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MEMORIES and INFORMATION: 32nd Battn. (16)
32nd Staffordshire (Aldridge) Battalion
was defended by "C" Company of the
Staffordshire (Aldridge) Battalion whose C.O.
for much of the war was
C. Cartwright, D.S.O., M.C.
Battalion area map, right - click on it to
Brownhills had fallen within the area of
responsibilty of a different battalion when
the Home Guard was initially formed in
Lt.-Col. A.A. Trowell,
C.O. of 10th/11th Staffordshire (Lichfield)
Battalions from 1940 onwards, wrote in January
("Burntwood Home Guard Stand-Down")
that on its formation the 10th comprised three
In those early weeks, however, the HG
organisation throughout the country quickly
evolved as more men volunteered, local needs
were better identified and more logical
command structures became evident. In this
process Brownhills became part of the 32nd
Staffordshire whilst the 10th Staffordshire
(Lichfield) took over
In his own review of the
role of the Brownhills Company, written
immediately after stand-down in December 1944,
Lt.-Col. Cartwright wrote:
.....(The 32nd Staffordshire) began
as part of a much larger unit.
In the weeks immediately following the
enrolment of the L.D.V. we were part
of the Wednesbury Group corresponding
with the Wednesbury Police Division,
and including Bilston, Wednesbury,
Darlaston and Aldridge.
Brownhills, at that time, was in the
Lichfield Group and was not
transferred to the Central Midland
District until July 1940. Shortly
before I took over, on 1st September,
1940, the present battalion was
.....As I have said, Brownhills
had only just been transferred to this
area when I took over the battalion.
It was a momentous move as far as this
battalion was concerned. Brownhills
then became our "C" Company and, as
such, made a very fine contribution to
the part played by the battalion. It
had numbers, it had grand material in
the ranks, a particularly good
tradition among the N.C.Os , fostered
and maintained by its two C.S.M.s, and
it had splendid officers who took
their jobs very seriously and made
what I have considered to be as
satisfactory a set of company officers
as could be found anywhere in the H.G.
......I have touched on "C" Company
in my introductory notes, but without
mentioning the names of those who
contributed to the success achieved by
assumed command when
to B.H.Q., was a most efficient
trainer of men, a master of detail,
and an amusing correspondent. Some of
his contributions to B.H.Q. were
certainly not in the orthodox style,
but they were journalistically bright
and often, when they were critical,
dangerously near the truth. I liked
his telegram to the A.A. on the
occasion of the latter's birthday:
"Wishing you very many and moderately
(The full article
can be read
elsewhere within this website)
Wheatley, the genial pipe expert, who
was with the company until lately,
when he was appointed Liaison Officer
between H.G. and H.G.H.A.A. Bty. And
Miller, a born leader and a winner of
Chaplin, who delighted
in all the horrible equipment of the
commando, and, incidentally, with his
platoon represented Garrison in the
District Finals Platoon Competition in
1943. Sadler, who served the company
so faithfully in a variety of ways,
Tyrrell, Kendall, Murray, Fletcher,
and not forgetting C.S.M.
and names such as
and many others come to mind.......
A few images of the Brownhills Home Guard
The following group image
shows one of the units within the Company:
From the left:
Front row: Mr. Maddox, Mr. Mason, Len Sadler,
Norman Waine, Fred Bowen, Mr. Yewall, A.N.
Second row: Harry Cox (from Shire
Oaks Hill, David Fullelove, - , - , - , -
Back row: Edgar Pritchard, - ,
Jack Brewe, Fred Heath, - , - , - , - .
Part of the interest of this image comes from
the unusual dress of the men. They are wearing
Home Guard issue forage caps, greatcoats and
possibly, in some cases, boots; but otherwise
they are in civilian clothes. This suggests
that the photograph was taken in the late autumn of 1940,
at a moment when some parts of the kit had
been issued but some was yet to arrive. Even
within a single Battalion it seems that the
issue of kit was patchy, with different units
receiving different items in different
quantities at different
Two pieces of very early kit, perhaps even
the first, belonging to David Fullelove,
survive. They are his LDV armband, quickly
superseded on Churchill's instruction by a
similar one bearing the title "Home Guard".
These armbands, in the earliest days, would
have been the sole obvious confirmation of his
status as a member of the Local Defence
Volunteers/Home Guard. They might - or more
probably might not - have saved him from being
summarily shot as a
franc tireur in the event
of the Germans arriving.
Fullelove (whose father appears in the above
group) recalls that an early HQ was set up in
the warden's post by the
in Lichfield Road.
a march-past by the unit with the
North Fire Station just visible to the right.
Sgt. Harry Bradley is on the extreme right.
The date is unknown but it is clearly summer
and the occasion may well have been one of the
anniversaries of the foundation of the Home
Guard which were celebrated each May, from
1941 to 1944.
To find references within the site to subjects
mentioned above please use either the
Index of Surnames
and Place Names
relating to the 32nd Battalion or the general website
Staffshomeguard would welcome any further
information which visitors to the page may
have; to help us add to the story of the
Brownhills Home Guard, please use
Much of the above
information first appeared in the excellent
BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog website.
Grateful acknowledgement is made to the
contributors including "Bob", Reg Fullelove
Peter Cutler, David Evans, "goodcuppa"
and Michael Cox.
(The HG group and
armband images are
© Reg Fullelove
D16 April 2015, updated