MEMORIES and INFORMATION relating to the

32nd (ALDRIDGE) BATTALION
SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE HOME GUARD

This is a page of www.staffshomeguard.co.uk. To see full contents, go to SITE MAP.
The most recent addition was on 2nd August 2015

 

This page deals with matters associated with the 32nd (Aldridge) Battalion ONLY and the territory for which it was responsible:

Aldridge, Barr Beacon, Brownhills, Little Aston, PelsallPheasey, Rushall, ShelfieldStreetly, Walsall Wood and neighbouring areas.

See also the 80 pages of memories and information published in 1945 by the Battalion's members.

 

FOR ALL OTHER INFORMATION ON THIS AND OTHER BATTALIONS
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THE BATTALION WITHIN THE COUNTY ORGANISATION
How the 32nd Battalion fitted into the South Staffordshire Home Guard organisation.
  

BATTALION OFFICERS
A list of officers attached to the 32nd (Aldridge) Battalion in February 1941.

"HOME GUARDING"  - THE BATTALION'S STORY
(told in the members' own words in 1944 and 1945)

INDEX OF SURNAMES AND PLACE NAMES

relating to the Battalion

OFFICERS' GROUP PHOTOGRAPH 1943

MAP OF BATTALION AREA

BIOGRAPHIES
of Battalion members

TRAINING COURSES AVAILABLE TO THE BATTN. - 1943
The linked page summarises the many training courses available to Battalions in Staffordshire: their location and content; and the names of those commanding them. Almost every subject is covered and the locations are diverse in the extreme, including: Onibury (Shropshire), Bishops Tachbrook (Warks.), Altcar (Liverpool), Umberslade Park (Hockley, Birmingham), Burnhill Green (nr. Wolverhampton), Birmingham Town Fighting School (Bristol Street), Aldridge, Redditch, Doddington (Cheshire), Burscough (Lancs.), Stoke, Ullswater, Salisbury, Blacon (Cheshire), Denbies (Surrey), Birmingham University and Warwick.
(Further information about several of these training establishments is contained elsewhere within this website. Please use the SEARCH function to find it).

 

 

AN ACT OF BRAVERY
An act of bravery by C.S.M. Harris of Chester Road North, Sutton Coldfield, reported in the Birmingham press. The incident may well have occurred at a grenade training area on the edge of the Battalion's area, near to Walsall and coincidentally but appropriately known as The Chuckery.
(The Webmaster recalls this incident being discussed with suitable admiration in his own Home Guard household.  Acknowledgement to Matt Felkin).
Added August 2015

 

 

 

INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO LOCALITIES (below)
Aldridge - Barr Beacon - Brownhills - Little Aston - PelsallPheasey - Rushall - Shelfield Streetly - Walsall Wood

 

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ALDRIDGE

A MEMORY OF ALDRIDGE HOME GUARD
Mr. Paul Bailey remembers his grandfather, Pte. E. Sleath, a member of the 32nd (Aldridge) Battalion:

"........I can still see my grandfather cleaning his rifle, issued as part of his Home Guard duties, and I have his Defence Medal issued by Lieut-Col Cowan, Secretary of the Staffs TA Association to him, Pte E Sleath, after the war.

Some weekends the Home Guard (of modern 'Dad's Army' fame) would train in the local streets - jumping in and out of local gardens as they exercised. Very often they would make their way down Paddock Lane into Dumblederry Lane and over the canal bridge to fight a mock battle either side of the canal. Local children would follow knowing that any explosive thrown into the canal would stun the fish and bring them floating to the top..........."

© Paul Bailey 2005   To read the rest of this interesting memoir - which contains other memories of wartime Aldridge and Stafford - in its original setting, the BBC's excellent People's War Archive, please click here.    (You will leave this site.  WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The complete archive can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar).

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Margaret Thompson recalls that her father, Eric Pritchard (seen right in later life), served in the Aldridge Home Guard. He had not been called up owing to a foot deformity. The family lived at that time at 20, Portland Road, Aldridge.

Neighbours also served: Percy Stevens who lived at No. 14 - he appears on the 32nd Battalion Officers group photograph, mentioned above; and Mr Hazard, at No. 24. (House numbers in that road changed in later years, Nos. 20 and 14 becoming 50 and 44 respectively). 

 

OTHER REFERENCES TO ALDRIDGE in this website.

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BARR BEACON and adjoining area

        A memory of Pte. George W. Waight of "A" Company.

        OTHER REFERENCES TO BARR BEACON in this website.

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BROWNHILLS

        Information about the Brownhills unit - "D" Coy. of the 32nd Battalion (16).
             

        OTHER REFERENCES TO BROWNHILLS in this website.

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LITTLE ASTON

LITTLE ASTON HALL and THE SCRIBBANS FAMILY
We have received a request for memories of and further information about the role played by Little Aston Hall in the war years, when it and its owner Mrs. Ada Scribbans played host to "B" Coy. of the 32nd Battalion. The request comes from a member of the Scribbans family and may be viewed in GUEST BOOK .  If you can help, please make contact direct using the email address there, or via staffshomeguard.co.uk.

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William Herrington was with the 32nd South Staffordshire (Aldridge) Battalion. He worked the land and lived in Little Aston. He did not talk much about the Home Guard perhaps because of his having lost a brother KIA in Tunisia; but one or two family memories do survive.

William Hetherington was based for some of his service on Footherly Moor where there was a mock-up of Birmingham using lighting to fool the Luftwaffe into dropping their bombs early on to an unpopulated area rather than the city itself. When the family moved into Forge Farm in Little Aston one of the bedrooms had been damaged by an incendiary bomb and perhaps this was evidence of the effectiveness of the decoy arrangements! He also worked on a anti-aircraft battery in Sutton Park. This would have been in 1943 and 1944 after significant numbers of local men had been transferred, voluntarily or otherwise, from the 32nd Battalion on to ack-ack duties. There are memories of William returning home at all hours, together with rifle but no ammunition, having slept elsewhere in his greatcoat.

(Grateful acknowledgement to Jason Allen for this information about his grandfather. See also the Visitors’ Messages page for June 2012)               

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See also STREETLY below. And see OTHER REFERENCES TO LITTLE ASTON in this website.

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PELSALL  

A PLATOON OF "D" Coy., PELSALL (6)
Click above to see this captioned photograph, taken probably in late 1941.

Pte. ALBERT SNAPE - "D" Coy., PELSALL (5) 
Please click above to read the story of Pte. Snape's Home Guard service.

MEMORIES OF LIFE IN "D" Coy., 1942 - 1944 (3)
      b
y Reg. Neville

Please click the title above to read this excellent memoir which includes references to local personalities and places, personal experiences and much detail about Home Guard activities.

OTHER REFERENCES TO PELSALL in this website.

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PHEASEY
        For references within the website please click here.

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RUSHALL         

Lt. I. COTTON, "G" Coy., RUSHALL (10)
Click above to see information on this officer who left the 32nd (Aldridge) Battalion to join the R.A.F.

No. 16 PLATOON, HELLIWELLS Ltd. (8)
Click to view a picture of this platoon, based at Walsall Airport.

 Capt. THOMAS CHAPMAN, M.C. - "G" Coy., (7)
Here is information about Capt. Chapman, a Great War hero, a Headmaster (of Birchfield Road School, Perry Barr, Birmingham) and C.O. of "G" Coy., Rushall.

OTHER REFERENCES TO RUSHALL in this website.

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SHELFIELD
        For references within the website please click here.

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STREETLY

THE HOME GUARD BONFIRE, STREETLY (9)
A memory from May 1945. Click to read.

A CHILD'S MEMORIES OF WW2 (11)
Mr. M.J. Butler makes the briefest of mentions of his father's membership of the 32nd (Aldridge) Battalion in a BBC People's War Archive memoir which will be of great interest to anyone who knows the Streetly - Parson & Clerk - Kingstanding area.

32nd BATTN. WEAPONRY: A SMALL BOY'S VIEW (4)  
Please click on the above title to read this memoir.

MEMORIES OF "B" Coy., MAY 1940 to JUNE 1942
(2) 
     b
y Graham C. Myers

This fascinating memoir includes many references to Streetly and Little Aston and describes the early life of the local Platoon (see also below).

A HOME GUARD PLATOON - ITS HISTORY
The story of a Streetly/Little Aston Platoon from formation in May/June 1940 until stand-down in December 1944, as recorded in early 1945.

A HOME GUARD PLATOON - IMAGES
The Streetly/Little Aston Platoon photographed in early 1943 and invitations received by Platoon members to assemble in order to form the unit.

A HOME GUARD PLATOON - A TEENAGER'S MEMORIES
The memories of a teenager who assisted the Platoon in an auxiliary role.

OTHER REFERENCES TO STREETLY in this website.

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WALSALL WOOD

        Information about the Walsall Wood unit - "F" Coy. of the 32nd Battalion (17).
      

STANLEY THOMAS JACQUES (1921-1987) came from a family who had lived for generations in Walsall Wood. His grandfather, Richard, was the village blacksmith and wheelwright. Stanley began an engineering apprenticeship with the GEC in Witton, Birmingham in 1938. He was therefore in a reserved occupation when war broke out but nevertheless joined the Home Guard and was a member of the 32nd Staffordshire (Aldridge) Battalion. He was still living in the Walsall Wood at an address of Friezland Lane, Common Side or Salter's Road. He was issued with documents to validate his carrying of a firearm and for the use of two Matchless despatch motorcycles. Little more is regrettably known so far about his Home Guard service but it would appear that his duties included that of acting as a Despatch Rider.

(Grateful acknowledgement to Colin Jacques for providing this information in memory of his father).
Added February 2016


        OTHER REFERENCES TO WALSALL WOOD in this website.

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WHO and WHERE?

            

Unidentified members of the 32nd Battalion undergoing weapons training. Any information on names and place would be welcome.

Webmaster.....15th May 2005

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