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The 31st and 32nd Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalions consisted entirely of members of the Birmingham City Transport Department, formed in March 1941 from earlier Birmingham Battalions, the 9th, 11th and 12th. Members were based at the various departmental premises throughout the city and their primary role was to defend and protect these depots against enemy action of any kind. Individual units also cooperated with other Home Guard formations who were responsible for the geographical area in which the particular B.C.T. facility was located. Most of the information about these two Battalions, consisting of 3000 to 3500 men in total, comes from a commemorative booklet published in January 1945 after the stand-down which had occurred the previous month. The full contents of the booklet can be read elsewhere within this website.

One member of the 31st Battalion was Private Hubert Simpson Watkin b.1909. His name, like that of all the other Battalion members, appears within the booklet and confirms that he was in "A" Company in "P.35 Unit" whose HQ was at the Arthur Street Depot in Small Heath. Some of his papers have survived and are reproduced on this page.

His identity card, countersigned by Capt. E.C. Hull, confirming his HG membership, and by an Inspector in the B.C.T., was issued on 16th August 1940.  His address at that time was 69 Bankdale Road, Alum Rock. The card was updated on April 18th 1946, presumably to confirm a change of address to 57 Willclare Road, Yardley. His function within the B.C.T. is unknown.

Also unknown is any information about the many, many hundreds of hours of duty he would have put in over four-and-a-half long years - weekends, evenings and nights, on firewatching, civil defence work during nights of the Blitz, guard duty and constant military training - and all this on top of the day job and unpaid. All that we know, from the following King's certificate, is that Hubert enlisted voluntarily in the Home Guard on 14th June, 1940 - within a few days of the very beginning - and served right through to the stand-down in December 1944.

One of the outstanding aspects of HG history is the camaraderie which developed during years of hardship, discomfort and labour and survived after the war, in some cases for a long time. Clearly the 31st and 32nd Battalions were no exception and a record survives of a reunion held on the first anniversary of the stand-down, on Saturday 8th December 1945 and held at the Kyotts Lake Road Works.

Many of the names shown in the above pages are mentioned in the 31st/32nd Battalions booklet, often with images of the men concerned.

Let us hope that this happy evening of friendship was repeated over the years to come.


Both staffshomeguard and the owners of the above documentation would like to establish contact with any relative/descendant of Hubert Watkin. If you can help, please contact staffshomeguard using this link:

Grateful acknowledgement is made to Pam Moore for bringing these documents to the attention of staffshomeguard and generously permitting their publication.

Other Information about the Birmingham Home Guard
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x124 - November 2015