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MEMORIES AND INFORMATION - STAFFORDSHIRE HOME GUARD 
34th STAFFORDSHIRE (BILSTON) BATTN.
Major HORACE JUDGE GEORGE

BATTALION PARADE and REVIEW - 1943
 

The 34th Staffordshire (Bilston) Battalion of the Home Guard had amongst its members Major Horace Judge George.  

Major George was initially a Platoon Commander but later became a Company Commander and second in command to the Battalion C.O., Lt.-Col. J Pitkeathley, M.C.

We are fortunate that the family archive of Horace George and his successors still include a quantity of images which provide further glimpses of the life of this Battalion and these unique photographs are all reproduced within this website, as follows:

Battalion Parade/Review - Bilston - 1943 (this page)
Major Horace Judge George
Battalion Display - Hickman Park - 1944
The Coseley Home Guard

 

PARADE and REVIEW - BILSTON TOWN CENTRE - 1943
In the summer of 1943, Bilston town centre was witness to a large Home Guard parade.

Such parades were organised from time to time: they were designed to keep the Home Guard in the public eye, to maintain morale, to celebrate the various anniversaries of the founding of the service in May 1940 and to support national fund-raising exercises such as "Wings for Victory", "Warship Week" and "Salute the Soldier". The last parade would take place on Sunday 3rd December 1944 to mark the stand-down of the service after four-and-half- years; almost every town in the country saw such a celebration and Bilston would have been no exception.

But the parade shown in the following images took place at a sunnier time of the year. At that moment, however, the war was still to last almost a further two years and there was no let up in the Home Guard's normal activities. The precise occasion is so far unknown but it is likely to have taken place in the summer of 1943, during the period of office as Mayor of Mr. John Willis Pearson. In view of the presence of an RAF officer on the reviewing dais, it could well have been associated with that year's "Wings for Victory" Week. (The targets for these Weeks in 1943 were staggeringly high: that for Bilston is unknown but for nearby towns the aim was reported to be, for Dudley 500,000
(2016 value: 21m.); Tipton and Wednesbury, each 250,000 (10m.) ; and Sedgeley 100,000 (4m.).  All of these targets were comfortably exceeded).

Major Horace George would dearly like to have partipated in the march-past, at the head of his men. But because of his disability (he had lost a leg in the Great War) it was decided that he should stand on the dais when the Mayor, accompanied by other dignitaries took the salute as the Home Guard paraded in front of them. It was one of the few times he had to admit defeat; he felt that because of the loss of his leg, he not only had to be as good as his men but better.

N.B.  If you wish to view higher definition versions of any of the following images, please click on the particular image. Depending on the device you are using, it will then display either as a magnified image or as a higher definition image capable of magnification.

 

THE PARADE
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

THE REVIEW
 
On the reviewing stand are, in the first image (left to right) :
Unknown R.A.F. officer, Major Horace George, unknown Army reviewing officer, the Mayor of Bilston (1942/3) Mr. John Willis Pearson.
 

And around it, many unknown citizens of Bilston, young and old.
 
 

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Associated pages:
Major Horace Judge George .... Battalion Display
See also:
The 34th Staffordshire (Bilston) Battalion Summary Page

Acknowledgement
Grateful acknowledgement is made to Ben and Pam George for much of this information about Ben's father and his comrades; and for their generous permission for its publication within this website.
Images Ben George 2017