The Home Guard of Great Britain, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton


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Mr David Dulson wrote a fascinating memoir of his childhood in Small Heath, Birmingham and in Wolverhampton for the BBC WW2 People's War Archive. This was entitled "Wartime in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, 1939-1946" and is well worth reading in full (see link below). Within it he makes reference to the 23rd (Wolverhampton) Battalion.  An extract from this article relating to the Battalion is reproduced below.

........My brother in law was working for Hobsons Carburettors, designing fuel systems for military aircraft. This was secret war work and he was exempt from the forces, so he joined the Home Guard. Their H.Q. was at Park Hall about a mile away from our house. He was a lieutenant, in the 23rd Battalion.

Our house was surrounded by fields and just a few hundred yards away were the remains of a First World War Rifle range complete with mechanical target holders. The Home Guard cleaned these up and got them working again so on occasional Sunday mornings rifle firing practice would take place and afterwards the rifles would be handed in at our house for cleaning, before being collected by lorry and take back to the H.Q. I found Sunday afternoons great fun helping to strip and clean the guns, (little did I realise how useful this would be, when I did my National Service in 1950 as I knew more about the Lee-Enfield rifle than the instructor did!).

One of the men in the H.G. was a chemist and he used to make a small smoke bomb, about the size of a tennis ball, with a flat area with a striker pad, when this was rubbed with sand paper it would ignite, these were used on manoeuvres as hand grenades. Some of these manoeuvres would take place in the local streets, another battalion from a different part of the town would act as the enemy force, our local men would be hiding in gardens, behind the walls, and hedges and would be wearing green lapel markers, the enemy would wear red tags, so I would ride around on my bike to locate the enemy troops, and then alert our men and keep them up to date as to the whereabouts of the enemy, as there were no means of communication with the other groups in the area, I used to take messages from one group to another, which proved very useful when an attack was imminent......


© David Dulson 2004

This article appears within the BBC's WW2 People's War Archive under the heading "Wartime in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, 1939-1946" by David Dulson. Please click on the title to read the whole of this memoir in its original setting.
WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at
Grateful acknowledgement is made to the BBC and to the author for the creation of this record under terms which permit its reproduction on this website.