AND INFORMATION - WARWICKSHIRE
COLDFIELD HOME GUARD
Lt. J. H. KEMP, Lt. H.E. PEARCE,
Lt. R.L. THOMAS and
is a page within the www.staffshomeguard.co.uk website.
see full contents, go to SITE
The area of Sutton Coldfield
was the responsibility of the 6th Warwickshire (Sutton)
In 1941 the Battalion was commanded by Lt.
Col. W. Bigwood, M.C.,
late of the Indian Army. The officially recorded list of
serving officers at that time is far from complete but it
Green, J. Iveson, H.E. Pearce and J.H.
Clark, W.A. Butterfield, S.V. Allton, C. Windsor, W.A.
Kean, J. Irwin,
D.G. Young and
lived on the corner of Four Oaks Road and Streetly Lane,
adjacent to Burcot Grange School. There are group
images of this Battalion to be found on the pages
devoted to another officer mentioned below.
names who are remembered
include Cpl. Peter Geoffrey Bate
diary of 1941),
John R. Brosch,
Cpl. Douglas Thomas and
Sgt. William Thornton,;
and, of unknown rank, Messrs. G.W. Bingham, W.
Garner, Dennis Hood, Hammond, Killick, F.
Norton, Saveker ?, Slater, "Mac" Webb
(Click the links to read the story of those individuals elsewhere in this website).
The information below relates to
three further officers of the 6th Battalion.
John Herbert (Jack) Kemp
was also an officer in the 6th Warwicks. He was almost
certainly promoted in the course of the Battalion's
existence, probably in 1942/43, unlike most of his brother
have seen Great War experience and were quickly given
positions of authority in May/June 1940. As men with
special personal qualities of leadership, ability and
specialist skills were identified, they were promoted to
appropriate positions and Jack Kemp
obviously fell into that category.
Jack Kemp was an engineer by
profession and inclination, working for a Sutton company
and also pursuing similar interests in his spare time. He
lived with his wife and two young daughters at
11 Oakwood Road, Boldmere
and is seen (right)
with them in 1944.
An interesting group image
survives in his papers:
Jack Kemp is in the centre of
the back row, 5th from each end and all the men are Home
We cannot be 100% sure of the
interpretation of this image. The assumption has to be
that it shows him with twenty-five of his fellow 6th
Battalion officers. Slight doubt creeps in, however: none
of the faces is recognisable as belonging to men known to
have been Battalion members; and twenty-six is a strange
number for a group of this type - too large for an
individual Company within the Battalion and too few for
the Battalion as a whole. The other possibilty is a group
of men from various units, including Jack, on some
training course or other - even perhaps one for newly
commissioned officers. We hope to clarify this in due
further officer was Lt. Rupert
L. Thomas. He lived during the war
years, and later, at
37 Walsall Road, Four Oaks,
with his wife and daughter, Nora
(later the wife of
Pte. Graham Myers,
32nd Staffs H.G. and Royal Artillery). Like
so many of his Home Guard comrades, this officer, sometime
Captain in a Welsh regiment, was a survivor of the Western
Front. He joined the LDV in the earliest days and became
a platoon commander, responsible for the area around Wishaw.
In addition to his skills and experience he brought with
him his service revolver and just two rounds of ammunition,
to supplement the Battalion's inadequate armoury. For the
rest of his Home Guard service Rupert Thomas was known by
his comrades as "Two-Shots Thomas". The Company
HQ of his unit was within a disused pub on the corner of
Tamworth Road and Whitehouse Common
We are very pleased to have
received from Mr. G.W.A. Pearce, late of Sutton Coldfield,
a fascinating memory of another member of this Battalion,
his late father, Lt. Harold E.
Pearce. We reproduce it below with the author's
He is pictured right
in 1940 in the denim uniform which started to be issued
to Home Guards at the end of May, long before full battledress
became available towards the end of the year.
We lived at
Road, Boldmere at that time and almost at once he was appointed
as Musketry Officer for the local Battalion, as a Lieutenant.
He was a self-employed accountant and auditor by day and
did his Home Guard parades or duties on many evenings, including
weapon training sessions, and guard duties at the
Alloy Co Ltd., a company making aluminium parts for aircraft,
at, I think, Minworth, near Walmley. He also attended a
short course on the Blacker Bombard or Spigot Mortar, a
device for projecting a rugger ball sized bomb with a long
hollow tube tail, from a heavy metal spigot, about 2 inches
diameter and 3 feet long.