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In late 1942 or very early 1943 an unknown staff officer wrote a useful summary of this sector of the South Staffordshire Zone, the sector comprising the 20th - 26th Staffordshire Battalions. This was written at the behest of Mr. Charles Graves who had been commissioned to write a book entitled "The Home Guard of Great Britain" (Hudson & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1943). The Sector report was published and is reproduced in its entirety below.



The Sector consists of seven Battalions - the 20th to 26th South Staffs inclusive, four of which (the 20th to 23rd) are known as the town Battalions; the other three are the 24th (Tettenhall), 25th (Brewood) and 26th (Willenhall and Wednesfield).

Col. W. J. Beddows, M.C., is Sector Commander. Rightfrom the start of the Sector (at that time referred to as a Group) there was a tremendous rush to 'sign on'. Col. Beddows made a strong appeal to the townspeople to rally and give the L.D.V. full support. He expected to see between 600 to 800 on the recruiting ground. He was not the only one surprised, and proudly so, to find well over that number present to enrol. It was a wonderful sight, and there were only two men in uniform - Col. Beddows and Sgt.-Major E. T. Morse (now a Captain).

Slowly but surely the Sector took shape from that date, and many of the senior officers recall how at the start there were only fifty rifles between hundreds of men, and this issue was two weeks after the formation of the L.D.V. However, rapid steps were taken to collect sporting guns and old rifles, and a local firm came to the rescue by manufacturing a large number of pikes.

The ingenuity shown by the members of the Sector in its initial stages in making their own weapons was extraordinary. The Tettenhall Battalion produced a first-class home-made flame-thrower.

In January, 1941, Lt. Col. A. C. Shortt, of the War Office, visited Wolverhampton for the purpose of judging a drill competition, and without hesitation said, when presenting the cup to the winners, that the standard was very high, and equal to some he had seen in the Regular Army.

Hundreds of officers and men have passed through the Sector Training School, and the comprehensive course has turned out hundreds of platoon and section leaders. Many of these men have been called to the Colours, and several have written saying that they owe their promotions and commissions to the valuable training received. The men behind the scenes at this school, open all the year round and five nights weekly, are Lt. Col. C. H. Dunkley, M.C., Capt. E. T. Morse, and Sgt.-Major F. Rudge.

The Sector is proud of its own A.A. Battery. This new phase of Home Guard activity attracted hundreds of volunteers in addition to men drafted from the various Battalions, and from the start a system of training was introduced which eliminated men from staying in the same grade a moment longer than was necessary once they had become proficient at each stage of the specialized training.

Some of the men serving in this Battery helped to make the guns they manned. Many old gunners rushed to join; the popular phrase: 'once a gunner always a gunner,' was well borne out.

This form of Home Guard service had a particular appeal in this important industrial area to men working in local factories who possessed technical knowledge.

The Sector was the first in the country to have a cadet unit affiliated to it. Many of these lads on passing the age limit have developed into first-class Home Guards.

The rifle range of the 23rd Battalion is one of the finest in the Midlands. This range occupies the same position as one laid down over half a century ago, and one which was used extensively before and during the last war. Men of the Battalion worked hard to excavate the original butts, and there were sighs of relief to find the concrete foundations in the same condition as when laid.

One of the high spots of the training of one Company in the 24th Battalion is over a special Commando type of battle course situated in one of the county's most picturesque villages. This course has proved extremely successful, and includes the wading, waist-high, through a brook, and finishes by the climbing of a steep side of a sandpit, fifty feet high, with the aid of ropes.

A 'battle inoculation' course, during which many members of the Home Guard experienced being under live fire for the first time, was introduced by the 22nd Battalion.

Members of 'G' Sector have been congratulated many times for the part they have played in emergencies, and two occasions stand out prominently. The first was when an important store caught on fire. Home Guards helped to fight the flames, and were responsible for saving hundreds of tons of inflammable goods. The second occasion was on another night, when Wolverhampton suffered from the effects of hundreds of incendiary bombs. These fell in several areas, but were concentrated largely to one section of the town. No one worked harder to help the Civil Defence authorities that night than the Home Guard.

In the 1943 New Year's Honours List, Graham Wellesley Smith, a member of 'D' Company, 23rd Battalion, received the British Empire Medal.

The lighter side of the Home Guard is emphasized in the following story: The scene was the orderly room at B Company's H.Q,. of the 23rd Battalion. A woman walked in and demanded to see the O.C. This she was allowed to do, and she said that she had come to see him about her husband. "Madam," explained the O.C., "your husband has to do his parades and guards like every other member of this Company."
"I am quite sure of that," was the woman's reply. "What I have come to see you about is to try and get you to make him do more parades and guards."

Another good story is told by a sergeant-major who was giving a demonstration of A.A. fire. He told his Platoon that they would get better results if they waited until the dive-bomber got to at least one thousand feet from the ground. "Would it be advisable to fix bayonets?" was one of the questions directed to him. The sergeant-major, for the first time in his life, was struck speechless.

* See here the Express & Star report of 22nd May 1940
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(Acknowledgement is made to "The Home Guard of Britain", a book long since out of print but one which remains an invaluable source of information about many Home Guard units throughout the country).