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BEGAN this introduction a few hours after the Secretary of State for War had broadcast his message to the Home Guard on 5th September, 1944.

I wonder what your feelings were when he told us that in effect, our services were no longer required.  I must confess that my first reaction was a certain relief that it would not be necessary to turn out at nights whether I wished to or not, real regret that many happy associations might soon be broken and a query in my heart as to the part I and others like me will play, after this war is over, in the life of the district in which we have spent so much time, thought, and energy during the past four and a half years.

From the beginning I have been amazed at the resources which this corner of Staffordshire has proved it possesses.  I believe that the urban districts of Aldridge and Brownhills which comprise our area have every reason to be proud of those who have made up the 32nd Battalion.  Men have learnt to stand on their feet and lecture on all kinds of subjects, not only military.  Others have developed a sense of leadership which not only  


surprised themselves, but their friends and families. So many have shown a sense of duty, a determination to carry on which had never been demanded of them to the same extent before.

We have been a fortunate battalion.  Our area covers a good bit of country, extensive, though not too much so, studded by villages each of which has provided its quota of stout hearts, and in practically every case has become the H.Q. of a company.  There has been rivalry between companies, and yet a loyalty to each other and to the battalion, which has been quite remarkable.

We have been a happy battalion.  There have been few problems to solve other than those which one must expect in any organization. And for this state of affairs, I must pay tribute to the Officers and N.C.Os. for their devotion to duty and to their untiring efforts to make themselves helpful to the men under their command.  Not for one moment am I inferring that the men have not played their part.  On the contrary.  If I had to honour some more than others it would be that solid cadre of faithful men in the ranks through whose steadfastness and reliability, guards and parades have been carried out in all circumstances.