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THE physical fitness side of our training has always been difficult because of the wide age-range unavoidable in Home Guard units, but the Commanding Officer has throughout been very anxious to do whatever was possible in the circumstances. His unfailing support in our efforts has been a constant source of encouragement to all concerned.

Although the usual games of soccer and cricket have been played between companies and outside units from time to time, and our boxing team was most successful in the Area and Sector tournaments, our chief concern has been the Annual Sports Meeting. In these, the aim has been to improve the physical fitness through training, and to provide an occasion when all ranks could meet their comrades in friendly athletic competition. Those hours of strenuous training and practice for weeks prior to the Sports were invaluable, not only because they made better athletes, but because they better fitted the Home Guard for his duties.

The Sports days were also grand social events, when wives, families, and friends

came along to see the youth and veteran compete for the good of the cause and the honour of the Company. The sideshows, ladies' and childrens' races, which were later incorporated in the programme, gave all a chance to join in the fun.

The first meeting was held in 1941 at the Rushall Cricket Ground, and this "set the pace" for the others which followed, with mounting success, at Walsall Wood Football Ground for two years and, finally, at Cedar Court Meadows, Aldridge, in 1944. As time went on, the scope of the events was considerably broadened to include races for pre-service units and other youth organisations, but, in the main, the competition catered for the Home Guards of our own Battalion.

In various events the standard of performance gradually improved so that, by 1944, there were some very creditable times and distances recorded. The sprint was won in 1941 in 11.8 seconds - in 1944 in 10.8 seconds. The mile in 1943 was covered in 5 minutes 59 seconds - in 1944 in 5 minutes 25 seconds. The heights and distances in the field events showed similar improvement.