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Home Guard Stationed At Perry Park

Matt Evans

New Member
Hopefully someone will be able to help me. I'm trying to track down info for my father about his dad who lived in great Hampton row. I'm trying to find some information about his time in the home guard. I believe he have served at Perry Park as part of the Anti aircraft units. I also vaguely remember him telling me he was a Missile Aimer. I think the guns at Perry Park protected the chemical works. I know he was a draftsman building tail sections and engine cases on Lancaster bombers during the day when off duty no idea where in Brum.
I have applied for his service record, however if anybody has other information or photos that would help in my search to help my dad as he is getting on now and I would like to fill some blanks for him. Any help would be appreciated.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
hello matt and welcome to the forum...hopefully someone can help you fill in the gaps but in case you are interested there is a thead for great hampton row with quite a few photos on it...

lyn
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
1947 aerial view of the army huts next to the boating pool in Perry Barr park and some other small military looking buildings around that circular path to the left the huts.
click the pic twice to enlarge it
The above post might be of interest although the pic is dated 1947. As a very small child I used to hear those guns and the sounds of the shrapnel from them dropping all around. A direct link to the post https://birminghamhistory.co.uk/for...my-huts-1948-onwards.37452/page-2#post-591247
 

nickcc101

master brummie
Not sure about Perry Barr Park but the guns etc were also based at Perry Hall playing fields. My Mother would tell of the Shrapnel landing on the roof of our house in Dewsbury grove also the damage done to the roof tiles.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Matt, oldMohawk has mentioned (in post #3) a useful parallel thread which gives some snippets of useful information. Worth looking at.

You mention the function of "missile aimer" This would imply to me that your grandfather served on a Z-battery rocket anti-aircraft site as opposed to the normal a-a gun installation. (Plenty of online information available about z-batteries). But some of the personal memories in the other thread refer to guns only. Perhaps both types of equipment were in use on the same site although I should have thought that anyone remembering the guns wouldn't have forgotten the rockets which must have been a fearsome sight and noise when launched.

I'll post a few further general comments about your query shortly.

Chris
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Matt,

You are probably finding that online information about the Home Guard is spread pretty thin when you're trying to pin down particular units, locations and individuals. Sheer luck now plays as much a role as any in digging out information like this.

A few general points about the Home Guard which may help you to home in on your grandfather.

Volunteers were invited to come forward from 14th May 1940 and hundreds of thousands across the country did so almost immediately. Many had seen Great War service. There were ten Battalions initially in Birmingham but within 7 or 8 months these expanded to over 30, each containing anything between 1000 and 2000 men. All of these Battalions operated in an infantry role and the men trained in all the disciplines necessary to produce a good infantryman. A man volunteering for Home Guard service would normally serve either in a unit adjacent to his home address or in a works unit at his place of work.

In January 1942 men started to be directed into Home Guard service and joined the vast throng of volunteers. During 1942 the Home Guard took over many anti--aircraft duties, thereby releasing Royal Artillery men for other work. Most of these gunners transferred, reluctantly, from normal Home Guard infantry units to a battery in their neighbourhood, located in a park, on waste ground or at a similar site. Others entered this a-a service direct as a result of their conscription. None would of course have had previous experience and required training to fulfil this new role. The a-a units were totally separate from the conventional Home Guard units and bore different titles. They might have comprised batteries of conventional heavy guns or the newer, z-rocket missile batteries

There is a reasonable amount of information available about individual, conventional Home Guard units but not a lot, unfortunately, about the a-a batteries. There is information about the various Birmingham units in my website (link below) but, somehow or other, you will need to make some guesses as to when and where your grandfather started his Home Guard service. Within the website there are also some quite good descriptions of the operation of z-batteries although, unfortunately, not sited in Birmingham (use the website search box and a subject of "z-battery" to find them). And of course, we're not yet quite sure whether your grandfather served on that equipment or on more conventional guns.

Welcome to the Forum, by the way.

Chris
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
It appears that there was definitely a z-rocket battery on this site. It may well be, therefore, that the site shared both that type of weaponry and the more conventional heavy anti-aircraft guns.

Chris
 

Matt Evans

New Member
Matt,

You are probably finding that online information about the Home Guard is spread pretty thin when you're trying to pin down particular units, locations and individuals. Sheer luck now plays as much a role as any in digging out information like this.

A few general points about the Home Guard which may help you to home in on your grandfather.

Volunteers were invited to come forward from 14th May 1940 and hundreds of thousands across the country did so almost immediately. Many had seen Great War service. There were ten Battalions initially in Birmingham but within 7 or 8 months these expanded to over 30, each containing anything between 1000 and 2000 men. All of these Battalions operated in an infantry role and the men trained in all the disciplines necessary to produce a good infantryman. A man volunteering for Home Guard service would normally serve either in a unit adjacent to his home address or in a works unit at his place of work.

In January 1942 men started to be directed into Home Guard service and joined the vast throng of volunteers. During 1942 the Home Guard took over many anti--aircraft duties, thereby releasing Royal Artillery men for other work. Most of these gunners transferred, reluctantly, from normal Home Guard infantry units to a battery in their neighbourhood, located in a park, on waste ground or at a similar site. Others entered this a-a service direct as a result of their conscription. None would of course have had previous experience and required training to fulfil this new role. The a-a units were totally separate from the conventional Home Guard units and bore different titles. They might have comprised batteries of conventional heavy guns or the newer, z-rocket missile batteries

There is a reasonable amount of information available about individual, conventional Home Guard units but not a lot, unfortunately, about the a-a batteries. There is information about the various Birmingham units in my website (link below) but, somehow or other, you will need to make some guesses as to when and where your grandfather started his Home Guard service. Within the website there are also some quite good descriptions of the operation of z-batteries although, unfortunately, not sited in Birmingham (use the website search box and a subject of "z-battery" to find them). And of course, we're not yet quite sure whether your grandfather served on that equipment or on more conventional guns.

Welcome to the Forum, by the way.

Chris
Many thanks Chris, Your information has helped.
 

whizzo2468

New Member
Find this all very interesting. We are setting up a Friends of Perry Park, if interested look at facebook or whatsapp and search for 'Friends of Perry Park'
 
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