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I am looking for info about my father who was in the Home Guard in the Kings Heath/Billesley area and was also a despatch rider,His name was Herbert Haylor.I have looked on the websites linked to this website with no luck.
Dad,worked in a factory down the bottom of nechells park rd.as kids we would go with him at the week ends.Exploring the upper part of the place,and on the roof,as kids we climbed a lot,we found a false wall and a door,getting the door open,and going inside there was old army gas masks tin hats rusty tins of food.all bits and bobs bellonging to the home guard.dad told us to leave it as it did not belong us.that was in about 1956,each time i see don`t panic men i think of all that stuff and what happend to it.the companys name was lindley enginering and son,nechells park works b7.any one remember the place. pete
Yes Chris he was an Aston Lad worked at Morris commercial very good fisherman, dancer and a crack shot with guns, rifles, and other fire arms,
I am in the process of writing a bit about is life, and he was my mates Dad and alas as just died aged 93.
he was born in Wells street he also lived in New John Street
Most Home Guard units had their own parades that weekend, celebrating four-and-a-half years of devoted and unpaid effort. But the national parade was indeed in London and it was a vast affair. There's a moving description of it here through the eyes of a bystander.
The parade included representatives from every battalion in the country, including representatives of the the 32nd Staffordshire (Aldridge) Battalion who travelled from Birmingham to participate. One of them described the experience and his words are linked from the article mentioned above.
Very few, as you imply, Geff, more's the pity. I have been in touch with a number over the years but lost my last contact earlier this year after he attained the wonderful age of 99. Geoff Cradock had been a member of what was called the Danilo Platoon, based at the cinema in Quinton, and he was a member of the Battalion which defended Warley and Quinton. I related his story online here.
These days the stories of old Home Guard members almost always come from their children and grandchildren who are interested in commemorating the name and the service. A number of BHF members have been kind enough to give me information and I have tried to ensure that the men concerned are not forgotten. Information from people with first hand experience, either those with childhood memories or more especially those who actually served, is particularly welcome. How about your own memories, Geff?!
Of course, all those with Great War experience prior to HG service are no longer with us. When the HG was formed, the leaders almost without exception had previous military experience, usually 1914-1918. This is my own father's memory (written in 1945) of how he came to be appointed C.O. of his Streetly/Little Aston platoon.
........And now on a day of early June 1940, we parade (or perhaps "gather" would be a more suitable term) at Little Aston Stables and find our names amongst a list of men who are destined to form a platoon of the L.D.V. A roll call, more filling up of forms. The Platoon Commander is chosen after a query by the Company Commander: "Any man here with army experience and who has a car?" A few minutes later, an infantry private of the last war takes his first parade. N.C.Os. are created by similar methods. We can take no risks at this stage and all section leaders must have previous Army training.
The Platoon falls in two deep - drill in threes is as yet an unravelled mystery. A very willing bunch of all ages from sixty to fifteen, from all walks of life, and in all sorts of civilian clothes - office and works attire, flannel bags, and gardening dress. One man is carrying his umbrella. A mere handful with previous military experience........ (The full story of that platoon here.)
This haphazard way of doing things in the crisis of the times generally worked pretty well. As time went on, the leadership started to include many others with relevant experience and personal qualities. Throughout, the membership of the Home Guard contained a mixture of such veterans (almost all over 40 years of age), boys of 16-ish upwards before their eventual call-up, really old Dad's Army types and men of any age in protected, essential, civilian occupations. Units like those in Birmingham may well have had quite large numbers of the latter, men working 50 or 60 hours week in factories and then, somehow or other, finding the time and energy to devote 40+ hours per month to Home Guard service - for up to four and a half years. I think that, contrary to the impression given by Dad's Army, the overall average age of Home Guards was in the thirties. Not surprising that so few are still with us and why it is so good to have not only one who IS, but who is also a BHF member!
My Dad was in Home Guard. He worked at Belliss and Morcom, on submarine engines I believe. I was told he had a "reserved occupation" and that he patrolled along the Dam at the Edgbaston Reservoir which was closed during the War. My husband remembers being told off for trespassing, I wonder if that was Dad?!!
I was born after the War so I wish I had listened more to the stories.
Chris, I have given you a story about Elmdon airport. I belonged to the Finnimore Road, Bordesley Green, B.Company 39th Battalion, Home Guard. And one about when Col. Patterson visited the Company and found a young man in the ranks who worked for him and was under age (me). I have just looked it up and it is still there online. I wonder what the response would be if some suggested a reunion of
The Birmingham Home Guard. Not individual units but from any company that belonged to the Birmingham lot.
Oh dear, Geff, you have reminded me that "senior moments" can hit even those too young to have served in the HG! Yes indeed, you kindly gave me an excellent memoir and images some years ago and these are still to be seen online: https://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences86Bordesley.htm
if other members would like to view them. Sorry not to have connected this information, which I DO remember well, with your BHF member name. That page will by now have been archived by the British Library and will therefore survive the eventual, inevitable demise of my website.
Very glad to know that I am still in touch with an HG veteran. I really do think that you are the only one.
Chris, sorry I gave you a senior moment, I have them quite often. Pleased to hear that I am on record in the British Library. I lost a
brother in the last war in the navy. I have researched his life on a destroyer and put it into book form, would the British Library be interested in that? I am not very pleased to be the last H.G. that you have contact with, much rather have been the first. Cheers GEFF
Geff, my suggestion is that you offer a copy of your work to the Imperial War Museum for their archive. I am confident that they would welcome it and when lodged there it would become available for future researchers.
thank you for reply regarding my granddad he died on 26 dec 1941 my mom was the youngest of 3 children he left behind he died whistle he was on duty with the home guards (post office ) during the blitz my mom being 2 at this time she really cant remember her father that well could you please tell me when my granddad old grave was changed to having Warwickshire on the grave they have spelt my granddad name wrong to
do you have more info on my granddad and any photos of him
kind regards karen