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Homeguard

Joycew

New Member
Hi. I recently started a family tree, I've been informed that my dad who passed away when I was a child was in the Homeguard. I've looked at most sites but not having any luck. He lived in Ladywood until the early 60s. Can anyone point me in the right direction as ive now hit a brick wall.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joycew,

Here are a couple of links for you to have a look at. Work through those and then let us know how far you have got and what you are trying to find out.
Birmingham Home Guard units: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscencesWarkssstaffshg.htm
Searching for individual Home Guard men: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/J9GeneralInformationSearchingforMembers.htm

Your dad would have served EITHER in a unit very close to his home OR a unit associated with his place of work - a factory, bus garage, gas works etc., etc. - AND/OR, later in the war, on an anti-aircraft gunsite not too far from his home area.

Chris
 
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Joycew

New Member
Joycew,

Here are a couple of links for you to have a look at. Work through those and then let us know how far you have got and what you are trying to find out.
Birmingham Home Guard units: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscencesWarkssstaffshg.htm
Searching for individual Home Guard men: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/J9GeneralInformationSearchingforMembers.htm

Your dad would have served EITHER in a unit very close to his home OR a unit associated with his place of work - a factory, bus garage, gas works etc., etc. - AND/OR, later in the war, on an anti-aircraft gunsite not too far from his home area.

Chris
Thank you for that. I shall certainly have a good luck. As there are none of my dads family members still living, I seem to have hit a brick wall.
Really appreciate the info. Thanks again.
 
Hello. I'm new to this forum so apologies if I am repeating information you already have. I have been researching my father's WW2 service. He was in the Home Guard whilst working at Lucas's. It was called the 44th Battalion and seemed to cover the Handsworth area. I did get some information from the Staffs Home Guard website, but eventually went to https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/apply-for-someone-elses-records. In the end, following their advice, my sister and I got RAF and Home guard information. It was expensive, though. We had to provide a copy of father's death certificate (he died several years after the war) and £30 per search. But... to have received a copy of his Form of Enrolment, with his distinctive hand-writing was worth the wait and the outlay. Hope this is of help.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome to the Forum, Rosemary. The 44th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion did indeed cover the Handsworth area and encompassed several factory units (manned entirely by employees) of which Joseph Lucas and its huge Great King Street works was one. The story of several individual Battalion members is here and on one or two linked pages: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences67Handsworth.htm

If at any time in the future you and your sister feel you would like your father's Home Guard service acknowledged and commemorated in the staffshomeguard website, please let that site know via the Feedback facility (or get in touch with me direct). What he and his comrades did was a significant part of the history of country and City.

These men and their service should never be forgotten, and should be remembered beyond their families whenever possible.

Chris
 
Welcome to the Forum, Rosemary. The 44th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion did indeed cover the Handsworth area and encompassed several factory units (manned entirely by employees) of which Joseph Lucas and its huge Great King Street works was one. The story of several individual Battalion members is here and on one or two linked pages: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences67Handsworth.htm

If at any time in the future you and your sister feel you would like your father's Home Guard service acknowledged and commemorated in the staffshomeguard website, please let that site know via the Feedback facility (or get in touch with me direct). What he and his comrades did was a significant part of the history of country and City.

These men and their service should never be forgotten, and should be remembered beyond their families whenever possible.

Chris
Hello Chris,

Thank you so much for your reply. I have my father's enrolment forms which I will try and send you. I also have a photo of him in uniform, but we think it could be an RAF uniform. I am not sure if he was in the Home Guard and the RAF at the same time. Would that be possible? Perhaps so that he could take part in Home Guard duties when on leave? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Father died when we were teenagers. We didn't think to ask about his war service.
 

Attachments

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thank you for that interesting information, Rosemary.

The Enrolment document tells us quite a bit. (For convenience, I'll call your father by his Christian name, if I may).

Frank volunteered at a very early date for Home Guard service. The date of acceptance is 12th June 1940; but that date was certainly later than the moment when he originally volunteered to serve. Anthony Eden made his broadcast on 14th May and the normal procedure was for everyone wishing to volunteer to report to their local police station where their name was noted and passed on. And so the formalities might have taken a few days. All of which means that Frank was one of the very earliest to volunteer for the Home Guard.

The signature of the enrolling authority looks indecipherable to me. Can you make head or tail of it? We are a little better off with the signature of the accepting authority: this was Lt. Col. H. Graham Wicks., M.C. Identifying the latter gentleman is only of significance in that, a few months later, he is seen to be in command of "E" Group of the Birmingham Zone of the Central Midland Area of the Home Guard. His responsibility then was for several Battalions in that Group and one of them was the 44th Warwickshire.

The indications therefore are that Frank joined that Battalion, or, rather, one of the units from which it quickly evolved as the service settled down during the rest of 1940 into the structure it largely maintained through to the end. That unit would have represented one of the two options available to him: either to join the factory unit at his place of work or a unit adjacent to his own home (which would of course have been part of the Sutton Battalion).

The implication is that Frank served right through, from June 1940 until December 1945. In practice, this would have meant up until the Home Guard stand-down at the beginning of December 1944. Official disbandment didn't take place for another 12 months.

It appears that Frank received two promotions, the first on ?30 March 1943? to 2/Lt; and then on 1 November 1944 to full Lieutenant. At the time of both he was in the 44th. I am a bit surprised that no other promotions are shown. Unless we have deciphered the date of the first promotion incorrectly, it seems as if he was promoted from the ranks. To get to that level he must have served as an NCO at some stage but the seems to be no reference to that. I'm not absolutely sure whether this type certificate always stated such things but I should be surprised if they didn't. So we have no clue as to what Frank was doing, or at least what rank he was holding, between June 1940 and spring 1943. What is certain is that he would have demonstrated exceptional personal qualities - and perhaps specific technical skills in addition - to justify that promotion.

Which brings us to the portrait. (And what a good-looking man he was!) I'm not sure what indications you have of possible RAF service, over and above the photograph. Looking at the latter, you can certainly visualise an RAF blue forage cap and possibly a light blue shirt. But, equally, you can see a khaki cap and I THINK that the two items of headgear were very similar apart from their colour. Unfortunately you can't see the badge. One thing is certain, and that is the very smart leather jerkin most definitely not being Home Guard issue.

So, could there have been an interruption to his Home Guard service? (I'm confident he could not have served in both, simultaneously). But there is no evidence of that and the paperwork credits him with a full period of HG service. Could his work at Lucas have in some way involved a temporary attachment to an RAF unit?

So, we can say some things with confidence but mysteries remain with regard to others. It would be nice to clarify one or two things but to achieve that you are probably looking at unearthing long buried family memories and/or other documentation tucked away somewhere or other.

Sorry I have gone on a bit!

Chris
 

GEFF

Geff
Sorry mwOnjm for the confusion. I am blaming my age, 94 in a few weeks time. Yes we did wear gaters in the Home Guard, I wonder how many of us are still around. I joined at 16 old in 1942 as did a lot of my mates. Got paid 3/= for duty from 8pm till 6am. then had to be at work for 8 oclock, that was about every 10 nights. See my short storys on Chrises Staffordshire Home Guard. I was in B. Company 39th Battalion housed in school in Bordesley Green. Happy days ? Geff
 

mw0njm.

brummie dude
Sorry mwOnjm for the confusion. I am blaming my age, 94 in a few weeks time. Yes we did wear gaters in the Home Guard, I wonder how many of us are still around. I joined at 16 old in 1942 as did a lot of my mates. Got paid 3/= for duty from 8pm till 6am. then had to be at work for 8 oclock, that was about every 10 nights. See my short storys on Chrises Staffordshire Home Guard. I was in B. Company 39th Battalion housed in school in Bordesley Green. Happy days ? Geff
no probs.GEFF glad you replied thank you Sir
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have only just realised - or reminded myself following his comment - that our Geff is in fact the gentleman who very kindly sent me some wonderful information 10 years ago about his Home Guard service and it has been available to public view ever since.

In fact Geff was part of what was probably the only armed group to attack, penetrate the defences of, and occupy Elmdon Airport one summer's night in 1942 (without much opposition, it has to be said!)

The story of his Home Guard service is here: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences86Bordesley.htm It is well worth a read.

Thanks again for all that, Geff, it's a fascinating addition to Birmingham history.

Hope Geff doesn't mind if I post an image of his 17-year-old self in the centre of this photograph.

Chris

Bennettsmodweb685.jpg
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Absolutely right. It's one I have published and it's one of my favourite HG images. Not just because we know who they are, where they are, why they are there and where they are going. But look closely at the several who are looking upwards - with a mixture of curiosity and mild caution. Is it one of ours? So evocative of the time. AND, as maypolebaz says, it proves that everyone wore gaiters!

Chris

GroupRailwayPlatform2.jpg
 

mw0njm.

brummie dude
I'm pretty sure there's a photo on this thread showing a group of HG men waiting on a railway platform. They're wearing gaiters, some blancoed, some blackened.
thanks baz. i have some officers gaiters.more of a khaki color. i think they are British issue.
Absolutely right. It's one I have published and it's one of my favourite HG images. Not just because we know who they are, where they are, why they are there and where they are going. But look closely at the several who are looking upwards - with a mixture of curiosity and mild caution. Is it one of ours? So evocative of the time. AND, as maypolebaz says, it proves that everyone wore gaiters!

Chris

View attachment 141624
thanks.chrism.:grinning:
 
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