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Rover A coy Home Guard 1941

SandyBrook

knowlegable brummie
While searching through a box of family history bits and pieces I found this and thought someone else might like to see it. It's the Rover HomeGuard A coy in 1941. They would appear to have won a cup as they look very pleased with themselves. bless them all. They look very well equipped compare to Dad's Army as we see it.

I assume they would have been attached to the Rover Aero engine works near Clay Lane, South Yardley, I understand that for a while they were re-located to an underground factory at Drakelow near Kidderminsterrover homeguard.jpg

My dad is in the middle of the first standing row with the 'specs on
 

mw0njm.

A Brummie Dude
While searching through a box of family history bits and pieces I found this and thought someone else might like to see it. It's the Rover HomeGuard A coy in 1941. They would appear to have won a cup as they look very pleased with themselves. bless them all. They look very well equipped compare to Dad's Army as we see it.

I assume they would have been attached to the Rover Aero engine works near Clay Lane, South Yardley, I understand that for a while they were re-located to an underground factory at Drakelow near KidderminsterView attachment 147768

My dad is in the middle of the first standing row with the 'specs on
loverly pic thanks for posting
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Great image, thanks, SandyBrook.

This unit was part of the 39th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion, Home Guard. I have several pages of information and images relating to the 39th Warwickshire online and one of them, this one: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences54Stechfordstaffshg.htm, includes another print of the one you have unearthed. The link takes you to that page where there are further links to the several others. I wonder if your father appears in any other of the images. (Some of the information is quite remarkable, including details of a very ambitious fund-raising concert which the Battalion put on at the Alexandra, at the very moment when the attack on Pearl Harbor was taking place).

If you would be kind enough to let us know your father's full name I'll be happy to include it on the page, to commemorate his life and service, if you and family would like that. Is there any further information - documentary or anecdotal - about his Home Guard experiences?

As Alan says there is a main HG thread elsewhere on the Forum. Worth a good wade through. I'll leave this here as a separate thread for the time being, though, whilst discussion ensues.

Chris
 

SandyBrook

knowlegable brummie
Great image, thanks, SandyBrook.

This unit was part of the 39th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion, Home Guard. I have several pages of information and images relating to the 39th Warwickshire online and one of them, this one: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences54Stechfordstaffshg.htm, includes another print of the one you have unearthed. The link takes you to that page where there are further links to the several others. I wonder if your father appears in any other of the images. (Some of the information is quite remarkable, including details of a very ambitious fund-raising concert which the Battalion put on at the Alexandra, at the very moment when the attack on Pearl Harbor was taking place).

If you would be kind enough to let us know your father's full name I'll be happy to include it on the page, to commemorate his life and service, if you and family would like that. Is there any further information - documentary or anecdotal - about his Home Guard experiences?

As Alan says there is a main HG thread elsewhere on the Forum. Worth a good wade through. I'll leave this here as a separate thread for the time being, though, whilst discussion ensues.

Chris
Hi Chris, Dad's name was Howard Wilfred Sanbrook his certificate says he served from 11 June 1941 until 31 December 1944, I have the printed programme with group photos from the concert on Dec 7 1941, as you say a very ambitious effort and also a programme from the stand down dinner on Dec 16 1944 with assorted autographs on it, I've attached it here in case any one else would like to see it or might recognise any of the namesh-guard-rh.jpgh-guard-lh.jpg.
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Very interesting material, thanks, SandyBrook. The fragments of information printed in the Farewell Dinner programme probably tell us as much as is so far known about the formation and activity of this unit. So it's good news that it has surfaced!

Here's a group of blokes who, over four-and-a-half years, probably put in something like 600,000 manhours of unpaid work and, certainly in 1940 and 1941, in circumstances of significant danger. Yet their effort, and that of many similar groups throughout the City, is largely forgotten. That's why I and others do our best to keep alive the memory of their lives and service.

I'll post further comment when I have had the chance to look at some of the names.

Chris
 

SandyBrook

knowlegable brummie
Hi Chris, glad it’s of interest, hope you can read it well enough, I can do a higher resolution scan if you would like.

Its all done on one side of the sheet, something like Roneo stencil or whatever they had and the venue is to the left and the programme on the right. I’m not sure if it would have originally been flat but it’s been folded inwards since I’ve know it and the reverse is blank.

I’m quite intrigued by the autograph bottom left which seems to incorporate a face doodle. It would be great if there was some more info to be found
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Suspect that the cartoon is one of the guest's attempt at "Old Bill", a Great War character created by Bruce Bairnsfather. Old Bill would have been very familiar to everyone there - and especially to those of higher rank who would all have served in 1914-1918.

(Still deciphering signatures, currently stuck on three or four! Resolution is fine, thanks.)

Chris

OldBill.jpg
(Source: brucebairnsfather.org website)
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Looks a little like that mad Welshman, Dan, in the Titfield Thunderbolt. He was just as crazy in The Bargee. :D
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have now had a concerted stab at deciphering the signatures. This is the result:

(Clockwise from top LH corner)
Lt.-Col. A. G. Colley (Battalion C.O.)
Pte. Stevens
Capt. T.W. Jackson (of another Battalion)
- W. Neild
- J. A. Stephenson
Major T. Cade (23rd Warks)
- W.H. Watson
Capt. H.J. Pearson (41st Warks)
? Lt. W.H. Crowe....at 7 o.clock
? T.H. Ledgar/Sedgar/Selgar?....at 7.30
- W. (Bill) Warburton
? Lt. Brown....at 8 o'clock
Lt. J.S. Hibbert
Major G.N. Ashdown
Lt. J.B. Ingram
Lt. A.C. Payne
Capt. C. King
? Maj. Madden? (26th Warks, "B" Coy.)...at 11 o'clock

N.B. All of the above may be assumed to be members of "A" Company, 39th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion unless otherwise stated.

A number of these identifications have been confirmed as absolutely definite from some 1941 records I have. This applies particularly to the more senior officers who may have been in position since the earliest days. A number of the lieutenants were later appointments and so I can't double-check on them. I am pretty confident about all the identifications in this category, nevertheless.
I have struggled with a further four. I'm fairly confident about surnames in three of the cases but not in the fourth (annoyingly, one of the clearer signatures!) But not initials. These are on the list with queries against them. Could anyone have a go at these four and let me have an opinion, please?

With one exception all of these men appear to have been officers. There is no indication on the menu that this was an officers-only occasion, as did happen quite often due mainly to the numbers involved. (A complete Battalion might number 1500 men). If it were officers only, Pte. Stevens was probably the organiser, which is the reason for his presence. But "A" company may have been small enough to accommodate everybody who wanted to go – but in that case, why are most or all the signatures collected those of officers?

Which raises the interesting question: what rank did Howard Wilfred Sanbrook hold in 1944? In the 1941 image he is fairly obviously not commissioned but possibly an NCO. (http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences54AStechfordstaffshg.htm#a1). Elsewhere there is an image of "A" Coy at a later date and it may be that Howard is there, now sitting as an officer. Could you check please, SandyBrook? Or let us have any other information? Thanks.

Chris
 
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SandyBrook

knowlegable brummie
I have now had a concerted stab at deciphering the signatures. This is the result:

(Clockwise from top LH corner)
Lt.-Col. A. G. Colley (Battalion C.O.)
Pte. Stevens
Capt. T.W. Jackson (of another Battalion)
- W. Neild
- J. A. Stephenson
Major T. Cade (23rd Warks)
- W.H. Watson
Capt. H.J. Pearson (41st Warks)
? Lt. W.H. Crowe....at 7 o.clock
? T.H. Ledgar/Sedgar/Selgar?....at 7.30
- W. (Bill) Warburton
? Lt. Brown....at 8 o'clock
Lt. J.S. Hibbert
Major G.N. Ashdown
Lt. J.B. Ingram
Lt. A.C. Payne
Capt. C. King
? Maj. Madden? (26th Warks, "B" Coy.)...at 11 o'clock

N.B. All of the above may be assumed to be members of "A" Company, 39th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion unless otherwise stated.

A number of these identifications have been confirmed as absolutely definite from some 1941 records I have. This applies particularly to the more senior officers who may have been in position since the earliest days. A number of the lieutenants were later appointments and so I can't double-check on them. I am pretty confident about all the identifications in this category, nevertheless.
I have struggled with a further four. I'm fairly confident about surnames in three of the cases but not in the fourth (annoyingly, one of the clearer signatures!) But not initials. These are on the list with queries against them. Could anyone have a go at these four and let me have an opinion, please?

With one exception all of these men appear to have been officers. There is no indication on the menu that this was an officers-only occasion, as did happen quite often due mainly to the numbers involved. (A complete Battalion might number 1500 men). If it were officers only, Pte. Stevens was probably the organiser, which is the reason for his presence. But "A" company may have been small enough to accommodate everybody who wanted to go – but in that case, why are most or all the signatures collected those of officers?

Which raises the interesting question: what rank did Howard Wilfred Sanbrook hold in 1944? In the 1941 image he is fairly obviously not commissioned but possibly an NCO. (http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/DotherReminiscences54AStechfordstaffshg.htm#a1). Elsewhere there is an image of "A" Coy at a later date and it may be that Howard is there, now sitting as an officer. Could you check please, SandyBrook? Or let us have any other information? Thanks.

Chris
Hi Chris, I've checked with my older brother and as far as we know Howard Sanbrook was never promoted, I've also had a look at the other photo you mentioned and am afraid I can't spot him with any certainty on that photo.

In passing I see from that programme that the company were awarded a cup by Parkinson Cowan and presumably that is what's so proudly displayed in their photos.
 
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