Great Witley Home Guard WW2

The Witleys Oral History Group hope you will find the following brief history of Great Witley Home Guard to be of interest. If you have any information, photographs, newspaper cuttings or memories you would like to share with us and maybe allow us to include as part of the website please contact us.

The following information is taken from a record compiled by Captain N C Wood in December 1944. The record does not claim any historical importance but was compiled as a memento for those who served in “C” Company 11th Worcestershire Battalion Home Guard.

Extract from Mr Anthony Eden’s speech over the wireless on the evening of May 4th 1940

“In order to leave nothing to chance and to supplement resources as yet untapped and the means of defence already arranged, we are going to ask you to help us in a manner which I hope will be welcome to thousands of you. Since the war began, the Government has received enquiries from all over the Kingdom, from men of all ages who are for one reason or another not engaged in military service, and wish to do something for the defence of their country.

Now is your opportunity. We want large numbers of such men in Great Britain who are British subjects, between the ages of fifteen and sixty- five, to come forward now and offer their services in order to make assurance doubly sure. The name of the new force which is now to be raised will be the Local Defence Volunteers. This name describes its duties in three words. You will not be paid but you will receive uniform and will be armed. In order to volunteer, what you have to do is to give your name at the local police station, and then, as and when we want you we will let you know.”

Memorandum by Captain. H. P. Long on the formation of the 11th Battalion

The formation of the Local Defence Volunteers (afterwards in June 1940, the Home Guard) was undertaken by ex-officers, Members of the Worcestershire British Legion who were selected Organisers.

Colonel W.H. Wiggin spoke to the members at their adjourned annual general meeting on Saturday 18th May 1940. Captain Harry Long was the one selected for the Division.

At 1800 hours that evening all the organizers met the Chief Police officials at the County Police Headquarters when the scheme was outlined by Colonel Wiggin.

After the meeting the organizers were instructed to proceed to their various Police Headquarters, with a view to selecting suitable gentlemen who would be willing to undertake the duty of forming sub-district platoons to make one Company (afterwards this Company became a Battalion of six Companies).

A list of about 1500 names was gone through with the assistance of Police Superintendent Gregory and Inspector Honeybourne. Finally on Sunday morning, May 18th Captain Long made his selection, viz;-

Witley Police District                Major G. Ashton M.C.
Bewdley                                       Major H. Goodwin M.C.
Tenbury                                       Major H Bentam
Stourport                                    Captain H. Simpson

 ‘C’ Company Formation

The original enrolment took place on Tuesday 28th May 1940 at 2000 hours at Great Witley Police Station during the middle of a very heavy thunderstorm and torrential rain. Fourteen sections of eight to ten men each were enrolled to form what was first called the Great Witley Platoon Hundred House Division under the command of Mr G Ashton.

Great Witley Home Guard 1944In July 1940 the Hundred House Division became part of ‘C’ Company 11th Worcestershire (Stourport) Battalion Home Guard. The Battalion Headquarters was at the Drill Hall in Lion Hill Stourport on Severn. The Divisional Platoons were renumbered with Great Witley Home Guard being designated Number 10 Platoon.

On May 2nd 1941 Battalion Orders published the names of those granted commissions taking effect from 1st February that year.

No. 10 Platoon Commissions were confirmed as, In Command Lieutenant .J F. C. Brinton, Second in Command 2nd Lieutenant T.H.F. Banks. Additionally the Great Witley GP, Dr W.J. Johnson was appointed the Company Medical Officer with the rank of Captain.

The above photograph was taken outside the home of Lieutenant JFC Brinton, Redmarley, Great Witley.

No.10  Platoon of ‘C’ Company was recruited in May, 1940, from a very large area, comprising Great and Little Witley, Shrawley and Shelsley Beauchamp parishes, under the command of Lt. J. Brinton, who had just returned from service with the Royal Air Force.

The original membership was 24, of whom by Stand-Down Day, 13 had served the whole period of the Local Defence Volunteers and Home Guard , the balance having resigned, been transferred, or joined H.M. Forces. In all 62 men have served with the Platoon.

The first duties, apart from training, which was done chiefly at Abberley or Redmarley, was to provide fighter and watcher parties at the Clock Tower in conjunction with the Abberley Platoon.  This entailed a duty party three nights a week and provided quite a lot of fun and a certain amount of excitement, because in those days every Home Guard. was quite certain that the invasion would start in his platoon area.  Hence the profound satisfaction felt at the time of the Battle of Bewdley, which is now H.G. history.

The operational role of the platoon was the manning and covering of a road block at the Hundred House and later the picketing of the roads approaching that focal point.

With the help of two Lee Enfield .303 rifles of Lt. Brinton’s, and unlimited ammunition, and a 200yd improvised range on the property of Mr. G.H. Banks, the Platoon was able to get probably more shooting than any other platoon in the Company, with the result that they won the Inter-Platoon Miniature Rifle Shooting on one of the two occasion for which it was competed, and represented the Company in the Inter-Sector Shooting Match in the Summer of 1944.  The Platoon provided the Sector Champion Shot in Lance Corporal. H. Taylor.

On the social side, two very pleasant suppers were held at the “Dog” Inn, Dunley, one in the winter of 1940 and the other in January 1945.

The whole history of No. 10 Platoon has been a very happy one and the Platoon Commander has been ably assisted throughout by 2nd Lt. T. Banks and Sgt. R. Pyatt.

Great Witley Home Guard –  No. 10 Platoon (Great Witley)

In Command:
2nd In Command:
Platoon Sgt:

Strength:
Passed Proficiency Test:
Area:

Lt. J.F.C. Brinton
Lt. J.H.F. Banks
Sgt. R. Pyatt

39
18
Great Witley, Little Witley & Shrawley.

Personnel History:

Name

Averill T.E.

Banks T.H.F.

Beeston R.L.

Biggs R.A.

Bishop R.A.

Bourne G.

Bradford A.

Bradley F.J.

Brazier G.H.

Brinton J.F.C.

Clarke H.J.

Colebatch L.

Colebatch N.

Colwill R.

Compton B.E.

Davis C.

Davis L.C.

Eliot W.H.

Ellery H.

Ford J.F.

George W.S.

Goldsmith M.

Grove G.

Halford G.H.

Harding J.

Harker W.A.

Hayward W.E.

Kelleher F.H

Kennerley A.

Kiernan A.

Jones D.

Jones J.B.

Martin A.

Mason J.J.

Mason M

Matts A.G.

Matts G

Miles J.T.

Moore A.J.L

Morris F.A.

Neighbour L.A

Neighbour L.R

Oversby G.

PhilPott J.

Pugh H.J.

Pyatt R.

Roberts A.H

Roberts C.E.

Roberts E.W.G

Smith J.R

Smith W.

Stutley P.

Taylor A.S.

Taylor H.E.

Thomson G.

Tolley A.

Tolley W.E.

Upton F.J.

Upton J.

Walker W.G.

Ward C.L.J

Wilcox W.

Rank

Pte

2nd Lt

L/Cpl

L/Cpl

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

L/Cpl

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Cpl

Pte

Pte

Pte

Cpl

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

L/Cpl

Pte

L/Cpl

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Sgt

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Cpl

Pte

Pte

L/Cpl

Cpl

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Pte

Entry Date

Mar 1942

June 1940

May 1940

May 1940

Oct 1941

Jan 1941

Jan 1941

Jan 1942

Feb 1942

May 1940

Mar 1941

May 1940

May 1940

May 1940

Feb 1941

Feb 1942

Aug 1941

June 1944

Oct 1943

May 1940

April 1942

July 1940

May 1940

May 1940

July 1941

Jan 1941

June 1940

Oct 1941

Feb 1942

Dec 1941

July 1940

April 1941

Mar 1941

May 1940

May 1940

Nov 1943

Dec 1941

May 1940

Dec 1941

May 1941

May 1940

June 1941

June 1941

April 1942

May 1940

May 1940

May 1940

May 1940

Jan 1942

Feb 1941

May 1940

Nov 1943

May 1940

Oct 1940

May 1940

Aug 1940

May 1940

May 1940

May 1940

Sept 1940

July 1940

May 1940

Previous Service

38/42 RFA. Re-joined HM Forces May 1942

Pro. Test April 1944

Pro. Test April 1944

14/19 Worcs. Pro. Test April 1944

Joined HM Forces November 1941

 

Transferred to Salop HG Feb. 1944

 

 

27/32 39/40 RAF

 

Resigned February 1942

 

Pro. Test April 1944

 

 

 

Joined HM Forces Sept. 1944

17/19 Irish Gds  Pro. Test July 1944

15/18 RAMC Pro. Test July 1944

 

Joined HM Forces May 1941

18/19 RAF Resigned Nov. 1941

15/19 Worcs Pro. Test May 1944

 

Resigned May 1941

25/28 Worcs Pro. Test April 1944

Resigned January 1942

Pro. Test April 1944

Joined HM Forces Nov 1942

Pro. Test July 1944

Resigned February 1942

Resigned May 1943

 

Resigned July 1940

 

 

 

Pro. Test April 1944

Pro. Test April 1944

17/19 Devons Pro. Test June 1944

 

 

 

Resigned December 1940

14/19 Manchesters Pro. Test April 1944

14/19 Worcs. Resigned July 1940

 

 

Pro. Test June 1944

15/22 Durham LI. Pro. Test April 1944

 

Resigned July 1940

22/31 DCLI. Pro Test. June 1944

17/21 RFC Pro. Test April 1944

Resigned November 1941

Resigned November 1941

Resigned November 1940

Resigned November 1940

Joined HM Forces Sept 1941

Resigned January 1942

Resigned May 1941

David Williams has provided these photographs of his grandfathers Home Guard proficiency badge and certificate, as well as a letter of thanks to his grandfather from King George VI, which was issued to members of the Home Guard. If you have any similar items relating to Great Witley Home Guard, please do let us know.

Home Guard_Proficiency Badge_LCpl E L Williams_1944

Home Guard_Proficiency Certificate_LCpl E L Williams_1944Home Guard Letter of Thanks from Georg VI

 

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