Home Guard (LADV)

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DaveP
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In my search to shed some light on either a searchlight or light anti aircraft battery (remember the Bofors rounds and cap badge) I ended up looking at the group orders and history of the local Home Guard. They make for entertaining reading. Here are a couple of exerts I thought worth sharing:

Group order 201 (1941). Every man should write his name on the line marked "name"

and

"E" Company furnished a party of 34 other ranks to represent German paratroops in an exercise, set by the Sub-District Commander, to raid Chilworth Station and destroy the bridge, signal box and sidings. Their task was successfully accomplished before the Home Guard responsible for that area were aware of the fact, creating alarm and despondency with confusion to the Company Commander in the middle of a cross-word puzzle,

Looks like much of the comedy writing was already done for the TV series.
And no luck on the searchlight or AA battery. So I'll put my finds together and take a Time Team approach. I've obviously found Surrey's largest AA installation comprising hundreds of troops complete with barracks etc. etc. :D
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Oxgirl
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I can imagine the embarrassment that exercise caused :lol: If there are any more please share, we could do with a bit of a giggle!
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DaveP
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I could have stayed for hours reading through the group orders but most of it is mundane and admin stuff. Although there was one entry that said they had received the great coats they ordered but they were all the wrong size. The report went on to say, we feel we should not return them as they may provide a useful bargaining chip in future transactions. I can just see Dad's Army standing in the church hall in odd sized coats :D
A later entry said they eventually received the correct sizes but it doesn't say what they did with the others. One thing is clear, the military generated a lot of paperwork!
Dave The Slave
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Pure Dad`s Army . Not forgetting that Jimmy Perry did serve in the Home Guard and a lot of what we see in the show, probably was from his service memories.
Not to worry, Walker will go up the " Smoke " and get some that do fit , only a " nicker " each.
Thanks for sharing, :thumbsup:
Dave.
DaveP
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Dave The Slave wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 1:48 pm Pure Dad`s Army . Not forgetting that Jimmy Perry did serve in the Home Guard and a lot of what we see in the show, probably was from his service memories.
Not to worry, Walker will go up the " Smoke " and get some that do fit , only a " nicker " each.
Thanks for sharing, :thumbsup:
Dave.
I could just imagine Godfrey in a coat that wouldn't do up around his tummy, Pike in one 4 sizes too big and sleeves down to his knees and Walker, already ahead of the game, with gold buttons and a blue silk lining along with several bolts of cloth and offering alterations :lol:
Pete E
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DaveP wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 9:32 am And no luck on the searchlight or AA battery.
I am not so sure the Home guard would have operated them? Not to far from where I worked, there was a decoy site protected by anti aircraft guns a distance away,and I seem to recall reading woman made up a sizable chunk of the manpower although I can't for the life of me remember what service or branch they were part of...Saffron might be able to shed some light (excuse the pun!) on who operated the search lights...

Edited to add a quick Google shows the Army had a dedicated Anti Aircraft Command so that's probably a good starting point...
DaveP
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Pete E wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 9:44 pm I am not so sure the Home guard would have operated them?
You're correct; I was just looking to see if there was anything in the paperwork that could give a hint of a location - maybe some extra support or guard duty.
Anti Aircraft Command is amazingly complex. Add to that units were joined together, renamed, moved about etc. In some cases I began to wonder if anyone knew what regiment they belonged to as they changed so often.

Just to give you an idea of the path to date after finding the Essex cap badge:
During the 1930s two of the Territorial Army battalions of the Essex Regiment were converted to anti-aircraft roles: in 1935 7th Essex became 59th (The Essex Regiment) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Brigade (later 'Regiment' rather than 'Brigade'), eventually equipped with 3.7 inch guns; and in 1938 6th Essex was equipped with searchlights and split into two parts which became 1/6th Battalion The Essex Regiment (64th Searchlight Regiment) and 2/6th Battalion The Essex Regiment (65th Searchlight Regiment).

The 64th were eventually moved to the defence of London so off I trotted to the National Archives to look at their war diaries = dead end!
However, I found another reference to 35th (1st Surrey Rifles) Anti-Aircraft Battalion. Royal Engineers (TA) who's records are kept at The History Centre in Woking (35) minutes away but again, no luck. While I was there I enquired about the Home Guard for the area and they had recently taken delivery of their records. Again, no luck for what I wanted but a good read.

And a couple of other bits I found out while searching the 64th Searchlight Regiment war diaries:
It seems that for a while coastal searchlights were beamed low out to sea in an attempt to pick up aircraft as early as possible. However, this was later prohibited as they managed to illuminate allied shipping, either directly or bouncing the light off clouds, which made the shipping easy prey for E boats! Apparently, two were sunk due to friendly illumination.
Also, while night fighters were chasing flying bombs there were different rules for searchlight use depending on whether it was engaged by a Mosquito or Tempest. Apparently the Mosquito pilots complained of being blinded by the light as they dived to gain speed whereas the Tempest, already fast enough to engage, had a light-interference pattern created by the prop which meant they couldn't see the target. And so on......

The research has been an interesting exercise but I haven't managed to sole the puzzle.
Pete E
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Interesting research!

What calibre was the case you found?

A few years ago I used to go stalking on some moors to the south of Newcastle, and we chanced upon several concrete bunkers and bases that were part of the anti-aircraft defences for the city...As I recall these concrete structures were in groups,and must have house quite substantial guns and searchlights.

I am guessing these static locations were bolstered by more mobile or at least semi permanent units that could be moved around depending on the threat ect...
DaveP
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Pete E wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 11:47 pm Interesting research!

What calibre was the case you found?

I am guessing these static locations were bolstered by more mobile or at least semi permanent units that could be moved around depending on the threat ect...
8 x 40mm live Bofors rounds. The Bofors and some searchlights were mobile and I read one report of a very speedy mobilisation of multiple light units to the South of London.
I may have got it wrong and it may be a misleading coincidence but the rounds were at the top of a hill (why carry them up) along with the cap badge only metres away.
Unless something turns up by chance I think I've done as much as I can.
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