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MEMORIES and INFORMATION: 32nd Battn. (12)

No. 5 Platoon, "B" Coy.
32nd Staffordshire (Aldridge) Battalion

No 5 Platoon, "B" Company, 32nd Staffordshire (Aldridge) Battalion was effectively formed on the day of its first parade in early June 1940 at Little Aston Hall. (It was possibly named No.2 Platoon in the earliest days).

Its detailed story, written by its C.O., Capt. Harry Myers in late 1944/early 1945, can be read here and is a wonderful account of the vicissitudes encountered by a typical HG battalion in a semi-rural setting, from the day of its birth right through to the end.

This is how it started. Men had registered their names at the local police station immediately Anthony Eden had finished making his appeal for volunteers on the wireless during the evening of Tuesday 14th May, 1940. The first communication was an invitation to a meeting in Streetly Parish Hall on May 30th, a Thursday evening.

And following this initial assembly here is the piece of paper which invited local men to gather on Saturday and Sunday, 8th/9th June in order to start organising themselves for the defence of their area, Streetly and Little Aston in South Staffordshire. (The description of this first parade is on this page).

After nearly three years of hard work and dedication (all described on this and ensuing pages), one Sunday morning in early 1943 the opportunity was taken to record perhaps the last parade of the Platoon before its members were dispersed to take up other duties. The surviving images are shown below. They were captioned on the rear by Harry Myers later in the year and he has also shown the eventual destinations of all these men.

Back Row (L to R)
Wood (Heavy A.A.), Cutler (ditto), Petersen (ditto), Jennens (ditto), Thompson (ditto), Collins (ditto), Richards (?cadet officer A.A.), Seedhouse (Lt. 10 N.Staffs HG), Gorman (Heavy A.A.), Gallett (“B” Coy.)
Middle Row
Talbot (Heavy A.A.), Brosch (Lt. 10 N.Staffs HG), MacBeth (A.A.), Carr (2/Lt. “B” Coy.), Puddepha (A.A. retired), Naylor (A.A.), Myers (“B” Coy.), Ramsay (B.S.M. A.A.), Jones (“B” Coy), Broomhead (2/Lt. A.A.), Wild (A.A.), Perry (Mess Corporal).
Front Row
H.W. (A.A.), Fisher (“B” Coy.), Hall (at O.C.T.U.), Izon (A.A.), Puddepha (R.A.F.)

Not on parade:
G. (“B” Coy.), Elwell (A.A.), Ford (“B” Coy.), Garbett (A.A.), Hammonds (Leics. Regt.), Hanman (A.A.), Hill (A.A.), Salt (A.A.), Winter (Black Watch), Foyle (A.A.), Kenworthy (unknown), Rees (unknown).

Back Row (L to R)
Brosch (Lt. 10 N.Staffs HG), Talbot (Hvy.A.A.), Collins (ditto), Wild (A.A.), Perry (Mess Cpl.). Broomhead (2/Lt.A.A.), MacBeth (A.A.),
Front Row
Carr (2/Lt. “B” Coy.), Puddepha (A.A. retired), Naylor (A.A.), Myers (“B” Coy.), Ramsay (B.S.M. A.A.), Jones (“B” Coy)

The end, for this platoon, came in early 1943 when the pressing call for Home Guards to man anti-aircraft batteries in the area meant that its members were dispersed. The moment is described here. The majority, about thirty, reluctantly went to such batteries, others to take up various roles within the Battalion, some to other battalions in the Midlands and, inevitably, a number of the younger members to the regular forces when their call-up papers arrived.

An excellent further first-hand account of the life of a private in the earliest days of this Platoon can be read on this page.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to JB, late of Streetly, and to JRCM, grandson of Harry Myers, for unearthing the above images.