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MEMORIES and INFORMATION: 32nd Battn. (19)


Streetly and Little Aston
were defended by "B" Company of the 32nd Staffordshire (Aldridge) Battalion whose C.O. for much of the war was Lt.-Col. C. Cartwright, D.S.O., M.C. The Commanding Officers of "B" Coy. were Major J. W. Athey (up to February 1942) and Major H. R. Yates (for the rest of the war).

(See one map of the Battalion's area of responsibility - left - drawn light-heartedly by the Battalion Adjutant, F.H. Timings - click on it to enlarge).

"B" Company HQ was The Greylands, a requisitioned house on the corner of Middleton and Manor Roads, Streetly. The Company comprised three Platoons: No. 1 based at Little Hardwick; No.2 at Little Aston Hall Stables; and No. 3 at Mill Green. (These may have been the very earliest designations and subject to later change: "No.2" was known as No. 5 for much of the war).

Col. Cartwright reviewed the role of "B" Coy. in words written immediately after stand-down in December 1944:

..... I must pass on to my old friends at "The Greylands".

From the beginning, "B" Company was stiff with potential officers and N.C.Os. In fact, one is tempted to call it the battalion O.C.T.U. when one remembers the number commissioned from "B" and transferred to B.H.Q. and elsewhere.  In this way came about the migration of Myers, Pitt, Thatcher, Moseley, Mills, Pepper, Kendall, Chaplin, Murray, Fox, Dodd, and Hooper.  A fair number to lose from one company, but I must say that Athey and, later, Yates always took the broader view and never stood in the way of their advancement, although they were losing such good men.  There are two more names to be added to the list, Naylor and Farrow, who transferred to the H.A.A. Bty. R.A.

What a tower of strength Athey was in the early days!  He was badly missed when he found it necessary to retire from the Home Guard in February 1942, but he left behind a tradition - "All the help in our power" - which has been more than maintained by Yates who succeeded him as Company Commander.

This glance at "B" would be incomplete if it did not catch sight of Ralph, that lover of the Lewis and devoted Welsh Fusilier, and John, the able and most helpful Q.M., also of Richards, whose official appointment was Intelligence Officer, but whose heart and soul seemed to be in Bombs and Bangs if one judges by the very successful way he ran his "school" at Mill Green, and Carr, who did so much to help with his cinematograph apparatus.

I cannot leave "B" Company without mentioning those who transferred to the H.A.A. Bty.  I do not believe that any one of them really wanted to go, but, like their O.C., they also took the broader view and did their appointed tasks.

Below is a much larger, and more official map than the one above. It shows one part of the Battalion's area of responsibilty, that of "B" Coy. It is a battered and clearly well-used, marked-up print of the 1920 Ordnance Survey map of the area and was originally the property of Lt., later Captain Harry Myers, C.O. of No. 2/5 Platoon.  A magnified, higher definition version is available for detailed examination.

Click on the map to view a magnified, higher definition version

To find references elsewhere within the site to subjects mentioned above please see:
- 32nd Battalion Information Summary Page
(Aldridge, Barr Beacon, Brownhills, Little Aston, Pelsall, Pheasey, Rushall, Shelfield, Streetly, Walsall Wood)
- Index of Surnames and Place Names relating to the 32nd Battalion
- or use the general website
Search facility.

Staffshomeguard would welcome any further information which visitors to the page may have; to help us add to the story of the Aldridge Home Guard, please use

Map image staffshomeguard 2019



32nd BATTN


D19 February 2019