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AND INFORMATION - WARWICKSHIRE
WARKS. (BIRMINGHAM) BATTN.
(Depot 6/1, Washwood Heath)
The responsibility of most
Birmingham Home Guard battalions was to defend
specific areas of the city. Other battalions were
however raised to protect the buildings and other
assets of important organisations with multiple
premises throughout Birmingham and their members were
almost entirely employees. The
Birmingham City Transport*
and the LMS were
examples of this and they bore their affiliation
within their formal Battalion titles.
(* detailed information on the two BCT battalions
will appear in this website in June/July 2015)
It is believed that the
35th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion was
another of these specialist units, this one devoted to
the activities of the Auxiliary Fire Service (A.F.S.).
The latter service was established in the immediate
prewar years to provide backup in terms of voluntary
manpower and equipment to the regular Fire Service in
the event of war. It was absorbed into the
Fire Service (N.F.S.) when that was formed in
The 35th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion was
commanded by Lt.-Col. H. A.
Sale, M.C. (It may have been known as the
15th Birmingham in
its first incarnation). Its membership consisted of
A.F.S. men based at various depots throughout the
city. Many of these men were part-time volunteers,
spending the rest of their time in day jobs, often
essential to the war effort. Yet, somehow or other,
they managed to combine all these duties with
membership of the Home Guard. An image of an "A.H.F.G.S"
member, according to the Battalion caricaturist, is
shown to the right.
Images of the officers of
the 35th Warwickshire appeared in the 1941 issue of
"Squirt", the magazine for the Birmingham Auxiliary
Images survive of a parade by the Battalion on the
wintry, wet Birmingham streets of early 1941.
One of the A.F.S. depots, designated 6/1, was
located in Washwood Heath
Road, in Washwood
Heath. On hand was clearly a talented
caricaturist by the name of
G. Rose and in 1941 he produced a cartoon
showing some or all of the Home Guard men who were
responsible for that particular A.F.S. depot.
The depot also had further creative talent and the
following poem, mentioning several of the men who
appeared in the cartoon, was printed in "Squirt".
A further literary creation was an entry for a
modern, Brummagem version of The Diary of Samuel
Pepys. It describes events surrounding the celebration
of the first anniversary of the founding of the Home
Guard in May 1940.
Behind the lightheartedness there was however hard
work, danger and even tragedy. On the night of Friday,
25th October 1940 an A.F.S. tender received a direct
hit at the junction of
Great Lister Street and
Three A.F.S. men, thought to be members of 6/1, were
killed. They were:
Charles Arthur Perry (35) of
St. Clement's Road,
Samuel Kendrick (25) of
Aston Church Road, Washwood
Heath and Ernest
William Payne (25) of
Malt House Lane, Washwood
Heath. They were all married. It is not
known whether these men were also members of the
depot's Home Guard unit.
The toll at that time
on A.F.S. men was very heavy. "Squirt" published a
roll of honour showing those who had given their lives
over little more than a month in October/November
1940. Regrettably many more names were to be added
|In Memory of
all members of
and of their comrades in
Auxiliary Fire Service
most grateful to Matt Felkin for
providing most of the images and information on this
page: they originally appeared in "Squirt".
Other sources which are gratefully
Swanhust Barra website..
Further information about the
Warwickshire battalions is contained
elsewhere in various parts of this website. To view the
Warwickshire summary page, please use the
Mems-Warks link below.
And if you
can add to the history of the Warwickshire Home
Guard, please contact staffshomeguard via the
x120 June 2015