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HOME GUARD MEMORIES AND INFORMATION - WARWICKSHIRE, BIRMINGHAM
25th WARWICKSHIRE (B'HAM) BATTN.
W.G. Walker, M.C., M.M.
25th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion
was, like several others in Birmingham, an amalgamation
of a number of individual factory Home Guard units, in
this case in the area of Aston and Nechells. Battalion
Headquarters was on the Lichfield Road, near to
Station. Its Commanding Officer, Lt.-Col. Sidney W.G. Walker, M.C., M.M.,
(1897-1970) writing in
early 1943, provided a brief summary of its history to
The 25th Battalion of the Warwickshire
Home Guard was originally the
5th Birmingham Battalion,
and the first factory Home Guard Battalion to be formed
in this city. It comprises a number of factories,
and immediately on the formation of the L.D.V. each
factory formed its static unit to protect its own
factory. These units very quickly
appreciated that the way to defend the factories was
not inside, but outside, and in the very early days
training commenced, particularly in street fighting.
The Battalion was one of the first to forsake the
It is in one way
dissimilar to the normal Home Guard Battalion, as now
its role is entirely mobile; in fact, the whole training
is on counter-attack lines, and specializes both counter
attack of open places and within detailed areas. The
Battalion has on several occasions demonstrated methods
of street fighting to senior officers of other Battalions.
The Battalion is situated in
a vulnerable area, and during the 'blitzes' of 1940
did exceptionally good work in fire-fighting and evacuation
of civilians from damaged areas and threatened shelters.
On one particular occasion over three hundred were
moved from beneath a burning building to other shelters
three hundred yards away, without loss to the civilians.
Two men were killed and two wounded in this process.
(The incident mentioned
above occurred at the premises of
Newton & Co. Ltd., in
Thimble Mill Lane,
Nechells during the night of 9th/10th April 1941. Further
information is on this
page of this website).
Below is a group of 25th Warwickshire
officers, with Lt.-Col. Walker in the middle of the front
Apart from Lt.-Col. Walker, no other
faces have been identified and the make-up of the group is
unclear: the numbers present only represent about a third of
the total complement of officers serving in this Battalion.
At around the time
of writing the summary quoted above, Lt.-Col. Walker had concluded that
the Battalion needed more commissioned officers and he started
a Battalion Officers' Training School Unit (O.C.T.U.), the
first in the area. One trainee
Arthur Musson; he was a member of the factory-based
Hercules unit in Aston, part of the Battalion's "D"
Company, and his memories of those years can been seen on this page of
the website. Another officer serving in the Battalion
may also have been a trainee. He was 2/Lt. Harry Poppitt
also appears in this website.
Grateful acknowledgement is made to
Ruth Lotinga for providing the group image and
information about Lt.-Col. Walker, her
father; and generously
permitting their publication.
Other Memories and Information
the Birmingham Home Guard
Please click the
WARKS link below. And if you can
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Guard in Birmingham, please do so via the
x125 - November 2015