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Bidford-on-Avon Platoon

Bidford-on-Avon was defended by the 4th Warwickshire Battalion of the Home Guard. The territory for which this Battalion was responsible was Stratford-upon-Avon (where its HQ was based) and the surrounding area. The latter stretched to the west right up to the Worcestershire boundary beyond which the 4th Worcestershire was responsible for the Evesham area. The Battalion commanding officer was Lt-Col. W. Pepys, D.S.O., O.B.E.

Within this Battalion, Bidford-on-Avon had its own platoon. One of its members was Private Kenneth David Boyles (1925-2013). He volunteered for the Home Guard in 1940 whilst living with his family in a tied farm cottage at Exhall. He was an agricultural engineer and thus in a reserved occupation which prevented him from called up for the regular services although he is believed to have made several unsuccessful attempts to do so.

An image of this platoon survives.

The only member of this unit so far identified is Private Boyles who is standing third from the right in the back row. The presence of civilians within this photograph is interesting: one of them looks a little old to be serving. Perhaps he was an ex-member who had retired; or he may even have been included as a civilian who helped the local unit in some way and was therefore held by them in high esteem, perhaps by providing premises (or even being the local pub landlord!)

The one memory which survives within Private Boyle's family is the duty which the platoon performed in manning a spigot mortar placed to defend the bridge at Bidford.  It may have been located on either the north or the south side of the river.

(For illustrative purposes, a typical HG spigot mortar position can be seen to the right - but it shows a Suffolk unit, NOT the Bidford men. Please see the acknowledgement and link below).

Most of these river crossings in Warwickshire and Worcestershire were similarly defended and in some places the substantial concrete base for the mortar still survives. However no trace has yet been found for that at Bidford. Perhaps it was demolished and removed; or perhaps, even, it still resides in someone's back garden or in an overgrown hedgerow.


In Memory of
Pte. Kenneth David Boyles
all his comrades in the
Bidford-on-Avon Platoon of the 4th Warwickshire (Stratford) Battalion of the Home Guard.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to Pete Boyles for providing information and the image concerning his father; and generously permitting their publication; acknowledgement is also made to the Ixworth, Suffolk village website which includes an excellent description of the local defences and surviving structures.
Group image ©
Pete Boyles 2016

Other Memories and Information about
the Warwickshire Home Guard
Please click the MEMS - WARKS link below. And if you can contribute in any way to our knowledge of the Home Guard in Warwickshire and adjoining counties, please do so via the Feedback link.




x127 -
January 2016