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Kidderminster was defended by the 6th Worcestershire (Kidderminster) Battalion, commanded by Lt-Col. R.W.A. Painter, MC.

Before the end of May, 1940, the very first patrol of 10 men performed its duty on the outskirts of the town on a Sunday evening and this was the beginning of four-and-a-half years of devoted duty by members of the Battalion. This initial patrol was armed even though the official issue of a very limited amount of rifles and ammunition had barely started. They may have been wearing LDV armlets but even these are likely to have been provided by voluntary groups in the town, prior to the official issue. Full uniform was still some way off.

It seems that the very initial formation was of 16 sections, each comprising 10 mainly ex-servicemen, with a further squad of 35 men whose duty was to guard vulnerable points such as power substations. Later, the unit would would evolve into the normal Battalion formation comprising several Companies, further subdivided into Platoons and, within the latter, Sections. The entire complement of the Battalion would eventually be 1200-1500 men (and perhaps a few women in auxiliary support roles). Ranks would eventually mirror those of the Regular Army and the early Section Leaders would become either commissioned officers or senior NCOs. As was the case with every other Home Guard Battalion in the country, the Kidderminster Battalion would be on duty every single day and night, from late May 1940 until its final stand-down parade through the streets of the town on Sunday, December 3rd, 1944.

This website page records just a few names out of the many hundreds who served within the Battalion. Ranks are included, where known, but it should be noted that information on which they are based was recorded at varying times and therefore they may not represent the seniority achieved by stand-down. This is especially the case with some of the more junior officers whose rank is that recorded at February 1941.

This is a list of just a few of the men who served within the Battalion.

Anton, J.G., Capt.

Brockway, -, Lt. (Performed a particular act of bravery, picking up and throwing a primed grenade out of a training trench)
Brown, H. H., Lt.
Buckley, H.H., 2/Lt.
Burrows, Leonard  (Volunteered at the age of 14, manned a roadblock at the top of Bewdley Hill, involved in the "Battle of Bewdley", Sunday 30th June 1940. Worked at Bradley and Turton)

Carter, Reg. (Quartermaster)
Charles, Alec (Later member of the successful Kidderminster Home Guard Rifle Club)
Clarke, K., Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 27 Birmingham Road.)
Colwell, Joseph Alfred (Served 31st May 1940 - 31st December 1944)
Compton, William (Involved in the "Battle of Bewdley", Sunday 30th June 1940. Member of No.6 platoon based at Abberley whose observation post was the church clock tower. Worked at Parson Chain Co., Stourport)
Cooper, Stan (Under-aged member, manned a roadblock at the top of Bewdley Hill)
Corbett, C., Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of Broomhurst, Nr. Kidderminster, working in Tipton)

Davies, O.W., Capt. (Early Section Leader)
Davis, C.A., Cpl. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 40 Franchise Street, working at RAF MU, Hartlebury)
Dudley, L.A., Sgt-Maj. (Early Section Leader)
Dykes, D.G. Maj. (Medical Officer)

Edwards, J.G., Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 9 Rock Terrace, Park Butts, working in Stourport)
Evans, Bert, Sgt. (Sgt. i/c No. 1 section. No. 6 Platoon, "B" Coy. - working as a
barber in Wood Street

Evers, Harold, Sgt. (Organist and Choirmaster at St. George's Church)

Forrest, E.A.K., Lt. (Early Section Leader)
Foster, W.K., 2/Lt.

Goodwin, -, Capt. (Involved in the "Battle of Bewdley", Sunday 30th June 1940)
Gregory, H.W., 2/Lt.
Grove, R.E., MC, Lt.
Gwillam, E. (Early Section Leader)

Harber, Cyril, Sgt./?2/Lt. (Led a platoon responsible for the Lickhill and Rifle range area)
Harvey, J.G. (Early Section Leader)
Head, G.H., DCM, Lt.
Hopkins, C.W.E. (Early Section Leader)
Howells, (Later member of the successful Kidderminster Home Guard Rifle Club)

Kirkby, E.H. Lt.
Knight, A.A. Capt. (Early Section Leader)

Lamb, H.J. (Early Section Leader)
Lench, Les. (Joined in 1942, served in No. 2 Platoon as Platoon driver, based at the Futurist Cinema. Guard duties included Victoria Bridge, Bewdley, BBC transmitters at Droitwich, and Stourport petrol dump. Later joined the Warwickshire Regiment)
Lewis, R.H, Lt. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 84 Birmingham Road, working in Edgbaston, Birmingham)
Lloyd, G.E.
Loynes, R. (Early Section Leader)

McDonough, J., Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 44 Franchise Street, working in Kidderminster)
Mantle, H.G., Lt. (Early Section Leader)
Marks, E., Lt.
Matthews, H.A., Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of Barnetts Lane)
Mlllett, C.R, Lt.
Morris, "Dollar", Pte.
Morris, G.K., Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 58 Bewdley Street, working in Kidderminster)

Oakley, W. Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of Duke of Edinburgh, Bromsgrove Street)
Ovens, R.A. (Early Section Leader)

Painter, R.W.A., L-t.-Col., MC (Battalion Commanding Officer)
Payne, J.P.
Perrett, F.C. Lt.
Pritchard, H.M., Cpl. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 232 Chester Road North, working in Kidderminster)

Ray, H.J., Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 62 St. John's Ave, working in Kidderminster)
Richards, H.E., Cpl. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 121 Sutton Road, working at Anglo Enamelware, Stourport)
Rigby, A., Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 20 Avill Grove, working in Birmingham)
Robinson, T.A., Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 13 Cross Street, working in Kidderminster)
Russell, J.H. Sgt. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of Coventry Street, working in Kidderminster)

Simes/Sines, J.D., Lt.  (Early Section Leader)
Smith, W.H.X. (Early Section Leader)
Stevens, G.C. (Early Section Leader)
Summers, Vic (Working as Tax inspector)
Sykes, R., 2/Lt. (Early Section Leader)

Tanser, W.W., 2/Lt.
Thatcher, C., Maj.
Thompson, -, Pte. (Based at the Golf Club)
Thompson, A.A., Lt.
Tolley, - (Later member of the successful Kidderminster Home Guard Rifle Club)

Whatmore, W.,  Lt.
White, T., Pte. (HQ Coy., Machine Gun Section - of 19 Claughton Street, working in Kidderminster)

Viney, H.T., Capt. (Early Section Leader)

Gwilllames, E., Capt. (Serving officer, seconded to Battalion as Adjutant and Quartermaster, 1941)

There is much further information available about the impact of the war on Kidderminster in an excellent local history book entitled "Kidderminster and District in the Second World War", by Bill Wood, Bob Millward and Robert Barber,
(published by Kidderminster and District Archaeological and Historical Society, 2006, Sutton Publishing Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-0750945516).

Contents include sections on the evacuation of children, the ARP, bombing, the military presence in the town (especially the Army Pay Corps and U.S. Army personnel), work, shortages and rationing, school days and education, leisure and entertainment and finally the celebrations for peace. The section on the Home Guard contains detailed recollections of many experiences and incidents, including, of course, the main one, the famous "Battle of Bewdley". The latter started at about 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 30th 1940 when an alert was given about an imminent German paratroop attack. The Home Guard and regular troops were mustered to counter this threat and the crisis lasted for most of the night. It later emerged that air currents had lifted a quantity of hay high into the air and this had been mistaken for German parachutes.

Further information about the Home Guard in the county is contained in the book Chronicles of the Worcestershire Home Guard by Mick Wilks
(Logaston Press, 2014, ISBN-13: 978-1906663872).

In Memory of
All the Home Guards
who served in the
6th Worcestershire (Kidderminster) Battalion

The publication mentioned above, "Kidderminster and District in the Second World War", is the source of many of the names of Kidderminster Home Guard members which appear on this page and grateful acknowledgement is made to it.

Further information about the Home Guard in Worcestershire is contained elsewhere in various parts of this website. To view the Worcestershire summary page, please use the Mems-Worcs link below.

And if you can add anything to the history of the Worcestershire Home Guard, and especially the Kidderminster unit, please contact staffshomeguard via the Feedback link.




September 2016