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MEMORIES AND INFORMATION - STAFFORDSHIRE HOME GUARD

22nd STAFFORDSHIRE (WOLVERHAMPTON) BATTN.

and

Pte. JACK HIGGS

 

John Louis Higgs (1920-1992, and normally known as Jack) was a member of the 22nd Staffordshire (Wolverhampton) Battalion whose area of responsibility was the Penn side of the town. During the war he lived with his mother and father at 8 Regent Road, Penn.

Jack no doubt performed the normal Home Guard infantry activities throughout his service from February 1941 to stand-down in December 1944. There are family memories of him on guard on the roof of the Penn Cinema and elsewhere in the Battalion's area. One story he told was of someone in charge who, whilst instructing, accidentally fired through the roof with a rifle. According to another memory, there was a 22nd Battalion motto: "We are the 22nd Staffordshire Home Guard, We never shirk our duty, Honesty, Regard.............."

But Jack also had other duties. He was a member of the Battalion band. It is not known whether Jack's Battalion was the only one amongst the several Wolverhampton units to have the ambition - and the talent - to form a band. Nor, regrettably, has any image of its performances yet come to light. But it is safe to assume that the band would normally have been present at any ceremonial parade in which the 22nd Battalion participated, not least those to celebrate the various anniversaries of the founding of the Home Guard, other morale-raising appearances and, especially, the final stand-down parade on Sunday, December 3rd, 1944.

Two group images survive: in the first one the band members are included within a much larger group photographed at "Ellerslie", Riley Crescent, Penn (the setting for several other 22nd Battalion group images shown elsewhere within this website).


Click on the above image to see a magnified version

In the following image, perhaps photographed on the same occasion and certainly at the same location, the band is seen alone.  Jack Higgs is seated with his instrument in the middle row, sixth from the left.
(N.B. This image contains numbers against individual members, presumably to identify them, but the key is yet to be rediscovered).


Click on the above image to see a magnified version

Jack Higgs was in a reserved occupation throughout the war but nevertheless eventually applied for pilot training in the RAF: he was accepted at first but later received a letter saying that he would not be required after all "as the war would be over in months."

At last the end came and Jack, like everyone else, received his King's Certificate acknowledging his significant contribution to the war effort.


 

Jack was a musician in private life too. He played for Bill Stean and his Band and a record from those days survives entitled "Down in the Valley".  However he did not pursue his musical career after the war. 

He married Joan Maureen Price on 2nd September 1944 at St. Bartholomew's Church and went on to raise a family in the post war years.

 

 


**********

In memory of

Pte. Jack Higgs

and all his comrades
in
22nd Staffordshire (Wolverhampton)  Battalion,
Home Guard

Further information on this Battalion
-  Many of the men of the
22nd Staffordshire (Wolverhampton) Battalion can be seen in a number of magnified, high definition photographs on this page of the website. Most of the officers are identified and they include men of whom mention is made on this page.
-  Further pages exist containing the story of an officer in the Battalion, 2/Lt. John Penrose and of Sgt. Geoff Hanley, to whose HG service there was much more than met the eye.

-  For other references to this and neighbouring Battalions, please use the Mems-Staffs link below or the site SEARCH function.

Acknowledgement
Grateful acknowledgement is made to Philip Higgs for providing this information about his father and generously permitting its publication. 

Images Philip Higgs 2016