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2nd Warwickshire (Rugby) Battalion defended the town of Rugby and adjoining areas, under the command of Lt.-Col. D.C.M. Beech, M.C. (1941). Within that Battalion, "C" Coy. was responsible for the neighbourhood of Southam and was sub-divided into at least two platoons.

This associated page contains images and information relating to the activities of the Southam Company/Platoon.

The entire unit, comprising a large number of men men, parade on a dismal, wintry, Sunday morning in front of scattered groups of villagers....
It's good when it's over......

On 15th October 1944, Pte. T.G. Beck wins a cup for being the best shot in the "Southam Platoon", presented by Sgt. T. Kendall.

In the early part of 1944, it seems that Private C. of No. 1 Platoon had been less than assiduous in attending parades of his unit - or at least careless in seeking prior permission for absence. The sanction from E.W. Bates, (probably C.S.M., and acting on behalf of Lt. P.G. Kelsey), is hardly draconian: "Turn up next time at 19.30 - or as soon afterwards as you can!"

A Southam Home Guard training rifle


In September 1989, on the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War, these extracts from the reminiscences of one of the Southam Home Guard, E.W. (Ted) Bates were published:

After France had capitulated to the Germans and our army had been defeated and evacuated from Dunkirk, Churchill rallied our men to form a Home Guard, known at first as the Local Defence Volunteers, to defend our country in the event of a German invasion. All we had to fight with were a few Ross rifles supplied by the Americans, a few rounds of ammo, a few pitchforks and bags of courage.

Major Nickalls (Major M. Nickalls, M.C.), an officer of the Great War of 1914-18, was elected to lead the Southam Home Guard company. We had a platoon from each village in the Southam area and in each platoon were ex-soldiers from the Great War, including Bill Sturley (Capt. W.W. Sturley) from Southam, an ex-officer, Bob Morgan, from Long Itchington, Bert Taylor (Lt. B.G. Taylor) from Stockton and Billy Timms and myself from Southam.

I was an ex-regular, not long discharged from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and I was asked by Bill Sturley to train the Southam Platoon with the help of Ernie Pitton, also an ex-regular. I mentioned Billy Timms and myself especially because we did the first guard duty done in Southam. Everybody was expecting an invasion, and on the first Saturday evening after Dunkirk we started guard duty on the Market Hill. Timms and myself took it in turns, two hours on and two hours off all night, and we had plenty of folks taking the mickey in a very friendly way as we walked up and down, but we carried on. After we had all taken turns in doing this night duty for two or three weeks, it was decided to scrap that idea and our Platoon carried out dusk and dawn patrols, 8 to 12 midnight and 6 to 8 in the mornings, every day until the Second Front was opened in France two and a half years later.......

Grateful acknowledgement
is made to
Bernard Cardogan
The Cardall Collection, Southam
David G.P. Morse






x146 - January 2017