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HOME GUARD MEMORIES AND INFORMATION - WARWICKSHIRE, BIRMINGHAM
6th WARWICKSHIRE (SUTTON) BATTN.
SUTTON PARK MAP
map below is a standard Allday Ltd. map from
the 1930s depicting Sutton Park in some
detail. Most of the features will still be
evident 80 years later. This particular
document was the property of
who is likely to have been a member of
(Sutton) Battalion of the Home Guard.
He has marked the year in which he has started
to use it, 1943, together with his name, in
the top right hand corner.
(The map is
annotated in many places with markings of
varying visibility. The coloured arrows are
NOT contemporary and their significance is
examination of this map reveals a large number
of annotations, presumably made by its owner
in connection with his Home Guard activities.
It was obviously not an officially issued
document but was more likely Cpl. Rudge's
private aide-memoire as he undertook various
operational activities throughout the Park.
The annotations give some vague hints as to
what was happening but represent no overall
view of activity. The map would no doubt
reinforce any official orders to which Cpl.
Rudge was subject but, regrettably, no such
documentation has so far come to light. In the
meantime therefore, we must assume that Cpl.
Rudge was involved in normal infantry
activities in the area, perhaps leading a
section, undertaking patrols and probably
creating and manning defensive positions.
annotations are sometimes difficult to see and
the map has therefore been recently marked up with
coloured arrows to emphasise them.
annotations in red are all associated with the
comment at the top of the map entitled "FROM
annotations in blue are all associated with
the second comment at the top of the map:
are many further annotations, coded neither
red nor blue, sometimes in ink but usually in
fading pencil. Amongst them are:
GRID REFERENCE NUMBERS on the
left and bottom edges of the map.
AREAS OF HATCHING
of unknown significance, mainly on the
upper right hand side of the map i.e.
to the south-east, the Town Gate and
Nut Hurst/Holly Hurst areas.
MENTION OF THE Z-ROCKET
ANTI-AIRCRAFT BATTERY adjacent to
Streetly Lane, upper left hand
mentioning this battery).
APPARENT LINES OF FIRE much of the way along the Thornhill
Road edge of the park and overlapping
the golf course, bottom left, west:
- towards the Queslett Road area from
tees 5/6 from tees 12/13/14 (position
- towards tees 4/7
(position 5) from tees 11/15 (position
- towards tees 3/8/9/18,
from wooded area to east and over
(Or perhaps the markings
were all rather more mundane - just to
denote difficult terrain, like boggy
The approximate location of the area known as
"Thieves Bushes" which is not marked on the
Sutton Park was of course not the
preserve of just the local blokes. It
was also a useful training area for
other Home Guard battalions. A platoon
commander in a neighbouring South
Staffordshire unit tells of his
platoon's training for an attack role
and a competitive exercise to try it
out on a sweltering day in June 1941:
We concentrate, temporarily, on
the platoon in attack and achieve, as
we think, a fairly good standard.
We are asked by the C.O. to take part
in a Zone competition, and duly make
our attack over a mile of Sutton Park
in a mid-June blistering heat.
Movement, timing and synchronisation
of a final pincers movement are
excellent, but we lose in the first
round due to a poor recce. One of our
members, a sixty-year old, almost
prostrate with the heat and unable to
keep up, falls well behind his swiftly
moving section, but replies to the
umpire's query about his role that he
is the rearguard of the section and
gains a few marks for the platoon.
This attack remains in our memory as
the day on which Russia is invaded. We
are no longer alone.
the complete memoir)
Just two weeks after the events of Sunday,
22nd June 1941 described by the Platoon
Commander above, a rather more public
display of the local Home Guard's prowess
was made in Sutton Park. This happened on
Sunday, 6th July 1941 and was reported in
the Birmingham Evening Gazette the
following day, Monday 7th July.
If any visitor to this page can make any
contribution to the interpretation of the
map, or can provide further information on
Home Guard activities in Sutton Park in the
period 1940-1944, their
comment will be most welcome. Please use the
to Kate Omara
for very generously making
this map available to
the newspaper cuttings, to
British Newspaper Archive,
the Birmingham Evening Gazette
and "Pedrocut" of the
Birmingham History Forum
- July 2017 Updated 1 Aug 17