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The 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 Corporal Rudge who is likely to have been a member of 6th Warwickshire (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 explained below.)

Close 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.

The annotations are sometimes difficult to see and the map has therefore been recently marked up with coloured arrows to emphasise them.

These annotations in red are all associated with the comment at the top of the map entitled "FROM THIEVES BUSHES"

These annotations in blue are all associated with the second comment at the top of the map: "FROM BRIDGE"

There 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.
SEVERAL 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 (north-east).
(See a memoir 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 Rowton Cottage
    - towards tees 5/6 from tees 12/13/14 (position 3)
    - towards tees 4/7 (position 5) from tees 11/15 (position 4)
    - towards tees 3/8/9/18, from wooded area to east and over 1/2/16/17.
(Or perhaps the markings were all rather more mundane - just to denote difficult terrain, like boggy areas!)

The approximate location of the area known as "Thieves Bushes" which is not marked on the Allday map.

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.

(See 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 Feedback facility.

is made
 to Kate Omara for very generously making this map available to staffshomeguard
and, for the newspaper cuttings, to

British Newspaper Archive, the Birmingham Evening Gazette and "Pedrocut" of the Birmingham History Forum