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MEMORIES AND INFORMATION - STAFFORDSHIRE HOME GUARD 

Pte. K. BLASTOCK, Pte. J. W. BORTON and Lt. W. MORRIS
of
13th STAFFORDSHIRE (CANNOCK) BATTN.  

 

During the evening of Monday, June 29th 1942, members of the Hednesford Home Guard, part of the 13th Staffordshire (Cannock) Battalion, were training with live ammunition on Cannock Chase. At some stage a rifle grenade was fired but exploded prematurely. There were fourteen casualties. Pte. John William Borton died on the same day, Lt. William Morris on the Wednesday and then Pte. Kenneth Blastock on the following day, July 2nd. All three men now lie in St. Peter's Churchyard, Hednesford.

A Midland newspaper reported the tragedy.

 



Another report written immediately after the accident identified other casualties:

Lt. James Bond (30) of New Penkridge Road, Cannock

Fred Bowen (40) of 18a Burn Street, Chadsmoor

William Hyden (21) of 29 Clarkes Avenue, Hednesford

Albert Larner (20) of 121 Rawnsley Road, Hednesford

Lt. Charles Perks of 469 Rawnsley Road, Hednesford

Lt. Henry Talbot (29) of 7 Broadway, Hednesford

John Henry Whittle (21) of 9 Marine Crescent, Hednesford


It is to be hoped that these men eventually made complete recoveries.


Contrary to newspaper reports, it seems as though the unfortunate Kenneth Blastock was only 17. This is according to his CWGC headstone. His home was 195 Station Road, Hednesford.

John William Borton was a married man and lived at 34 St. John Street, Wimblebury.  He left three sons aged 4, 9 and 14 and his widow was expecting a fourth child.

William Morris, also a married man, of Glenaden, Rawnsley was a Councillor for Cannock U.D.C. and Chairman of the Education Committee. He was manager of the Co-op in Rawnsley.

(Images of the headstones of these three men can be seen online on the Burntwood FHG website. )

The weapon with which these men were training at the time of the accident was likely to have been the EY grenade launcher rifle.

**********

In Memory of

Kenneth Blastock
John William Borton

William Morris

and all their Comrades in
13th Staffordshire (Cannock) Battalion
including
Those injured in the above incident
and
Victor Leslie Bradbury
(late R.F.A.)

**********

Acknowledgements
Grateful acknowledgement is made to Matt Felkin and his "Wartime Birmingham and the Blitz" Facebook page; and to David Bate, Ray Borton, Keith Bradbury, Lyn Hyden, Wilfred Miles, Maureen Rushton and other members of the Old Photos from Hednesford, Cannock and Chadsmoor Facebook page.