This is a page within the website. To see full contents, go to SITE MAP.



Pte. William Henry Bryan (1911-1997) was a member of the Marston Green Home Guard.  This unit was either  part of the  39th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion or of an adjoining battalion such as the 5th Warwickshire (Solihull) Battalion (still to be confirmed). William Bryan lived in Marston Green but worked for Mulliners Ltd. in Bordesley Green/Adderley Park in a reserved occupation manufacturing the bodies for Army vehicles. Troop carrying gliders were also produced at the factory.

The record of William Bryan's service is, so far, restricted to an image of the unit to which he belonged - perhaps a small HQ Company based near to his home. And his King George VI certificate which tells us that his period of service was the maximum possible: from June 1940 to December 1944, a remarkable period of entirely voluntary endeavour.

The location of the image is Chapel House Farm, Marston Green and the group is assembled in front of the house.

Chapel House Farm has been described as the local Home Guard HQ. It later became the clubhouse for the Marston Green Golf Club before being swallowed up by extensions to Birmingham Airport in the 1970s.

The group image and the certificate are reproduced below.

The one positive identification within this group is of Pte. Bryan himself (left). He is located in the rear row, third from the left.

Almost dominating the image is the splendid figure seated fifth from the right in the front row (see right). He, and his function, are so far unidentified.  But expert opinion based on cap badge, medal ribbon and general appearance is that he is a retired Grenadier Guard who has served in the Boer War, has received a long-service and good conduct medal and may, despite his non-Home Guard uniform (perhaps worn for this official photograph only), serve as the Battalion or Company Sergeant-Major.

Also of interest are the couple (below) contemplating the scene from the obscurity of an upstairs window.  Again, they are so far unidentified. If the farm is still operating in its traditional function at this moment, they could be the farmer and his wife.  But it seems that a few years previously, in the long-gone days of peace, part of the farm had been given over to the construction of a nine-hole golf course. This work had been carried out in 1938. Eventually and fairly shortly after the end of the war this work will be resumed and a further nine holes will be added in 1948 to form the complete course of the Marston Green Golf Club.  The Club will survive until the 1970s before being buried under an extended Birmingham Airport. It is known that immediately postwar the Head Greenkeeper at the Club was Mr. Harry Monkhouse who by then lived at Chapel House Farm with his wife.  Mrs. Monkhouse was responsible for the clubhouse catering. So... it is just possible that they had taken up residency at an earlier date than has been recorded and it is they whom we can now look at in the photograph whilst they themselves contemplate the scene below them.

The presence of the Women's Home Guard Auxiliary in the front row (left), wearing her distinctive badge and her very non-military gloves, dates the image as either autumn/winter/spring 1943/1944 or October/November 1944, just prior to stand-down.

Below is Pte. Bryan's King George VI Certificate confirming that he served throughout the life of the Home Guard: four-and-a-half years of dedicated, voluntary and unpaid service in the defence of his family, his district and his country.



William Bryan's membership of the 39th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalion (as opposed to a neighbouring battalion) is yet to be confirmed but is regarded as a probability. Elsewhere in this website is contained:

Further information about the 39th Battalion and its members
The 39th Battalion and Pte. Geoffrey Bennett
The 39th Battalion and Eric Pain
The 39th Battalion and Sgt. Jim Baker
The 39th Battalion and the Copsey Brothers
Warwickshire - Birmingham, Stechford Summary page
The 39th Battalion's 1941 Concert
The 39th Battalion and Pte. William Henry Bryan (this page)

And about the 5th Warwickshire (Solihull) Battalion

Lt. G. G. Cates and the Imberdown tragedy


Grateful acknowledgement is made to Chris Bryan for this information relating to his father and for his generous permission for its publication within this website; and to the sources of other information including Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (from whose website the Chapel House Farm image was obtained), the knowledgeable members of the excellent "Remembering the Home Guard" Facebook group and the golfsmissinglinks website .
Group and Certificate Images Chris Bryan 2017





x153 - October 2017