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MEMORIES AND INFORMATION - WORCESTERSHIRE

5th WORCS. (HALESOWEN) BATTN.
and
SERGEANT GEORGE HUSSEY  




Halesowen was defended by the 5th Worcestershire (Halesowen) Battalion, commanded by Lt-Col. B.J. Keene
. Battalion H.Q. was at The Drill Hall, Grammar School Lane, Halesowen and Company/Platoon HQs were located at different places in and near the town. 

Amongst its members was Sgt. George Hussey
(left), who served in the Great War as did many of his comrades. George was a miner for almost all of his working life  We remember his life and service on this page.


EARLIER LIFE OF GEORGE HUSSEY





George Hussey was born in Intended Street, Halesowen on 10th July 1900. He started work at the age of 14, in 1914 or 1915 as this later (undated) reference from a manager at Witley Colliery, Halesowen confirms. The manager was Frank Jew who may have subsequently lost his life in an accident at the pit.








Great War service caught up with George towards the end of the war, in 1918. A Certificate Of Employment
(below) confirms that he served as an Orderly in the Labour Corps, 615 (H.S.) Employment Coy. from October to December 1918. Whether this comprises the whole of his service or whether there were other duties in addition to his basic military training, including even previous infantry service prior to transfer to the Labour Corps after the latter's creation in 1917, is not known. The "H.S" designation probably infers Home Service in England.


We must assume that George returned to working in the pit after his demobilisation. He may have left Witley Colliery in the mid 1920s and moved to a nearby pit, Beech Tree Colliery at Two Gates, Cradley. A certificate
(below left) dated 2nd May 1928 confirms the appointment of Geo. Hussey to perform the duties of Cager at Beech Tree and is signed by R. Brettell, Manager. And seven or eight years later another reference survives, this one dated 20th September 1934, again from Beech Tree and signed by Arthur Raybould (Undermanager); it confirms the fulfilment of George's duties as Onsetter and attending the horses.
It is safe to assume that George Hussey continued to work at Beech Tree throughout the 1930s, up until and beyond the outbreak of another war, on 3rd September 1939.



THE HOME GUARD YEARS

We do not know exactly when George Hussey volunteered for Home Guard service but the assumption has to be that it was in the early weeks, perhaps in June or July 1940. His previous Great War training and experience would have been invaluable and, together with his obvious personal qualities, would have led to early promotion. By the time we know anything of his Home Guard career, he wore the three stripes of a Sergeant.

Most of what we know of his service comes from the Halesowen Home Guard booklet (P. 24). That tells us that Sergeant George Hussey was in 1944 one of three sergeants in No. 17 Platoon of "C" Company. It seems very likely that George was a member of the unit based at Beech Tree Colliery his place of employment. In the early days that Platoon had been a large one, under the command of Lieutenant T. Holden and 2/Lt. G. Bretell; it was later split into two, under the command of Lt. A. Cornock (No. 16) and Lt. C.F. Smith (No. 17).

One fragment of his service survives, retained within his papers for the rest of his life - for a reason we can now never know: a list of the components of the Blacker Bombard
(below). He possibly trained his men on the operation of this fearsome weapon.

 
From the training manual




 


   
 
 

Being fired by the 23rd Warks (Erdington) 
 

  And a cutaway image showing some of the components on George's list ....







But perhaps the main surviving memento of George's Home Guard service is his copy of the 5th Worcestershire's unit history, written in 1944: "Halesowen Home Guard", by Lt. J. G. Mountford. (This fascinating book is reproduced in its entirety within this section of the website. Click on the link to start viewing it).





The frontispiece of this work confirms it as having been his personal copy. And it also confirms his period of service which was very nearly the maximum possible:

7th July 1940 - 31st December 1944.



LATER LIFE


In the post-war years George Hussey continued his career at the Beech Tree pit performing duties of a particularly responsible kind. Here are some glimpses of those years - essential certificates from his work , now all bearing the National Coal Board heading following the nationalisation of the industry; and images of his family life.


 
 
 

 

His private life goes on ..... relaxing with his wife, Lily Elver (nee Fletcher) in about 1950



and, one sunny spring day in 1963, enjoying the company of his son and infant grandson, Kevin, in the garden




But time continues to move on: Beech Tree Colliery closes, George Hussey's identity disc is put to one side (but is not wholly discarded) and George receives a glowing testimonial from the Colliery Manager, G. Jeavons.






George Hussey continued working and at the age of 58 joined George Clancey Ltd., Belle Vale, Halesowen as a machinist. Eventually he finished work and could finally sit back (as he is doing here in 1982, shortly before his death) and enjoy a well-deserved retirement after a lifetime of devoted service to his nation, to his community and to his industry.



George Hussey died at Wordsley on 23rd April 1982 in his 82nd year and was survived by Lily for a further 18 years: she died at the age of 97 in 2000.


*********************




In Memory of
 
George Hussey

and of
all his comrades

in the
5th Worcestershire (Halesowen) Battalion

(1940-1944)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
is gratefully made to Kevin Hussey for providing this information about his grandfather and generously permitting its publication
Family images Kevin Hussey 2021

FURTHER INFORMATION
Other
information about the Halesowen Home Guard (5th Worcestershire (Halesowen) Battalion), including the contents of a 1944 history, is available on the main battalion page of this website; and about the Worcestershire Home Guard in general in the Worcestershire summary page. Much information about the Home Guard in the county is also contained in the book Chronicles of the Worcestershire Home Guard by Mick Wilks (Logaston Press, 2014, ISBN 978 1 906663 87 2).


And if you can add anything to the history of the Worcestershire Home Guard, and especially the Halesowen unit, please contact staffshomeguard via the Feedback link.


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179E - November 2021 
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