MEMORIES AND INFORMATION - SHROPSHIRE
WELLINGTON
HOME GUARD PARADE 1942

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This page updated August 2014

 

This parade of the Wellington Home Guard took place in the summer of 1942. It might well have been on the second anniversary of the founding of the force in May 1940.

The location of the view is not specified but will be recognisable to anyone who knows the town well. There is a picture which appears on another website (click here to view) which may well show the same parade and the location there is specified as Sutherland Avenue, adjacent to Wrekin College. The officer taking the salute on that occasion is Captain E. Hunt.

It is almost certain that the men of the Wellington Railway Platoon, shown here, will have participated in this big parade.

The size of the crowd is remarkable. Can anyone recognise and identify any of the participants? Or are they all to remain anonymous and forgotten? Or any of the onlookers, including the baby slumbering peacefully in his pram, oblivious to all the excitement surrounding him.

We are indebted to the late Mr. Arthur Hounslow of Admaston for providing this fascinating picture.

Below is a higher definition version of the image.


At the time when this parade was taking place, John Lindop was a pupil at Wrekin College and was photographed at around this time standing in the main entrance (right). John was a member of the crowd watching this impressive event and has recorded his memories for staffshomeguard.

I went to Wrekin College in 1940 and heard harrowing tales of senior pupils being co-opted into the LDV, as it was then, and guarding the Wrekin and surrounding area at night dressed in their OTC uniforms and carrying SMLE Enfields. (The uniforms were of WW1 vintage with '09 webbing but were replaced with battledress in around 1943). The result of these nightime operations, it seems, was that they were falling asleep in class the following day. Evidently this was an emergency situation as it had ceased by the time I got there.

This was not my first encounter with the Home Guard. My father had joined the LDV at the very outset and on the basis of his Great War experience was a Sergeant in the Chester Home Guard. Before moving to Wrekin College I was a pupil at the King's School in Chester in 1939/40 and not long after the Home Guard was formed in June 1940 they asked for volunteers to unpack and degrease a shipment of Ross rifles from, I think, Canada, the first such issue to the Chester HG. These weapons had been stored in a military arsenal for two decades and were caked in protective grease. They were now in Milne's warehouse in Godstall Lane, awaiting issue to individual Home Guards. So, being keen on guns, I volunteered and a messy job it was too!


At Wrekin, the Officers' Training Corps consisted of most of the school, about 300 odd in three Companies, one SMLE for each member, but when I had been there about six months all the guns were taken away for the HG and it was about a year before we got replacements.

I watched the Home Guard parade shown on this page. I was 16 years of age at the time and was standing near the entrance gate to the school. In this parade were two masters from the school, Mr. "Jack" Frost and Mr. Collins but unfortunately I cannot pick them out in the image.

I went straight from Wrekin into the Royal Navy: the only difference I noted was a change of clothing as Wrekin was run by a Victorian despot in the old mould so the R.N. was, in some instances (not many, but some!), a bit more relaxed.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to Mr. John Lindop for sharing his memories of those times.