AND INFORMATION - STAFFS HOME GUARD
2nd STAFFORDSHIRE (BURSLEM) BATTN.
Lt.-Col. REG BROWN
is a page within the www.staffshomeguard.co.uk website.
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The Burslem area of the Potteries in North
Staffordshire was defended by the 2nd Staffordshire (Burslem)
Battalion of the Home Guard. Its Commanding Officer was
Lt.-Col. R. Brown (late R.N.)
and it comprised four Companies ("A" to "D")
and a Headquarters unit. Whilst no NCO or Other Ranks personnel
from this Battalion have so far been identified, all or
most of the officers who were serving in 1942 happily have
been. Their names are listed below and the Companies in
which they served. (Other
Battalions were responsible for other parts of the Potteries:
the 1st - Stoke-on-Trent, the 3rd - Longton and the 4th
- Hanley. All four Battalions formed No. 1 Group of No.
3 Zone of the West Lancashire Area).
Reg Brown like so many other Home Guard officers
was a veteran of the Great War during which he served in
the Royal Navy. He was Navigating Lieutenant in H.M. Submarines in 1916-1919 and served on HMS Maidstone from November 1917.
He held a Master Mariner certificate and remained a Lieutenant
in the Royal Navy Reserve after the war. In 1919 he formed
Browns Motor Company (Tunstall) Ltd with his brother, Leonard
Brown, and they were joined a year later by Mr. William
Pendleton and a Mr. Alfred E. Brown. The Company remained
in the same ownership until it was taken over by PMT in
the late 1950s. At that point Reg Brown left the Potteries
and retired to his house at Abersoch
on the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales, then as now a picturesque
haven for sailors.
The Welsh holiday home had been built in
a field in the 1930s. Its use in the period 1940-1944 would
have been much restricted as Reg Brown devoted his time
and energy not only to running his business but also to
commanding the 2nd Battalion back in industrial North Staffordshire.
But its existence did have one side-effect which influenced
the history of the Home Guard in Burslem in a way which he could never have imagined.. During its building
Reg used one of his buses as temporary accommodation on
Here it is, nicknamed "Seacar" and newly arrived on site in the late afternoon of a day in the early 1930s.
Three-quarters of a century later the view is still a beautiful one.
The use of a bus as a site office and living accommodation in these peaceful and idyllic surroundings was almost certainly the inspiration which
led to a similar vehicle being used as his mobile HQ during his Home
Guard days. It is very evident in a fascinating
watercolour by Lt. T.S. Harris which shows a scene at Newbold
Camp in 1944.
Evidence of the affection and respect in which the Commanding
Officer of the 2nd Battalion was held survives in the form
of a certificate commemorating his Silver Wedding Anniversary
on 12th September 1942. He is shown left with his wife May,
photographed later in more peaceful times. The 1942 certificate
was signed by all the officers of the Battalion and is reproduced
The signatories of this Certificate are
repeated below. Many
of the names which appear are those of men who appear in
the February 1941 Home Guard List of officers. They will
have been appointed at a very early stage in the life of
the Home Guard, probably in June 1940, they will already
have served for more than two years and a further similar
period of service still lies ahead. It is a remarkable record
of prolonged and devoted voluntary service, shared by many
Home Guards of all ranks.
The Battalion artist, Lt.
Harris, appears as does Capt. Len Brown, almost certainly
the brother and business partner of the C.O. and himself
destined for service in the Armoured Corps.
These are the signatories:
Lt.-Col. Brown must have worked in close
collaboration with the C.O. of the adjoining Battalion,
the 3rd Staffordshire (Longton) Battalion, who was Lt.
Col. V.B. Shelley
(left). There is information on Lt.-Col.
Shelley and the 3rd Battalion elsewhere
within this website. These two gentlemen would not have
known it at the time but later they were to be linked by
marriage between members of their families.
We are much indebted to David Woollam of Shropshire (who as a result
of the family link mentioned above is the great-nephew of
Lt.-Col. Brown and grandson of Lt.-Col. Shelley) for the
information on this page and his generous permission for
its publication. (Images ©
David Woollam 2008/2016).