From an early stage in the life of the Home Guard, probably not long after the initial panics had subsided, sport started to play an important role in many battalions. The aims were several: to encourage and promote physical fitness, to develop team spirit and inter-unit competitiveness and to enable Home Guards to meet up socially with their fellows whom they might well not encounter in the course of their military duties. These activities developed into annual sports meetings, increasingly elaborate affairs, which brought in the public and especially families - wives, siblings, children and friends. These major events were often fund-raisers too, for the benefit of the Battalion funds or external good causes. One Staffordshire battalion's sporting activities are described elsewhere on this website, here.
The 16th Warwickshire (Coventry) Battalion was no exception. By 1943 their Battalion sports event was a significant affair, lasting from early afternoon until dusk. A programme from that afternoon survives and is reproduced below.
The beneficiary of the event's fund-raising was the Royal Warwickshire Regiment's Prisoner of War Fund; the latter provided parcels and support for men of the R.W.R. who had been captured in France in summer 1940 and later in the Far East. Most of these men had already been in German captivity for over three years and had almost another two years to endure. (They will have included the few survivors of the massacre at Wormhoudt in May 1940 when many RWR prisoners were murdered in cold blood by a German Army unit whose members were never brought to justice. This crime did not come to light until late in 1943).
Here is the programme. It was priced at sixpence (2.5p = 85p today) and entitled the holder to participate in a draw for £1/10/- (£1.50 = £51 today). Let us hope that they enjoyed a sunny day.