MEMORIES AND INFORMATION - STAFFORDSHIRE HOME GUARD
The 38th & 39th WARWICKS (B'HAM) Battns.
(Acocks Green, Stechford and Yardley)
THE COPSEY BROTHERS
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The Copsey brothers of Charles Edward Road, South Yardley, had associations with both the 38th and the 39th Warwickshire (Birmingham) Battalions in Stechford and Yardley. There is more information about the 39th Battalion, and especially its Rover factory Company, on another page of this website.
The younger brother, Len Copsey, remembers:
When I was 13 years old in 1942, I joined the Army Cadet Force at the former Wathes, Cattell & Gurden (Wacaden) shop on the corner of Coventry Road and Gladstone Road, South Yardley. There was a Home Guard platoon there using the former dairy shop as their H.Q.
On Sunday morrnings we cadets would march down Coventry Road, turn right into Clay Lane down to the Rover factory where the Home Guards would pass out to us a mixture of Ross and Long Lee Enfield rifles. We then crossed over the lane and were trained in arms drill on what was an old sewage works that had been filled in with boiler ash. Gilbertstone School is on the site now and opposite where the rifles were passed through the factory railings is now
the DVLA driving test centre. Our officer was Lt. Baugh and our Battalion H.Q. was in Mary Rd, Stechford.
My elder brother Dennis Copsey was economical with the truth in around 1941, told them that he was seventeen as that was the minimum age for joining the Home Guard and succeeded in joining the 38th Battalion a year early at the age of sixteen. He told me that their H.Q. was a large house off Coventry Road, Sheldon in Barrows Lane. They would spend nights on duty and do fire watching on the roof. He remembers the name of the Quartermaster officer as A.E.(?) Clarke and also a senior N.C.O., Sgt.-Maj. Loach. They went to the butts rifle firing at Kingsbury range. Later he was one of the National Service conscripts who were directed not into the armed forces but down the mines and thus became a Bevin Boy.
This is the area which Len is describing. Gladstone Street and Charles Edward Road are two of the grid of four roads just north of Yardley Cemetery and joining the Coventry Road.
We are much indebted to Mr. Len Copsey of Birmingham for this memoir and his permission for its publication.