Cpl. Ernest Frederick Cushing (1909-1993) was a member of "E" Company,
(Warwick) Battalion of the Home Guard which defended Warwick and Leamington Spa. He volunteered for service in November 1940 and served until the stand-down in December 1944.
This large Battalion was commanded by
Lt. Col. J.H. Alexander, D.S.O,, M.C. in 1941
and later by Lt. Col. E.
Fred Cushing is seen below, probably in the summer of 1944, standing ouside "a pal's, in Leamington". At the time he was in his mid-thirties and was employed at the Lockheed Hydraulic Brake Company Ltd. in Leamington Spa. Whether "E" Coy.'s area of responsibility included the Lockheed works is not known.
The achievements in Fred's life, both before and after his wartime service, were remarkable and were far removed from the skills he acquired for the dealing out of death and destruction which are confirmed by other documentation on this page. Amongst much else he was an accomplished pianist, playing on BBC's Uncle Mac's Children's Hour at the age of 9 and later in dance bands during the 1930s and 1940s at such venues as Birmingham Town Hall and the Queen's Hotel. He also appeared with Victor Sylvester and his involvement with the RSC led to his accompanying such well-known performers as Olivier, Robeson and Valerie Hobson.
As devoted family man - with five children - a sometime special constable, a cricketer, tennis player and swimmer, his life must have been full indeed. But much must have been laid to one side from 1940 onwards as he devoted many hours a week to his Home Guard duties and in so doing developed new interests and skills which, seventy years later, can scarcely be imagined.
In addition to the above photograph, one or two records survive of Fred Cushing's service which indicate some of the new skills which he had learned and become proficient in. During January 1944 whilst still a Lance Corporal he was granted the following Certificate of Proficiency confirming his capabilities with regard to rifle, 36 M grenade, Sten gun, battlecraft, map reading and general knowledge, He had been assessed by some six of his superiors and the certificate bore the final signature of
Major R.W. Standring who was probably O.C. of "E" Company. The significance of the red tab is unknown but it might be the proficiency badge referred to in Part II of the Certificate.