I BEGAN this introduction
a few hours after the Secretary of State for War had broadcast
his message to the Home Guard on 5th September, 1944.
I wonder what your feelings were when he told us that in
effect, our services were no longer required. I must
confess that my first reaction was a certain relief that it
would not be necessary to turn out at nights whether I wished
to or not, real regret that many happy associations might
soon be broken and a query in my heart as to the part I and
others like me will play, after this war is over, in the life
of the district in which we have spent so much time, thought,
and energy during the past four and a half years.
From the beginning I have been amazed at the resources which
this corner of Staffordshire has proved it possesses.
I believe that the urban districts of Aldridge and Brownhills
which comprise our area have every reason to be proud of those
who have made up the 32nd Battalion. Men have learnt
to stand on their feet and lecture on all kinds of subjects,
not only military. Others have developed a sense of
leadership which not only
| surprised themselves,
but their friends and families. So many have shown a sense of
duty, a determination to carry on which had never been demanded
of them to the same extent before.
We have been a fortunate battalion. Our area covers
a good bit of country, extensive, though not too much so,
studded by villages each of which has provided its quota of
stout hearts, and in practically every case has become the
H.Q. of a company. There has been rivalry between companies,
and yet a loyalty to each other and to the battalion, which
has been quite remarkable.
We have been a happy battalion. There have been few
problems to solve other than those which one must expect in
any organization. And for this state of affairs, I must pay
tribute to the Officers and N.C.Os. for their devotion to
duty and to their untiring efforts to make themselves helpful
to the men under their command. Not for one moment am
I inferring that the men have not played their part.
On the contrary. If I had to honour some more than others
it would be that solid cadre of faithful men in the ranks
through whose steadfastness and reliability, guards and parades
have been carried out in all circumstances.