But however good the men, they would have been powerless
to create a fine unit had it not been for the truly constructive effort
put into their jobs by the Officers and N.C.Os.
We have been an efficient battalion. We have not been called upon to
face the enemy, but if competitions against other battalions in
shooting, field work, street fighting, and signalling are any guide, we
can claim to have been one of the most efficient battalions in the
garrison, as witness the record which appears on page 23.
In the absence of a diary, I wonder how far I can give you in a few
words some of the outstanding features in the life of this battalion,
and with them some of the impressions which have remained with me after
four years of command.
We began as part of a much larger unit. In the weeks immediately
following the enrolment of the L.D.V. we were part of the Wednesbury
Group corresponding with the Wednesbury Police Division, and including
Bilston, Wednesbury, Darlaston and Aldridge. Brownhills, at that time,
was in the Lichfield Group and was not transferred to the Central
Midland District until July 1940.
Shortly before I took over, on 1st September, 1940, the present
battalion was created, and Major Machin, who had performed
magnificent service in forming
Wednesbury Group, became the first C.O. Though he was
with us for not much more than three months, we must not forget
the tremendous job he did. Compare his job at that time
with mine in 1944! Without chart or compass in the way of
direction from higher formations, with miles of territory
to cover - from Wednesbury to Brownhills - without any organized
financial help and with a very inadequate staff, he had to
weld thousands of volunteers into some semblance of a military
organization, issue rifles and equipment which trickled in
daily, and every night supervise and control the enthusiastic
and somewhat erratic patrols and guards which sprang up everywhere.
Only a very stout-hearted man, such as he was, could have
When I took over from Machin, who left us for service with
the regular army, the pioneer work was, to a great extent,
already done. Some of his volunteer staff remained
to help me, one of which was Jerromes - known as "Jerry"
- who made history in the Q.M.'s stores at Wednesbury with
the first issue of denims and their thousands of component
parts. Jerromes was a young quartermaster in the last
war, and it was largely due to him that in 1940 and 1941
the "Q" side was handled without, shall we say,
causing too much criticism from the company commanders.
As I have said, Brownhills had only just been transferred
to this area when I took over the battalion. It was a momentous
move as far as this battalion was concerned. Brownhills
then became our "C" Company and,