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THE initial formalities are over. Eden has broadcast (read the text here) and within the hour the local police have been besieged by eager enquirers for enrolment forms. Our detailed life histories have been submitted and, presumably, vetted. A lot of organising work has been done behind the scenes by our Sub Group Commander and his Second in Command, and a preliminary meeting of would-be Local Defence Volunteers has been held in our Parish Hall (see the invitation here). And now on a day of early June 1940, we parade (or perhaps "gather" would be a more suitable term) at Little Aston Stables and find our names amongst a list of men who are destined to form a platoon of the L.D.V.

A roll call, more filling up of forms. The Platoon Commander is chosen after a query by the Company Commander : "Any man here with army experience and who has a car?" A few minutes later, an infantry private of the last war takes his first parade. N.C.Os. are created by similar methods. We can take no risks at this stage and all section leaders must have previous Army training.

The Platoon falls in two deep - drill in threes is as yet an unravelled mystery.  A very willing bunch of all ages from sixty to fifteen, from all walks of life, and in all sorts of civilian clothes - office and works attire, flannel bags, and gardening dress. One man is carrying his umbrella. A mere handful with previous military experience. A few more particulars required, a division of the Platoon into sections, arrangements for guard duties are made, a spin of a coin for our platoon number, and the Platoon, eventually to be known as No. 5 "B" Company, 32nd (Aldridge) Battalion, South Staffordshire Home Guard, is formed.

Parades start in real earnest. All are keen and are most willing to learn. We all, including the instructors, make many mistakes. We work on musketry, loading and sighting, field work and the parade ground, the duties of sentries, and then more musketry. This active work is a splendid antidote to the sickening thoughts of the time, of Germany and Italy and perhaps Japan against Britain now standing alone. As the old lady said at the height of the London Blitz : "There's one good thing about all this bombing, it takes your mind off the war."

We sadly lack equipment. Six Pl4 rifles for a company 140 strong, and those have to be fetched from and returned, after the



Images of the Platoon can be seen on this page.
A further description of life in this Platoon, written by a private, is here.
Memories of the Platoon by a teenager - here