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The Guard Book contains constant reference to a "bright" light seen each night at a certain spot. This proves on investigation to be a red railway signal light at Aldridge, three miles away. These checks are made almost nightly, and such reports, common in most H.G. units, tend to illustrate the effectiveness of countless watching eyes peering into the darkness throughout the country and the improbability of any serious happening which is not instantly spotted and reported.

We get our share of the usual scares. Immediately following an air raid one night, during which low-flying 'planes are observed, the Guard receive a report at 03.00 hours from the local Fire Service that parachutes have been seen falling in Streetly Wood. The information is immediately checked back by telephone to local A.R.P. to H.Q. A.R.P. in Lichfield, who state the report was received from an Aldridge policeman. Enquiry here discloses the source of the report a patrolling policeman, who saw white puffs in the sky in the Streetly direction. Having had similar experience before, we recognise the description as A.A. shellbursts, but, nevertheless, must check up. Neighbouring guards are warned and we patrol the whole area by car until full daylight. Farm workers on their way to work that morning find a bayonet against their ribs and a demand for identity cards.

Sometimes during the almost nightly raids, the whole area is ringed with burning incendiaries and the men on duty experience a feeling of utter impotence when wondering how their wives and families are faring. It's a great temptation, but none succumbs.

Equipment is pouring in. We wear our denim suits with their very badly fitting collars, L.D.V. arm-bands, and civilian shoes. Then, in August, the boots arrive, with the immediate result of 100 per cent. improvement in smartness throughout the platoon on the parade ground and on the march.

The training, too, has become intensified. One man brings Mills-bomb casings ("over the wall" from some factory or other) and we instruct on priming, throwing, and mechanism; bayonet fighting, in the last war style, including four butt strokes; L.M.G's., Bren, B.A.R.; Molotov Cocktails, each man making and throwing his own; gas, defence works, and protection against rifle fire; fieldcraft, use of cover, movement and formations; camouflage; instruction on enemy methods and weapons; emergency stations, knowledge of Platoon area, strong points, road blocks, with frequent instruction on the operational job of each man.

Our machine-gun sergeant visits the Guard for two hours every night for three weeks to spread a good basis of instruction throughout the Platoon on mechanism and handling of the Browning automatic rifle. Our Company M.G. instructor takes additional parades on M.G. training and the popularity of these persists throughout the duration of the Platoon. 




(Images of the Platoon can be seen on this page)