Long-time readers of this blog may well remember the name Graham Harrison – he was the chap that, way back in January 2010 was enquiring after information about his Grandfather, Henry Harrison. There was some lovely reader and Local History Centre interaction on that one. Well, Graham has written to me again, with yet another great photo… images of the local home guard are remarkably rare and this one seems to be in excellent condition.
Graham said the following:
you were very helpful to me a couple of years ago when I began researching my great-grandfather William Harrison. I since found out that he wasn’t a native of Walsall Wood, but had come from Droitwich the 1870s. Anyway, I also discovered that he was a “night soil” foreman with the UDC. Not a nice job, but very necessary! The 1911 Census transcript gave his trade as “night rail” foreman, but I smelt a rat and did some closer examination. Anyway, here (in attachment) is a photo of my Dad, Sgt.Ron Harrison, of Walsall Wood, leading his platoon, not sure where, but probably on home ground, perhaps 1942-3. He died in 2008 aged 91.
You may find it interesting.
Graham Harrison, Letterkenny, Ireland.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Graham for his generosity, and kindness in sharing the excellent picture above. It’s great to know that he has been able to find out so much about his Grandfather. Wonderful stuff.
for Grahame, please. I don’t recognise the street in the picture at first glance, unless it is Brookland Road, a bit steep slope though, but I have a couple of contacts who may be able to help. In uniform and Home Guard suggests a local parade but given the number in the squad it may be a bigger do. Home Guard memories do exist, written up soon after the war ended. There is a brief reference to Walsall Wood squad..really just to say that they paraded on the football ground, that a good breakfast was provided! I will try to help identify some of the squad for you.
for Graham, please. I have shown a copy of this photo to a local Walsall Wood lady whose husband was a member of the local Home Guard, Walsall Wood platoon during WW2. She does not recognise any of the soldiers in the photo, or the sergeant. Her husband is not in the group. She could not locate the photo in Walsall Wood, either..The front door frames and their windo are not the kind she remebers. But, night soil!She lived in Hall Lane, the nightsoilers went on Friday nights around ten-o clock, their cart wheels made a loud noise on the dirt road, the “cargo” was taken from the places.. a plain wooden board with hole, lower one for kids..to the Moss Pits” .
Perhaps more importantly, she revealed that;-
The Home Guard used to go shooting up the Castles during the war! A connection with the tanks, I wonder?
Does any reader know of their family members’ adventures with these good Home Guarders, I wonder?
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I have taken the liberty of copying this excellent image into a page on the Walsall Wood Home Guard unit in my Home Guard website. It can be seen here: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/D17ReminiscencesWalsallWood.htm
I hope that Graham Harrison has no objection to my having done this. It is an excellent image, clear enough to allow identification of individuals, and I hope I can help it become more widely accessible to Home Guard researchers, as well as those interested in family history. These blokes and their service should most certainly never be forgotten.
Please let me know if anyone has any concerns about this. And, of course, if anyone can add to the story of the local Home Guard, further information will be most welcome..
oh dear. Chris, I think you need to add a caveat to this image on your Home Guard site..or perhaps remove the reference to Walsall Wood Home Guard. 1) There is no steep slope in Walsall Wood like the one in the image. 2) When this article first appeared I showed the image to a Mrs Wadey whose husband was one of the Walsall Wood Home Guard. She carefully studied the mage to see if Arthur was there, or any of their wartime friends from Walsall Wood. Her husband is not in the squad shown..nor George Mycock, whose image has appeared in other blog articles. Dolly did not recogaise ANY of the soldiers in the image. 3) All of this is in the original comments above.
4) the only reference to Walsall Wood is Mr Harrisons!
5) we dont know if his grandfather had served elsewehre before or after coming to Walsall Wood
6)I hope to find a wartime image of Arthur to send to Brownhills Bob.
We need to very careful, Chris.