Walsall Wood Boys Brigade from the 1950s, and an enquiry from a new reader

Walsall Wood Boys Brigade, early 1950s. Image kindly supplied by Tony Portman via David Evans. Click for a larger version.

First up, an apology: the blog and 365daysofbiking journal have slipped terribly this week – sorry, but as people who follow me on social media will be aware, last weekend I really wasn’t well. Seems I’ve been overdoing it a bit and following a bit of a reality check, I’m now recovering – and catching up. Sadly, I’ve had lots of great material in which has been delayed. Apologies. Working to do what I can.

Anyway, on with the show…

The extraordinary treasury of images from Tony Portman continues apace – I will feature another school post tomorrow, I promise – but this one came in yesterday from the Young David Evans who’s been working again with Tony, and the images are lovely.

Behold, Walsall Wood’s Boys Brigade at camp in the early 1950s.

These have to bring back many memories for many readers – please feel free to comment and add yours, name the kids or give more detail.

While I’m about it, new reader Brian Rogers has contacted me, and he’s looking for old Walsall Wood school pals. He was at Walsall Wood (Streets Corner) in 1954, and would like to get in touch with anyone who remembers him. Comment here or mail me and I’ll hook you up.

David Evans said:

Walsall Wood Boys Brigade Camps, early 1950s.

Some glorious images of the Boys Brigade two-week summer camps, held at Abergele, and one held near Dover (Capel en le Ferne?) in the early 1950s.

One of the Officers seen in these images is a local man,  Mr Jim Smith who before the war was an accomplished Birchfield Harrier runner who won quite a few  medals.

My sincere thanks go to Tony Portman for his kindness and generosity in offering these images.


Thanks so much to David and of course Tony Portman for such huge generosity – and sorry for my poor performance in recent weeks. Working really is interfering with my leisure activities!

Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Walsall Wood Boys Brigade, early 1950s. Image kindly supplied by Tony Portman via David Evans. Click for a larger version.

Walsall Wood Boys Brigade, early 1950s. Image kindly supplied by Tony Portman via David Evans. Click for a larger version.

Walsall Wood Boys Brigade, Dover camp, August 1954. Image kindly supplied by Tony Portman via David Evans. Click for a larger version.

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Walsall Wood Boys Brigade from the 1950s, and an enquiry from a new reader

  1. Jeany says:

    Does any 1 remember Les Brookes who was in the boys brigade about 1944-46

  2. Chris Smith says:

    Great pictures! I was not involved with the BBs but I can confirm that my Uncle Ken Whitehouse was one of the officers. He is in the third row back on the first photo, seventh in from the left with quite a collection of medal ribbons from his time in the Royal Navy when he served with, amongst others, Prince Philip. He is also in the other pictures. Ken was the nephew of Arthur Witehouse who owned the men’s outfitters in High St Walsall Wood. He was a Methodist lay preacher. Also on the pictures somewhere is Sam Webster who lived next to the chapel almost opposite the Red White and Blue on the Lichfield Rd, but I can’t pick him out.

  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Chris
    in the second photo..front row..from the left
    no 4 is Maurice Higgs, no 5 is Tom Webster, no 6 is Ernie Bullock, no 7 is Ken Whitehouse, no 8 is Sam Webster, I believe
    Photo no 4 has some Boys Brigaders from Chasetown including their officer mr C Kirby, wearing his spectacles
    At Oak Park before the soccer match kickoff this afternoon..information regarding the Boys Brigade camps on the Norfolk Broads..some photos have appeared in this blog…three boats in the flotilla! and camps at Margate..what do BB readers remember of these please?

    kind regards

  4. david oakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    Sorry to hear you haven’t been too well, but pleased to hear you’re on the mend. My firm belief is still on leeches, but they seem to be a trifle unpopular, these days, so I hate to recommend them. Usquebaugh is quite good, but no longer on prescription, anyway. Too much and you start to walk funny, so please be careful.
    Thanks again to Tony and David, as I say to myself, as I put on my boots for another walk down memory lane. Who can I recognise ? Well, one or two, certainly. Dennis Swain, for a start, then comes George Dorsett, Jimmy Bird, George Allen, Ernie Bullock, Frank and Maurice Higgs (cousins), and Colin Brown, elder brother to Trevor Brown. Quite a good little haul after all those years. Feel quite chuffed !
    Your comment about Brian Rogers interested me, no end. I have yet to meet on the blog, anyone near my age who remembers our Vigo childhood, but the Brian that I remember, lived in Castle Road, and having not many kids of his own age in the immediate vicinity, was duly adopted into the Salters Road gang, Great fast bowler, even as a young lad, As he matured, his height and weight led to even greater speed, and he was a formidable opponent on our 17 yard pitch, in summer, we played until dark, you couldn’t see the ball, until it crashed into the wicket. There were several Rogers families in the Wood at the time, so I won’t raise me hopes !!

    • Thanks David, sorry for the delayed reply.

      A wee bird tells me you haven’t been so well yourself, I do hope things improve for you soon too.

      Leeches? The worst bit is waiting for them to dissolve slowly under the tongue!

      I have passed this on to Brian who I think is just beginning with the internet and still to find his way.


  5. On the picture with the drum kit, my brother David Marlow, is sitting on first row, far left. George Allen, next, then Maurice Higgs, Sam Webster. Bill Harris behind in the middle, Tom Webster in the middle at the back.

  6. Hi Ann, my late husband was a Walsall Wood boy unfortunately I don’t know many people from the wood, I was born at Chase Rd , Brownhills then my parents moved to the prefabs in Norton Canes, then Shelfield. I have only just found this site needless to say I am finding it fascinating even more so since I found my late husband Les Brookes in the 1st photo shown 1950s Boys Brigades also myself in another picture at school in Norton. My apologies for not knowing any1 else. I have been living in South Wales for over 30 years SO it is so lovely to get back to my roots. Best Wishes Jeany /Timmins X

    • Hi Jenny, that’s really interesting. I didn’t know your husband, I don’t know how old he was but my brother would have been 84. Sadly he passed away in 1998. I still occasionally see Tom Webster. The last I heard, Sam still lived in Blackpool. Best wishes Ann.

  7. Chris Smith says:

    Thank you for clarifying which person was Sam Webster. I met Sam when I was very young and he visited my Gran in Stonnall with Ken Whitehouse. The about 25 years later we took our caravan to Kirkham so that I could live in it whilst working in Preston. The ground keeper came across and asked where I was from – somehow Sam had recognised me, despite the fact that I’m sure I didn’t have a beard when I was in infants school! So I got to know Sam quite well but lost touch when I moved job. Last I knew he was living off Central Drive Blackpool about 4 roads back from the front.
    Ken, of course, sadly passed away some years ago.

  8. John Blanchard says:

    Looking at the first picture of Walsall Wood Boys Brigade posted March 18th I am pretty sure that the third from left back row is my cousin, Ray Share, who then lived on Lindon Road opposite Clayhanger Road next to the Black Pad.
    John Blanchard
    Auckland New Zealand

    • Hi John I remember Ray Share, his younger brother David Share was in my class at school. Are you any relation to the Blanchards that used to live in Salters Rd. I think there was Elsie but I can’t remember the boys names. Best wishes Ann.

      • John Blanchard says:

        Hi Ann, I am Elsie’s elder brother and George is her eldest brother. Search using Our Fault for a contribution I made to this blog some time ago, Best Regards, John

        • Brian Rogers says:

          Hello John Blanchard/ Brian Rogers/ here did you live in salters road Walsall wood/ if you are then all the best//

    • Brian Rogers says:

      hi john/ brian rogers here did you grow up in salters road if so I lived at no 18 and I spent a lot of time in the boys brigade live boys first then the army cadets good days ///////

  9. Hi John, my late husband les Brookes is the 6th from the Left, 3rd row from the back, Ime sure he mentioned the Shares, he may have even been related, he also lived in Linden Rd, his aunt Sue owned the Fish and Chip shop in London Rd, any of this ring a bell 🔔 Best Wishes Jeany X

  10. Ray Share says:

    Hi ray Share here les was my best pal at school he had two brothers billy and Eric last I knew he lived in pool crescent of hedges ford road brown hills west

  11. Pingback: A handy advance | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  12. Sarah stokes says:

    Hi all the last picture front row standing at the left end I’m sure that’s my Dad Dennis Stokes does the name ring a bell to anyone???he was in the boys brigade and would of been about 16 on this picture unfortunately if anyone does remember my dad he passed away in January this year he would of loved to of seen these pictures x

    • Sarah stokes says:

      Hi sorry i mean right end not left x

      • JOHN BARLOW says:


  13. Ray Share says:

    Hi Sarah I New Denis very well from boys brigade days also his brothers bill and Sid Sid was in my year at school married Jenny sadly I know Sid passed away a few years ago they tell me bill is alive and well

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.