A responsible job for responsible men

Although as the list shows, women were involved too! Image from ithe Imperial War Museum

I am once more indebted to David Evans (who’s not having a great time at the moment, so I’d like to wish him the very best and invite readers to join me in doing so) for finding and compiling this astounding list of Walsall Wood’s Air Raid Wardens.

David was inspired in his research by the recent article about the huge air raid shelter built in Stubbers Green at the outbreak of World War Two, the record of which I think surprised many of us. Since then, he’s been beavering away with Council minutes and other paperwork to bring us this remarkable list.

Are any of your relatives listed? There are also some wonderful occupations listed, including a local farmer’s chauffeur!

For a taste of what life was like in the area at the time, this article from a few years ago gives a taste.

Thanks to David for a remarkable addition to the historical record, and I hope his situation improves soon. Hang in there old chap.

If you have anything to add, please do: Comment here is welcome, as is mail to BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com and tapping me on the shoulder on any social media I hang out on.

David Evans Wrote:


Compiled from Brownhills Urban District Council minutes:

On 26 May 1938 Air raids precautions committee held a meeting. It would now be possible to commence the training of Air Raid Wardens. The number of volunteers so far enrolled:

Brownhills central Ward                              57
Walsall Wood Ward       153
Shelfield and High Heath Ward                          41
Norton Canes Ward       62

This number rose to 446 that summer. Auxiliary fire stations were approved for Norton Canes and Walsall Wood. In January 1939 the number of ARP volunteers had risen to 591 in the borough. In February 1939 a total capacity of shelters for 19,000 persons was recorded. In March 1939 the Air Raid precautions committee recorded that ‘…a further 60,000 sandbags would be received shortly.’

In July 1939 the council approved the ARP committee’s recommendation to build 8 permanent Warden’s Posts, including one ‘Near Conveniences, Walsall Wood’ and another ‘Corner House, Walsall Wood.’

I believe Walsall Wood’s Permanent Post was built near Brookland Road/ High Street junction, now a car park, and that the Auxiliary fire Station was built by this Post. The Corner House Post may have been at Shire Oak Junction, possibly on the covered reservoir  (two sources, oral tradition). [This remains a bone of contention between me and David – Bob, laughing].

On 6th September 1939 the ARP committee held a meeting. ‘Evacuation. A letter dated 25 August 1939 was received from the Ministry of health stating that reasonable expenditure may now be incurred for evacuation purposes and that plans for reception should be pushed forward with all speed.’

 Who were Walsall Wood’s Air Raid Wardens?

Fortunately the 1939 register is now accessible and, despite the corrections and annotations that this hastily complied register contains, we can find most of the Air Raid Wardens in the area.

The register was compiled on 10 October 1939 and has some blacked out entries as these people were still living a few years ago.  We also find reference to First Aid, St Johns Ambulance and Auxiliary Fire Service in this register.

Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood

 15       Charles Burns, engine driver at brickworks, ARP Warden

7          Robert Hayes, school attendance officer, ARP warden

49        Abraham Holyman, sheet metal filer, Auxiliary Fire Service

55        Enoch Painter, concrete maker, air raid shelters, Auxiliary Fire Service

55        Norman Painter, colliery hewer, AFS, Brownhills

Coppice Road

10        George Kemp, colliery fireman, ARP Ambulance, Staffs

30        Joseph Parr, coal miner ARP First Aid reserve

40        George Horobin, railway porter (van man) ARP, LMS Rly

42        James Lydall, bricklayer, ARP demolition (Aldridge)

66        John Parr, edge tool glazer, St Johns Ambulance Brigade

68        William Williams, colliery hewer, AFS BUDC

70        Alfred Clarke, colliery surface worker AR Warden (BUDC)

Lindon Road

129      John Halligan, colliery dispatch clerk and balloon barrage A.A.F

Brownhills Road

54        David Rowley, colliery wharf labourer  AFS (colliery)

26A      James Hollender, foreman (brickworks) First Said Superintendent BUDC

24        Sidney Collins, general labourer, colliery  ARP (ambulance)

18        Arthur Hancox, plasterer, AFS volunteer

14        Samuel Warrington, colliery worker ARP ambulance driver

Occupation Road

21        William Lees(?), butcher and National Pigeon Service

25        Clifford Perrins, mechanic, colliery service, ex RAF Officer (see military records;David)

25        Annie Perrins, First Aid volunteer

25        Bessie Perrins, record clerk , ARP BrownhillsUDC

27        Fred Arnold, ARP Instructor, Aldridge Brickworks,  ARP Instructor BUDC

27        Gladys Arnold tailoring machine button-holer, First Aid Services

31        James Langford, colliery boiler fireman . AFS Walsall Wood colliery

35        Robert Ruddock, colliery wagon repairer, St Johns Brownhills, ARP

Friezland Lane 

80        Frank Walker, Ambulance driver and ARP Service, BUDC


48        Thomas Swain, assurance agent, enumerator

46        Francis Broadhurst, plastic moulder, AFS Streetly works

Lindon Road

49        Clifford Perrins, coach painter. Ambulance voluntary, BUD

63        Philip Pope, senior canal toll clerk, Birmingham Canal ARP scheme

65        Alfred Jackson, senior canal clerk , Birmingham canal ARP scheme

50,        Nellie Foster, unpaid domestic duties, ARP First Aid volunteer

56        Harry Heath, colliery hewer, ARP First Aid BUD

Pauls Coppice Post Office

            Arthur Horobin laundry manager , ARP emergency ambulance driver

Silver Street

            George Bywater, colliery shot firer, special constable no 3119

ORIT register:

Salters Road

56        Jabez Shaw, burner in brickworks, ARP warden BUDC

70        Jim Arblaster, coal hewer, AFS Brownhills UD

94        Joseph Harrison, heavy lorry driver, AFS Brownhills UD

100      William Freeman, Co-op milk deliverer, Auxiliary Fire Service Brownhills UDC

102      Sidney Arrowsmith, coal hewer, Auxiliary Fire Service, Brownhills UDC

Brookland Road

100      Thomas Percival, motor haulage contractor, Staffs CC Special Constable no 854

116      Victor Nicholls, builder’s labourer, Auxiliary Fire Service Brownhills UDC

Coronation Road

14        Percy Bickley, navvy on air raid shelters, Air Raid Warden at no x Post Brownhills UDC

23        Randolph Mycock, coal hewer,  ARP Warden

38        William Evans, master window cleaner, ARP whole – BUDC

57        Harold Dunning, plastic moulder at Bakelite factory Brownhills –

61        Leslie Jones, labourer at steel works, ARP First Aid Post, BUDC

Stewart Road

2          Charles Mills, colliery worker ARP voluntary worker BUDC

Oak Road

19        Thomas Danks, labourer at brickworks, Air Raid Warden

20        Clive Lydell brickworks labourer, ARP First Aid, Brownhills UDC

Brook Lane

49        Elizabeth Remblance, chauffeuse, ARP ambulance driver, BUDC

59        Thomas Belton, butcher, constable in Staffs special constabulary

65        Thomas Dixon, motor haulier, ARP, Auxiliary Fire Service

54        Thomas Arnold, gardener, First Aid section ARP, BUDC

Lichfield Road

18        Charles Higgs, newsagent ARP warden, BUDC

32B      Austin Walker, insurance agent. ARP warden, County of Stafford

48        Frank Litherland, engine fitter, ARP Auxiliary Fire Service BUDC

58        Clifford Jones, bricklayer burner ARP Auxiliary Fire Service BUDC

64        John Lewis, bricklayer’s labourer, ARP, BUDC

84        William Yeomans, wireless dealer, ARP warden, BUDC

86        Joseph Blakemore, excavator driver. special constable in Staffs Constabulary no 853

96        James Bayley, electrical engineer, part-time ARP ambulance man and driver BUDC

ORIA register:

Shire Oak

Lichfield Road, Sandhills (from Chester Road down to Barracks lane)

6          Harold Brooks, drapers collector, ARP warden, Brownhills UD

51        Henry Harrison, chauffeur (to Mr Lane) special constable no 1752

Chester Road, Shire Oak 

177      John Bywater, milk roundsman, AFS BUDC

131      Harold Blakemore, Lancashire boiler stoker, ARP decontamination Aldridge UDC

Lindon Road

254      Thomas Glenn, mechanic, full time ARP Warden ( motor mechanic)

Friezland Lane

61        Mary Curley, AFS 40 company roll w/6382

ORIS register:

Salters Road

27        Harry Whitby ARWarden BUDC

67        John Wright, painter, Air Raid warden, Brownhills UDC

153      Elizabeth Jolly, (69 yrs ) Air Raid Precaution decontamination squad, Staffs CC

161      William Oakley, labourer, air raid warden BUDC

165      Thomas Cross, gravel digger, air raid precaution demolition squad, BUDC

169      Arthur Parr, auxiliary fire service, BUDC

Brookland Road

42        Harry Roberts, Stafford County Constabulary

48        Walter Pinches, pork butcher, Police War reserve

76        Bernard Stokes, haulier, special constable

Vigo Road

26        Arthur Doody, labourer, Police War reserve

26        Evelyn Doody, first aid volunteer

Aldridge Road

26        Samuel Hyde, miner, ARP volunteer

28        Harry Reynold, brickworks, Auxiliary Fire service BUDC

Castle Road?

10        – Aspley, colliery, Police War reserve

Castle Road?

11        James Woollaston, miner, ARP volunteer

69        Grace Jillings, ATS 1stSouth –

69        Dorothy Jillings, 21stCompany WAAF

Castle Road

2          Wilfred stokes, ARP volunteer

16        Reginald Cope, labourer, brickyard, Voluntary ambulance driver, ARP, BUDC

44        Annie McDonaugh, St Johns Brigade, Walsall Nursing driver

50        Roland Percival, painter, voluntary AFS BUDC

50        Evelyn Percival voluntary AFS worker

Holly Lane

59        Edward Langford, colliery, voluntary air raid warden BUDC

51        William Bowker, miner, air raid warden, BUDC

7          William Richard, assurance agent, special constable

1          John Clayton, colliery electrician, auxiliary fire service

1          Ronald Clayton, transport driver, ambulance driver ARP, BUDC

Lichfield Road

124      William Bullock, miner, First Aid volunteer, BUDC

ORIR register:

Beech Tree Road

45        Joan Kirk, part-time ambulance driver

47        Norman Cooper, brass founder, voluntary first aid at ARP Post

47        Ethel Cooper, voluntary first aid at ARP Post

51        Henry Wagstaff, planning engineer in plastic works, ARP

21        Jarvis Beswick, Police Constable

21        Peggy Beswick, volunteer first aid, Walsall Wood

28        Reginald Morrey, Police constable no 174

Beech Tree House, Beech Tree Road

            Francis Roberts, medical practitioner, ARP Staffs County Council

56        Charles Cope, coalminer, special constable, Wednesbury

60        William Jones, insurance superintendent, Air Raid Warden, BUDC

79        Albert Maguire, assurance agent, special constable

77        Percy Foster, electrician, ARP first aid volunteer

63        Harry Morgan post office junior clerk , ARP telephonist and messenger

King Street

9          Agnes Davies, nurse ARP first aid post, BUDC

Queen Street

36        Clarence Hollender, works ARP warden Aldridge tool and engineering, Aldridge

26        Bernard Leese, motor driver, auxiliary fire service Brownhills UDC

Boatman’s Lane

21        Alfred Mason, girder plater, ARP, St Johns ambulance brigade

High Street, Walsall Wood

5          William Woollaston, hairdresser, ARP warden

?          Joseph Crutchley, blacksmith, ARP warden part-time

            Jerusha Crutchley, ladies’ hairdresser, first aid voluntary

29        Arthur Whitehouse, outfitter, tailored goods, boots and shoes, First aid Post duties, Stafford County Council

45        Cyril Thacker, air raid shelter constructor, ARP warden

            Hawthorn Tree Inn, Benjamin Bailey, publican

Walsall Road, Walsall Wood

79A      Agnes Jacques, ARP BUDC

83        John Nicholls, labourer, ARP, Stafford CC

109      Hosea Sylvester, Police War reserve

ORIO register:

Walsall Road, Walsall Wood

112      George Wall, colliery hewer, ARP senior warden BUDC

100      George Litherland, AFS no 108600, leading fireman BUDC

Hall Lane

36        John Baker, miner, voluntary ARP warden, Staffs CC

52        John Harper, bricklayer, ARP warden BUDC

151      Arthur Till, bricklayer, Bhills AFS

High Street, Walsall Wood

Red Lion Inn      William Burton publican, ARP warden, Brownhills UDC

30        Frank Harrison, wholesale tobacco traveller, ARP, first aid, Walsall Wood

40        Patricia Barratt, St Johns Ambulance brigade 

58        William Hall, miner, ARP no 6 Post Walsall Wood

Coppice Road

75        Arthur Craddock, wholesale master grocer, AP volunteer, BUDC

81        James Hodgkiss, bricklayer, Brownhills ARP warden

Camden Street

3          Arthur Stanley, brick and tile setter, Brownhills ARP ( P.T.)

7          Fred Weston, wholesale grocery deliveries, part-time ambulance driver, BUDC

41        Samuel Nutting, bricklayer, ARP Brownhills UDC

26        Harry Eardley, miner AFS no 108601 Brownhills

30        Joh Harrison, rail layer in coal mine St Johns Ambulance, no 358411

34A      John Riley, Brownhills UDC plumber and Staffs Police special constable

34A      Winifred Riley, ARP driver BUDC

Black Cock Inn

            William Thorpe, licensee, ARP warden

Green Lane

22        William Merrick, coal hewer, ARP warden BUDC

34        William Rowley, cowman at farm, special constable

Grange Farm, Green Lane

            William Ward farmer, ARP work voluntary

David Evans, November 2018

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19 Responses to A responsible job for responsible men

  1. Christine says:

    Would be interested in the Norton Canes list.

  2. David Evans says:

    Hello Christine
    you will need to access the 1939 register..say, through one of the ancestors sites, If you know the name of any person living in Norton Canes around then, and know how to use the ancestors sites etc, this will open up the whole BUDC register, You will have to read through all the names of people in Norton Canes to compile the names of ARP etc members..Look for addition ARP written on the right hand column . There is no discrete list of ARP people as such in this register.

    kind regards

  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    one of the most useful aspects of your wonderful blog is those rare occasions when two disparate strands of local history come together.

    Some years ago, during a conversation wit my cousin who grew up in Walsall Wood HIgh Street, he mentioned that at one time there had been a foundry in Beech Tree Road…but could not remember the name. So, an unresolved part of local history..for quite a while.

    A few weeks ago I sent a draft copy of the ARP notes up to David Oakley in the far north of the realm, for his observations.. During the ensuing follow-up telephone conversation David mentioned the ARP permanent post, in Beech Tree Road ( so not near the public conveniences, BUDC minutes) and that the post was at the dog-leg bend in Beech Tree Road…by the little foundry..next door to Mr and Mrs Cooper who ran the post. Sure enough the 1939 register shows a Mr Cooper, brassfounder, and gives his house number.
    The 1945 Google Earth map does show a huddle of rectangular buildings there.
    Today there are four 1960s sem detached houses and a row of maisonettes more or less there

    Now, what is the history of this brassfoundry?, possibly owned by a Mr Cooper?

    kind regards and thank you for your kind words, Bob. Most appreciated
    best wshes

  4. Pedro says:

    July 1914….Advert….Miss Cooper, Beech Tree Road, Walsall Wood, certified maternity nurse

  5. beryl marklew says:

    I would like to know if anyone remembers the air raid shelter it was where the silver court shops are now[opposite Humphries coal yard. Our cottage was behind the shelter approx. 1940’s to 1950’s.

  6. Reg Fullelove says:

    the head quortes for brownhills ARP was built on the side of the memoriol hall in lichfield road chief officer was JACK BREW THE BAKER an intteresting fact some of the ARP men became the foundation of the original home guard there is a photgraph in your archives of the group on the subject of whitehouse memory lane again of an old popullar comes to mind one name springs to mind IVY wasnt she a popular hair dresser i knew the whole family in lichfield road lovely folk god bless

  7. Lynn Bunce (Jackaman) says:

    Is there anyway of finding out ARP joking after 1939 census ?My grandad Jospeh Jackaman was a warden but after the census.

  8. David Evans says:

    Hello Lynn
    your grandad Joseph might have also been in the Home Guard….there is an excellent site..Staffordshire Home Guard..google this perhaps..well worth looking as the local lads do get quite a mention….perhaps readers can help you more…..please
    all the best

  9. David Evans says:

    Hello Lynn..again
    there are oral tales…one where a stout local man took his turn to be the dead stretcher casualty in an ARP Home Giard exercise….bringing the comment..well, he can carry himself..expeltives deleted..The man became an optician after the war…and remained quite a stout well built man!
    Walsall Wood wartime humour
    another recounts an excercise where AHCraddock, wholesale grocer in Coppice Road, supplied the stores for the “do” only to find that anonymous rooks had also helped themselves to the bounty after the “do” had been concluded..
    Walsall Wood. Love te place, and its noble traditions
    kind regards
    I hope other readers can add to the library of local lore

  10. David Evans says:

    Brownhills Wardens
    Walsall Observer, 28 September 1940

    “From a Brownhills lady comes a letter expressing warm appreciation of what
    Air Raid Wardens are doing after the sirens have sounded. They look up the elderly people
    giving them cheer and comfort and the knowledge they are being looked after”

  11. David Evans says:

    Rushall A.R.P Whist Drive
    Walsall Observer, 20 January 1940

    Rushall Air Raid Wardens and First Aid parties spent an enjoyable social evening in the Old Boys’ School on Saturday. Mr W Yates was MC for the whist drive and prize winners were;-
    Ladies; 1, Mrs Yates, 2, Mrs Bronswick. Gentlemen; 1. Mr A Poxon, 2, Mr W Roberts, Refreshments were served by Mrs J Sanders and other ladies of the social committee

  12. David Evans says:

    Walsall Observer 9 September 1939
    Billie Evans ( window cleaner ) of Walsall Wood, wishes his customers to know that he is on duty as Air Raid Warden and although unable to give his personal attention is arranging for the window-cleaning to be carried out.
    He trusts that his customers will please give their usual kind consideration

  13. Reg Fullelove says:

    SORRY MESSED IT UP AGAIN remember those famous words inthe early days of the war LDV look duck and vanish god bless them all i still have their uniform an arm band

  14. Steve says:

    A little late to this party but my grandfather, George Hancox, living in Common Side, was in the AFS during WW II. He was a miner. The Arthur listed above may have been his brother.

  15. Nick Brownjohn says:

    Hi Bob,
    I just stumbled across your fascinating website while searching for info relating to my (maternal) Grandfather, Thomas Percival. Can you tell me the source of your info concerning his Special Constable number, because it doesn’t tie up with the number I have, namely 871, which is printed (typed?) on the outer box containing his Special Constabulary service medal. I can send you some photos if you are interested.

    Trying to figure out what his profession was is also proving a challenge as both my mother and (late) Grandmother said “Tom” worked at the Castle Bromwich Spitfire factory as a quality/flight inspector, so he would have probably known Alex Henshaw personally. I don’t know how long he was in the haulage business but he left it after his truck(s) were subjected to arson by, presumably, a rival haulier who wanted his haulage license.

    • BrownhillsBob says:

      David should be able to answer this – he’ll pass by in due course. I wouldn’t discount the possibility of a transcription error somewhere.

      Best wishes

  16. David Evans says:

    Hello Nick
    thankyou for your note and for your interest. I used the 1939 (emergency) census….please, if you can, look under Brownhills registration district 368.3. ED letter code ORIT
    In Brookland Road ( Walsall Wood ) you see a Thomas Percival, born 12 October 1908, living at house number 41. This is near Coronation Road and opposite the cemetery
    The entry is quite legible. Thomas Percival,occupation, motor haulage contractor, own driver.. and on the right hand page..Staffs CC Special Constable no 854

    In the early 1950s there was a Mr Percival who lived in Coronation Road. he owned a Bedford tipper truck. From memory he had two daughters.. The same person or another Mr Percival?
    I hope this is of some help to you.

    with kind regards


    • Nick Brownjohn says:

      Hi David, thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I’m not sure how to access the 1939 (emergency) census, could you explain how, or send me a link?

      These “two” Thomas’s are one and the same person and the two girls mentioned are my mother (Christine) and my aunt (Margret).

      My Grandmother and mother talked about living in Brookland Road. Apparently they were forced out (house requisitioned during the war?) resulting in the move to Coronation Road. Unfortunately my Grandfather died just before I was born but I do have vague recollections of a Bedford truck at the back of their garden/yard.

      Let me know if you would like a few photos of Tom’s Special Constabulary medal and box. You are free to use them on your website if you wish.



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