Shooters Hill, Time Team and the defences of London in WW2

slick

LE
Redruth Home Guard unit 1940, plenty of different ages there, and plenty of medal ribbons.... Link
rhg.jpg


My grandfather was in a reserved occupation and was in a HG unit in Plymouth, I applied for his Home Guard record quite some time ago, not much on it, just a sheet of A4 but interesting none the less.
 
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Having seen Fletchers 'Tank Chats' and some of his other youtube efforts I am somewhat surprised at the awe in which some (including our own @California_Tanker) seem to hold him
It's not awe, it's respect. When it comes to his areas of focus, which is generally pre-WW2, I'm not sure anyone can touch him. He has no particular interest in, and doesn't spend much of his time on, the post-WW2 era stuff at all.

The other matter is that "Tank chats" aren't him at his best. He's not a 'nuts-and-bolts-of-the-tank" chap like myself. He's a "This is why they did the things they did" chap, but that's not what "Tank Chats" is for. So they work with "good enough." It's not as if he hasn't had access to the field reports or technical evaluations for context.
 
My grandfather was in a reserved occupation and was in a HG unit in Plymouth, I applied for his Home Guard record quite some time ago, not much on it, just a sheet of A4 but interesting none the less.

My grandfather tried to join the HG but was rejected and became a "put that light out ya caaahnt" merchant for the factories on the Great West Road instead.

He had been in the army 1918-1920. He ended up in Germany although I don't think he ever actually fought (he may have done but never spoke to his son or grandson about it - lots didn't).

I thought he would have been a shoe-in but apparently there were more than enough younger men in the London/Middlesex area so they could afford to be choosy.
 
Redruth Home Guard unit 1940, plenty of different ages there, and plenty of medal ribbons.... Link
rhg.jpg


My grandfather was in a reserved occupation and was in a HG unit in Plymouth, I applied for his Home Guard record quite some time ago, not much on it, just a sheet of A4 but interesting none the less.
One or two old codgers maybe, but then we don't know their stories, but overall you'd have to say they look like a useful bunch of lads who could probably have held their own against most challengers.
 
My grandfather was in a reserved occupation, a nurse working at the Woolwich Memorial Hospital on Shooters Hill Road.

He was an ARP warden; my understanding is that his station was on the roof of the hospital. They lived off Shooters Hill Road in Welling and he cycled to work every day for 40 years. My mother spent most of the war there, although briefly evacuated to Yorkshire during the Battle of Britain.
 
The composition of the Home Guard has always been characterised as primarily men too old to serve in the armed forces.
Questionable at best; Grandad served in the RAF as LAC?cpl having served in the first Lot and prior to that between 1906-12. He was not demobbed until 1945 having been born in 1888.
 
Questionable at best; Grandad served in the RAF as LAC?cpl having served in the first Lot and prior to that between 1906-12. He was not demobbed until 1945 having been born in 1888.

Exactly.

That is the point the bloke is making in the section I quoted.
 
Dads Army was a brilliant bit of British comedy.
They would have defended Thetford training area to the last. That is Frog Hill, the only hill on the training area that they advanced over every week in the opening (or closing) titles.
 
Wimbledon Common was fairly well defended, and also home to many AA units. Shrapnel all over the place, made metal detectors pretty useless when we searched it for the murder weapon after Rachel Nickell was murdered, ended up fingertipping the old fashioned way. Found several old bunkers/magazines for the AA units, a dustbin full worth of knives, Could have filled ten with WW2 shrapnel (and two hides similar to those the Green Chain Walk rapist had used, which the chief investigator dismissed out of hand. None of us were surprised when Napper was charged and convicted while still serving time for the Green Chain Walk rapes), .303 cases, some very corroded clips of live .303.
Could not get hold of the wartime diagrams though which would have helped a bit in knowing areas to search last, ie, the gun positions and the murder enquiry would not stump up for aerial photos either to identify these gun positions and speed things up.
 

tiv

LE
Wimbledon Common was fairly well defended, and also home to many AA units. Shrapnel all over the place, made metal detectors pretty useless when we searched it for the murder weapon after Rachel Nickell was murdered, ended up fingertipping the old fashioned way. Found several old bunkers/magazines for the AA units, a dustbin full worth of knives, Could have filled ten with WW2 shrapnel (and two hides similar to those the Green Chain Walk rapist had used, which the chief investigator dismissed out of hand. None of us were surprised when Napper was charged and convicted while still serving time for the Green Chain Walk rapes), .303 cases, some very corroded clips of live .303.
Could not get hold of the wartime diagrams though which would have helped a bit in knowing areas to search last, ie, the gun positions and the murder enquiry would not stump up for aerial photos either to identify these gun positions and speed things up.
If it's any help this photo shows the turret that mounted two 5.25" guns. The windmill in the background should give the location.

Wimbledon 1948.png
 
Thank you for that. I heard that there were eight batteries there at the time of The Blitz but did not see anything in writing. We had two keen pillbox spotters on the team, both ex-Household Cavalry (why is it always ex-donkey wallopers in anoraks trotting over the downs looking for them?). who came up with that.
The photo has a lot of tracks that seem to support a lot more than those two gun positions.
 
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tiv

LE
Thank you for that. I heard that there were eight batteries there at the time of The Blitz but did not see anything in writing. We had two keen pillbox spotters on the team, both ex-Household Cavalry (why is it always ex-donkey wallopers in anoraks trotting over the downs looking for them?). who came up with that.
The photo has a lot of tracks that seem to support a lot more than those two gun positions.
Lack of maps was far less a problem than the chief investigator hampering things, but that is already covered in the media.
I've not seen any information about other guns there but they could have been mobiles that would have left little or no trace. There were three 5.25" twins installed in London, Wimbledon, Coldharbour Farm and Primrose Hill. This shows the one at Primrose Hill. The gun pit is said to require an excavation 30' deep. Installed June 1942.

A slightly better view of the turret, apparently minus barrels.

Wimbledon 7P.jpg


And this is the turret at Primrose Hill.

H 32360 Twin Turret.png
 
Wimbledon Common was fairly well defended, and also home to many AA units. Shrapnel all over the place, made metal detectors pretty useless when we searched it for the murder weapon after Rachel Nickell was murdered, ended up fingertipping the old fashioned way. Found several old bunkers/magazines for the AA units, a dustbin full worth of knives, Could have filled ten with WW2 shrapnel (and two hides similar to those the Green Chain Walk rapist had used, which the chief investigator dismissed out of hand. None of us were surprised when Napper was charged and convicted while still serving time for the Green Chain Walk rapes), .303 cases, some very corroded clips of live .303.
Could not get hold of the wartime diagrams though which would have helped a bit in knowing areas to search last, ie, the gun positions and the murder enquiry would not stump up for aerial photos either to identify these gun positions and speed things up.
 
Redruth Home Guard unit 1940, plenty of different ages there, and plenty of medal ribbons.... Link
rhg.jpg


My grandfather was in a reserved occupation and was in a HG unit in Plymouth, I applied for his Home Guard record quite some time ago, not much on it, just a sheet of A4 but interesting none the less.

The men at the front, presumably the officers, seem to be wearing striped rank insignia on their shoulders (similar to the RAF), rather than the usual arrangement of pips etc. Did the LDV/HG have a different set of rank insignia to go along with the different rank titles early on?
 

slick

LE
The men at the front, presumably the officers, seem to be wearing striped rank insignia on their shoulders (similar to the RAF), rather than the usual arrangement of pips etc. Did the LDV/HG have a different set of rank insignia to go along with the different rank titles early on?
According to the Mills and Carney book, in the early days the stripes "were of horizontal braid worn on both shoulders". No official measurements were given, nor were colours, some adopting plain colours in the place of braid, red being popular, and blue.

Ranks were:
Zone Commander.... 4 stripes
Battalion Commander.... 3 stripes
Company Commander.... 2 stripes
Platoon Commander.... 1 stripe
 
The men at the front, presumably the officers, seem to be wearing striped rank insignia on their shoulders (similar to the RAF), rather than the usual arrangement of pips etc. Did the LDV/HG have a different set of rank insignia to go along with the different rank titles early on?

A couple have Wings and look 40-ish, WW1 pilots wearing their RFC/RAF rank?
 

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