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Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

Article about: Hello everyone. I am normally found lurking in the WW2 German paperwork section, but today I am sharing this small but interesting Home Guard group. The caption looks like it reads - The Hom

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    Default Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    Hello everyone.

    I am normally found lurking in the WW2 German paperwork section, but today I am sharing this small but interesting Home Guard group.

    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    The caption looks like it reads - The Home Guard, note the tomatoes.


    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    It looks like J Dodwell volunteered to join the Home guard and was told to report for parade at the Golf House (Club).

    I managed to find this information about the Commanding Officer of A Company who signed the above -

    Name: Ernest L Shepard
    Gender: Male
    Marital Status: Married
    Birth Date: 29 September 1895
    Residence Date: 1939
    Address: 70 Mitcham Park
    Residence Place: Mitcham, Surrey, England
    Occupation: Statistician
    Line Number: 25
    Schedule Number: 186
    Sub Schedule Number: 1
    Enumeration District: Cnbs
    Borough: Mitcham
    Registration district: 31-1
    Inferred Spouse: Kate N Shepard
    Inferred Children: June L Shepard
    Household Members (Name) Age
    Ernest L Shepard - 44
    Kate N Shepard - 44
    June L Shepard - 13


    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    Certificate of Proficiency, Home Guard. This shows the various small arms training and field craft that O. J. Dodwell undertook.


    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    Members of the 57th Surrey (Mitcham) Home Guard, "A" Company, c.1943. The Commanding Officer, Major E. L. Shepard, is pictured front row, centre.

    The Home Guard, popularly known as Dad’s Army, was set up in May 1940. Men were usually either above or below the age of conscription or those who were not eligible for front line military service. Initially called the Local Defense Volunteers, nearly 1.5 million men had enrolled by July 1940 when the LDV became the Home Guard.

    Initially this was a rag-tag militia with make-do uniforms and weapons but it eventually evolved into a well-trained and well-equipped force of 1,700,000 men. Their main duties were to prepare the country for invasion, but they also performed many other duties including bomb disposal. The Home Guard Manual of 1941 lists the force’s main objective as "to have readily available an organised body of men trained to offer stout resistance in every district, and to meet any military emergency until trained troops can be brought up".

    Over the course of the war 1206 members of the Home Guard were killed or died of their wounds. On 16th April 1941 no less than 15 members of “B” company 57th Surrey (Mitcham) were killed, when a bomb hit the site of the Tower Creameries on Mitcham Common, where the men were doing night watch. They were buried with full military honours at London Road Cemetery.
    Mitcham Home Guard - Merton Memories Photographic Archive
    Home Guard Photos to Identify Part 1 | Mitcham History Notes


    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    Members of 57th Surrey (Mitcham) Battalion Home Guard; Commanding Officer Major E L Shepard, c.1943 for Memories of Service with the LDV/Home Guard, Mitcham 1940-1942, By J B Pritchard.
    https://mertonhistoricalsociety.org....2/12/LHN-9.pdf


    The Head Quarters of the 57th Surrey (Mitcham) Home Guard, "A" Company was at the Golf Club.

    An area of Mitcham Common that is south of the Mitcham Junction tram stop and railway station, east of the Carshalton Road, and is bounded on its eastern edge by the railway line between Mitcham Junction and Hackbridge stations, and on its southern edge by the scaffolding yards at the rear of the Corporation Cottages.

    The area is called the Gun site after its use during WW2 as an anti-aircraft installation, anti-aircraft battery of 3.7" guns, manned by the Honourable Artillery Company as shown on this 1955 OS map:


    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    This photo shows what remained of the site around 1961. The view is towards the west and the houses of Carshalton Road can be seen in the background.


    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    c.1961 photo of the Gun site, where children often played. From Merton Memories, photo reference Mitcham_War_5-2


    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    Photo taken around 1961 of the Gun site. The houses in the background are on Carshalton Road. Clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mitcham_War_5-1


    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    The Gun site was demolished in 1962/3 (Mitcham News & Mercury, 13th July 1962).


    Small Mitcham (Surrey) Home Guard group

    Demolition of buildings on the Gun site, around 1962/3. In the background can be seen a signal at Mitcham Junction Railway Station, and part of the Mitcham Golf Club building. Clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mitcham_War_5-3
    Golf Club | Mitcham History Notes


    I am not entirely sure, but I suspect this is the Obituary of O. J. Dodwell. It is mentioned he was in the Home Guard.

    Oscar Dodwell, R.I.P. May 22, 2018 | Obituaries -
    Oscar Dodwell, R.I.P. - John Fisher Old Boys Association


    Misc information/further reading -
    https://mitchamhistorynotes.com/tag/home-guard/

    Kind regards,

    Will.
    Last edited by Willmore; 09-19-2023 at 02:47 PM.

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