7 comments on “Catherington Home Guard

  1. Hello Guy, at long last I have a picture of my father when he was in the Horndean Home guard he is 1st Rank 3rd from the left with a side cap that defied gravity. The name he was known by then and all through his life was Jim Thomas but his forename was really Roy, I do have one head shot almost studio in style from the Homeguard days. For the record he was living down White Dirt Lane in a bungalow called Beverley opposite Pinhorns Farm fields. We as a family with my late mum Vera nee Dix at 33 Drift Road. If I can be of any help please make contact my brother Stuart now lives in Havant . With regards Roy Thomas

    • Hi Roy, that is great and thank you for getting in touch. If you click on the image it should open up as a full size file. Right click to save. If you and Stuart have any more information on where they were based, anecdotes etc I’d love to follow it up with another article. Best wishes, guy.

      • Just got in from work (on a late shift) so thought I would quickly knock out some memories on what my Dad told me and will sharpen them usometime in the future. When he first joined he was working for the stonemason/undertakers in Horndean on the Rowlands Castle Road one of his jobs was to help erect blackout curtains in Pompey and possibly South Parade Pier. Not sure when he joined the Homeguard (if 17 years was the join up that would be 1943 ish) but he was issued a 303 and ammo and unless he was winding me up said they told him to put it under his bed until needed. He always talked of parading at the Drill Hall in Horndean now the Masonic Hall and he said there was a small sort of indoor shooting range at the back, I believe this to be part of the old Havant Rifle club but I would stand corrected on that one. Local areas of exercise were on Butser Hill and out towards the likes of Hinton Daubany and Rowlands Castle also they patrolled Catherington of course and Windmill Hill (which obviously puts his group in close harmony with our sister village of Charlton where I think there was a special unit based). I do not remember him telling me of working alongside other HG units like Lovedean or Clanfield but they must have done so. He did tell me that they went away for street fighting in a deserted part of a town at a coastal location but not sure where. He definitely said that they went to a place outside of Ashford for an exercise (there was a specialist camp that way???) and said that one chap tried to catch? a rabbit by firing a Varey Pistol down a hole so an early barbecue with zero results. My Dad was given a nickname I think ‘The Ferret’ as when out about or away could access?? all manner of things to make their lives a little more comfortable, my brother may still have a lense from a stage lamp that Dad acquired while camping in a village hall maybe Kent way and used for fire lighting on exercise, the one thing he made was a salt block fire where the block was soaked in Meth’s or Paraffin and kept in a biscuit tin as a good source of cooking. He was in some small way involved in a German Plane crashing over Finchdean way but that’s just a vague memory for now and also said he had witnessed German bodies in uniform washed up on the beaches over Selsey way. I will make contact with my brother Stuart but it will take sometime to gather his memories as he does not have e-mail so all done on the phone and if I can get a trip down South will make notes from chatting to him. One of my Dads surviving brothers lives in Horndean and is called Archie Thomas I can dig out his contact details but he is a bit of a strange one and always has been I have written to him myself before but with no response, I do need to as he may have memories of my Dads service including the Home guard so as I can fill out the forms to aply for his service record. One thing that puzzles me and goes beyond the Home Guard is when Dad was called up apart from serving in 4 Regiments from 44 to 47 some of the group shots with his mates reveal when blown up that he was a private (as on some of his documents I have) but all of his mates? were NCOs. Finally for tonight honest! a couple of years ago I did have a brief exchange of e-mails with an official chap who was for the regions (like Wessex) compiling various HG records into an official archive some of which is now housed in a HG museum over in the East. Hope this is of some help and I would like to help out in any way I can as it is a good project.

        With regards

        Roy Thomas

  2. Hi Roy, that is fantastic and what a lot of leads and detail to follow up on there! I do know a Heinkel 111 was shot down and crashed at Stanstead Park in Rowlands Castle and was guarded by the home guard. there are a few photos of this online and might be worth a search. it looks like there could be enough information on your dad to do a bit of an article and I would like very much to do so. Would you be happy to share the photo of him? Here is a link to a similar article I posted that might give an idea as to what I would like to put online https://horndeanmatters.com/2014/02/01/in-our-community-baden-singleton/ best wishes, guy.

    • Hello Guy, I have no problems with you writing any article on my Dad if there is enough and the Home guard in general of course. If the photo mentioned is his studio head shot I mentioned no problem once I have worked out how to get it from photo paper onto the digital media or I could just simply send you a copy. As to that bomber, some years ago I was given a nose cone of an exploded shell or round reputed to be from a plane that came down in Finchdean at the back of the George may still have it somewhere. Memory again is a bit misty but my Dad told us that one of the crew tried to get away on a bicycle with little success. Around that time the local landlord was one Major Clarke-Jarvis a well liked and respected landowner and manager of the local schools and a great supporter of local causes like the Horndean Fire Brigade, he is buried up at Charlton I think. Technology is lost on me but you are welcome to make contact by other means not sure how but I am on Facebook and In the phonebook under Walmley Ash Road Sutton Coldfield, although I have no problems taking a run down for a visit. As an extra to this Anti Aircraft sites must have been prolific in the area as the war progressed a late uncle on my mothers side was on one between Horndean and Finchdean and there was one where my Dad lived in White Dirt Lane. I do have another story that comes to mind about a mobile bath unit (American??) in 1944 which was based at Catherington I know the location but its name at this time of night escapes me and maybe linked to the story of rations etc. being buried for safe keeping but forgotten about when the troops were all spirited away for D-Day. Finally for tonight and on the Homeguard, when the HG was stood down or put on hold the Horndean Unit had a fund gathered for whatever reason anyway my Dad says that after the war a meeting was held to decide how it was to be got rid of and it was decided to have a bit of a doo which was held in the Red Lion. Lets hope my information is all correct for you. Hope to hear from you soon. With regards, Roy Thomas.

  3. Hello Guy, I have tried sending an E-mail to your East Hants address but it keeps getting rejected, I have a couple of contact details of my brother and an uncle if you can make use of them.

  4. Had another look at the Home guard on parade outside The Farmers Inn and a chat with my brother and it appears I was wrong about the man picked out as my Dad Jim/Roy Thomas. Unless corrected by others my father is towards the back row centre head slightly down looking forward, if this was around 1943 my dad would have been 17-ish.

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