2nd Battalion, Malmesbury

Wiltshire Home Guard

Living History Group

2ND BATTALION, MALMESBURY

Date Raised

16 May 1940

Commanding Officer

Col. The Hon. A.F. Stanley, D.S.O. (retired); December 1940 - March 1941 Col. W.L. Palmer, M.C.; March 1942 Lt.-Col. H.H. Stoney, D.S.O.

Approximate Strength

1,244 at stand down

Companies

9

Stand Down Parade

3 December 1944, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury

Satute Taken By

Maj.-Gen. R.N. Gale, D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C.

Stand Down Parade Band

A Royal Air Force band

Represented the Battalion at ceremonial parade at Hyde Park, London on 3 December

Pte. D.G. Kemp (Crudwell); Pte. S. Milne (Sopworth); Pte. F. Scott (Little Somerford)

COMPANIES

 

 

Battalion H.Q.

C: Sherston

F: Great Somerford

A: Malmesbury

D: Hullavington

G: E.K.C.O. Factory (later 'A' L.A.A. Troop)

B: Crudwell

E: Minety (c. June 1940 moved into B Coy.)

H: Hullavington Aerodrome

Battalion H.Q.

Commander: Col. The Hon. A.F. Stanley, D.S.O. (retired);

December 1940 - March 1941 Col. W.L Palmer, M.C.; March 1942 Lt.-Col. H.H. Stoney, D.S.O.

Strength on stand down 70

PLATOONS - Strength & Commander/s

Signals

27

Lt. M.C. Ingram

 

 

2/Lt. C.W. Essex

Intelligence

14

Lt. N.W. Evans

OFFICERS

Lt.-Col. H.H. Stoney, D.S.O., O.B.E.

Lt. F.W. Henwood

Maj. N.D. Hart

Lt. P.J. Dickinson

Maj. B.L. Hodge

Lt. L. Gardiner

Capt. R.H. Osborne, D.S.O., M.C.

Lt. Hon. C. Douglas

Capt. R.O.W. Arkwright

Lt. S.G. Davey

Capt. C.F. Royston

2/Lt. F.H. Wardle-Smith

Lt. S.H. Pettifer

 

AWARDS

O.B.E.

19 June 1943, Lt.Col. H.H. Stoney, D.S.O.

 

B.E.M.

12 December 1944, Sgt. R.M. Saunders, M.M.

(we've assumed Battalion H.Q. as we don't know which Coy./Pl. Sgt. Saunders was in. If this is incorrect, please let us know)

A COMPANY (Malmesbury)

Commander: Maj. H.V. Bonner (assumption based on rank); Strength on stand down 150

PLATOONS

We do not have any platoon information for A Coy. If you have information relating to platoons, strength, commanders and members please contact us

PLATOON COMMANDERS

Lt. C.G. Campbell

Lt. G.G. Newman

2/Lt. J.H.F. Hulse

2/Lt. A. May

2/Lt. A. Box

 

OFFICERS

Maj. H.V. Bonner

Capt. G.N. Shelley

2/Lt. R. Butt

AWARDS

Commander-in-Chief Certificate

20 January 1943, C.S.M. G.N. Shelley

9 June 1943, Lt. H.V. Bonner

B COMPANY (Crudwell)

Commander: Maj. W.E. Snelling (assumption based on rank); Strength on stand down 211

PLATOONS

Platoon information for B Coy. has been devised from the awards list but we do not know if this is the complete list, nor do we know platoon strength or cammanders. If you have information relating to platoons, strength, commanders and members please contact us

Crudwell

 

 

Minety

 

 

Oaksey

 

 

Was Oaksey Platoon within B Company?

PLATOON COMMANDERS

Lt. C. Jones

Lt. F.W. Constable

Lt. H.C. Starey

Lt. G.C. Todd

OFFICERS

Maj. W.E. Snelling

Lt. G.H.B. Chance

Capt. C.H. Shores

2/Lt. A.B. Blanch

AWARDS

Commander-in-Chief Certificate

24 June 1942, Sgt. H.C. Starey, Crudwell Pl.

9 June 1943, Sgt. W. Legg, Oaksey Pl. (B Coy.?)

12 January 1945, Sgt. C.E. Timbrell, Minety Pl.

12 January 1945, Sgt. A.E. Selby, Crudwell Pl.

Was Sgt. W. Legg, Oaksey Pl. within B Company?

C COMPANY (Sherston)

Commander: Maj. E. Greene, M.C. (assumed); Strength on stand down 138

PLATOONS

Platoon information for C Coy. has been devised from the awards list and the Commended in Action note, but we do not know if this is the complete list, nor do we know platoon strength or cammanders. If you have information relating to platoons, strength, commanders and members please contact us

Sherston

 

 

Luckington

 

 

Charlton

 

Rev. F. Hudson

PLATOON COMMANDERS

Lt. F.V. Knapp

2/Lt. W.J. Vining

Lt. F.W. Horsham

2/Lt. R. Padfield

Lt A.G. Jolliffe

2/Lt. W.G.S. Parsons

2/Lt. W. Thompson

 

OFFICERS

Maj. E. Greene, M.C.

 

AWARDS

Commander-in-Chief Certificate

January 1942, Sgt. F.W. Horsham, Luckington Pl.

9 June 1943, Sgt. W.J. Vining, Sherston Pl.

12 January 1944, Sgt. A. Hislop, Charlton Pl.

12 January 1944, Sgt. A. Ward, Luckington Pl.

21 June 1944, Lt. F.V. Knapp, Sherston Pl.

From Sherston The City of White Walls, A Village History by Cilla Liddington [book kindly lent by V. Knowles]

DEATH IN SERVICE

 

Sadly, Private William Dando (C Company, Sherston) was accidently killed during manoeuvres in October 1942. He is buried in a war grave in Sherston churchyard.

OOPS!

 

At formation, few of the men had weapons. Those that did had a shotgun or pike handle.

 

On a Fosse railway line guard duty, the commander Lt. Frank Knapp (C Company, Sherston) asked 'Jack' if his weapon was loaded. Jack replied that it wasn't and demonstrated by firing the weapon. A loud explosion shattered the silence. Thankfully nobody was in the line of fire!

COMMENDED ACTION

 

20 November 1940, 18:20 hours. Volunteer J.J. Langley of Charlton Platoon witnessed a plane come down at Dolman's Farm, Hankerton. He challenged the crew, who replied they were Poles. He took them to his platoon commander Rev. F. Hudson who instructed him to guard the aircraft. Volunteer Langley set up a 2-hour shift until 08:00 hours the next day. Meanwhile Rev. Hudson rang Kemble Aerodrome.

 

This action was commended by Brig. Studd, Commander of Salisbury Plain Area.

D COMPANY (Hullavington)

Commander: Maj. N.S. Wilson (assumed); Strength on stand down 110

PLATOONS

Platoon information for D Coy. has been devised from the awards list but we do not know if this is the complete list, nor do we know platoon strength or cammanders. If you have information relating to platoons, strength, commanders and members please contact us

Hullavington

 

 

Norton

 

 

PLATOON COMMANDERS

Lt. G.W. Sisum

Lt. W.R. Fry

Lt. R.A. Brookman

 

OFFICERS

Maj. N.S. Wilson

 

AWARDS

Commander-in-Chief Certificate

24 June 1942, Sgt. R.A. Brookman, Hullavington Pl.

12 January 1945, Lt. W.R. Fry, Norton Pl.

E COMPANY (Minety)

Commander: Maj. E.P. Edwards, Strength on stand down 138

c. June 1940 E Coy. was moved into B Coy. - was this all or part of E Coy?

PLATOONS

Platoon information for E Coy. has been devised from the awards list but we do not know if this is the complete list, nor do we know platoon strength or cammanders. If you have information relating to platoons, strength, commanders and members please contact us

Minety

 

 

Brinkworth

 

 

PLATOON COMMANDERS

Lt. C.G. Gully

Lt. C. Gawthropp

Lt. F. Whitehead

2/Lt. E.P. Awdry

Lt. B.R. Pearce

 

OFFICERS

Maj. E.P. Edwards

 

AWARDS

Commander-in-Chief Certificate

January 1942, Sgt. E.P. Edwards, Brinkworth Pl.

12 January 1945, Sgt. G. Quick, Brinkworth Pl.

F COMPANY (Great Somerford)

Commander: Maj. W.L. Palmer, M.C. (assumed based on rank); Strength on stand down 72

PLATOONS

Platoon information for F Coy. has been devised from the awards list but we do not know if this is the complete list, nor do we know platoon strength or cammanders. If you have information relating to platoons, strength, commanders and members please contact us

Great Somerford

 

 

Seagry

 

 

PLATOON COMMANDERS

Lt. F.S. Brind, M.M.

Lt. D. G. Brown

OFFICERS

Maj. W.L. Palmer, M.C.

Capt. A.S. Martin. M.M.

AWARDS

Commander-in-Chief Certificate

20 January 1943, Sgt. D.G. Brown, Seagry Pl.

21 June 1944, Sgt. P. Lewis, Seagry Pl.

G COMPANY (E.K.C.O. Factory (later 'A' L.A.A. Troop))

Commander: Maj. E.A. Hider (assumed based on rank); Strength on stand down 82

PLATOONS

We do not have any platoon information for G Coy. If you have information relating to platoons, strength, commanders and members please contact us

PLATOON COMMANDERS

Lt. N.R.W. Tanner

Lt. A.U. Emery

OFFICERS

Maj. E.A. Hider

Capt. H.L. Cooley

H COMPANY

Commander: Maj. V. Whitaker (assumed based on rank); Strength on stand down 273

PLATOONS

We do not have any platoon information for H Coy. If you have information relating to platoons, strength, commanders and members please contact us

PLATOON COMMANDERS

Lt. Sleightholme

2/Lt. Merrick

Lt. A.J. Long

2/Lt. A. Hurst

Lt. W. Worrell

2/Lt. F.C. Warren

2/Lt. L.H. Clifford

2/Lt. D.H. Thorburn

2/Lt. R. Humble

 

OFFICERS

Maj. V. Whitaker

Lt. D.J. Dunne

Capt. F. Browdie

 

IMAGES

Do you have any images of 2nd Bn., Companies or Platoons that you'd be happy to share with us?

ACTIVITIES

Key activity was to harrass and delay the enemy by any means possible, and report enemy activity to the regular striking forces.

 

On set-up, Malmesbury became an anti-tank island, with defensive posts at the railway station, Steeple and Holloway. Steeple Post would defend the Silk Mills entrance to the town and the narrow roads near the triangle.

 

Once the risk of sea invasion receded in 1943, the defended localities policy changed to the defence of the E.K.C.O. factory at Cowbridge. This was aided by the receipt of wireless sets, which also aided platoons in the defence of Hullavington and Kemble airfields.

 

Exercises included rounding up parachutists, searching for parachutists who had gone to ground, ambushes against tanks and invading troops, scattering and reassembling, best use of Northover, delaying actions, observing an area and quickly reporting, moving quickly on bicycles and searching a wood. Pratice was untaken in working as platoons, companies and with other forces, eg defending an aerodrome with the R.A.F., and also attacking the aerodrome to discover weaknesses in its defence. A system for calling out men at night was devised and practiced.

TRAINING

Junior officers, N.C.O.s, and platoon, company & battalion commanders received training in giving words of command, fire orders, firing point instruction, and battle drill.

 

Platoon training included drill and weapons. In summer, training was giving on various items on a Thursday evening and practiced on the Sunday.

PARADES & INSPECTIONS

6 October 1940

Service at Malmesbury Abbey, attended by H.M. Queen Mary

 

1941

War Weapons Week, attended by H.M. Queen Mary

 

1942

Warships Week

 

1943

Wings for Victory Week

 

1944

Salute the Soldier Week

RETIRED OFFICERS

Lt.-Col. Hon. A.F. Stanley, D.S.O.

Bn. Comd.

1 Feb. 1942 - 1 Mar. 1942

 

Maj. H. Baker

Comd. B Coy.

1 Feb. 1941 - 1 Jul. 1942

 

Maj. R.T. Chamen

Comd. A Coy.; 2 I./C. Bn.

1 Feb. 1941 - 31 Dec. 1943

 

Capt. Viscount Coke

2 I./C. C Coy.

1 Feb. 1941 - 9 Apr. 1942

(posted to 4th Norfolk Bn.)

 

2/Lt. E.J. Couzens

Pl. Comd.

1 Feb. 1941 - 5 Feb. 1942

 

Maj.C.C. Craig

Comd. A Coy.; 2 I./C. Bn.

1 Feb. 1941 - 31 Mar. 1942

 

Maj. S.F. Deacon

Comd. H Coy.

1 Dec. 1941 - 8 Feb. 1943

 

2/Lt. J.A. Else

Pl. Officer

1 May 1943 - 19 Aug. 1944

(posted to 6th Norfolk Bn.)

 

Capt. S. Gibson

2 I./C. H Coy.

1 Dec. 1941 - 9 Mar. 1943

 

Maj. J. Hirst

Comd. A Coy.

1 Feb. 1941 - 12 Jul. 1944

 

Capt. J.J.R. Hood

2 I./C. H Coy.

1 Dec. 1941 - 11 Nov. 1943

 

Lt. F. James

Asst. Guide Officer

1 Apr. 1942 - 1 Feb. 1944

 

Maj. D. Marsh

Comd. E Coy.

1 Feb. 1941 - 31 Mar. 1943

 

Capt. E. Duke Moore, D.S.O., T.D.

1 Aug. 1941 - 31 Mar. 1942

 

Maj. R.M. Moore

Bn. Medical Officer

1 Feb. 1941 - 4 Dec. 1942

 

Lt. W.W. Pitter

Pl. Comd.

1 Feb. 1942 - 17 May 1944

 

2/Lt. E.N. Ratcliffe

Pl. Comd.

15 Mar. 1943 - 17 Jul. 1944

 

Capt. R. Tindle

Pl. Comd.

1 Feb. 1941 - 21 Feb. 1942

 

Maj. E. van Cutsem, M.C.

Adjt.; 2 I./C. Bn.

1 Feb. 1941 - 10 Dec. 1942

SOURCES:

Data: Company and Platoon data derived from The History of the Wiltshire Home Guard 1940 - 1944, Major E.A. Mackay, T.D., D.L., J.P., published 1946

C Company, Sherston notes: Sherston The City of White Walls, A Village History, Cilla Liddington, published 1996 [book kindly lent by V. Knowles]

Please note that all images on this website are low resolultion and not suitable for printing.

Unless stated otherwise, images are copyright to the Wiltshire Home Guard living history group and the photographer.

Images donated to the Group for use on the website are copyright to the donor.

If you would like to use any image, please send a request to info@wiltshirehomeguard.co.uk