4th Battalion, Trowbridge & Devizes

Wiltshire Home Guard

Living History Group

4TH BATTALION, TROWBRIDGE & DEVIZES

Date Raised

16 May 1940

Commanding Officer

Brig.-Gen. The Lord Roundway, C.M.G., D.S.O., M.V.O.;

May 1941 Brig. G. Darwell, M.C. (deceased); 1943 Sir. R. Blake

Approximate Strength

3,055 at stand down [135 officers; 2,920 other ranks] [ceiling 3,450]

Companies

9

Area

c.200 square miles - 22 x 11 miles

Stand Down Parade

3 December 1944, Trowbridge

Saltue Taken By

Col. H. Burn, C.I.E., Western Sector Commander

Stand Down Parade Band

Band of the Royal Artillery, Salisbury Plain District, supplemented by the band of D Coy.

At Stand Down Parade

107 officers, 1,365 other ranks

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

Maj. E.E. Copland Griffiths as Commander of Wiltshire & Dorset units; three other ranks

COMPANIES

 

 

Battalion H.Q.

C: Melksham

F: Seend

A: Trowbridge

D: Devizes

G: Marden

B: Bradford-on-Avon*

E: Market Lavington*

H: Bradford*

*formed October 1942

 

 

Battalion H.Q.

Commander: Brig.-Gen. The Lord Roundway, C.M.G., D.S.O., M.V.O.; May 1941 Brig. G. Darwell, M.C.

Strength 18 [ceiling 20]

Location: Territorial Offices, Trowbridge; May 1941 The Green Porch, Worton; 1941 Prince Hill, Worton; Jan. 1944 Spa Road, Melksham; mid-1944 Giffords, Lowbourne, Melksham

PLATOONS - Strength & Commander/s

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

OFFICERS

Brig.Gen. The Lord Roundway, C.M.G., D.S.O., M.V.O.

 

Brig. G. Darwell, M.C.

 

A COMPANY (Trowbridge)

Commander: Maj. E.A. Mackay; Strength 624 [ceiling 635]

PLATOONS - Strength & Commander/s

We know that there were 4 platoons in A. Coy, but do not have any information on platoon strenth, commanders or members. If you have information that you can share with us, please contact us

Trowbridge

 

 

(2) [ ]

 

 

(3) [ ]

 

 

(4) [ ]

 

 

Steeple Ashton*

 

 

* Transferred to F Coy. Oct. 1942

OFFICERS

Maj. E.A. Mackay

B COMPANY (Bradford-on-Avon)

Commander: Capt. Whitehead; Strength 423 [ceiling 390]

PLATOONS - Strength & Commander/s

We do not have any information on platoon commanders of B. Coy. If you have information relating to platoon commanders and members please contact us

Bradford*

 

 

Westwood

106

 

Limpley Stoke

32

 

Winsley

53

 

Monkton Farleigh

40

 

South Wraxall

48

 

Holt

92

 

Staverton

52

 

* Transferred to H Coy. Oct. 1942

OFFICERS

Capt. Whitehead

 

C COMPANY (Melksham)

Commander: Lt.-Col. Sir G.R. Blake; Strength 530 [ceiling 650]

PLATOONS - Strength and Commander/s

We know that there were 9 platoons within C Coy. but do not have any other platoon information. If you have information relating to platoons, strength, commanders and members please contact us

Melksham

 

 

(2) [ ]

 

 

(3) [ ]

 

 

(4) [ ]

 

 

(5) [ ]

 

 

(6) [ ]

 

 

(7) [ ]

 

 

(8) [ ]

 

 

(9) [ ]

 

 

OFFICERS

Lt.-Col. Sir G.R. Blake

D COMPANY (Devizes)

Commander: Capt. W.H. Ewart; Jul. 1940 Brig. G. Drawell, M.C.; May 1941 Lt.-Col. W. Walch, D.S.O., R.A. (age retired); May 1942 Vice-Admiral Tompkinson, C.B., M.V.O. (retired);

Jan. 1943 Maj. E.E. Copland Griffiths

Strength 322 [ceiling 482]

PLATOONS - Strength & Commander/s

We have a booklet with full details of D Coy. kindly provided to us by M. Giddings. The site will be updated with this information in due course. If you have any images or anecdotes you would like to share, please contact us

Devizes

 

 

Seend*

 

 

Bromham*

 

 

Worton*

 

 

Potterne*

 

 

Marden#

 

 

BishopsCannings#

 

 

* Transferred to F Coy. Oct. 1942

# Transferred to G Coy. Oct. 1942

OFFICERS

Capt. W.H. Ewart

Brig. G. Darwell, M.C.

Lt.-Col. W. Walch, D.S.O., R.A.

Vice-Admiral Tompkinson, C.B., M.V.O.

Maj. E.E. Copland Griffiths

E COMPANY (Market Lavington)

Commander: Col. R.W. Awdry; Jul. 1940 Maj. S.C. Welchman (age retired);

May 1942 Maj. J.G. Walker, O.B.E;

Strength 210 [ceiling 240]

PLATOONS - Strength & Commander/s

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

Easteron, Market Lavington

77

 

Tilshead, West Lavington

89

 

THe Cheveralls

51

 

Urchfont*

 

 

* Transferred to G Coy. Oct. 1942

OFFICERS

Col. R.W. Awdry

Maj. S.C. Welchman

Maj. J.G. Walker

F COMPANY (Bromham) - formed Oct. 1942 from D Coy. & A Coy. platoons

Commander: Maj. A.J. Fraser, M.C.; 1944 Maj. R.H. Angell; Strength 441 [ceiling 433]

PLATOONS - Strength & Commander/s

We do not have any information on platoon commanders for F Coy. If you have information relating to platoon commanders and members please contact us

Bromham

90

 

Seend

79

 

Steeple Ashton

104

 

Worton

72

 

Potterne

92

 

OFFICERS

Maj. A.J. Fraser

Maj. R.H. Angell

G COMPANY (Bishops Cannings) - formed Oct. 1942 from D Coy. & E Coy. platoons

Commander: Maj. E.T. Carver.; Strength on stand down [ ]

PLATOONS - Strength & Commander/s

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

Bishops Cannings

78

 

Marden

73

 

Urchfont

41

 

OFFICERS

Maj. E.T. Carver

H COMPANY (Bradford on Avon) - formed Oct. 1942 from B Coy. Bradford platoons

Commander: Maj. J.M. Chrystal, M.C.; Strength 271 [ceiling 420]

PLATOONS - Strength & Commander/s

We know that there were 4 platoons in H Coy. but do not have details platoon locations, strength, commanders or members. If you are able to assist please contact us

Bradford on Avon

 

 

(2) [ ]

 

 

(3) [ ]

 

 

(4) [ ]

 

 

OFFICERS

Maj. J.M. Chrystal, M.C.

IMAGES

If you recognise anyone in these images, we'd love to hear from you. Also, if Pl. not shown, do you know which Pl.?

B Coy., Holt Pl.

Source: www.bradfordonavonmuseum.co.uk

D Coy., 1940

Back L-R: Freddie Alkins, ?, ?, Jack Wishart, ?, Bob Cooke

Source: Amy Wallis

D Coy.

Source: John Knowles

D Coy., Devizes Pl., 1941

Source: www.devizesheritage.org.uk

E Coy., Market Lavington Pl.

Source: www.marketlavingtonmuseum.wordpress.com

F Coy., Bromham Pl.

Source: www.gazetteandherald.co.uk

AWARDS

M.B.E. (on stand down)

Lt. C.G. Strachan

 

B.E.M. (Military Division)

Sgt. F.C. Lee

Granted: 20 Jun. 1943

Investiture: 6 Jul. 1943

"On 30th December 1942 Sergeant Lee was supervising a practice with live grenades. In the bombing trench at the time was a recruit who, through nervoursness, retained the grenade too long in his hand, with the result that it fell into the trench. Sargent Lee at once tried to pick it up in order to throw it away, but found that it was wedged between two stones. Thereupon he stamped the ground to lessen the explosion, and dragged the recruit to safety into the priming bay, thereby undoubtedly saving his life. An instant later the grenade exploded."

WEAPONS

1,527x rifles;

87x .300 E.Y. rifles;

19x .303 E.Y. rifles;

54x .22 rifles

10x Browning automatic rifles;

792x Sten guns;

2x .303 rifles;

45x Lewis machine-guns;

7x Browning machine-guns;

5x Vickers machine-guns;

31x Spigot mortars;

19x Smith guns;

6x 2-pounder guns

 

Molotov bombs (anti-tank weapon);

Flame throwers;

.300 American rifles;

Thompson sub-marchine-guns (subsequently withdrawn);

S.I. & grenades (68s & 36s);

Northover projectors

UNIFORM

May 1940

L.D.V. Armlet & Field Service Cap

 

June 1940

A few denim suits issued

 

August 1940

Home Guard Battle dress, boots, gaiters

TRAINING

Musketry theory;

Musketry practical (Kings' Playdown Range, up to 500 years);

Weapons training;

Patrolling;

Scouting;

Getting across country by night;

Rounding up paratroopers;

Fieldcraft;

Bombing practice;

Range practice;

Gas training;

Battle drill;

Air crew rescue;

Battle innoculation;

Intelligence sections: map reading, field sketching and all aspects 'I' work

PARADES

16 May 1943

Devizes. First Battalion parade

3-hours notice, 2-hours to complete, just over 2,000 men from 20 village centres in 102 lorries.

 

Marched past Brig.-Gen. Lord Roundway, in formation of sixes.

 

21 May 1944

Trowbridge. Second Birthday Parade.

75 officers, 1,609 other ranks.

 

Saltute taken by Gen. Dager, U.S.A. Army.

 

Led by Band of Royal Artillery, supplemented by D Coy. band.

CEREMONIAL DUTY

In the absence of regular troops who were in Normandy, D Coy. escorted the late Brig.-Gen. Lord Roundway to his resting place. The slow march was executed without any practice as the rehearsal of ceremonial drill was not permitted in the Home Guard.

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

Holt Platoon, B Company image: www.bradfordonavonmuseum.co.uk

Devizes Platoon, D Company image: www.devizesheritage.org.uk

Market Lavington, E Company images: www.marketlavingtonmuseum.wordpress.com

Bromham Platoon, F Company image: www.gazetteandherald.co.uk

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