Living History Group

Wiltshire Home Guard

Living History Group

THE WILTSHIRE HOME GUARD LIVING HISTORY GROUP

On this page:

  • History
  • Event Activities
  • Out of Season Activities
  • Uniform & Kit
  • The Committee
  • Meet the Group

HISTORY

 

In 2012 a few friends from Chippenham formed the Chippenham Home Guard with the aim of portraying the roles and activities of the Home Guard during World War II. As more members joined from across the county (and beyond) wanting to portray their local battalions, it became clear that Chippenham Home Guard was no longer appropriate; the Wiltshire Home Guard living history group was born. At that time the Group also expanded to include other family members portraying Home Front activities.

 

Our eventual aim is to portray all 13 General Service Battalions, 101 Battery and 2142 M.T.C. of the Wiltshire Home Guard. We wish to demonstrate as many activities of the Home Guard and Home Front as possible. In that vein, we welcome new members from across the County and beyond – details can be found in the Membership section.

EVENT ACTIVITIES

Home Guard & L.D.V.

 

 

- Sentry duty

- Weapons recognition

- Unexploded bomb disposal demonstration

- Drill practice

- Reconnaissance patrols

- Search for and capture German airman, fifth columnists & spies

- Village defence briefing

- Mortar crew domonstration

- Bayonet charge

 

 

 

Home Front

 

 

- 1940's home

- Auxiliary Territorial Service

- Women's Home Guard Auxillary

- Women's Land Army

- Civilians

- Lady She - vintage fashion, hair & make-up

- 1940's constable & police station

- Bombed out home

 

OUT OF SEASON ACTIVITIES

- Drill

- UXB training

- Aircraft recognition

- Christmas meal

- Weapons familiarisation

- Field hand signals & whistle commands

- Event preparation

- Annual shooting competition

- Mortar training

 

 

 

The annual shooting competition is held in March. Shooters compete for the James Bowles Cup for pistol marksmanship, named after a young Wiltshire Home Guardsman killed in an accident. Competitors fire 8 rounds each using a Colt 1911 air pistol.

YEAR

WINNER

Pts

RUNNER UP

Pts

3RD

Pts

2015

Maria

29

Derek B

23

 

 

2016

Brian

31

Maria & Steve W

29

 

 

2017

Maria

31

John K

28

Russell

22

UNIFORM & KIT

 

Our aim is to portray the uniform and kit of the Home Guard as accurately as possible, from inception as L.D.V. to full military kit at disbandment. Weapons range from the improvised weapons made from items found in the home to the weapons issued to the Home Guard.

 

Rather than purchase uniform immediately, for the first year new members can portray the L.D.V. element with suitable 1940's civilian attire, an L.D.V. or Home Guard brassard and a weapon (either improvised or early issue). When making an improvised weapon, please consider Health & Safety, for example if you devise a knife attached to a broom handle, the knife needs to be sheathed.

 

For all other portrayals, you will need the appropriate dress and kit for the role /activity that you are portraying.

 

We have provided details of suppliers we often use in the useful information section.

THE COMMITTEE

 

Committee members look after various aspects of the group. They can be contacted by emailing committee@wiltshirehomeguard.co.uk

Chairman

Maria

Meeting Secretary

John K

Vice Chairman

Brian

Recruitment Secretary

 

Treasurer

Pauline

Authenticity Officer (Military)

Derek B

Events Co-Ordinator

Ad hoc

Authenticity Officer (Civilian)

Gill

Health & Safety Officer

Bob

Media Officer

Maria

MEET THE GROUP

Bob - War Reserve Constable; L.D.V. (1st Bn.)

Joined in 2013

Health & Safety Officer

A former constable, Bob usually portrays a village policeman in temporary accommodation following the bombing of his station. Occasionally he portrays an L.D.V.

Bradley - Home Guard (4th Bn.)

Joined in September 2015

Bradley is one of our junior members, portraying a private in 4th Battalion. Occasionally he also portrays a german solider with Tommy und Jerry.

Brian - Sergeant (1st Bn.)

Founding Member

Vice Chairman

Brian is the commentator of the Group, often providing amusing narration to the Group activities. As a sargent in 1st Battalion, he keeps the troops in line during drill practice. Towards the end of the day, he can be found resting his feet at the 1940's home.

Carrie - Women's Land Army; Civilian

Joined in February 2016

As Carrie attended events with her son Leo, she decided to become a member and portrays either a member of the Women's Land Army or a civilian.

Claire H - Civilian; Women's Land Army; Foreign Press Officer

Joined in December 2013

My name is Claire H, the H stands for Heinkel although a little like your royal family I've adopted a more English surname and it comes with a title which due to the war I rarely use.

 

I was invited to tour the country by my husband Johnny H, but so far all we have seen is railway stations, naval dock yards and air bases which is so dull as he spends most evenings on his radio. I try and do my bit and help out as a land girl and every night I send reports to my newspaper as I am also a foreign correspondent. I like champagne and dancing and my close friends call me Flirty Gerty, I hope to see you in the Naafi or maybe a dance hall soon, xxx

Derek B - Lance Corporal (1st Bn.)

Founding Member

Authenticity Officer (Miliary)

Derek is the commander of the mortar crew. He portrays Frederick Edward Bowyer, Born 1886.

 

Joined the Ordnance Corps in 1906. Stationed at Woolwich Arsenal, London August 1914. Promoted to Corporal 1915. Sent to France 1917 to join 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment. Fought at Ypres until armistace. Demobbed June 1919 after contracting Spanish Flu. Joined the L.D.V. / Wiltshire Home Guard June 1940.

Derek S - R.A.F. Flying Officer

Joined in February 2015

Authenticity Officer

Derek portrays an R.A.F. Flying Officer and is often seen at events with his M.G. T.A.

Gill - Women's Land Army; Civilian

Joined in February 2015

Authenticity Officer (Civilian)

Gill usually portrays a member of the Women's Land Army, although occasionally she attends events as a civilian.

Jackie - Civilian

Joined in September 2015

Jackie attends events with her son Bradley, portraying a civilian.

John H - Town Mayor; Colonel R.A.; Foreign Press Officer; Police Constable; German Spy; Naval Surgeon (Commander); Gentleman Farmer L.D.V. (1st Bn.)

Joined in November 2013

Guten Tag, or if you don't speak cornish, good day, My name is Johnny H, the H stands for Heinkel and although I fit perfectly into your lovely English society I am sometimes falsch verstanden or misunderstood.

 

I arrived by Unterseeboot recently from occupied France and I am making my way to Chatham to take up my hobby of bird watching around the naval dockyard. I hope to see you on my travels as I have many questions to ask about your Militar Bestimmungen or military dispositions as I send daily updates to my editor in Paris. These very charming home guard people have offered to train me in the ways of your military structure in their elite military unit and have said they will escort me to Chatham if they can find some petrol. Everyone is so kind and helpful, it's a great help to our war effort, Auf Widershen or do you prefer Tschuss over here.

John K - Private (4th Bn.)

Joined in 2013

Meeting Secretary

John is the Range Officer for our shooting competition. At events he portrays a private in 4th Battalion. If he gets the opportunity, you'll find him on the dance floor (or just dancing where he is!)

Leo - Private (4th Bn.)

Joined in August 2015

As another of our junior members, Leo portrays a private in 4th Battalion.

Maria - British War Correspondent; Assistant Section Officer, W.A.A.F.; Junior Commander/Commander, A.T.S.; Women's Home Guard Auxiliary (9th Bn.)

Joined in August 2013

Chairman and Media Officer

Maria portrays a variety of female occupations, the role being dependent on the weather! As the group photographer, she takes pictures at events making an attempt to conceal the modern camera between shots.

Naomi - A.R.P./Civil Defence Warden; A.F.S.

Joined in 2013

Naomi portrays an A.R.P. warden and has a small civil defence display. She also portrays a member of the A.F.S.

Noel - L.D.V. (1st Bn.)

Joined in September 2015

Noel portrays a local defence volunteer in 1st Battalion.

Pat - W.O.2 R.A. attached to 1st Bn.

Joined in February 2016

Pat portrays a W.O.2 in the Royal Artillary attached to 1st Battalion.

Pauline - Civilian

Founding Member

Treasurer

Pauline (PP) runs the 1940's Home. She has a miriad of interesting period items, some of which you may remember from your own childhood! You'll also find her pushing her pram filled with period dolls and bears around events.

Richard K - Private (4th Bn.); L.D.V. (4th Bn.)

Joined in 2013

Richard portrays either an L.D.V. or private in 4th Battalion. Like his father, he'll take every opportunity to be on the dance floor.

Roger - L.D.V. (4th Bn.)

Joined in 2013

Roger portrays a local defence volunteer in 4th Battalion. Occasionally he can be found manning a 1940s toys and bric-a-brac display.

Sheila - Lady She; Vintage Fashion, Hair & Make Up Trader

Joined in August 2014

Lady She (a Hollywood Actress) has returned to Blighty not realising there is in fact a War, so she helps the War Effort by providing tea and cake to our troops and visiting GI's in The Manor House. She meets and greets visitors to our High Street; she Styles the Ladies with her Hollywood Hair, Make-Up and Clothes to make them feel good about themselves; she has a heart of gold.

 

The truth is ... she has signed the 'Official Secrets Act'. As a Debutante fluent in various languages following her studies in Vienna, her covert activities have certainly helped to Win the War!!

Steve Og - Lieutenant (9th Bn.); Lieutenant (101 Bty.)

Joined in 2013

Steve portrays a Lieutenant in either 9th Battalion or 101 Battery. He is the Group's Bomb Disposal Officer. At events he presents the village defence briefings, and leads the Group on village patrols.

Val - Civilian

Joined in January 2014

Val is another of our civilians. You'll find her at the 1940's home or accompanying PP on her pram walk.

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