The Old Kenfig Borough / Old Bro Cynffig
The Home Guard
Local Defence Volunteers
In May 1940 a decision was taken by the War Cabinet to strengthen the Regular and Territorial Army by recruiting
men between the ages of 17 and 65 who were not already engaged in civil defence activities.
The new force was called the Local Defence Volunteers and by July 1940 it had grown to around 1.5 million men;
in that month it was renamed the Home Guard.
In Porthcawl the Police Station in John Street was used for enrolement purposes. The first LDV units elected
their own leaders, they reported once a week at the Seabank Hotel - duties were to man an observation post on the
coast between Porthcawl and Ogmore on a nightly roster system after having reported to the Police station and being
issued with a 12 bore shotgun.
There were only a handful of guns available and some volunteers armed themselves with pick helves;
the volunteers didn't have uniforms.
Home Guard Unit
The Home Guard unit in Porthcawl was No.1 Platoon "A" Company of the 24th Glamorgan (Kenfig) Battalion.
Their first Head Quarters were in the garages to the rear of the Seabank Hotel, later this was transferred to the
Pier Hotel and to a cafe on Coney Beach before moving to a house in Picton Avenue.
The Commanding Officer of the Bridgend area was Colonel H.M. Llewellyn of Court Coleman and the Officers
and NCO's of the Porthcawl platoon were all ex-servicemen from the First World War.
Porthcawl Platoon Officers
The local Commander was Colonel Evans with officers being Major F C Ashton, Captain Duncan Thomas,
Captain Cartwright (transferred to Mounted Home Guard) - replaced by Lieutenant D M Evans Bevan.
Captain Firstbrook was an attched Officer and the Sergeant Major was Joe Saunders assisted by
Sergeant Bass and Sergeant Bill Oliver (later commissioned as a Lieutenant).
The Quartermasters were Lee McKewan, F Rogers and D Jenkins.
The Platoon was only equipped with shotguns and staves, although the Nottage section had two rifles and
nearly everyone had a shotgun. In the early days arm-bands were worn later to be replaced with denims
and later by full battle-dress uniforms and great-coats.
In November 1940 the War Office announced that 500,000 showerproof capes made of battle-dress material
would be issued to the Home Guard throughout the UK; the shortage of rifles remained a problem until
shipments of arms arrived from the United States and Canada.
Rifles and ammunition were kept in safe places when not required for guard duty and parades - the
Nottage section kept their rifles in Nottage Court.
After their HQ at the Seabank Hotel had been taken over by the Regular Army, the Porthcawl platoon
patraded in front of the Rest Home. A disused furniture repository in West End Avenue, Nottage was also
used by the Home Guard until it was also occupied by the Army.
The first assignment of the Porthcawl Local Defence Force unit was to man an observation post at Candleston Farm, Tythegston
and the railway bridge at North Cornelly which carried the main railway line to Paddington, London.
The platoon later guarded the Home Guard HQ in Picton Avenue and the telephone exchange at 24 Victoria Avenue.
When the Llynfi Power Station was built, the Porthcawl platoon took its turn in a rota providing guard cover
for this vunerable service and also for the Coytrahen Explosives Experimental area.
The .22 Rifle Range at Dan-y-Graig was used by the LDV until the Dutch Army arrived at the Dan-y-Graig Camp in
June 1940 and took it over.
The .303 range on Newton Burrows was also used by the Porthcawl platoon.
Local Rivalry & Competitions
There were regular competitions against the RAF Regiment from Stormy Down, the Post Office Platoon
and a platoon from Bridgend which the Porthcawl platoon regularly won.
The Nottage section had monthly .22 competitions with the Porthcawl Police - there was keen rivalry
between the platoons with the Nottage section being particulary successful.
In 1943, the Porthcawl platoon won the 'Colonel Main' Cup in the South Wales District Competition
and the 'Colonel Otto Jones' Cup in the Glamorgan Competition in Battle Platoon Firing held at Brecon.
Certificates were presented in the Grand Pavilion to those who had taken part by the Commanding
Officier of the British Home Forces who remarked that the men were as fit as any platoon in the British Army.