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Kenfig - The Complete History
A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales Kenfig - The Complete History
A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales

The Home Guard

War Years Section || Kenfig Area - The Home Guard


The War Years around Kenfig
Documenting the entire history of the old kenfig borough / old bro cynffig

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The Old Kenfig Borough / Old Bro Cynffig



The Home Guard

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.

Porthcawl

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.

Equipment

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.

Parades

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.

Assignments

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.

Rifle Range

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.






Porthcawl Home Guard


Porthcawl Home Guard
No.1 Platoon "A" Company, 24th Glamorgan (Kenfig) Battalion - HQ (Picton Avenue, Porthcawl)

Porthcawl Home Guard - 1943
Winners of the Colonel Main Cup - Porthcawl Home Guard 1943

Porthcawl Home Guard Mounted Patrol
Porthcawl Home Guard Mounted Patrol

Porthcawl Home Guard Mounted Patrol

Formed in 1942, the Porthcawl Mounted Section was an off-shoot of the Cowbridge platoon which had been organised under Colonel Homfrey, Master of the Glamorgan Hunt and who had served in the Yeomanry in the First World War.
The unit met every Sunday morning in riding stables close to Crown House, Newton then later in a field at the back of Tournai, Nottage.

Main Activities

The main activity of the mounted section was to patrol Merthyr Mawr Warren and to provide safety patrols around Rest Bay when the Army was firing out to sea. The section also rode out over Margam and Sker.

H.M. King George VI - Message

06 December 1944

Colonel in Chief of the Home Guard

For more than four years you have borne a heavy burden. Most of you have been engaged for long hours in work necessary to the prosection of the war or to maintaining the healthful life of the Nation; and you have given every portion of your time which should have been your own to learning the skilled worked of a soldier. By this patient, ungrudging effort you have built and maintained a force able to play an essential part in the defence of our threatened soil and liberty.
I have long wished to see you relieved of this burden; but it would have been a betrayal of all we owe to our fathers and our sons if any step had been taken which might have imperilled our Country's safety. A slackening of our defences might have encouraged the enemy to launch a desperate blow which could grievously have damaged us and weakened the power of our own assault.
Now, at last, the spendid resolution and endurance of the Allied Armies have thrust back that danger from our coasts. At last I can say that you have fulfilled your charge.
The Home Guard has reached the end of its long tour of duty under arms. But I know that your devotion to our land, your comradeship, your power to work your hardest at the end of the longest day, will discover new outlets for patriotic service in the time of peace.
History will say that your share in the greatest of all our struggles for freedom was a vitally important one. You have earned in full measure your country's gratitude.



Associated Website Links ||

Acknowledgements ||


Bibliography

(1) Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services
(2) 3rd party copyright © Mike Mansley (Porthcawl at War 1939-1945)
(3) Porthcawl Museum & History Society
(4) Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group

Webpage Author

(1) Mr Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2009.

3rd Party Copyright:

Home Guard (Porthcawl);

Information & photos originally researched by Mike Mansley (Porthcawl at War 1939-1945) and part re-published online strictly for educational purposes only - 3rd party copyright © Mike Mansley (Porthcawl at War 1939-1945) - (First Printed 1994 - ISBN 0 9523152 0 3)
Information edited & sub-edited for online purposes || Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2009
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