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What Uniform is this?

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Colin W
Posts: 53
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 13:46

What Uniform is this?

Post by Colin W »

Does anyone know what uniform this picture shows? Sorry it is not a great photo showing any details.

My sister and I thought that are grandad (Charles Henry Evans Bowhay) was a Totnes Front Guard from 1939 to 1945. Totnes in Devon was where he lived then. But having looked at the list in our local museum of those who where a Totnes Front Guard, his name was not on it.
Charles Henry Evans Bowhay.jpg
Charles Henry Evans Bowhay.jpg (11.75 KiB) Viewed 1240 times
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AdrianBruce
Posts: 355
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 18:57
Location: South Cheshire

Re: What Uniform is this?

Post by AdrianBruce »

I'd be a little bit careful wondering about the completeness of lists. A quick Google gave me a list of Home Guard battalions in Devon - see URL https://www.home-guard.org.uk/hg/cty-devon.html - you'll probably know better than I if any of those others were geographically possible for him. However, the thing that strikes me about that list is that there's no Anti-Aircraft batteries in it. I have a book, for instance, about the Home Guard in Cheshire and it lists a number of (General Service) battalions, each with a geographic basis. But, in addition, as I know from my father's experience, there were several Anti-Aircraft batteries in Cheshire. Now these are listed in the Cheshire book but there's no mention of any such batteries in that Devon list. They did exist because https://www.teignmouthshaldonww2.co.uk/ ... home-guard says
The county of Devon had 25 General Service Infantry Battalions, plus Rocket Anti-Aircraft Batteries and Motor Transport Companies.
So it's perfectly possible that your granddad was in a Devon Home Guard unit - just not in one of the General Service battalions such as the 13th Devon (Totnes) but in an Anti-Aircraft battery or other unit. It's a WW2 battle dress and if it is a Devon Home Guard unit, the badge on the cap should be - I think - a star. It might be a star in the photo...

I'd also want to understand the origins of the museum's list - is it a full list of everyone who ever served in the 13th Totnes (it might be) or is it a snapshot at some other point in time and therefore omits some people?

There's even the Home Guard Auxiliary units, which were, apparently, not actually part of the Home Guard - but that was their cover story. These were units who, in the event of an invasion, would disappear into highly secret bases to wage guerilla war behind the lines in what was probably close to a suicide mission given the likely reaction.

So the full truth - or at least, a skeleton of it - is likely to lie with the Ministry of Defence who still hold the Service papers for the Home Guard (apart from Durham's HG papers, which were transferred to TNA Kew). Given that it's £30 for what is usually just a single sheet of paper, I believe, and a completely unknown time interval (thanks to Covid) - you might decide to wait until the Home Guard service papers are transferred to TNA Kew.
Adrian Bruce
Colin W
Posts: 53
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 13:46

Re: What Uniform is this?

Post by Colin W »

Thank you Adrian for your great info reply.

I shall have a look later at the links you have added. I do not know if the list I read showed 'all' those from Totnes or not. I think I will go and do another visit and have another look.

Thank you.
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