Military => Home Guard & Auxiliaries => Topic started by: InvictaJ26 on October 22, 2013, 13:16:11

Title: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: InvictaJ26 on October 22, 2013, 13:16:11
I wonder if anyone can help me please?

I have found a number of posts which help identify the different home Guard units that operated in the county but I am trying to find images of the different insignia they would have worn.
I have found a two tone diamond which was worn by the Post Office unit and I think a lot of the units adopted the West and East Kent cap badges as worn by the Regular Army units for each area.

Any help will be very much appreciated as I am creating some 6th scale figures and would like to have one represent each unit (where possible) denoted by their unit insignia in addition to their Home Guard shoulder flashes.


Many thanks,
Bernard
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: Monkton Malc on October 22, 2013, 20:19:15
Hi there,

the only thing that I can help with is this photo of my Grandfather in his 6th Thanet HG uniform.

(http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p3/monktonlad/SCAN0007.jpg) (http://s124.photobucket.com/user/monktonlad/media/SCAN0007.jpg.html)

Hope this helps  :)
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: InvictaJ26 on October 23, 2013, 13:46:20
Malc,

Thank you for providing the photograph and explanation.
As I understand it the KT 6 identifies your Grandfather as being in
No6 Platoon of the Kent County, Thanet area Home Guard.
K = Kent T = Thanet
and the 6 underneath = No6 Platoon.

If I have got this wrong would you kindly let me know.

I also assume that you wouldn't mind me using the KT6 on the Home Guard uniform of one of my scale figures.

Once again many thanks for your help,
Bernard
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: grandarog on October 23, 2013, 16:10:45
I think it is no 6  Battalion rather than platoon as a platoon was the lowest size group of men . e .
This confirms :-
A book ("Kent Home Guard : A History", 92 pages) is shown on the Staffordshire HG website  and a booklet "KT6 - An informal history of the 6th (Thanet) Battalion of the Kent Home Guard", is referred to at
http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/thanet-home-guard-booklet-and-some.html.

Although it was wartime you might find a bit in the papers of the time
EG :- Dover Express - Friday 04 April 1941
HOME GUARDS' SHOULDER TITLES. Many Home Guard Units have not awaited the official issue of the new "Home Guard" shoulder title which will not take place for a few weeks yet. The War Office fully appreciate that their keenness and esprit de corps are such that, in these matters of dress, besides those which improve their operational efficiency, many units are working ahead of official instructions. At the same time, it is hoped that, now the new shoulder titles are on the way, Home Guard Units will await a free issue and not put themselves to the expense which it is most unlikely can be refunded to them.
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: grandarog on October 23, 2013, 16:30:35
This old post is relevant .
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=6708.0
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: petermilly on October 23, 2013, 17:01:32

e-bay

Buy-it-now £12.14

Kent Home Guard: A History, Gulvin, K.R., Used; Good Book

 :) :)
 
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: InvictaJ26 on October 23, 2013, 19:54:25
Grandarog & Peter,

Thank you both for the information and links to books.

I'll take a look and post back with updates.

Kind regards,
Bernard

Update:
I've just bought The History and The Home Guard Remembered from ebay :)
I've had a look at the various links to other posts which provide useful background but unfortunately have few images of Unit/Battalion insignia.
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on October 24, 2013, 22:48:39
Interesting project, the three chaps in the jeep look familiar :)

The only official battalion identification was the two letters (ie KT=Kent) over the battalion number as shown in Monkton Malc's photo.
However at least one Home Guard unit wore an unofficial patch (to which you have added the Post Office unit). Over the border D Company of the 17th Sussex Bn HG, had a black dogs head on a pale blue oval, this sewn onto the sleeve between the shoulder flash and the battalion patch.
I do not know of any similar Kent patches but fingers crossed that at least one will turn up.

I have some notes on Home Guard uniforms. Do you want me to dig them out?
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: InvictaJ26 on October 25, 2013, 18:27:23
Herb C,

Thank you for this information especially the Sussex patch.
I will add that to my list.

If you could find the notes on the H G uniform that would be appreciated as all references to actual gear worn will be useful.

Yes the three blokes in the Jeep are/were pretty well known. Sculpting the heads and hands side tracked me for quite a while when I was supposed to be concentrating on the radio controlled Jeep I was creating. This is what led me to focus on replicating insignia for actual Kent HG units as opposed to those in CP (Croft and Perry) 1 and 2. :)

Watch out for the gales that are on the way,
Bern
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: HERB COLLECTOR on October 26, 2013, 15:14:53

I do not know of any similar Kent patches but fingers crossed that at least one will turn up.


There was one right under my nose.
On page 20 of 'Kent Home Guard' by K.R. Gulvin, there is a photo of a member of the Cinque Ports HG (Folkestone company) with a small shield shaped cloth patch at the top of his arm. Unfortunately it is difficult to make out what is on the shield. The photo on page 73 is also of interest, unit unidentified.

Home Guard uniforms.
The Local Defence Volunteers were formed 14 May 1940.
At first the LDV wore everyday clothes with a khaki armlet bearing the letters LDV in black. Some former soldiers, particularly officers, wore their old uniforms, complete with the insignia of their former regiments, although this was frowned upon. Later, ill-fitting 'overalls, denim' were issued, comprising of a separate blouse and trousers. The Field Service cap was issued at the same time.
There was a shortage of rifles, so the mix of British, Canadian and US weapons was supplemented with privately owned shotguns.

LDV ranks
Commanders of LDV units were not commissioned officers, but holders of appointments. Officer ranks were sometimes indicated by dark blue stripes across the shoulder straps.
One broad stripe           Zone Commander
four narrow stripes       Group Commander
Three narrow stripes     Battalion Commander
Two narrow stripes       Company Commander
one narrow stripe         Platoon Commander
NCO ranks
Three sleeve chevrons      Section Commander
Two sleeve chevrons         Squad Commander

The LDV title was changed to the 'Home Guard' on 31 July 1940. At the same time, units of the HG were affiliated to their county regiments and authorized to wear regimental cap badges. The first insignia to be issued to the HG was the 'Home Guard' armlet. Letters cut from coloured cloth were used to denote the zone, ie, 'S' for south.
Steel helmets, respirators, great coats etc became available in dribs and drabs. In time the denim overalls were replaced with the standard 1940 pattern battledress blouse and trousers.
With the change from the denim overalls to the serge battledress came a change of insignia.
At the top of the sleeve was the Home Guard shoulder flash, below this were two patches, the top patch bearing two or three letters indicating the county, ie, KT for Kent, the lower patch indicating the battalion number within the county. Other items worn on the sleeve would be chevrons of rank, proficiency badges and service stripes indicating good conduct, wounds or long service.
The webbing worn by the HG was specially produced and consisted of a leather belt and straps, web pouches and a special pattern water bottle carrier and haversack. Leather anklets were worn.
In February 1941 the HG adopted the regular army rank system, with officers now holding the King's Commission.

In April 1943 the War Office withdrew its ban on women serving in the Home Guard. By 1944 30,000 women were serving as 'Home Guard Auxiliaries', (not to be confused with the secret Auxiliary Units) in a non-combat role, administrative, domestic and medical.
Prior to this women had served unofficially in the HG. From August 1942 the Worthing HG had a female nursing unit, while other units had women helping in the administration.
No uniform was provided, but a brooch type badge was issued, to be worn on a Field Service cap.

The Home Guard was finally stood down in December 1944.


Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: InvictaJ26 on October 27, 2013, 12:13:51
Herb C,

Once again thank you for this information.

Yes there are a couple of images in the book including the painting near the front but unfortunately they all lack colour and or quality. Still they do give me something to go on. :)

The information on equipment, etc is very useful.

Kind regards,
Bernard
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: peterchall on October 27, 2013, 13:12:45
I don't know if your figures are 'time related', but battledress pattern changed during the war. From Wikepedia:

Battledress, Serge being the original pattern of battledress uniform commonly referred to as '1937 Pattern', the blouse had a fly front, pleated pockets with concealed buttons and an unlined collar, the trousers having a large map pocket on the left leg front with a concealed button and a small, single pleat dressing pocket on the front of the right hip with a concealed button.

1940 Pattern Battledress introduced as the name suggests in 1940 saw some small changes to the original design, a lined collar and slightly closer cut to the blouse and a new dressing pocket on the trousers with two pleats and an exposed shank button.

Utility Pattern Battledress (still labelled 1940 Pattern) was introduced in 1942; it deleted the fly front, and the front buttons, as well as the pocket buttons, were now exposed. Pocket pleats to the blouse were removed, as were box pleats to cuffs, early manufacture included two inside pockets but this was soon reduced to a single inside pocket. Plastic buttons were introduced, rather than the brass dished buttons of Battledress, Serge. The trousers retained the features of the 1940 pattern but the pocket button was now exposed and made of brown or green plastic like those of the blouse.

Officers were permitted to tailor the collar of their blouses so as to wear a collared shirt and tie.
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: InvictaJ26 on October 28, 2013, 18:37:22
peter,

Thank you for this.

The uniforms are mass produced (unlike the large pouches which I made) so I can make small adjustments.

I am interested to find out whether the "Brown" was more commonly used as opposed to the "Green" as worn by the characters in the Dads Army series as I wouldn't mind having a go at dying the uniforms if necessary.

Once again thank you for your help,
Bern
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: peterchall on October 28, 2013, 20:20:39
My post referred to ’Battledress, Serge’, the traditional thick khaki coloured material, as compared to the thinner, lighter coloured ‘Battledress, Denim’ usually worn as working dress by the army.

It’s a long time ago to remember, but I’m sure that the HG was only issued with Serge Battledress – after all, they wore their uniforms for only a few hours per week.

Attached is a photo of my dad, taken no earlier than 1944, in which he is wearing uniform with covered buttons, and I think ‘denims’ always had exposed ones.
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: InvictaJ26 on October 29, 2013, 17:03:02
Peter,

Thank you for this.

I know I am going off at a bit of a tangent but I wonder why the Dads Army production people decided to kit the characters out in Green.

Kind regards,
Bernard
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: peterchall on October 29, 2013, 20:07:58
The terms ‘Brown’ and ‘Green’ are new to me, and my father was foreman at the RAOC clothing depot throughout the war, first at Chatham Gun Wharf and later at Darland.

But please don’t take my memory as 100% accurate, nor that of the Dad’s Army producers – I’ve seen episodes in which Capt Mainwaring has his blouse done up at the collar; nor would a platoon normally be commanded by a Captain.

It may be that some units were issued with denims and the point I was making was that the HG wore their uniforms for only a few hours per week, so most of them would have been issued with only one throughout the war; which is why I pointed out that my father was still wearing early pattern serge battledress in 1944.

Yet in the current repeats of Dad’s Army their dress seems to vary from episode to episode.

 Of course, at the beginning they had no uniform at all except an LDV or ‘Home Guard’ armband, and I wonder how much protection that would have given them under the Geneva Convention.
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: alysloper on November 07, 2013, 15:21:53
The terms ‘Brown’ and ‘Green’ are new to me, and my father was foreman at the RAOC clothing depot throughout the war, first at Chatham Gun Wharf and later at Darland.

But please don’t take my memory as 100% accurate, nor that of the Dad’s Army producers – I’ve seen episodes in which Capt Mainwaring has his blouse done up at the collar; nor would a platoon normally be commanded by a Captain.

It may be that some units were issued with denims and the point I was making was that the HG wore their uniforms for only a few hours per week, so most of them would have been issued with only one throughout the war; which is why I pointed out that my father was still wearing early pattern serge battledress in 1944.

Yet in the current repeats of Dad’s Army their dress seems to vary from episode to episode.

 Of course, at the beginning they had no uniform at all except an LDV or ‘Home Guard’ armband, and I wonder how much protection that would have given them under the Geneva Convention.


The terms "Brown" and "Green" are not official terms but generally, the earlier examples of the denim uniform tend to be made from a brownish denim but those made early or mid WW2 seem to be of a greenish colour. It varies with the company manufacturing the particular items of clothing.
The Home Guard were issued with denims towards the end of 1940 but with "proper" i.e. serge battledress in 1941; although of course, there were many variations throughout the country.
I guess that the denims available to the BBC in the 1960s were more likely to be the later i.e. greener examples, although i think I have seen both being worn in "Dad's Army" episodes, as well as serge battledress in some episodes.

There is a very helpful booklet from Historic military press about Home Guard Uniforms and equipment - not sure if it's still published but it might turn up on ebay.

cheers
ian
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: InvictaJ26 on November 07, 2013, 17:29:56
Ian,

Thank you for taking the trouble to clear up my uniform colour question.

That was exactly the information I was after. I now better understand which colour is most appropriate to early and later Home Guard uniforms and also what may very well have influenced the colour choice for the Dads Army clothing.

Much appreciated,
Bernard
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: alysloper on November 07, 2013, 23:10:23

Bernard
Thanks, although do bear in mind that with the Home Guard, nothing was really "standard"! There were regional variations in both manufacture, issue and re-issue, so no hard-and-fast rules.

regards
Ian
Title: Re: Kent Units of Home Guard Identification Help please
Post by: InvictaJ26 on January 11, 2014, 20:39:30
Nearly finished my Home Guard trio and repaired an old Action Man MKII Sten which had a missing clip and a broken trigger. I also made a bayonet, scabbard and webbing to go with it.

My thanks to everyone for all the help,
Bern