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15 October 2014
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IN THE HOME GUARD

by CovWarkCSVActionDesk

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Contributed by 
CovWarkCSVActionDesk
People in story: 
MR H J POULTER
Location of story: 
COVENTRY
Article ID: 
A6122710
Contributed on: 
13 October 2005

IN THE HOME GUARD

I joined Humber in March 1940 as a junior draughtsman ( how I arrived there could be another story) and stayed with them until early 1945.
In early 1942 I volunteered to join the Home Guard. The requirement at the time was not specific but turned out to be an Anti-Aircraft Rocket site in the middle of The Memorial Park. We were to be trained on firing these by the regular army who at the time were getting the site ready for operations.
The “ Doodle Bugs” were coming into operation and all the regular army were being moved to the S.E. to help in the defences down there.
Operation of the site was to be arranged that only a skeleton staff of the army would be left to provide maintenance and security of the site and would be fully operated by the HG. This resulted in an arrangement that the HG would have to be manning the site all and every night. Therefore 8 reliefs were formed which meant you were on duty all night every 8th night. In consequence, as we were working overtime most days at our general employment, it resulted in us leaving work and going straight to the park and after breakfast, in the “Naffie”, straight back to work.
In the meantime, we were being trained by the army on how to use the projectors and load the rockets whilst progressively being issued with uniforms as they became available. I was one of the early volunteers and was told that if the air raid warning went and if I wished to get on my bike they would welcome me to man a projector. At this time I still had not received all my equipment. At that time I was in digs in Stoke at the other side of Coventry and I did this journey across Coventry on a few occasions. At that time the HG was not fully operational.
As time proceeded I was eventually promoted to a Plotting Officer in the Plotting Room with my own Plotting Team. This was in the Café in the park. This appointment was a responsible position as we had to work with the RADAR, which was also positioned in the park.
Obviously this team had to be on watch all night. Therefore we were provided with bunks next door and shifts had to be maintained to ensure continuous contact with the Gun Operations established at Coombe Abbey. We were responsible for calculating all the details necessary to pass on to the projectors, to enable fuses to be set, bearings and elevations set etc. Very often we were on standby and we had to call out the teams manning the Projectors. The important decision was when to give the order to fire.
They slept in requisitioned nearby houses opposite the park and time was a premium once “Coombe Abbey” advised us that some hostile aircraft were about.
With 8 reliefs being required many members of the HG were necessary and recruits were conscripted and as I was now an Officer some embarrassing situations were experienced when I returned to work, but it was taken on both sides in good spirits.
After we were stood down I received a certificate from the King and thanks from General Pile “Commanding-in-chief Anti-Aircraft Command” for my services. I also have a photograph of our relief with a projector in the background. I am unable to identify any of the others on my relief.

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