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15 October 2014
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Kidsgrove Home Guard

by JW Colclough

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Contributed by 
JW Colclough
People in story: 
JW Colclough
Location of story: 
Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
24 August 2005

I was in the home guard and we were asked to go to Longton to help defend a bridge against enemy attack; at the time German soldiers were expected to attack via parachutes. The Kidsgrove Home Guard, of which I was a member, were asked to help. Some went into the pub close to and others took up positions on the bridge and round it. As the night wore on, the ones which were supposedly guarding the bridge sneaked into the pub, when we came out, the regular troops had captured the bridge and came to capture us in the pub!

There was a rota to guard the Harecastle railway tunnel in Kidsgrove, I used to go about once a week. I used to take Lynn, my black retriever. He was a gun dog and, when he saw the gun, he knew he was going shooting. One night, I locked him in and didn’t take him with me but when I came to check the tunnel, I felt something touching my leg at the back — it was Lynn!! He had got out and come to me.

At the beginning, I was the only one in the Kidsgrove Home Guard with a gun! Rifles were issued later during the war.

We were guarding Kidsgrove Station, which was called Harecastle Station then, and we were told that there were enemy troops coming in on the train from Crewe, hiding in the goods van. It was a practise for such an event. We were told by colleagues in Crewe that regular troops had got on at Crewe, we planned to surround the train and take them to the local Police Station, which was the procedure. What we didn’t know was that the regular troops had commandeered a bus in Crewe and whilst we waited to surround the train, the regular troops got off the bus and came and captured us!

One night we heard something at the goods warehouse at Kidsgrove Station and we found out that it was Lynn sneaking up to come to me in the guard room! In the end I asked if Lynn could come with me and gained permission to take her with me from then on.

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