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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Memories of the Home Guard

by Rutland Memories

Contributed by 
Rutland Memories
People in story: 
V.H. Bettinson
Location of story: 
Stamford, Lincolnshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A3630070
Contributed on: 
07 February 2005

'C' Company, 4th Kesteven Home Guard (V.H. Bettinson is front row, 4th from right)

As told by Mr. Bettinson to Rutland Library Service. Mr. Bettinson was Lincolnshire Sporting Champion in the 1940s. He is the oldest member of the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association and is still winning trophies.

At the beginning of the War I tried to join the Air Force but was turned down because of my hearing problems. I was also turned down by the Army for the same reason and was advised to join the Home Guard which I did. My right ear has been 100% blank since a case of childhood measles and I have used a hearing aid for roughly the last 60 years in my left ear.

So I joined the 4th Kesteven Battalion Home Guard. My Unit was stationed at Greatford under the local command of Major Hoare of Holywell Hall, Stamford.

After a number of months Major Hoare asked me if I would become a sergeant in the Home Guard but I declined. He asked me why and I explained that if I became a sergeant, I would have to use a little sten gun instead of a rifle, so I wouldn't be able to practice for the Army rifle shooting competitions.

A few months later I won the Battalion rifle shooting championship with my 303 rifle against an estimated 1800 Home Guard.

I was asked by Major Hoare if I would take recci patrols for othr Units in the Home Guard which I did. Often the Major loaned me his Ford Pilot shooting brake for this purpose.

Later on, our Unit had a concert at Greatford Hall and about 30 Home Guard attended with Major Hoare. By request I was asked to sing 'Yeomen of England' which I duly did. When I had finished Major Hoare told me to stay where I was on the stage. He clambered up to join me and said he had an announcement to make. Standing alongside me he said, "There is one certificate of merit awarded each year to the most outstanding Home Guard in the Battalion and Corporal Bettinson has won the award."

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