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15 October 2014
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The Battle of Berrington

by Genevieve

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Archive List > British Army

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Fred Evans
Location of story: 
Berrington, near Shrewsbury
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
01 December 2005

The Battle of Berrington

I was in the Berrington Home Guard and our HQ was Betton Abbots Farm. In charge of the Home Guard was Major Burdass, the managing director of Trouncers Brewery in Longden Coleham. (The building has had many uses and occupiers since brewing ceased, but has recently been converted into luxury apartments overlooking the River Severn and is now known as The Brewery, Kingsland).

A group of Dutch commandos had escaped to England from occupied Europe, ending up in Shropshire. It was decided that it would be very beneficial for the Home Guard to have an exercise with the professionals. Berrington lads would have to search for the commandos and capture them.

Early one Sunday morning we set off. Meanwhile the commandos settled into a wood. Confident they would not be discovered, to ease the boredom of a long wait they lit a small fire to make a hot drink. The Berrington lads surveyed the vast landscape, wondering where on earth they could make a start, when suddenly one of them spotted in the far distance a thin wisp of smoke rising above some trees. ‘That’s where they are!’ It was a very long trek. We eventually reached the wood, creeping in until the commandos were surrounded and then going forward. The Dutch were astounded, saying ‘How did you find us? We have fought our way across France and Belgium and escaped the Germans, only to be captured by the Home Guard!’ It was explained to them that, as every country person knows, smoke always rises above trees, no matter how dense the wood or foliage.

This story was collected by Laurence Le Quesne and Josie Smith and submitted to the People’s War site by Graham Brown of the BBC Radio Shropshire CSV Action Desk on behalf of Fred Evans and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

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