The Village at War
The Village at War
On Tuesday 14 May 1940 Home Secretary Anthony Eden appealed on the nine o’clock news for ‘recruits for Britain’s new home front army’ to register at their local police station. By midnight on Wednesday 15th. twenty-seven had registered at Hipperholme and they had run out of forms.

The Hipperholme Guard, more formally ‘C’ Company, 22 West Riding Home Guard, was under the command of Major L. Cordingley, of Linden Lea, Cecil Avenue, a director and sales manager at Firth’s Carpets. His second-in-command was Capt. S.O. Shave of 16, The Crescent. The company had five operational units, each with its own leader, two of whom were Lt. J.J. Little and Lt. J.F. Pell, M.M., and it served the area bounded by Bailiff Bridge, Brookfoot, Southowram, Beacon Hill House, Coley and Norwood Green. Its headquarters were at Holly Bank, Bramley Lane. ‘C’ Company drilled on The Stray and at Lightcliffe Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club. The photograph shows the company in front of the cricket pavilion, which had been opened in 1922.

The Hipperholme Company took part in many exercises, sometimes involving all the Brighouse companies.  On one such occasion high explosive, incendiary and mustard and phosgene gas bombs were presumed to have been dropped.  There were ‘incidents’ and ‘casualties’ and two of the ‘scenes’ were Norwood Green Colliery and Lightcliffe Golf Club.  However, it wasn’t all simulated war and the Brighouse and Elland Echo reports an astonishing number of Home Guard socials in many local clubs and public houses.

‘C’ Company held their Stand-down on Sunday, 3rd. December, 1944 at The Grove Tennis Club, where they were addressed by Col. E.V. Blakey and Col. R.M. Shaw.  The former read out the king’s message, while the latter spoke of the team spirit which had been engendered over the past four years.

In its early days ‘C’ Company discussed how local residents would be informed in the event of invasion.  A suggestion was made that a large number of tin baths should be suspended from the railway viaduct overlooking Bottom Hall, attached to H.Q. at Holly Bank by a rope (the distance is almost a mile).  When news of an invasion was received, the rope could be released, sending the baths clattering into Bottom Hall Beck, the noise being heard by everyone in the district.  ‘Who do you think you are kidding…?’

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