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1943: Cuckfield Home Guard on display

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

Mid Sussex Times - Wednesday 26 May 1943


We are indebted to a correspondent for a detailed account of the celebration exercises of ‘A’ Company, of the 13th Battalion Sussex Home Guard, on the third anniversary of the formation of the unit, a brief summary of which appeared in our last issue.

In the afternoon at the training ground at Headquarters, he states, there was a demonstration of a night patrol, stalking and liquidating an enemy sentry. The public were requested to try to visualise a sentry on guard at night over an enemy tank lager. A patrol of four, with their faces and hands blackened and armed with daggers, rubber truncheons and Sten gun, crept stealthily from the trees, and, when within striking distance, the leader leaped on the sentry, and, with hand over the sentry's mouth, drove a dagger into his back. The second man in the patrol seized the sentry’s rifle, and the patrol retired carrying the sentry with them, using the Sten gun to cover their retirement. There was also a parade, “Past and Present,” showing the development of the Home Guard. The tug-of-war event was won by Twineham.

Still image of Home Guard apprehending a 'fifth columnist' c1943 (with thanks to Brighton University School of Art and Media)

Another item of interest was the advance by sections over an Assault Course, which included sealing a 12ft. wall, into a house where period bombs were exploded. A water obstacle had to be got over, followed by crossing trenches fitted with wire and surmounting a high ramp with a 12ft. drop. Altogether, Cuckfield seems to have provided one of the most impressive anniversary celebrations of the district.

At the close the Company was paraded, and cheers given for their Colonel-in-Chief, H.M, The King, for the Queen and for the Prime Minister. A running commentary was broadcast to the public by Captain C.C. Waring,. M.C.

For contemporary footage of how the Home Guard trained please follow the link (Screen Archive South East).

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