Home Guard

Thornbury Home Guard

The Home Guard (initially the Local Defence Volunteers or LDV) was a defence organisation of the British Army during the Second World War. Operational from 1940 until 1944, the Home Guard was composed of 1.5 million local volunteers otherwise ineligible for military service, such as those too young or too old to join the services, or those in reserved occupations–hence the nickname “Dad’s Army. Men aged 17 to 65 could join. It was unpaid but gave a chance for older or inexperienced soldiers to support the war effort.






The Thornbury Home Guard was No. 3 Platoon of C Company of the 8th Battalion of the Devonshire Home Guard (see picture at right),  and it seems to have originated in Bradworthy before moving to Holsworthy.





Below you will find the complete group photograph of the Home Guard, taken in 1945, and a set of detailed pictures taken from it, with details and their dates of birth and where they lived in 1939. The suggested identities are based on inputs taken from 6 people in Thornbury, in 2015.  Further help is needed in identifying them all – if you have any photographs or other records, please get in touch.





No Close up Suggested name and details
1   Herbert Priest (11 Feb 1872 aged 67) of Windy Cross, Farmer (most likely) (Before the war he used to take any residents produce ie, eggs, butter and poultry to Exeter to sell for them on train via Dunsland Cross, his wife kept shop at Windy Cross, school children used to buy sweets usually half penny which she would be very generous in the amount of sweets to the kids) or William Sluggett (postman) (21 Feb 1877) of Lopthorne, Farmer / Smallholder
2   Edward Sanders (11 Jun 1910 aged 29) of Thorne, Horseman on a farm helping father
3   Walter Wooldridge (9 Mar 1921 aged 18? Looks older than this to me) from Lower Lopthorne, where George Worth is now
4   Jack or John Skinner of South Wonford (possibly Francis John Skinner 24 Feb 1893 aged 45 farmer)
5   Bill Osborne (6 Aug 1908 aged 31) of Cranapool, horseman (most likely) or (26.8.20 aged 19) of Lower Ley said to be with John Skinner at South Wonford
6   Stan Daniel (4 Dec 1904 aged 35) of Brendon, Farmer
7   Tom Vanstone? (28 Mar 1904 aged 35) of North Thorne, Farmer
8   Les Goodman, (13 May 1922 aged 17) of East Vognacott, Farm Labourer also said to be at Halsdon working for Tribles
9   Boxer / Bernard Sanders (15 Sep 1926 aged 13) of Manor Inn, Thornbury
10   Reg Cloke / Cloak (5 Dec 1895 aged 44) of Thornbury Mill, Wheelwright and Carpenter who also worked at Staceys
11   Bill Bond? (9 Feb 1928 aged 11) School boy or John Bond (Steve & Jeremy’s grandfather) or George Bond (08 Apr 1895 aged 44), all of Week Farm /Kingsford
12   Jack Vanstone? (9 Jun 1908 aged 31) of Brendon, Herdsman or (more likely) (Emanuel) John / Jack Vanstone (1923 aged 16) of Berry (uncle to Mike V)
13   Arnold Hutchings (30 Dec 1926 aged 13) of Forda
14   Freddie / Fred Sleeman (10 Dec 1903 aged 36) of South Wonford, Horseman on a farm
15   Les Daniel (23 Jul 1923 aged 16) of Chapel House, School boy became blacksmith like his father where Richard Poole is now
16   Joe Sanders, Wonford smallholder
17   John Ley (30 Jul 1884 aged 55) of West or Higher Lopthorne, Smallholder. ARP Warden
18   Bert Hutchings (19 Sep 1902 aged 37) of Forda, Farmer (Arnold’s father (13))
19   Charlie Manning (22 Nov 1897 aged 42) of Ley Farm, Farmer (Andrew Oke’s great grandfather
20   Joe Jones (26 Jun 1899 aged 40) of Halsdon Cottage, Farm Labourer
21   Stanley Sanders or Wilf Sanders, farmer/ contractor, Lopthorne
22   John Gifford (22 Sep 1894 aged 45) of Woodacott, Farm Labourer and Smallholder (used to deliver milk with pushbike and trailer
23   Alf Bailey (7 Jun 1915 aged 24? Looks older) of Bason Close, Horseman (house no longer exists)
24   Howard Drew? (19 Jul 1905 aged 34) of Riverside, Thornbury, Butter maker in condensed milk and butter factory.
25   Bert Ward of Wonford (Chris Ward’s father)
26   Charlie Harris (28 Dec 1892 aged 47) Farm labourer at Lashbrook
27   William Sluggett (postman) (21 Feb 1877 aged 62) of Lopthorne, Farmer / Smallholder (most likely) or Fred Priest (18 Dec 1876 aged 63) Farmer, Lashbrook
28   Fred Daniel (Mill) (22 Jun 1895 aged 44) of Home Tenement, Farmer
29   Unknown but lived at Halsdon Farm
30   Jim / James Paige (28 Mar 1898 aged 41) of Lashbrook. Farmer (grandfather to Roger Gilbert)
31   Jim Daniel (24 Mar 1897 aged 42) blacksmith and farrier and father to Les ((8)
32   Rev George L Jarrett (26 Jan 1882 aged 57) Rector of the Parish. Group Warden ARP. (in charge of Home Guard, Priory, convinced the Germans would arrive up Port Lane, gun emplacement in Chapel field (that’s the field behind the chapel)


33   Jack Hutchings (8 Aug 1898 aged 41) of Post Office, (Now Park Villa) Smallholder and Poultry Farmer
34   Stanley Gerry (25 Dec 1909 aged 30) of Lashbrook, Farmer
35   Fred Hutchings (5 Feb 1900 aged 39) of Woodacott, Farmer assisting father (Keith’s grandfather)
36   Les Harris (11 Mar 1921 aged 18) of Lashbrook Farmworker
37   George Daniel (21 Jun 1909 aged 30) of (Lower) Manor Cottage Farmer
38   Bob Vanstone, Berry (Mike’s uncle) (1926 aged 13)
39   Mr Bartholomew Willoughby (26 Jun 1878 aged 61) of St Peter’s Villa, Retired Chemist or School teacher
40   Fred West farmworker at Thornbury Barton
41   Brian Slee (23 Jun 1924 aged 15) of Little Lakes, Farm Worker or of Halses Park.
42   Les Phillips of Croyden Cottage

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