K. Company (Knightwick) of the 7th Worcestershire (Malvern) Battalion Home Guard with Company Commander Dr. R. H. Clarke seated in the centre of the third row. The photograph was taken in the Grounds of Woodford House where Roger Clarke lived and had his doctors surgery. The River Teme is behind the photographer and passes by the grounds of the Knightwick Mill to the right of photo and on down stream to Knightsford Bridge and the village where my parents lived at the Post office. My father Ted Holland is second in from the left on the first row and his next door neighbor Ted Morris (with glasses) is sat behind him. Woodford House was the headquarters for K. Company and Dr Clarke their Company Commander had previously served as a Surgeon Lieutenant in the Royal Navy.

Here is a delightful story by Mildred Shepherd romantically recalling the time when two bombs closely missed the houses of both Knightwick and Whitbourne.

Whitbourne at War, by MILDRED SHEPHERD

If one was coming home after dark from the village & stood facing north by the Poplands, one could watch the flak going up over Birmingham, looking just like rockets going up. Every evening about 8 O'clock we heard the drone of German planes going north up the line of hills, and about 2 a.m. if one were awake, heard them coming streaming back. We had only two bombs in the village all through the war and these were early on. We think they were jettisoned from a Bomber to give it extra speed
trying to get away from one of our fighters.

We had all had gasmasks fitted and had to carry them everywhere. They were in square card boxes. We bought leatherette cases and shoulder-strap to carry them, and when in town shopping on crowded pavements, everyone's gasmask bumped off everyone else's.

At the end of 1940 Westminster School came to Whitbourne Court, the Rectory and other empty large houses in the district, and they had only been in a few days before our two bombs fell. I remember the wife of the Housemaster at the Court lamenting, "We were bombed in London and bombed in Exeter" (where the school had first gone for safety) "and I really thought we should have some peace here - and now all the glass is blown cut of the windows on one side and tarpaulins are put over and the rooms are in darkness!" There was no plastic then.

This bomb fell in the flat river meadow beyond the Court at exactly midnight. Attached to it by a parachute was a time- bomb which came down in the cherry orchard near Rosemore's hop- kiln and blew up at exactly midnight the following night. We had damage from this one. There was a shattering roar and the whole house seemed to rise several inches and then sink back again. We had some glass broken & the back door was flung open by the blast and the front door jammed. It was 6 months before the dust stopped seeping out from between the beams in the walls, but these early houses are very tough and it hadn't upset the foundations at all.

Right at the beginning of the War, the local Defense Volunteers (L.D.V. for short) were set up and manned by the elderly and those awaiting call-up in the male population. The name "Home Guard", very succinct and appealing to all,was thought up by our wonderful Prime Minister, Winston Churchill when he succeeded Mr. Chamberlain. My father was too old to join, but most of his friends were in it. Each town and village had a contingent under someone with experience, Ours was headed by Capt. A.P.H. Evens (Bill Evan's grand-father), and Knightwick, right along our eastern boundary, by Dr. Clarke of Knightwick, who had been a Naval Doctor in the First World War, and owned a boat on the river.

When the war began, the thing in everyones mind was invasion, and a platoon of the L.D.V. slept every night in our Hut on Meadow Green. Mattresses were the problem, and the Guide Company of which I was second in command, Gwen Evans being Guide Captain, as we were called then, possessed 11 hessian mattress covers (we must have Lost one somewhere) which on going camping were filled nightly with straw and were very warm and comfortable to sleep on. (No lilos in those days). These the Guide Company lent to the L.D.V.. You don't know how proud we felt about it!

The District Council sent round lorries uprooting every signpost and taking them away. We all thought out elaborate false directions to give the enemy should we be asked!My parents, being in the seventies, said they would stay put and hope being off the road would prevent them being molested. I, with stories of rape, being An-accomplished camper & stalker and able to keep myself dry in rain or shine, said I would take a week's supply of food in my rucksack and take to the woods! However, as we now know, it never happened!

L.D.V. uniforms and arms were in short supply and quite early on, our only two bombs fell. Knightwick's L.D.V. were mustered at the bottom of Ankerdyne, and at once went to Dr. Clarke's house and put out the boat, for the crater was in the flat water meadow between the bridge and Whitbourne Court. Capt. Evans was two miles away at Whitbourne Hall and tho L.D.V. at the Hut 1 mile away, and it all took longer for them, being so much at the edge of our parish.

When they got there, the Knightwick L.D.V. had seen all was safe and departed, taking with them the nose cone of the bomb as a memento. When our Volunteers found what had happened, their anger knew no bounds. Knightwick had stolen OUR BOMB! It was our side of the river and our men should have had the nose cone as their memento, not Knightwick; Knightwick pointed out that they had many houses down by the river and they had gone to see if all was safe, and if there was a second one, to warn the Knightwickians.

After this, the elderly gentlemen of Whitbourne and the elderly gentlemen of Knightwick were at daggers drawn for the duration of the War. I remember how my mother and I used to laugh at the childishness of man!

The stories of 'Dad's Army' were not far off the mark. This was, and still is, my favorite film.


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