Opening up on the home front

Dorset Echo: John Mozart Haylock, Weymouth Home Guard drill hall, St Alban’s St, Weymouth John Mozart Haylock, Weymouth Home Guard drill hall, St Alban’s St, Weymouth

DORSET Home Guard photos from last week’s Looking Back (April 22) generated a flurry of phone calls from readers.

Identified in one of the photos was Edward Lane Churchouse, by his 96-year-old daughter Iris Simmonds of Weymouth.

She said: “My dad was in the Canadian Army and when he got back he went to live in Chickerell.

“He paraded at night and he also worked in a shop. He later worked for Jesty and Baker as a carpenter.

“He was also part of an orchestra called the Blue Vinnys and he would dress up in dickie bows.”

Iris has kindly lent us some more pictures of Edward Lane Churchouse.

Betty Dunn, of Wyke Regis, got in touch to tell us that she could identify her dad Frank Uphill in the photo.

She said: “He went on duty at the general post office and I know that in the home guard they shared a gun between them and had no ammunition.

“I think Dad’s Army was a very true portrayal of the home guard.”

Michael Bryant called to say that his father Bob Bryant was fourth from the right seated on the chairs in the smaller, sepia, photo.

He said: “My dad used to live at the Nothe and the Home Guard used to hold meetings in the Military Arms pub and then went down to Alexandra Gardens.

“I can also identify the officer, who is sitting down on the right, who is Captain Haylock. Next to him is Mr Uphill, who used to have a bakery in Abbotsbury Road.”

Another home guard identified in the photos was Henry Marks, who worked at Sherrens the printers in Weymouth.

Michael gave us another photo of the Weymouth Local Defence Volunteers, which became the Home Guard, and you can see his father Bob in the picture, who is fifth from the right.

The Weymouth section of the Home Guard was made up of 11 men who used to be known as the Local Defence Volunteers.

Thanks also to eagle-eyed Looking Back reader Brian Jackson, who called in to suggest where the larger two group photos were taken.

He thinks they were taken in Commercial Road in Weymouth because he recognised the row of terraced houses pictured behind the officers.

Brian said: “The buildings in the background were between King Street and the bus garage which was bombed in the Second World War and built again in 1955.

“This area was also known as Melcombe Regis gardens.”

But Vera Francis called to say she thought the photo was taken in Grange Road, Weymouth, in the area known as the Sluice Gardens.

She said: “Dad was in the Home Guard and my uncle was in the Home Guard.

“They would have their meetings at St John’s School.

“We were living in Hardwick Street and one night I remember being 11 or 12 and crying when my dad had to go out on manoeuvres as the Germans were coming across the sea.

“I really thought my dad was off to fight the Germans.”

  • See next Tuesday’s Looking Back to hear more about home guard Charles Thomas Powell of Weymouth and his three brothers, also in the Home Guard.

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