Stockton Home Guard 1942

t13429This photograph is for two separate detachments of the Home Guard… The older gentleman on the left of the photograph is my grandfather Thomas Wybert Birtle who in 1942 was the Sergeant in charge of the Home Guard unit stationed at Stockton Railway Sheds.

The younger man is his son Thomas William Birtle (my late father) who was only 16 when this photograph was taken. He had joined the Home Guard unit for Thorpe Thewles village.

The photograph was taken on the grassy area adjacent to the Norton Junction railway cottages.(facing where Harper’s garden centre used to be). During the war anti aircraft guns were stationed over the railway where the Roseworth estate stands today. The first time they were fired the blast was strong enough to bring the ceilings down in the railway cottages. This was not popular with the inhabitants.

Photograph and details courtesy of Martin Birtle.

4 thoughts on “Stockton Home Guard 1942

  1. The Gun Battery at Ki-Ora had Navel I think 4.5 guns bigger than normal Ack ack Guns. They did have a big concession which distorted our leaded light windows facing Ki-Ora. We lived in Grantham Road Norton at least a mile away, boy did you know when they let fly.
    I was out of our Anderson shelter watching what was going on one night and the guns were banging away and the searchlights lighted upon a German aircraft, once one picked it up others followed until it was held in three searchlights. Next thing I new was three parachutes appeared from the plane, I thought they were bailing out. For some reason I had just got back into the shelter and one hell of a blast-they were landmines on parachutes.
    J.Norman Kidd.


  2. Thorpe Thewles History Group (TTHG) were very pleased when they discovered Tom Birtle and he agreed to help us in the making of our DVD of the history of Thorpe Thewles area during the C20th. As far as we know Tom was the last of the village’s Home Guard. He features several times in the War Times memories chapter of the DVD. If it hadn’t been for him being so willing to share his memories we would have lost so much valuable information about the Thorpe Thewles Home Gaurd and the Kiora AA Gun Battery. Copies of the above mentioned DVD can be ordered directly from TTHG’s web site –


  3. My Grandfather George Flounders was also with the Durham light infantry and served in France in WW1 and was also in the home guard in WW2 we think around Kiora hall in Roseworth


  4. My grandfather Thomas Wybert Birtle served in the first world war serving with both the DLI (Durham Light Infantry) and then the HLI (Highland Light Infantry) finishing the war as a Sergeant. All this by the age of 18! Drawing on this military experience saw him being put in charge of the Home Guard unit for the Stockton Railway Sheds where he worked from 1920 to the final closure of the Stockton Railway Sheds on May 31st 1959.

    My late father, Thomas William Birtle joined the Home Guard unit for Thorpe Thewles village. From things he said to me over the years the TV programme Dad’s Army was accurate in many ways. Thorpe Thewles village has a very active history society and several years ago they interviewed my father about his time in the village Home Guard unit. He was the only survivor they could find.


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