[Home Guard 'D Coy' Aston Park Birmingham]

Archive: Media Archive for Central England
ID No.: n/a
Title: [Home Guard 'D Coy' Aston Park Birmingham]
Date: ca. 1940
Film-maker: Mr George Hollis
Colour: Black & White
Sound: Silent
Duration of complete item: 11 min. 45 sec.
Themes: Civil Defence – Home Guard


D Company of the Home Guard marching, parading and performing a number of exercises in front of a civilian crowd at Aston Park in Birmingham.


The film begins with a medium shot of D Company’s bugler and is followed by the Company, in uniform and with rifles, assembling on Trinity Road in Birmingham. In a column they are led to Aston Park by a marching military band. In the park soldiers from the company perform drills and exercises in front of a large civilian crowd. These include: machine gun practice; repelling an aerial attack; bayonet practice and unarmed combat. There are also shots of unidentified officers who are overseeing events. When the display of skills has been concluded the Company marches out of the park and past a number of Home Guard officers. Finally the company returns to Trinity Road where they 'fall out' and there are some close up shots of the soldiers, several of whom light cigarettes as they mill about in the street.


The original 16mm film was deposited at the archive by the Birmingham Central Library along with a small number of other, unrelated items. There was no provenance associated with the film other than the fact that the name ‘Swingler’ was written on the can lid. From this information we eventually contacted Mr Michael Swingler who was the son of Lieutenant Edward Swingler (later promoted to Captain), who was a member of the Home Guard in Birmingham.

What we see in the film is D Company of the 23rd Battalion of the Warwickshire Regiment whose headquarters were on Birmingham Road. Edward Swingler did not film the event as he preferred 9.5mm film to the 16mm that this was shot on. Instead, the cameraman was Mr George Hollis who had a timber business on Tame Road in Birmingham. Edward inherited the film when George died and Michael’s brother, John Swingler, donated it and a number of other films that MACE has not acquired, to the Birmingham Central Library.

It has been suggested that the Home Guard were performing the demonstrations because they had received new uniforms, which were being distributed around this time.

[Home Guard 'D Coy' Aston Park Birmingham] (ca. 1940)

[Home Guard 'D Coy' Aston Park Birmingham] (ca. 1940)

[Home Guard 'D Coy' Aston Park Birmingham] (ca. 1940)

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