Memories of the Home Guard and Rusty Rufus

SIR – Many thanks for publishing the splendid photograph of the Home Guard posing for their picture on the Campus (WHT Letters, December 2).

I can tell you with a fair degree of certainty that my farther, Henry Stringer, is pictured at the end of the middle row on the right.

Unfortunately I can’t shed any more light on this particular photo than that.

Since I first saw the photo I have been trying to rustle up some more names from that time in the hope that it might just trigger someone else’s memory.

Of course I was only seven when the war finished, but there were a number of names being mentioned in the family in connection with the HG and I can recall various khaki clad figures turning up on the doorstep on a Sunday morning. Mr Davey, Mr Thompson and a Mr Evans come to mind, but I wouldn’t know if they are in this photo.

Henry Stringer was born in 1903 and lived in Longcroft Lane, WGC from 1930 until his death in 1993.

He served in the Home Guard for most of the war as he also was in a reserved occupation making classified instructional films for the War Office.

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The film company GB Animation operated from a large house overlooking Harpenden Common, called Red Gables.

At that time the most sensible way to get to his work was to cycle and these rides to and from Harpenden on his old bicycle – named Rusty Rufus – were the source of many, many hilarious stories.

Like the time he was blown off his bike by the back draft from the anti-aircraft guns which were housed in the field next to the Crooked Chimney or the Chequers as it was known then.

I can also remember him setting off on his famous bike for Sunday morning Home Guard parades wearing his Great Coat and ruck sack, tin hat, gas mask and his rifle slung round his shoulder.

I am sorry I can’t add very much more about this photo, but I am most grateful to Sharon Hoy and the WHT for publishing it.

David Stringer,

Lemsford Lane, WGC.