The Home Front
Home Defence during the Second World War, as seen through the eyes of Mr.E.R.Hill,
writing in the Froyle W.I.Scrapbook in 1952.
During this War the loss of husbands and sons from the homes of Froyle was much less than in the previous one. The names of Hubert Brownjohn, C.Goodyear, R.S.Morgan, W.A.Morris, and W.Stevens, appear on the War Memorial together with those of Mr.Chubb’s son, Richard, who was killed in an air raid while on civilian war service in London, and of Phyllis Savage, whose death was due to an accident at her WAAF Camp.
The village was too near points of danger such as Lasham and Bordon to be considered safe for official evacuees, though there were a number of voluntary evacuees. Because of this danger, the Home Defence was highly organised. Mr. E.R.Hill was Head of a capable band of Wardens. Mrs. Sangster organised a large company of First Aiders, which was able to carry on after she and Father Sangster left the village. At the Vicarage, and later at Park Edge, Mrs.Sumner’s house, there was a First Aid Station, with sub-stations at Mrs.Shell’s, Hussey’s Lane, Sylvesters, and Oak Cottage.
In May 1940, Mr Hill formed a volunteer Fire Brigade. Beginning with a length of hose and a group of men looking at it, by July the Brigade was able to give a demonstration at Marelands, Bentley. Major Wade, lately retired from his command of the Farnham Fire Brigade, was loud in his praise. Meanwhile, better equipment was acquired and in September 1940 the Brigade was recognised as a branch of the Alton Rural Fire Service. In July 1943 Froyle was officially enrolled in the National Fire Service.
Its greatest triumph was on August 6th of that year. Here follows the account given by the Hampshire Herald:
Froyle Volunteer Fire Bbrigade
“A Fire Brigade competition was held, in which teams from Froyle and Binsted took part, in addition to the regular and part-time members of the N.F.S. At Alton, and a surprising feature was that the full-time members of the service were beaten by the part-timers, while the Cup, which was presented to the successful contestants by Mrs.Busby, was awarded to Froyle, the most recently formed team and, incidentally, the only one which included a woman.”

(Picture on the right of the winning team: from left to right, Mr.Frank Laney, Mr.S.Beckhurst, Mr.Price, Mr.Lawrence, Miss Banning, Mr.Joe Lee, Mr.E.R.Hill.)
In spite of its position, Froyle was fortunate in having no bombs on the village. One heavy bomb fell in High Woods making a crater large enough to contain a cottage, and another large one fell nearby. Neither of these had exploded, so they had to be dealt with by the Aldershot authorities. Three bombs and a fire bomb fell in the fields about a hundred yards from the main road. These did no harm whatever, but traffic had to be diverted through Froyle village.
The nights were most alarming when great fleets of German planes passed over the village, going to Coventry and Birmingham. There was a Searchlight Camp of about ten men, later becoming a Radar Station, in a field near the chalkpit in Well Lane. The work done there was of a highly technical nature, but the ladies of Oak Cottage, who had given the men leave to use their bathroom, were not a little amused at the inability of some of them to manage a common gas geyser.
At the close of the War, a Welcome Home Fund was organised by Mrs.Emery and Mrs.William Rhodes, who raised about seven hundred pounds, which was divided among some eighty Froyle men who returned to the village.”
  Mr. E.R.Hill

Note: The money left over when all the Welcome Home Fund had been distributed was used to form the Pansy Club, which in turn became the Over 60s and is now still very active as The Good Companions.
Note: You can read more about the searchlight by following the Searchlight item on the Froyle at War menu.

Air Raid Precautions

Mr. E. Hill was Head Warden for Froyle and his daughter, Ann, provided us with a superb insight into just how the village pulled together in those dark days of the war. She had details from Alton Rural District Council’s Air Raid Precautions, listing the people in Froyle who could be called on in an emergency and I make no excuse for reproducing it in full!

Name Address Notes Task
Savage, Albert Millcourt Cottage Available at night First Aid
White, Harriet Lower Froyle Can’t drive, no car First Aid
Savage, Herbert Millcourt Cottages Farm Worker First Aid
Cousins Coldrey Has motor cycle First Aid
Savage, Doreen Millcourt Cottages Works Crosby & Co First Aid
Cox, Hilda West End Will go out day or night First Aid
Rix, Gordon Homestead Cottage Plumber Fire Guard
Savage, William Brewery Cottages Works at F.Stevens Rescue Party
Pinnells, Alfred Lower Froyle Was in Army. Pedal cycle Rescue Party
Vickery, Charles Lower Froyle Available at night Rescue Party
Shell, Andrew Husseys Farm Has car. Day or Night Rescue Party
Rhodes, Frederick 1 Brewery Cottage Can do day or night Rescue Party
Dedman, Albert Husseys Lane Worked Husseys Farm Rescue Party
Brownjohn, William Rock House Farm Farmer. Has motor cycle Rescue Party
Pinnells, Frank Lower Froyle Ex-Service. Farm worker Warden
Harvey, Theodore St.Catherines, UF Car. Commander Retd Warden
Cousins, Edward Coldrey Lane Has motor cycle Warden
Tabb, Frank Rose Cottage, LF Alton Hairdresser.
Has Austin car. Trained as warden in London
Cox, Albert Whiteway Cottage
Hargrave, George Froyle Mill Can drive. Day or night Warden
Blanchard, William The Square, UF Can drive Warden
Blunden, Charles Ovington Bungalow Can drive. Builder Rescue Party
Robinson, Peggy Prince of Wales Inn Day or night. Steel hat given Fire Guard
Milne, Francis Chappell Cottages School age First Aid Messenger
Lythgoe, H Park Edge, UF Worked in garden First Aid
Lawrence, W.G. Lower Froyle
First Aid
Ezzard, J Upper Froyle
Beckhurst, Richard Lower Froyle
Rescue Party
Squibb, Maurice Upper Froyle Motor cycle First Aid
Batchelor, J.W Rye Bridge Motor cycle Messenger
Bannon, Mrs Brocas Farm Can drive. Has car Ambulance driver
Lady Smiley Froyle House Can drive. Has car Ambulance driver
Vivian, Ernest Lower Froyle Master butcher. Can drive. Has van Ambulance driver
Glasspool, Ernest Millcourt Cottages Gardener
Milne, Mrs. Mercy Chappell Cottages At Vicarage. Has cycle First Aid Helper
Vincent, William 2 Park Lane Any time Phone duty
Rose, Walder Manor House Any time. Anti-gas course First Aid.
Hill, Ernest Rivers Elm Croft Builder, Undertaker.
Any time. Has car.
Head Warden Phone duty
Andrew, Wilfred Blundens Cottage Farmer. Has car
Hill, Mrs. Hilda Elm Croft Trained First Aid
Mabb. Minnie Gothic Cottage Any time. No car First Aid Helper
Nash, Miss E Lower Froyle
First Aid Helper
Knight, Mrs L Lower Froyle
First Aid Helper
Pelton, Miss M Oak Cottage Day or night. No car First Aid Helper
Cherrill Lower Froyle No car First Aid Helper
Shilling, Mrs A Lower Froyle No car First Aid Helper
More, Mrs R Hodges Farm Has a car First Aid Helper
Sumner, Nina Park Edge Day only. Has car First Aid
Walker, Vera Oak Cottage Any time. Will cook Ambulance
Burns, Mary Sylvesters Farm Day or night. No car First Aid
Cherrill, Miss G Ewelme, LF Day. No car First Aid
Goschen, Ethleen Sylvesters Farm Day or night.
Can drive anything.
No car, but can offer a horse
Ambulance driver
Laney, Frank Coldrey Day or night. No car First Aid
According to his daughter Ann, Mr. Hill was delighted to be offered a horse by Mrs. Goschen, as he said it would save time cutting across country.