Local Defence Volunteers
In this week of remembrance it is fitting that this item is included by Mr Colin Evans regarding the role of the Home Guard in Resolven during the Second World War.
The Home Guard section of Resolven – World War Two 1939-45
The Resolven History Society invited Dr Jonathan Skidmore to speak in our December meeting of 2011. He was gathering information about the residents of Resolven, Seven Sisters and Neath who were killed during the World Wars. He indicated that he was gathering information about relatives of those places in order to compile the events, stories places and possible letters received by relatives from those serving in the Army, Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, Royal Air Force , Women’s Army Nursing Brigade, Royal Observer Corps and the Home Guard.
Picture taken outside the Angel Inn in Pontneddfechan
In conversation with one of the members of the Society, Hazel Wessendorf ( Mrs Jones), she was able to give me a photograph of the Home Guard in Resolven or more correctly the LOCAL DEFENCE VOLUNTEERS. Hazel can remember her mother then living at 16 Lyon’s Place, recounting the tale about an American soldier visiting her parents’ home. She told Hazel that the American had been on manoeuvers at Melincwrt waterfall and along the banks of the Melincwrt brook. Hazel’s father Mr Alfred Wessendorf was a coalminer during 1939 and also became a member of the Home Guard. Later he joined the RAF in 1940 and served until 1945. He served with the RAF Regiment at Fylde and was also stationed at RAF Bridgnorth in Shropshire. He was also stationed at the RAF gunnery on the Isle of Man, where he worked as a gunnery instructor for the Lancaster bomber crews.
Another member of the History Society asked Mr Conway Rogers of Heol Herbert if he had any photographs of his grandfather Mr Gomer Newbury of 32, Yeo Street. He was a serving soldier in the Home Guard because it is stated in “Resolfen Recalled”, in a piece on the “Roll of Honour” where it names residents of Clyne, Melyn Court and Resolven who died while serving with both civil defence and the Home Guard. The report states that Private Gomer Newbury of 32, Yeo Street had died after taking part in a Home Guard drill competition in Neath on the 2nd of May 1943. He was 45 years of age and left a widow, son and daughter. Mr Conway Rogers recalls his mother telling him of his grandfather’s fate but he does not have any letters, papers or badges from his grandfather’s uniform. Conway was also unable to verify the identity of any of the soldiers in the photograph of Resolven Home Gurad which was kindly given to me by Hazel Wessendorf.
J C Evans (29.8.2013)