Ken Round is approaching eighty years of age and was a former member of the Home Guard in Dulwich during World War ll when he lived in Coplestone Road, East Dulwich. He has written describing some of his experiences as a teenager. He says that all young men on reaching the age of 17 had to join one of several agencies including the Cadet Forces and the Home Guard although Ken had earlier been a member of his street fire fighting party.
The attraction of being issued with a rifle and 40 rounds of ammunition which might be kept at home attracted Ken to join the Home Guard "with the men". Ken was therefore slightly disappointed to be issued with an EY rifle (an early equivalent to a RPG) which fired a grenade a distance of 100 yards. After basic training he was attached to a Mobile Column company, members of which were required to have their own bicycles and for this he received an extra two shillings and sixpence pay per week in addition to the payment of three shillings a week received by all Home Guard personnel.
Most of the members of the Dulwich Home Guard were old soldiers from the First World War and some manned slit-trenches in the area including one in College Road near the Millpond. The Mobile Column was one of four companies which comprised the 18th (County of London) Battalion and the battalion HQ was located at 'Tiverton', a large house on Dulwich Common opposite the grounds of Dulwich College where parades were held. During the war, 'Tiverton' was bombed and a sentry killed and the HQ was moved to a house in College Gardens.
Ken recalls that there was a rocket battery, manned by men from the anti-aircraft battery of 103 HG located at the top of the golf course. It comprised 60 iron frames and was loaded by two men to each frame who put two rockets on each frame. They received the range and direction through ear-phones from a central control. The men then retired to their shelter and fired all 120 rockets to form a block barrage. In addition, Ken says, the battery also had at least one turreted heavy gun and a Bofors light AA gun.
One of Ken's duties was to guard the ammunition dump which was located in Dulwich Woods close to the junction of Low Cross Wood Lane and College Road. In 1944, the dump had to moved as it was deemed to be in too dangerous a position, following the destruction of the Golf Club, close to the AA battery at the top of Grange Lane, by a Vl 'flying bomb'.
Ken recalls his pride in taking part in the parade in 1943 to mark the third anniversary of the formation of the Home Guard when the Dulwich battalion mustered in Thurlow Park Road and led by the band of the Royal Artillery, marched into the grounds of Dulwich College to be inspected by Dulwich's Member of Parliament. The 18th Battalion held its final parade in November 1944 when the Home Guard was stood down.