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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 18:54 pm 
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Sometime last December while browsing e-bay I came across an American eagle badge for sale, the thing being there was no round laurel with stars above the Eagles head, thinking what the heck is this I read the description and was surprised to find that it claimed to be the badge worn by the American Home Guard .. in the UK .. ???

It wasn't original in as much as it is a normal full Eagle crest but that someone had very carefully removed the laurel and stars circle .. I say 'is' as I bought it being very cheap as it was and also because after reading the description it lead me to research the American Home Guard, or to give it its full name .. the 1st American Motorised Squadron, .. a Home Guard unit based in London and made up of American businessmen and US Embassy staff. The incumbent US Ambassador at the time, Jo Kennedy wasn't impressed and didn't like the idea, none the less it went ahead and later on the new Ambassador, John Winant backed the idea and Churchill gave them official recognition when he inspected them at one point.

They were issued 37 pattern British BD uniform, and used their own cars that they had painted camouflage at their own expense, they were also issued Thompsons which were later taken away from them to be issued to front line troops. They initially used LDV rank insignia then later standard Army/Home Guard rank insignia, The HG shoulder flash was used but then a Red embroidered eagle and later on the London District badge, Officers using the Sam Browne belt. There is not a lot of information out there but for those interested these two links should help

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3eAcuh0s68

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDBCtD6n3yE

I was intrigued by this and liking to do something different and not having seen anything like it anywhere in the 12 years I have been doing WWII re-enactment I thought it may be interesting to put a representation together, the result being after borrowing a few items, last weekend at haworth on the Sunday I 'stepped out' as a Lt in the 1st American Motorised Squadron using the two links above as a guide and in all honesty most folks didn't notice the US connection ... but thought it worth a mention, something different as I say.


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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 21:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 13:35 pm
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Real Name: Nick Claydon
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Superb, you learn something new everyday. Thanks for posting the information about this and the pictures of your impression of an American home guard.

Nick.


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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 7:31 am 
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I haven't 'gone' HG, got far too much invested in the Warco/Photographer side of things, but its interesting in finding something different and bringing it to folks attention, not sure if I will do it again ... not exactly a military pose either, sorry for that, should perhaps have took a smarter stance.

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... " I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals " ...

... " I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them " ...


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 14:49 pm 
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Location: Virginia, United States
Real Name: Brian McCleaf
Group: Ulster Home Guard
Check out my friends FaceBook page on the subject.

https://www.facebook.com/1st-American-M ... 201779354/


Last edited by a6skin9 on Tue May 28, 2019 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 15:05 pm 
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Yes, I found that in my research thanks .... it was useful for some information.

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... " I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals " ...

... " I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them " ...


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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 10:31 am 
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Group: Tay/5 & 1st American Sqdn., Home Guard
The 1st Americans were started by Charles Sweeny (who was also involved in forming the Eagle Squadrons). The 1st Americans were not issued weapons or uniforms from the British, according their commander Brigadier General. Wade Hayes, they were armed and equipped at their own expense. Their TSMGs were donated by Oxford friends of Charles Sweeny (50 TMSGs all told), or secured by Charles Sweeny's dad depending on which source you go by. They aslo secured a dozen M1895 Colt "potato digger" machineguns which they loaned at times to the Scots Guards for training. Their standard long arm was the M1907 Winchester SLR in .351. There is one photo of a member with a 10 rd. magazine, and another of some ATS[?] off loading a lorry with an armload of brand new Winchester Arms boxes, which makes me think these are the M1907s. They also carried a PAL style hunting knife with at least a 9" long blade as can be seen in a photo of them being inspected by Winant They went through a number of names before becoming the 1st American Squadron (Motorised). The American Mechanised Defense Corps, and the American Reconaissance Squadron are ealier names.

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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 12:28 pm 
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Thanks for the update ... when I said 'issued' I didn't necessarily mean by the British, as you say it was at their own expense and with help from contacts back in the US. However they did wear British '37 pattern uniform and in the early days used HG half brassards sewn on and LDV rank insignia which can be clearly seen in the 1941 film of Churchills inspection, (albeit on their greatcoats) and of Wade Hayes at his desk ... by the time of the Winant picture (post March 1941) they had done away with the brassard it seems and were now using 'normal' army rank insignia (you can clearly see the Lt's pips on the left of the pic) interestingly at this time they had not yet got the London District badge up. Do you have any info. on what sidearm the officers carried, in the Winant pic the officer is wearing a Sam Browne with what appears to be a sidearm slung from it on his right side, obscured by his hand and arm unfortunately, I based my representation on the Officer seen with Winant to be honest.
There doesn't seem to be a great deal out there on the subject in depth, there is a book called .. 'Americans at War in Foreign Forces: A History, 1914-1945' .. but there is only one small chapter in there apparently about the 1st AMS and Im loathe to spend £50 for one chapter frankly.

May I ask, are you the same person that has the FB page .... ??

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'The Writing 69th'
8th USAAF
Somewhere in England

... " I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals " ...

... " I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them " ...


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 0:15 am 
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I am not on facebook at all. Regarding the rank markings it looks as if they are following "regulations" when the HG officers became commissioned officers rather than having provisional rank. As to officers side arms I don't pretend to know, I would assume purchased from the US, but whether they are .45 1911s, .45 Colt revolvers or .38 Special revolvers is anyones guess. Here's a puzzle, what were they carrying their ammo. in? All the photos i've seen show them with respirators, tin hats, P03 belts, P39 gaiters, big hunting knives, but no haversacks, pouches etc. When you see them with their .351 rifles they have some sort of a muzzle / foresight protector. As you wrote they are tough to research, even Charles Sweeny just gives them a couple of pages in his autobiography. He goes on more about the Eagle Squadrons than the 1st Americans.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:29 am 
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As I say, I tried to 'copy' the officer in the Winant pic. in order to get it what I hope is 'right'.
Interesting thing there though, in that pic. the officer seems to be wearing a Sam Browne but although the stud on the belt is on the correct side, the attachments (that would hold the cross strap) appear to be on the wrong side if you look at it closely and I cant make out what's going on or how what I assume to be a sidearm is mounted on or from the belt on his right side, having said that, on studying the pic closely, cropping it and messing with the gamma etc, I think it is an early double (shoulder) strap Sam Browne he is wearing as if you look closely you can just make out the hanger below the stud for the sword attachment on his left side.
I attach the pic for your comments, also a pic I found which I think could be an American looking at the style of holster and the double action Colt in it hung from straps on what looks like it could be a Sam Browne ?? .. Not a lot of other detail in this pic. but I'm wondering looking at the uniform if this is a 1st AMS officer .. ??


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War Correspondent
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'The Writing 69th'
8th USAAF
Somewhere in England

... " I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals " ...

... " I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them " ...


Last edited by Correspondent on Sun Jun 02, 2019 13:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:15 am 
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Regarding the London District badge, it would have had to have been authorised sometime after March 1941, the date of the Winant picture where it is not being worn, and before 1943, the date of the portrait of Cpl Crane who is wearing it in his picture.
There is, (or was ?) for sale 13 copies of a magazine the 1st AMS published for themselves, no doubt a lot of information available there but at £2,500 for those originals I think I will pass :) ... this link describes it ... https://www.richardfordmanuscripts.co.u ... ogue/17185

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United Press
'The Writing 69th'
8th USAAF
Somewhere in England

... " I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals " ...

... " I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them " ...


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:35 am 
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Real Name: Alan David
Interesting thread, I have been studying the 1st American Squadron for a while. I always thought their in-house magazine was called "The Buck", but it seems it is actually "Yankee Yahoo". Also worth noting the IWM has a copy of one of the issues, must check that out on my next visit.

In the close up photo in one of the above posts showing a revolver being drawn - which is actually a Colt New Service revolver - I think this photo is from an article in Picture Post magazine and not related to the 1st American squadron.
The photo Winchester branded boxes being carried by ATS members is interesting, but close examination of the label at the end of the box on one of the more high resolution imagies, shows the rifles to be .22 Model 74 semi auto rifles.

Finally, the photo of Winant the American ambassador inspecting the unit. Is the photo from a film that was taken at the time? I notice that the photo on the Facebook site has a really cleat imagine of the massive knife the unit seems to have purchased.

As far as handguns used by the unit are concerned, I have yet to see a photo or any information on what they used. However with their prediliction for automatic weapons, .351 S/L rifle, TSMG's and Potato Diggers I would have thought they purchased Colt Government Models, but who knows?

Regards

AlanD
Sydney


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:00 am 
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Hi, interesting thoughts .. I haven't seen the picture of the Winchester boxes to be honest, ... looking closely at the revolver pic, I'm not up on British uniforms, but the person in the pic appears to be wearing '37 pattern BD, you can just see what looks like the edge of the flap of leg pocket to the right of the pic on his left leg, and the smaller pocket on his right leg, if it is why would someone wearing '37 BD be wearing that sort of belt/holster combination, bear in mind too that the only Americans who did wear '37 BD were the 1st AMS. There is a similarity too between the way straps hang down from the right side of the officer in the Winant pic. to the way the holster does in the revolver pic ... as to the Winant picture itself, I think it is a still picture, I haven't found any cine images as with Churchills inspection film.

It would stand to reason that in attaining mostly US weapons for themselves that perhaps the Officers would wear the 1911 .. ??

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... " I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals " ...

... " I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them " ...


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:50 pm 
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Some further thoughts on this ..... the 1st AMS Officers wore Sam Browne belts which came with a revolver holster into which I don't think a 1911 would fit .. and Im not sure a 1911 US holster would fit on a Sam browne ... have to say I am leaning towards that revolver picture being something to do with 1st AMS given the BD uniform and the way the holster is slung from the belt, similar as I say to the way the Officer in the Winant pic has something slung from his belt .. !!

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War Correspondent
United Press
'The Writing 69th'
8th USAAF
Somewhere in England

... " I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals " ...

... " I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them " ...


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 15:35 pm 
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I've been discussing this with a couple of knowledgeable members of WR2 Haworth HG .... and it has been pointed out to me that in the revolver picture, the man in it is actually wearing a HG armband, ( it can just be seen at the top of the picture ) which would make it an early formation impression, 1940ish the time of the Churchill inspection, as by 1941 (in the Winant pic) they have the shoulder flash on, also the BD jacket would appear to be a denim one and they agree too that the pants are '37 pattern ... all in all it just strengthens my conviction that this is in fact a picture of an officer of the 1st AMS ... no British HG unit was ever issued a revolver holster/combination like that I think ?

I stand to be corrected there, and as such I have to say I am a little surprised at the lack on input from HG re-enactors here, I would thought at the very least there would have been some interest, if not comment on uniforms etc ... ??


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War Correspondent
United Press
'The Writing 69th'
8th USAAF
Somewhere in England

... " I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals " ...

... " I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them " ...


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 0:36 am 
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One question is did the 1st Am. ever wear denims? I've seen phptos of them with the HG brassard, but wearing BD. One question on denims, when did the 'dimpled' style of buttons on the denims start to replace the flat buttons?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 16:27 pm 
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I don't honestly have an answer to that, I don't know ... there was apparently some annoyance among UK HG units that the 1st AMS got better uniforms quicker, possibly they purchased them, however given the unavailability of proper BD at the formation of the LDV and later the HG .. where the HG proper (to use a word) were initially issued denims perhaps too, being the only type of uniform available at the time, maybe the 1st AMS wore denim too in the early stages. if the revolver pic is an Officer in the 1st AMS, (he is definitely HG) that would prove it of course.... only surmising in the light of very little info on the formation of the 1st AMS and the fact that early on uniforms were hard to come by for both the LDV and HG.

Regarding buttons, I am told that there were instances of Officers in the HG 'proper', where they swapped out buttons for better quality and in some case bright ones, there are I'm told pictures that show this .. ??

Addendum ... perhaps this point of denims and BD issue is where some of our HG re-enactors can fill in some gaps .. ??

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War Correspondent
United Press
'The Writing 69th'
8th USAAF
Somewhere in England

... " I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals " ...

... " I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them " ...


Last edited by Correspondent on Fri Jun 14, 2019 17:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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