National Defence Companies - Territorial Army Reserve

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by dryan67, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Over the years, I have tried to gather information regarding the National Defence Companies. They were formed on September 1st, 1936 out of the ashes of the Royal Defence Corps. They formed a Reserve for the Territorial Army. This small passage from Manu Forti: A History of the Herefordshire Regiment 1860-1967 will help clarify their role and organization:

    "In 1939 the United Kingdom was divided into regions for civil defence, each under a regional commissioner. The Welsh Region with headquarters at Cardiff consisted of the whole of Wales, while the counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire were part of the Midland Region, with headquarters at Birmingham. Militarily, Wales, Shropshire and Herefordshire came under Western Command, with headquarters at Chester, and formed Welsh Area with headquarters at Shrewsbury. This area was divided into four zones, each under a zone commander with powers to assist the civil defence authorities in an emergency.

    Certain vulnerable points laid down by the War Office were to be guarded by troops of the recently formed National Defence Companies (Territorial Army Reserve). In 1939 ex-servicemen between the ages of 45 and 55 were encouraged to enlist in a Reserve Company of their local Territorial battalion, which was to be formed for home defence. It was proposed to form a platoon in each large town in the county and enlistment was for four years, and the rates of pay and allowances were as laid down for the Territorial Army. On being called up for service in one of the groups of the National Defence Companies, men, if passed fit, received a bounty of £5. They were clothed, armed and equipped as in the Territorial Army, and British Legion Headquarters were asked by the War Office to assist in raising a force of 25,000 men. However, as it transpired, events moved too quickly and it was found impracticable to deploy the National Defence Companies, and initially most of the vulnerable points were guarded by Militiamen from the depot in Welsh Area."
  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    The following bit of research has come from many years of reviewing regimental histories and shows how the National Defence Companies were formed into Home Defence Battalions on November 1st, 1939.

    No. 1 Group (East Kent)(Buffs) 6th (HD) Buffs
    No. 2 Group (West Kent)(RWK) 8th (HD) Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regt.
    No. 3 Group East Surrey) 8th (HD) East Surrey Regiment
    No.4 Group (West Surrey)(Queen's) 11th (HD) Queen’s Regiment
    No. 5 Group (Sussex) 8th (HD) Royal Sussex Regiment
    No. 6 Group (Bedford and Hertford) 7th (HD) Bedford & Herford Regiment
    No. 7 Group (Suffolk) 6th (HD) Suffolk Regiment
    No. 8 Group (Essex) 7th (HD) Essex Regiment
    No. 9 Group (Norfolk) 8th (HD) Royal Norfolk Regiment
    No. 20 Group (Royal Fusiliers, Royal Berks, HAC) 13th (HD) Royal Fusiliers
    No. 21A Group (KRRC) 7th (HD) King’s Royal Rifle Corps
    No. 21B Group (KRRC) 13th (HD) Royal Fusiliers & 8th (HD) KRRC
    No. 22 Group (Middlesex) 10th (HD) Middlesex Regiment
    No. 23A Group (Surrey) 12th (HD) Queen’s Regiment
    No. 23B Group (Rifle Brigade) 7th (HD) Rifle Brigade
    No. 40 Group (Royal Northumberland Fusiliers) 10th (HD) Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
    No. 41 Group (Durham Light Infantry) 13th (HD) Durham Light Infantry
    No. 42 Group (Green Howards) 8th (HD) Green Howards
    No. 43 Group (East Yorks) 6th (HD) East Yorkshire Regiment
    No. 44 Group (West Yorks) 8th (HD) West Yorkshire Regiment
    No. 45A Group (Leicesters) 6th (HD) Leicestershire Regiment
    No. 45B Group (Sherwood Foresters) 10th (HD) Sherwood Foresters
    No. 60 Group (Seaforth High)(A & D Coys Cameron High) 8th (HD) Seaforth High & 6th (HD) Cam High
    No. 61 Group (Gordons) 19th (HD) Gordon Highlanders
    No. 62 Group (Black Watch) 8th (HD) Black Watch
    No. 63 Group (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) 12th & 13th (HD) Argyll & Sutherland High.
    No. 64 Group (Black Watch) 9th (HD) Black Watch
    No. 65 Group (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) 14th (HD) Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
    No. 66 Group (Royal Scots) 10th (HD) Royal Scots
    No. 67 Group (Highland Light Infantry) 12th (HD) Highland Light Infantry
    No. 68A Group (Royal Scots Fusiliers) 10th (HD) Royal Scots Fusiliers
    No. 68B Group (King's Own Scottish Borderers) 8th (HD) King’s Own Scottish Borderers
    No. 69 Group (Cameronians) 11th (HD) Cameronians
    No. 72 Group (Royal Scots) 11th (HD) Royal Scots
    No. 75 Group (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) Absorbed into 65th Group NDC
    No. 80A Group (Devons inc. Cornish Coy) 10th (HD) Devonshire Regiment
    No. 80B Group (D and E Coys Somerset Light Infantry) 8th (HD) Somerset Light Infantry
    No. 81 Group (Dorsets) 6th (HD) Dorsetshire Regiment
    No. 82 Group (Hampshire) 8th (HD) Hampshire Regiment
    No. 83 Group (Wiltshire) 6th (HD) Wiltshire Regiment
    No. 84A Group (Royal Berks) 8th (HD) Royal Berkshire Regiment
    No. 84B Group (Warwickshire) 11th (HD) Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    No. 84 C Group (Gloucesters and Worcesters) 8th (HD) Gloucestershire Regiment
    No. 100 Group (Border and King's Own) 6th (HD) King’s Own
    No. 101 Group (East Lanes) 6th (HD) East Lancashire Regiment
    No. 102 Group (Manchester) 11th (HD) Manchester Regiment
    No. 103A Group (King's) 10th (HD) King’s Regt
    No. 103B Group (Cheshire) 8th (HD) Cheshire Regt
    No. 104A Group (South Lancashire) 6th (HD) South Lancashire Regiment
    No. 104B Group (South Staffs) 9th (HD) South Staffordshire Regiment
    No. 105 Group (Royal Welch Fusiliers)(KSLI) 11th (HD) Royal Welch Fusiliers
    No. 106A Group (South Wales Borderers) 5th (HD) South Wales Borderers
    No. 106B Group (Welch Regiment) 16th (HD) Welch Regiment
    No. 106C Group (Welch Regiment) 17th (HD) Welch Regiment
    No. 200 Group (Royal Ulster Rifles) 6th (HD) Royal Ulster Rifles

    The Groups break down into the following organisation:

    Home Counties: Nos. 1-5 Groups
    East Anglia: Nos. 6-9 Groups
    London: Nos. 20-23 Groups
    Northumberland: Nos. 40-41 Groups
    West Riding and Yorkshire: Nos. 42-44 Groups
    North Midland. No. 45 Group
    Highland: Nos. 60-65 Groups and No. 75 Group
    Lowland: Nos. 66-69 Groups and No. 72 Group
    Wessex: Nos. 80-83 Groups
    South Midland: No. 84 Group
    Lancashire and Border: Nos. 100-104 Groups
    Welsh: Nos. 105-106 Groups
    Northern Ireland: No. 200 Group

    Regiments without HD Battalions

    The Lincolnshire Regiment
    The Lancashire Fusiliers
    The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
    The Worcestershire Regiment
    The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment
    The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
    The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)
    The Northamptonshire Regiment
    The North Staffordshire Regiment
    The York and Lancaster Regiment
    The Royal Irish Fusiliers

    Battalions formed from other HD Battalions

    8th (HD) Border Regiment – Renamed from 6th (HD) King’s Own
    7th (HD) Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry – From part of 10th (HD) Devonshire Regiment
    6th (HD) King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry – From part 10th (HD) West Yorkshire Regiment
    8th (HD) King’s Shropshire Light Infantry – ex-15th (HD) King’s Regiment (ex 2nd/10th King’s)
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  3. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Does anyone else have more to add to this thread regarding the NDCs? Are there any sources out there about the National Defence Companies? In particular, I would like to see what companies formed each group and what TA battalions they were associated with. I have some of this information but I also have many gaps.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Not sure if this helps but it is part of the War Diary for the 17th Bn Welch Regt which was a HD battalion.

    14.11.1939 "Battalion Order No.1. Formation of 'L' (Home Defence Battaion, Souuth Wales Area under ACI 742 of 1939. 'G' and 'H' Companies of 106 Group National Defence Companies absorbed and redesignated as 'F', 'G' and 'H' Companies. Battalion HQ at Drill Hall Milford Haven, 'F' Coy at Carmarthen, 'G' Coy at Swansea and 'H' Coy at Milford Haven.'
    Each company had a VP allotted to them.
    War establishment 22 Officers and 497 ORs.
    On 20th December 1940 new title of 17th HD Bn The Welch Regt.
    Later in Jan 1940 a note that 'draft of rejects from TA units arrived'.
  5. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Thanks Skoyen89. That is exactly the details I am looking for.

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