Brown, Marwood (b.1924)
Marwood Brown was born in Keinton Mandeville. At the age of fourteen he attended the Strode Continuation School in Street, where the pupils went to school for half a day, and worked in Clark’s or Morland’s shoe factories for the other half. Marwood’s father was a shoemaker in Keinton Mandeville, taking over the family business, which was started by Marwood’s grandfather in the 1900s.

In 1940 Marwood joined the Keinton Mandeville Home Guard unit, part of the 12th Somerset (Somerton) Battalion. A Royal Artillery unit manned searchlights in the surrounding area, and there was a pillbox in the Keinton Mandeville. In 1942 he joined a young soldiers' battalion in the Hampshire Regiment, and saw active service in Europe.
Minehead Home Guard on exercise over Exmoor, 1944. Minehead Home Guard on exercise over Exmoor, 1944.
Sound File
Listen to Marwood Brown - 1.40MB Duration 3:03 min.

AH: What form did the night duties take then? What did you actually have to do?

MB: You know, you went to work during the day obviously and then you have a rota and you had to report in our case at Keinton Mandeville. Keinton Mandeville was an old quarrying village and they used to have these stonecutters, shelters, and we used to meet there. And then two at a time we would go on a walkabout, so called, patrol you know, and we were basically watching for any parachutists, that was the main thing that used to alternate with duties on what was termed strategic points such as the viaduct in Somerton, and that sort of thing, and we would patrol around these bridges and then go off to work again the next morning cause nothing ever happened.

AH: So for how long a period then were you on duty?

MB: Well, you would be on duty from darkness. Someone would be there on duty, and it was a, as I recall it, it was a pretty, what they called a ‘fake’. Because you came on duty when you could. I mean I was around the latter part. I was driving a lorry from seven o’clock in the morning until seven at night, so it was no good putting me on duty at six o’clock, because I wouldn’t be home until about eight anyway, and so the night time was covered by people as and when they could get them basically

AH: But when you were on duty at night, you were patrolling the parish?

MB: Well that’s it really. We used to do the main patrols around the Combe Hill ‘cause you had a very good view there across towards the Mendips and if there was anything coming it was the flight path, you see, come up. Normally they’d come up over Weymouth, Yeovil and on to Bristol, and Bristol used to, I mean we watched Bristol being bombed night after night. But what we were really looking for wasn’t the bombing and the fireworks at Bristol, it was if there was any parachute invasion that really our main belief, was for parachutists.

AH: And if there had a lot of parachutes, parachutists coming down, I mean, were there any particular...?

MB: There would have been panic stations!

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Ann Heeley in November 1989. Photograph ©SRLM. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.