The Home Guard Association becomes The Badges Society

Following the end of World War II, the members of the disbanded Fovant Home Guard unit formed the Home Guard Old Comrades Association. Since their local pub, the Pembroke Arms continued to be the group’s Headquarters, their regular meetings would appear to have been of a more social nature than had hitherto been the case. However, there was a more serious side to their activities, for members of the Association which functioned from 1945 until 1960, with the aid of local volunteers, restored many of the badges.

Fovant Home Guard. 1940-45. {1993}  Presented by Mrs. E. Holly in memory of Larry and friends, regulars of The Pembroke Arms, Fovant.
Front row – ?. Chalk, Bert Ashby, R. Woolley, Dick Davies, Bob Coombes, Tom Bracher, Fred Ewence.
2nd row – Lacey Foyle, Don Hardiman, Edgar Jay, Arthur Marsh, Billy Foyle, Ted Mullins, Gerald Bonham.
3rd row – Fred Nokes, Reg Mundy, Una Mullins, Ursula Davies, Margaret Davies, Jimmy Austin.
Back row – Ron Major, Frank Lever, Alfie Farrow, Les Read, Don Cowdray, Bill Lee, Hedley Jarvis, Reg Hardiman.

Eventually membership dwindled as the workload and costs became increasingly difficult to maintain. Consequently, at the AGM of 1961 it was agreed to change 

the title of the Association in the hopes of widening the membership. Thus was born the Fovant Badges Society. The new society, a more formal organisation than its predecessor, was solely dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of the Badges. A new title may not have solved the inherited problems of dwindling membership and lack of funds, but it did invigorate the members to recruit new people and to bend their energies to fund raising activities

Foremost in these endeavours was Roy Nuttall, for many years secretary of the organisation until ill health forced him to give up in 2000. In addition to giving lectures and producing booklets about the Badges, and the village of Fovant, it was Roy who started the World War I Collection at the Pembroke Arms. Using family documents and mementoes as a nucleus, the idea appealed to local people, many of whom donated family treasures to the collection which grew out of the need to publicise the work of Fovant Badges Society.

Time has moved on, but that need is still there. The Fovant History Interest Group, set up in 2000 specifically to research the history of Fovant, has now taken on responsibility for the artefacts of the museum. Since we have much material which could usefully be added to the collection, we have reorganised the exhibition not only to reflect more fully the effect of the advent of the military into our village during World War I, but also to emphasise the importance of preserving Fovant Badges for posterity. Click here to see more details of the collection

In 1970, the last badge to be cut, that of the Royal Signals, was made to mark the 50th anniversary of the Corps’ foundation. This work was allowed on the understanding that the Corps would be responsible for all future regular maintenance and restoration.

In 2000, after a restructuring of the Badges Society, a complete survey of the condition of the badges was called for. It was found that some of the crests had deteriorated beyond any reasonable state of restoration. Inevitably it was decided to concentrate attention on those badges which were relatively easy of access and which could also be clearly viewed from the roadside, namely those on Fovant Down.

As ever, funds were limited. Fovant Badges Society launched a National Appeal at the annual Drumhead Service of Commemoration in July 2001. Thanks to the generous donations from a variety of sources which followed the appeal, work on the badges was able to begin in 2002. Eventually eight out of the original twelve major badges were fully restored to their former glory. For an up-to-date report on the badges, click on the following link to the Fovant Badges Society web site.

Scheduled by English Heritage as an Ancient Monument this group of hill carvings is thought to be the largest in Europe.

P.S. You may be interested to know the names of the Home Guardsmen (and women) and their committee in the photographs. If so please click here.


Content last updated
3 May 2012