A World War 2 Home Guard Unit was set up in Wreningham; their HQ was the Reading Room which was also nominated as the village First Aid Centre should the need arise.
After hostilities were over, members of the Wreningham Home Guard unit formed a “Comrade Club” and set about re-directing their war-time camaraderie and energy into local community ventures.
Here are the minutes from their preliminary meeting on 28th November 1944. It was held in the Reading Room and was recorded by their young secretary, Dennis Long. Dennis was writing in a re-purposed exercise book – interspersed with mechanical drawings (presumably) created during his time at college.
The names of the other committee members were: R Coleman as chair, with H Minns, Hugh(?) Howes and A Howlett as committee members. The twelve members present decided to invite Major Fletcher (who lived at Ashwellthorpe Hall) to be their President. A Howlett and F Brown were delegated to go and ask him.
The preliminary meeting also determined there would be a quarterly subscription of two shillings and six pence (or a “Half Crown”, as this sum was then known). They would be holding a “Victory Dinner” and that “12 sets of subscriptions should be sufficient” to pay for it. Harry Minns proposed the organising of a whist drive to fund a “children’s treat” – in the form of a party. This was agreed; the whist drive date was set as 15th December. They went on to establish the list of food and drink required for the party – which would be held on the 5th January. This preliminary meeting concluded with an agreement to send Canon Fardell a letter thanking him for their use of the (Reading) Room.
Presumably, the December 1944 Whist Drive fundraiser was successful because Dennis Long’s exercise (minutes) book includes a pencil drawn draft of an a poster to advertise a further whist drive. This was to be held in Wreningham School on Friday 23rd February 1945 in aid of “The Red Cross & St John Prisoners of War Fund”. We need to remember that, at the time, there was still no village hall and the Reading Room would have been too small. It’s unlikely that playing cards in the church would have been acceptable – however worthy the cause!
The Comrade Club had a very “can do” attitude and became the focus of many future village events. After the construction of the first village hall, this included the establishment of an annual pantomime.
The Wreningham Home Guard Comrade Club was eventually disbanded in 1963 – eighteen years after the end of the war!