The HSF Book
From early days, it became the intention to create a historical record of the HSF Batteries, Squadrons and Companies. This was only natural:
- One of the main bonds between Units and their members is nostalgia.
- Material of this sort was constantly being circulated and there was a need to manage this.
- Material of any value was, and is, rare to come by.
HSF Batteries, Squadrons and Companies relied upon their Regimental or Battalion staff to maintain records and keep diaries however this failed to anticipate the eventual destruction of such records either periodically or upon disbandment, in 1992. Whilst officers and soldiers may value such archives, official or unofficial, officialdom did not, rather seeing them as a liability . Usually acting on orders, according to regulations, records of service, parades, promotions, exercises or VIP visits were often unceremoniously destroyed by persons unknown, either acting on orders or eager to make space. Usually this was done during the working day, when Territorials (and HSF Territorials) were not around. Occasionally, people have retained private copies of administrative instructions, personal notes, maps and other accounts, but against the grain.
For administrative convenience, this project was called “The HSF Book“, until a suitable title could be identified.
Peter Rowe, our first Chairman started the project and, collecting written and pictorial material, compiled accounts from two Units, as a pilot. He also produced a “dummy” book cover to demonstrate the look of such a finished publication. Upon request, many HSF veterans submitted what they had, on the understanding that their material would be returned if required. Peter left us for pastures new, concentrating on his business interests.
His successor, intending to hold the post temporarily, The Rev. Phillip Wallace-Pugh, found himself Chairing the association for the next five years, having passed the “work in progress”. Conveniently, Phil was looking for a subject on which to base his PhD thesis and announced that The HSF was an acceptable subject. Phil was further encouraged when Professor Brigadier Richard Holmes, from Cranfield University, agreed to act as mentor to the project. Brigadier Holmes had (we think) commanded an HSF Company in 5Queen’s, moving to command 2Wessex on promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. An ideal man, and extremely respected nationally and particularly amongst the military community. His famous “War Walks” were broadcast on national television.
Phil is a part-time pastor with his wife, Carol, at a church in Wigston, Leicester, and he was also an IT professional (for four days a week). In the last five years, however, the arrangement came under severe pressure and early this year, Phil was forced to forego the IT work, in order to carry on with his church. In the meantime, The HSF Association and The HSF Book work had wait, which led, in 2011, to The Chairmanship being passed to Paul Hallett, and in 2012, a sharing of The HSF Book research and compilation. This period has seen great pressures on Phil and Carol, and patience on the part of the Association.
The material held, and that yet to be submitted has to meet five criteria.
- That it is legally available for publication.
- That it (in the case of written copy) is legible, or (in the case of images) has suitable clarity.
- That the material is of adequate standard.
- That it is relevant to the story to be told.
- That it can stand on its own in terms of telling that story.
Paul and Phil hope to continue the HSF Book project, by:
- Making an inventory of the material held, recording the origin of each submission.
- Circulating that Inventory amongst Units and other donors.
- Scrutinising each submission and testing it against the five criteria, annotating accordingly.
- Creating a “Rejected” collection and an “Acceptable” collection.
- Returning material in the “Rejected” collection, explaining the reason for rejection.
- Assessing the worth of the “Acceptable” collection, and grading it, with annotations.
- Assessing a general profile of what type and quality of material was still needed.
- Assessing which Units were lacking in representation.
- Assessing the future available resources required to complete the project. How many person-hours?.
- Writing to Units, their Regimental/Battalion Association/Branches, begging for more material, or offers of meetings.
- Constructing and operating a programme of provincial visits to Unit meetings, or homes or offices, where invited.
- To use the HSF Association website to promote a campaign for more material, particularly from those not already involved, or widows or family members.
- To compile rough copy by UnitT, editing and adjusting, in order to arrive at a suitable compilation.
- Research publishing and printing costs, considering alternative media, including booklets, pamphlets, periodically published instalments, Regimental Journals, A TA Magazine, U tube, Regional Glossy Journals, other websites, and even video on DVD. Appearance on national television (or even radio) should be exploited if it ever became available.
Clearly, this work would take a number of years, and hopefully, come to fruition before the demise of the HSF Association, whose future is decided by demographics.
The Association currently has no Patron. If one were found, he/she might be persuaded to head up a campaign to attract material and promote the Association.