In July and August 2003, early in my research, I was contacted by Hilary with reference to my Brandon at War research. We spoke on the phone and corresponded through email, with him offering to use his contacts to set up interviews with other people. His encouragement to me was invaluable and he will never know what that meant to me because in 2006 Hilary passed away. Below are extracts from his emails. I never wrote notes when we spoke on the phone, so those discussions are long gone.
“Darren, I was very interested in your write up on the Elite section of the Home Guard. Somewhere around the age of 21, I read about that section of the Home Guard, and from what I was reading, suggested that my father was part of the section. Some of what you have researched, has made me even more certain that he was a member of that force. He would go off to Bury St. Edmunds, with Eric Field, and Walter Gentle was referred to. At some time after the war, my mother mentioned something about him having to blow up Brandon bridge should we have been invaded. There was always a rifle and Sten gun in the front room, and one of the sideboard draws, was full of ammunition for the guns. At the age of 9 or 10, I knew how to take the Sten gun apart for cleaning, although not strong enough to achieve it on my own as the very strong spring required far more strength than I could muster. I remember in the early days of the war, and about half way through, dad received his call up papers, i.e. notice to join the forces; but he never actually went way. It is all of these sorts of memories which suggests that Corporal John Hilary Elmer (Jack) was a member of the Elite group. I think he made sergeant before it all was disbanded.”