war The Home Guard
|The Home Guard, for anybody under the age of
sixty in 2004, will only be known by reputation, and its humorous
depiction in 'Dad's Army', the classic TV comedy series which for many
years has been immensely popular. However, when the Home Guard, or
'The Local Defence Volunteers' as it was first known, was formed, it
was a deadly serious matter. Great Britain and the British Empire, as it
was then, was fighting
for its very existence, against Hitler and
the Third Reich, a much better prepared and powerful foe, Of course none of the ordinary people of our Islands
thought that defeat was possible, but everybody knew that we had a
fight on our hands, and an attempt at invasion was always a possibility.
With conscription taking most of the younger men, inevitably older men, and the younger ones who were in the vital 'reserved occupations' were needed to supplement the armed forces in home defence duties. The response to their Nation's call was immediate. A quarter of a million men of all ages volunteered within twenty four hours of the announcement. Eventually, the Home Guard, as it was renamed by Churchill, was to increase to 1.7million men. Ironically, the Governments principle motivation behind forming the force was the fear of airborne invasion. It emerged after the war that this threat had never really existed.
trained first to a basic level, and then further depending on the tasks
they carried out. These were very varied. Some were equestrian units
,carrying out patrols on horseback. Others manned anti aircraft gun
batteries and, then carried out all manner of duties
essential to our defence.
carried out their normal jobs during the day, and then when they were
finished, they reported for Home Guard duties. They were never paid for
their work, although after a while they were able to recover out of
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