Last modified on June 27, 2016, at 18:08

Home Guard

The Home Guard was an organisation of part-time volunteer soldiers formed to resist any German invasion of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. On 14 May 1940, an appeal was made by the British government for Local Defence Volunteers (LDV); the name of the organisation was changed on 14 August 1940 to the Home Guard. Within a month of the first appeal, three-quarters of a million men had volunteered; by the end of June the figure stood at one million. Recruitment drew on those too old or too young for call-up; those awaiting call-up, and those in essential or 'reserved' occupations. At first there was little spare military equipment available - volunteers wore ad hoc uniforms and drilled with broomsticks - but gradually equipment and training produced a force that was not negligible. Its duties included coastal watch, manning checkpoints, and short-term guarding of captured enemy personnel. The Home Guard was stood down in December 1944, when the danger of invasion or the landing of raiding parties was deemed over; it was disbanded at the end of 1945.

A BBC television situation comedy of the late 1960s-early 1970s, Dad's Army, made affectionate fun of a Home Guard unit in a fictional seaside town, and has been a perennial favourite with British viewers.