During the uncertain early months of World War 2, many feared that it was only a short time before an attempt would be made to invade a woefully undefended British mainland. What became Home Guard was formed in February 1940 to help defend Britain's shores from attack, initially just in Dover, but, after the beginning of Hitler's Blitzkrieg, all over Britain.
Originally called the Local Defence Volunteers, this army of men, drawn from those too old and too young to enlist in the regular army were equipped with uniforms, equipment and the know-how to repel the invader-at least such was the goal.
Huge numbers volunteered and by midsummer 1940 1.5 million men had been recruited. They were promised uniforms, weapons and training, but at first weapons were in short supply, the Home Guard becoming well known for its old, worn weapons shared by many men at best, and pitchforks and shotguns at worst. Training and equipment later improved, but the image of the Home Guard as an ill-equipped force persisted and was affectionately mocked in the BBC's 'Dad's Army' which has turned the Home Guard into legend.
This concise history of the LDV and Home Guard is illustrated throughout with photographs and ephemera, and includes the '202' battalions - 'Churchill's Secret Army' which received special covert training to lead resistance had the German army succeeded in invading the British mainland.
"Thorough, yet concise, Neil Storey's The Home Guard published by Shire Books is a brilliant introduction to these defenders of Britain." - Andrew Brozyna, Ferrous Lands / www.ferrouslands.com (February 2010)