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cONTRIBUTORS TO THE HOME GUARD

 Post subject: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:21 am 


I am starting this with a poem I wrote, it based on a true incident in my Dad's platoon of the Home Guard. Kath

Britain’s Home Guard

Minus their medals, 
ribbons aren't much cop.

In Dad's Home Guard platoon
a man too young for 
World War One 
too old for 
World War Two,
cut strips from ties
and sewed them on his battledress
to match his comrades’. 

Didn’t do to be different 
On parade with Old Soldiers!


 
The Home Guard was made up of veterans and non combatants during ww2 in order to repel an invasion. At first they drilled with broom sticks then the US sent rifles which had been preserved in grease from WW1., These were issued to the old boys. People would laugh if they were told that "Allo Allo" was an accurate portrayal of the French Resistance yet they don't think twice when comparing the Home Guard to the TV series "Dad's Army".

On 14th May, 1940, the Government broadcast a message asking for volunteers for the LDV (Local Defence Volunteers). On 23rd August, 1940, Winston Churchill changed the name of the LDV to the Home Guard.

The Home Guard was formed when there was a real risk of invasion. Most men who could fight were already in the forces, those that were left were either too young, too old, or in reserved occupations (those jobs vital to the war effort). The men who volunteered to join the Home Guard at this time were expected to fight an invasion of crack German troops with nothing more than a collection of old shotguns and pieces of gas pipe with bayonets welded on the end!

The government was expecting 150,000 men to volunteer for the Home Guard. Within the first month, 750,000 men had volunteered, and by the end of June, 1940, the total number of volunteers was over one million. The number of men in the Home Guard did not fall below one million until they were stood down in December 1944. The Home Guard was disbanded on 31st December,1945.

The Home Guard was formed with the intention of delaying an enemy invasion force for as long as possible and to give the Government and the regular army time to form a front line from which the enemy invasion could be repelled. When they were first formed, the Home Guard were expected to fight highly trained, well armed, German troops using nothing but shotguns, air rifles, old hunting rifles, museum pieces, bayonets, knives and pieces of gaspipe with knives or bayonets welded on the end.

The Home Guard was eventually issued with more conventional weapons, but these had their problems. Most weapons were either World War One weapons or they were American or Canadian weapons. The British infantry rifle of WWI, the .303" SMLE was issued to the Home Guard. American P14 and P17 rifles were also supplied. The P14 and P17 looked almost identical, the only real difference being that the P14 took the SMLE .303" ammunition whilst the P17 took the American .30" (30-06) ammunition. To prevent accidents, the P17 had a red band painted on it to identify the 30-06 calibre.

On 20th May 1941, the 1st anniversary of the Home Guard, they were given the honour and privilege of mounting guard at Buckingham Palace. This honour was bestowed upon the Home Guard again on 20th May 1943. There are some regiments that have been in existence for hundreds of years that have not had this honour yet a unit that was in existence for only 4½ years was asked to mount guard twice, something that would not be asked of a group of geriatrics, incompetents and 
immature men as "Dad's Army" has portrayed them.

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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:46 am 

Yes Kath

I was four when the war started and Dad had served in the first world war.

As he could drive a truck, he joined the AFS, Auxilliary Fire Service and drove a fire engine,when there were air raids.

That left his days free to deliver supplies to Chemists shops for his employer.

The LDV I just remember. (Look Duck and Vanish) that is perhaps why Winnie changed the name to Home Guard.

He also did some volunteering as an air raid warden ARP but that messed up his day job too much.

Mum worked on munitions at the Jowett Car factory.

Bobthequill


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:44 am 

There would be a loud whistle and then a voice calling 'put that ruddy light out" Dad was in the ARP till the Home Guard began.

He would not have an Anderson shelter, think he had seen treches come down in Flanders, so one night the sirens went and he made Mum and Phil and I lie

under the double bed in their room while he went out with his tiin hat and whistle, oh i nearly forgot his gas mask. We got the giggles cos the jerry was under

the bed with us. Kath

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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:10 pm 

Those were the days I will never forget .

Art.


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:09 pm 
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Thank you for this Kath, I like your poem.

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Mary living in 
Barnsley 

There are two important gifts that we can give our children. One of these is roots, the other wings."


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:53 pm 


Nice, Kath. I understand the sentiment well--I was too young for Vietnam, too old for Desert Storm...

We should all remember those who served in 'background' capacities--the Merchant Marine (I believe they had casualties at a higher rate than the 'regulars'), the Coast Guard (and similar forces around the world), the men and women who served in factories (yes, that was 'war effort')...

And we should remember to extend gratitude to those serving in the present...their sacrifice is honorable whether the pols mucked it up or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:35 pm 
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It is only in recent years in NZ that the government have recognised the service of Merchant Seamen in the war, prior to that they were not elligble for membership of

the Returned Services Association. 

my husband's friend from the Irish Republic served as a stoker on Russian convoys. Imagine that. they said if you got blown into the ocean you would freeze in

seconds and a stoker did not stand a chance. He had no need to do that work he was Irish, but was proud that he had served a purpose. RIP

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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:02 am 

My Dad's 0.303" rifle and other equipment was brand new~ Looking.

My Sea Scout leader was lost on one of the Russian convoy's.

Kath, I am not clear on the word seconds on your last post ???

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JohnR


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:44 am 

Quote:
Imagine that. they said if you got blown into the ocean you would freeze in seconds and a stoker did not stand a chance.
Does it make sense now. I joined the sentence
together. :)

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Marlene, N. Yorkshire Born and Bred and still living there.

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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:45 am 

Thanks Kath, very informative. Loved the poem.

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Marlene, N. Yorkshire Born and Bred and still living there.

Skype - calliano3


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:55 am 
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Posts: 3066
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Thanks for the Heads up on Kath's post,Cally... :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:18 pm 
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There is a memorial to the Merchant Marine in London with the names of those who were lost. I believe it's somewhere across the road from Tower Hill. I saw it many years ago.

Much of the hardships endured on the Russian convoys was written about in Nicholas Monsarrats book "The Cruel Sea"

Later the book was made into a film starring Jck Hawkins


Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:50 am 
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Dave dad was in the home guard he was a baker and was not allowed to sign up as he was classed as essential services he lived in Dover at the time of the war

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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:55 pm 


The Home Guard did an essential and magnificent job in my opinion.

We used to live at Ardsley which is a very old village (3 miles from Barnsley). There was a Squire there believe it or not even in our day. He was a very eccentric man and he was made Captain of the Home Guard in the area, I suppose being called Squire Micklethwaite carried some clout.

He was the only man who started off as a Captain and worked himself down to a Private, one night he called out the Platoon, telling his men that the Germans had landed in a field close by to him, the Germans turned out to be a herd of cows. :)

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Mary living in 
Barnsley 

There are two important gifts that we can give our children. One of these is roots, the other wings."


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:21 pm 

Oh Marty that reminds me of the Irish merchant seaman I spoke of earlier. He came from rural West Cork. He said one day the Guarda were called out and told

a German had landed in a paddock outside the town. They rushed to find him, probably with trungeons drawn. Instead they found a pile of cut have blowing around

like a little tornado, the poor farmer thought it was a German.

The other story concerned the Irish navy, remember he was in the British Mercantile marine, he said the Irish decided to test a depth charge, the thing they use

to hit a submarine. However they made a pickle of it, dropped the thing at the wong moment and blew their boat up. He said no one was hurt and another boat plucked

them from the sea. No idea if its true, cos the Irish are famous for their tall stories.

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skype: kathosu40


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:30 am 

I can remember German and Italian POWs laying paving and kerbing on the streets around our house in 1947-48. That part of the estate was brand new at that time. The government wasted no time in continuing the housing program after the war ended.
A German POW made a little wooden flute for my 4 years old sister and it worked..

I remember the Anderson shelter in our back yard as it was around for a few years after the war. I dont remember sheltering in it as I was about a year old at the time. My mother and I slept on a mattress on the kitchen floor in case of an air raid when it would have been necessary to get to the shelter quickly.

A incendiary bomb landed on our house one day, went straight through a skylight into the attic and almost set some clothes hanging on a line on fire but quick action by my mother prevented it from happenening. We kept the metal frame of that little bomb around for years afterwards as a souvenir

They used to set fires on the moors outside Sheffield to fool the Germans into thinking they were steel foundries. Seems incredible that their technology didnt exist at that time to be able to accurately spot and identify ground targets at night. The RAF bombers which flew raids by night certainly had the technology

Anyway, apparently the Germans did fall for it and and dropped quite a few bombs which probably killed quite a few sheep.

JIm


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:28 am 

My Dad was rather difficult. He would not join the Home Guards or have anything that was to do with the war. He said he had enough with being in the first one and that in the last one we were fighting the wrong people. Kind of embarrassing , glad I was very young at the time. He would not even allow my brother to join the Boy Scouts or me the Girl Guides.Not sure if he had registered as a Conscientious objector or not. I thought he was rather mean about that.
Another thing both of my parents would not allow and that was for me or my brother to be vaccinated. 

Rather weird I must say but then again we do not choose our parents, or do we ????


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:36 am 

Hello Betty good to see you, hve you had a good sleep for a while? We missed you.

My folk signed when we were born to say no smallpox vaccination, though we had it during the war in case we were evacuated overseas, since then I have had

it three more times, it doesnt even form a scab any more. Granny was a nurse and saw some bad wounds from the old fashioned smallpox vaccine.

If your dad was in WW1 he was no conchie, probably had a belly full and thought it was a rip off, dont blame him.

Stay back on, we miss your posts love Kath

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be warned senior moments occur frequently on my postings.


skype: kathosu40


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:37 am 
California
Just do not seem to get on here much anymore Kath. Blame it on Facebook. Really must try to pop in more often.i am keeping busy though. Belong to the grandparents committee at Fiona's school and help out with various projects, Also one of the Mums invited me to join a book club. Ready"love in a time of Cholera" and am now reading "Don't let's go to the Dogs Tonight" Also have had visitors and just yesterday a friend from London arrived for a few weeks. My house is like a Hotel. Lol


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:37 am 

Another thing I remember about those war days.

When I went out with my Dad on some of his trips, he covered North and West Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire

in a three ton Bedford truck from a Bradford base, delivering to Chemists shops.

You really had to know your way around cos they had taken all the signposts down! To confuse any invaders they said.

Often the main roads would be blocked by the army convoys and we had to use back roads.

We also used to stop at rather strange Cafe's to get a hot meal . A sort of transport Cafe' but you had to be a genuine traveller to get served.

Can't remember what they called them now.

I do remember the Grimsby fish and chips were good though. Haddock straight off the boats.

Bobthequill


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 Post subject: Re: Home Guard
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 2:17 am 


Oh my , here we go again
You bring back memories.
Lets see at 18 I was on war work with a company that was making Petrol Bowsers. Water filtering trucks. Smoke floats and casing for 1,000 and 2,00 lbs bombs.
At that time I was in the Air Cadets, played in its band , was a Messenger in the ARP while Dad ex WW 1 soldier was the Post Commander I think he was called Senior Warden with a white tin hat. while my hat was the usual with a larg M on it and I rode my bike here and there with messages. 
I was also at that time in the RAFVR having been and volunteered and awaiting my recall. 
Then I was promoted to Cpl in The Cadets and promoted to Air Raid Warden. The post was in the celler of an old farm house but later we got a new one built and it was at the bottom of our street and we lived at number 5 not far to go on duty. Run around carrying a rattle in case of gas. blowing a whistle to waken those who did not hear the sirens and knocking hard on doors where senior could have slept in.
The when the city was bombed one night the anti aircraft unit staying overnight on its way to Liverpool opened up and got a JU 88 setting it on fire. It passed right over our head as we crouched behind stone wall and it crashed just over the hill the Home Guard rounded up the air crew.
I did work at Jowets for a morning shift. I was to run here and there from the stores to different machines with parts and was repremanded because I went to the toilet and did not clock in and out at the toilet door. I just walked out and got a reprimand from the employment people but got a job at the company I worked with until one day the same week I told Mum that because I was now engaged I would just pay board so I could save up for stuff for the wedding. Thats when I got home from work and found a brown envelope which looked llike it had been used beforc and inside a old piece of paper that said His Majesty The King wanted my servise for te shilling I had receievd some time before. 
So, yes, I remember them there days. followed by a lot more days I often remember. 


Lets see if I can remember this

NOW I CAN SAY, I JUST DID MY BEST
IVE A MEDAL OR TWO TO WEAR ON MY CHEST
NOW EACH NOVEMBER WITH THE DWINDLING FEW
I STAND IN THE COLD AND REMEMBER MY CREW
I REMEMBER SOME LADS WHO WILL NEVER BE DADS
THEY WERE MY COMRADES IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD.
i'LL REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES AND SOME OF THE BAD
AND, TINKING OF THIS, I ALWAYS GET SAD,

I PONDER THESE THINGS, AND WONDER TO ME.
HOW COME I WAS SAVED, WHY THEM AND NOT ME.
I CAME THOUGH THAT HORROR AT LEAST IN ONE PIECE
SO MANY DID NOT, 'MAY THEY REST IN PEACE.'
OH GOD! LETS FOREVER HAVE COMRADES AND LOVE
AND SHOW US THEY MERCY FROM HIGH UP ABOVE
LET ALL THE FLYING FROM NOW ON BE DONE
FOR TRAVEL, FOR HOLIDAYS, BUSINESS AND FUN.
FOR WAR AND FOR BATTLE HOLD NO ELATION
FOR PEACE AND FOR LOVE LET US ALL BE ONE NATION.
LET BROTHER, LET SISTER, LET NEIGHBOUR AND FRIEND
LIVE ON IN THIS WORLD, NOT AS ENEMY BUT FRIEND.

Warrant Officer 1. RAF.


THIS WAS WRITTEN IN HOPE THAT THE WARS TO END ALL WARS WOULD DO THAT BUT HOW WRONG WE ALL WERE
Now I am one of the dwindling few. but looking forward to my 90th birthday and our 68 years together.
Jack W.

_________________
Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again.