I was looking through my research bookshelf and came across the Home Guard Manual 1941 and thought I would dip into this for my monthly post.
"The primary object of the Home Guard is to have available an organised body of men trained to offer stout resistance in every district, and to meet any military emergency until trained toops can be brought up."
There were to be five platoons – signals, medical, transport, engineers, and supplies. I think that most Home Guards would have been lucky to have one platoon let alone five. The platoons were scattered about the neighbourhood.
With regards to equipment each unit was supposed to supply their own which would have been made available in a store at the unit headquarters.
Each man was supposed to have when mobilised – a haversack, two blankets, waterproof coat or sheet, a greatcoat, knife, fork, spoon, plate, a change of underclothes and socks, a serviceable pair of boots, soap, towel, rations for at least twenty-four hours and a bottle of water.
I don't know about you, but whenever I think of the Home Guard my mind goes to the brilliant TV series, Dad's Army. Imagine the very elderly chap, who was the medical man, having to carry that lot.
They were also supposed to understand and be able to use semaphore, drill in a disciplined manner and have enough weapon training to make them effective with a rifle or whatever weapon was available. They were also supposed to be skilled at field craft, map reading and reconnaissance, field engineering, first-aid and basically anything else that might crop up.
Remember Pike? "Stupid boy!"
It does add that training and ability will vary according to the physical capabilities of the men and meet local conditions or national urgency.
I can only be thankful that their role as protectors of the country was never needed.
Fenella J Miller
I adore that programme. Wonderful to know precisely what their requirements entailed.
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