To The Last Man, The Home Guard In War & Popular Culture

The brilliant television comedy series Dad’s Army inevitably caracatured the volunteers who flocked to the defence of their country. This book goes a long way to painting a clear picture of a group of people who were too young, too old, or too unfit to volunteer to join the regular army, but in no way did they lack the enthusiasm and courage – Most Highly Recommended.

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NAME: To The Last Man, The Home Guard In War & Popular Culture
FILE: R2968
AUTHOR: Malcolm Atkin
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword, Air World
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: £30.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, Home Defence, 
innovation, desperation, determination, courage, old soldiers, raw young recruits, 
Dad's Army

ISBN: 1-52674-593-3

IMAGE: B2968.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y5zd9pvk
LINKS: 
DESCRIPTION: The brilliant television comedy series Dad's Army inevitably 
caracatured the volunteers who flocked to the defence of their country. This 
book goes a long way to painting a clear picture of a group of people who were 
too young, too old, or too unfit to volunteer to join the regular army, but in no 
way did they lack the enthusiasm and courage –    Most Highly Recommended.

The Land Defence Volunteers were a desperate attempt to reinforce the regular army 
in defence against a German invasion. The first volunteers included retired generals, 
shop keepers, mechanics, school teachers and those too young to serve in the regulars. 
Initially they did not even have any uniform beyond armbands. Weapons were 
virtually non-existent and what they had was most commonly sporting guns, small 
bore rifles, and pistols issued during WWI in which many had served. The regulars 
had first call on what military weapons were available as Britain rebuilt its army after 
the Dunkirk evacuation of the BEF. For most, training used broom sticks or pitch 
forks in place of rifles for drills. Private vehicles were used to increase mobility but 
often nothing beyond bicycles. It was desperate and it looked desperate.

Equipment may have been lacking but there was no shortage of spirit, determination 
and personal courage. As the LDF migrated to the Home Guard, uniforms began to 
arrive and, most importantly, weapons. Many weapons were WWI vintage but there 
were also American Tommy guns and anti-tank rifles. There were grenades but most 
often gammon grenades or WWI Mills Bombs, together with the crates of home made 
petrol bombs using increasingly hard to come by petrol and oil, mixed and used to fill 
lemonade bottles, beer bottles and any suitable glass container.

The author has provided a very detailed account of the Home Guard and painted an 
authentic picture of their organization, equipment, deployment and training. As the 
weeks passed, and the regular troops were being supplied from increasing stocks of 
weapons and equipment, starting to make supplies available to the Home Guard. This 
led to a remarkably effective military group that would have given a very good 
account of themselves had the Germans attempted to invade and, most importantly, 
reduced considerably the number of young trained and equipped regular soldiers 
needed to guard military installations and points of strategic importance.

Also described are the almost unknown 'resistance' groups within the Home Guard. 
Very early on Churchill had called for a resistance army to be set up and given 
priority for equipment and arms. Unlike the occupied countries on the European 
mainland, there was to be no desperate grouping of individuals trying to build a force 
to fight back at occupiers. As a result units were formed in extreme secrecy, carefully 
trained, given the best available equipment, arms and explosives and also given 
underground command centres and 'safe houses'. These were built in a similar manner 
to corrugated iron air raid shelters and stocked with food, medicines, ammunition and 
equipment to enable the groups to function as self-sufficient groups with also the 
provision of covert communications.

Many readers will be surprised how well the Home Guard functioned and how 
effective they would have been against an invader and under enemy occupation.