The Home Guard, or Dad's Army, in and around Portsmouth during the Second World War | Nostalgia

The Home Guard was set up in May 1940 as Britain's 'last line of defence' against German invasion.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 7:07 pm

Members of this 'Dad's Army' were usually men above or below the age of conscription and those unfit or ineligible for front line military service.

On May 14, 1940, the secretary of state for war Anthony Eden made a broadcast calling for men between the ages of 17 and 65 to enrol in a new force, the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV).

By July, nearly 1.5 million men had enrolled and the name of this people's army was changed to the more inspiring Home Guard.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Men from the 18th battalion of the Home Guard training at Southwick PP221.

The Home Guard was at first a rag-tag militia, with scarce and often make-do uniforms and weaponry. Yet it evolved into a well-equipped and well-trained army of 1.7 million men.

Men of the Home Guard were not only readied for invasion, but also performed other roles including bomb disposal and manning anti-aircraft and coastal artillery. Over the course of the war 1,206 men of the Home Guard were killed on duty or died of wounds.

With the Allied armies advancing towards Germany and the threat of invasion or raids over, the Home Guard was stood down on December 3, 1944.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

Gosport Home Guard practice defence procedures PP556.

Subscribe here for unlimited access to all our coverage, including Pompey, for just 26p a day.

Home Guard companies shared the responsibility for anti-aircraft defences. This rocket projector was based on Southsea Common. PP555
A tea break for members of the Cosham Home Guard at Butser PP232.
A parade of Home Guard members in Portsmouth PP240.