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© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

Regimental History - 20th Century

Second World War 1939-1945

The Home Guard

As early as September 1939 Winston Churchill called for the creation of a ‘Home Guard’, but with the chance of invasion of Britain slight, no serious consideration was given to the plan.

By May 1940 the situation had drastically changed.  The British Expeditionary Force was being pushed out of Belgium and France and the retreat through Dunkirk had left the British Army without much of its heavy weaponry.  The soldiers were dejected, and left scattered across the United Kingdom to form a defence against the threat of Nazi German invasion.  There was a real fear of German parachute attacks on Britain just like there had been on Holland and Belgium.

On 14th May 1940 Mr Anthony Eden - Secretary of State for War  - spoke on the BBC Radio and announced the creation of a new force the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV).  The government had acted quickly because people across Britain were arming themselves with whatever equipment they could get their hands on - the Local Defence Volunteers now provided the formal system for the Volunteers.

Volunteers, males between the ages of 17 and 65, were to report to their nearest police station and sign up for service.  Within the first twenty-four hours 250,000 men signed up.  By the end of May there were 400,000 in the Local Defence Volunteers, and this had risen to 1˝ million men by the end of June 1940.

Winston Churchill, who was now Prime Minister, changed the name of the volunteer force to ‘The Home Guard’.  Perhaps he had heard the quip ‘Look Duck and Vanish’.

Our area was similar to others.  Volunteers rushed to join the Local Defence Volunteers. 

Find out more:

bulletMap showing areas covered by the local Home Guard units.
bulletLancaster Home Guard
bulletMorecambe Home Guard
bulletHome Guard Badges
bulletHome Guard Archives in the Museum's Collection

Photo Gallery:  The Home Guard, King's Own Royal Regiment, Lancaster

bullet1st (Barrow) Battalion County of Lancaster Home Guard
bullet3rd (City of Lancaster) Battalion Home Guard
bullet4th (South Lonsdale) Battalion Home Guard
bulletHome Guard 'Fougasse' Demonstration



© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

© 2020 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum