The local Home Guard on Mitcham Common
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|Notes / History||Members of the Mitcham Home Guard stage an exercise on Mitcham Common. Such exercises were an important part of training, helping units to work as a team, develop their weaponry skills and plan defensive strategies. The Common was a valuable training venue, not only in view of the space it offered but the varying terrain. Army units often participated in the same exercises, sometimes adopting the role of an enemy attack force.
The Home Guard, popularly known as Dad’s Army, was set up in May 1940. Men were usually either above or below the age of conscription or those who were not eligible for front line military service. Initially called the Local Defense Volunteers, nearly 1.5 million men had enrolled by July 1940 when the LDV became the Home Guard.
Initially this was a rag-tag militia with make-do uniforms and weapons but it eventually evolved into a well-trained and well-equipped force of 1,700,000 men. Their main duties were to prepare the country for invasion, but they also performed many other duties including bomb disposal.