A reunion of the Mitcham Home Guard
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|Date Photo Taken||1st January 0001|
|Notes / History||The Home Guard, popularly known as Dad’s Army, was created in 1940. Announced by Anthony Eden, Secretary of State for War, it was set up to provide Britain’s ‘last line of defence’ against German invasion. In a national broadcast on 14th May Eden called for men above and below the age of military service, together with those who were engaged in work of national importance, to enrol in this new force called the Local Defence Volunteers. By July nearly 1.5 million men had enrolled and the force was renamed the Home Guard.
These members of Mitcham Home Guard joined the 57th Surrey Battalion which was attached to the East Surrey Regiment. The East Surrey Regiment’s battalions worked closely with their Home Guard: officers and N.C.O.s gave lectures, and platoons gave training demonstrations and helped with the Home Guard exercises. Army units often participated in the same exercises, sometimes adopting the role of an enemy attack force (History of the East Surrey Regiment Vol 4 by David Scott Daniell).
The Home Guard’s duties were to man defensive posts, guard vulnerable points, and to mount dawn and dusk patrols to watch for parachute landings. In this way they were able to relieve the Army of some of its home front commitments and set battalions free for front line services.
Initially a volunteer force, The Home Guard was made compulsory in 1942 for men between the ages of 42 and 51 in areas where units were below strength. It was stood down was on 3rd December 1944 and was finally disbanded on 31st December 1945.