About the book
By May 1940 Britain had been at war, much of it ‘phoney’, for nearly nine months.
With the evacuation from Dunkirk at the end of the month, huge quantities of equipment were abandoned to the enemy, there was a desperate shortage of armoured fighting vehicles and artillery and the Germans were known to have plans to invade.
As this situation developed from April 1940, the government were forced to consider whether extra forces were needed. The regular Army was committed around the world; the Territorial Army had been mobilised but was behind with equipment and training.
On 14 May the Secretary of State for War, Anthony Eden, broadcast an appeal for volunteers: ‘We want large numbers of ... British subjects between the ages of seventeen and sixty-five years to come forward ... The name of the new force ... will be the “Local Defence Volunteers”.’ Almost at once 500,000 men volunteered and within a few weeks the force was approaching 1.5 million.
Unsurprisingly, in the early months, they were poorly trained and ill-equipped but over time the Home Guard, as they became known, were increasingly integrated into national defence plans so that the absolute maximum number of regular troops could be released for overseas theatres.
ISBN: 978-0-948527-12-8 Format: Paperback, 282pp Published: Dec 2012
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