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Brand: Campbell McCutcheon

Home Guard Manual 1941

by Campbell McCutcheon

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Home Guard Manual 1941

Two weeks before Dunkirk, Anthony Eden, Minister of War, announced to the nation on BBC radio his concept of a Local Defence Volunteer force. It was a grim time! The Germans were routing the French and British in Belgium and France, Norway was lost, and within two weeks, the cream of Britain's fighting forces would be weaponless and kit-less, seeking rescue from the beaches of Dunkirk. Eden's words echoed around every living room in the country: 'In order to volunteer, what you have to do is give in your name at your local police station; and then, as and when we want you, we will let you know.' The motley assortment of men, most either too old or too young to join the army, became the nucleus of the Home Guard.

Untried and without weapons, they would be called upon to halt the invasion that Hitler planned as he stood on the cliffs near Calais, eyeing Britain and its populace as his next conquest. Over a period of a few months, this rag-tag group was armed, uniformed and trained, using the Home Guard Manual. Learning how to construct booby traps, destroy tanks, ambush the enemy, survive in the open, use basic camouflage, read maps and send signals, the fledgling volunteer was turned into a veritable fighting machine, leaving the army to retrain, re-equip and fight elsewhere.

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