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Remembering the real Dad's army

Remembering the real Dad's army
11 January 2018

Arthur House (Bracknell Forest U3A) shares some of his writings about what it was like in the real Home Guard during the Second World War.

I have written a series of short stories based on my direct experiences with the Home Guard as an evacuee from London, when I was assigned from the local Cadet Forces to participate in their activities or exercises. My stories however are based upon actual events as I recall them and I have tried to recover some of the most humorous events of my life. I hope to raise at least a smile from all that read them.

Gone to lunch

It was usual to have manoeuvres or exercises on Sunday mornings and on this particular morning in early Spring the Company gathered off the road going southwards from the railway station crossing. The first on the scene was a man in his eighties who I shall call Fred. Fred always carried a pike reminiscent of the battles of more than 200 years ago. He was dressed in rough clothes as he had not yet been issued with a proper uniform and he proudly displayed his armband with the LDV insignia on it. At 8.00 am the company captain arrived to give us the briefing for the day.

We were to ‘attack’ an unoccupied mansion which was being defended by a Home Guard unit from a nearby village.

We started well enough across the first field but quite soon the going got much rougher through copses and woods, furthermore the ground was very soft and muddy and progress became quite slow. We then came, unexpectedly, upon a small stream with dense undergrowth on both banks. The others had great difficulty in negotiating the steep banks of the stream their leaps ending them either in the bushes or in the stream itself, their uniforms became muddied and wet and would need considerable repair of the damage.

Eventually we came in sight of the mansion and we sought cover in preparation for the ‘attack’. Glancing at his watch the corporal said ‘We ‘ave been a bit slow lads I can’t see any signs of life but the enemy may be lying low”.

After about 10 minutes he detailed two men to approach the mansion cautiously whilst we waited in the bushes. On their return they were carrying a big sheet of paper and written on it in large letters were the words GONE TO LUNCH and underneath in smaller characters ‘You lost the exercise’. It had been pinned to the front door of the mansion.


Come back to the Sources blog next week for more of Arthur's stories

Main image: By Peter Trimming from Croydon, England (Jack Jones' Van) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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