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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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The Home Guard

by Max Hall

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Contributed by 
Max Hall
People in story: 
John Francis Maxwell Hall
Location of story: 
East Ardsley, Wakefield,Yorkshire.
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
05 July 2005

I was 10 years of age at the outbreak of war and couldn't wait to get into uniform.My patience expired at 13 years of age and I visited the local Police Station in order to join the Home Guard.This force was originally called the L.D.V ( local defence volunteers or disrespectfully "Look,Duck and Vanish").The local Police sergeant who had known me for years asked how old I was and when told 17 gave me the form to fill in and I was in!My unit was 'C'company,West Riding 40th battallion,Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
The Headquarters was an Aladins cave to a boy.There were handgrenades,.303 rifles,Sten and Thompson sub machine guns,Browning and Bren machine guns and a most fearsome spigot mortar called a Blacker Bombard (this was fired at a perambulator,in a field,throughout the war without success!)Another unique piece of equipment was a metal cup which attached to the .303 rifle and when primed with a gas cartridge the rifle could propel a grenade or Mills bomb.The insruction accompanying this weapon stated that the trigger should be 'plucked as with a violin string.'If it wasn't the recoil would effectively amputate the finger!Possibly the most ridiculous weapon was the sticky bomb,this necessitated hiding behind a wall or tree as tanks approached then rushing out and bashing the thing onto the tank.
We held monouvres with the regular army and fared pretty well against them.On one occasion someone used a grass sod as a hand grenade but as it went through the local pub window both 'Armies' retreated hurriedly.Life was certainly exciting to this battledressed and bayonet equipped 13 year old.

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