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15 October 2014
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Home Guard and ARP Warden in Yorkshire

by historycentre

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Harry Booth and Leonard Booth
Location of story: 
Halifax. Yorkshire
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
27 October 2004

I am a volunteer working for the BBC's Peoples War project and I am writing this story on behalf of Michael Booth.

My Father had a butchers shop in Halifax Yorkshire and his brother also had a butchers shop. Because of their work they were exempt from national service.
My Father volunteered for the Home Guard, and they made him up to Staff Sergeant, in the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment.
We lived over the shop and I can recall getting the cutomers ration books and stamping them for meat. I remember seeing children playing on the street, talking with a cockney accent, and dressed in any clothes that would fit. They were evacuees mainly from London who had been sent here to get away from the bombing. They realy looked frightened, and our Yorkshire accent didn't help. Mind you they were lucky in one sense , as they had no home to go back too, in some cases no mum or dad to go back too.
My Father knew all the officers in Home Guard and I remember them coming back to our home with him. The Magistrates Clerk was an Officer and the Sausage Manufacturer was a Sergeant.
They used to practice drill in Highroadwell Park which was near their headquarters.
We used to go in his Morris 10 to the headquarters, which was a pub, and he would leave me outside with a bottle of pop and a packet of crisps, while they were discussing night maneouvres, road blocks etc. The road blocks were to prevent Hitler's Panther Division coming into Yorkshire!
My Uncle, the ARP Warden was on watch at Wainhouse Tower looking for enemy aircraft and there was actually a bombing raid and I think they were a bit off target because they were near Leeds. They dropped three bombs which did considerable damage to shops. Our shop was only four streets away. I can recall walking through all the debris. That night the sirens went and we were taken by my Mother into the cellar.
They were on night maneouvres one night and they bumped into an object which they thought was the enemy. It stood up and moved and they realised it was a cow.
When victory came, they all paraded through Halifax in battledress carrying rifles.

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