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St Dennis and Goss Moor - Home Guard

by cornwallcsv

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Kenneth H Rickard
Location of story: 
St Just and Goss Moor, Cornwall
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
24 November 2005

This story has been added by CSV Volunteer Linda Clark on behalf of the author Kenneth H Rickard. It is an extract from a book he wrote in 2004 called 'St Dennis and Goss Moor', published by Halsgrove of Tiverton, Devon. They fully understand the terms and conditions of the site.

The Home Guard was formed in 1939 at the outbreak of war, although at this stage members were known as Local Defence Volunteers (LDV). There were no uniforms, only an armband. Members were to report and repel any attempt by the enemy to land any of their forces and to arrest any suspicious looking characters that may have been enemy spies, such as parachutists and aircrew. Initially men were armed with their own tools which they carried on their nightly vigils. After a few months sections and companies were formed and officers were appointed (often local businessmen). Uniforms were issued in 1940 and the name was changed to the Home Guard.

The nearest post to Goss Moor was a disused farm building near the Richards and Osborne garage. It was a pigs' house that had been whitewashed inside and fitted with bunk beds, a Primus stove and a tilley lamp. Weekly parades and training sessions were introduced, rifles issued and nightly patrols carried out. Men reported for duty in the evening and returned home the following morning in time to attend their normal employment. Most of the personnel were elderly men and those exempt from military service.

At one training session an officer from Indian Queens, when demonstrating the use of a pistol, accidentally shot a friend of mine in the leg. The injury remained with him for the rest of his life. With hindsight, one wonders how effective the Home Guard would have been against enemy attack, yet at the time it was reassuring to have them around.

An original member of the Home Guard remembered an amusing but true story. Whilst on duty one night at a local Home Guard Post, the patrol was summoned to a local incident. Before leaving, the officer in charge reminded the men of his previous instruction which was 'at all cost do not let the enemy pass', to which one chap quickly replied 'don't you worry sir, they won't catch us'.

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