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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Don't Panic!

by Mattdontpanic

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Archive List > Home Guard

Contributed by 
People in story: 
William Coburn
Location of story: 
Girton (just outside Cambridge)
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
13 November 2003

About one month ago I was searching through my families photo albums and I found a photo of a man wearing a home guard uniform and holding a rifle.
I asked my Mother and she said it was my great grandfather.
I asked my grandmother (his daughter) and she told me his story.

In 1940 he was working as a farm labourer in Girton.
Labourers were in reserved ocupation then so he joined up with the newly established Girton LDV
or Local Defence Volunteers.
He said it was just like the BBC sitcom Dad's Army, there were old men jogging around always behind everyone else and constantly out of breathe.
He had to go home and get a carving knife and tie it to a broom handle.
My great grandmother thought he was crazy.

After the platoon had been formed they carried out drills and excersises and checked people's identity cards.

Then one day his platoon recieved their uniforms and American springfield rifles.
They continued to carry out duties and were always ready for Nazi paratroopers.

He used to patrol the cross road near his house and if the invasion came his house was designated one of the strategic areas of importance, burglars beware!

He died in 1988 just after I was born.

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