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Home Guard

Home Guard. A volunteer organization founded by Anthony Eden, the secretary of state for war, in May 1940. Originally called the Local Defence Volunteers, its task was to assist in the defence of Britain against a possible German invasion. When this threat had diminished, it manned anti-aircraft guns and coastal defences. By 1943 over 2 million men served in the Home Guard in their spare time. It was composed of civilians exempt from military service because of their age or occupation. During their first year in operation they possessed few weapons, often parading with broom handles instead of rifles. Nevertheless they acted as a boost to British morale. The Home Guard was disbanded on 31 December 1944 but was immortalized in the television series Dad's Army.

Richard A. Smith

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