The Home Guard, like its forerunner the Local Defence Volunteers, was formed in 1940 in response to the likely threat of an invasion of Britain that would involve German paratroop attacks aided by fifth columnists as had happened in Belgium and Holland. The Home Guard was a volunteer force that would defend its local area, territory well known to them, leaving the regular Army to concentrate on repelling the main thrust of any invasion. Shropshire was included in these plans, not least because it was feared that spies could be present anywhere in the country, and because it was considered that the invasion might well come through Ireland directed towards the north Wales coast.
In its early days the force in Shropshire was poorly equipped in terms of both uniforms and weaponry, but as its role changed over the months, from keeping an eye out for parachutists to setting up road blocks, defending localities and forming more mobile units, the uniforms arrived and the weaponry improved. Towards the end of the war the Home Guard was equipped with machine guns and even lightly armoured cars.
The story of the Home Guard in Shropshire as told in this book is drawn from records held in Shropshire Archives and stories told by former members. It thus combines official documents and orders with personal accounts of what it was like to be a member – and what did and didn’t happen in practice.
Bernard Lowry has lived in Shropshire for over 30 years and has a lifelong interest in military history. This is his sixth book, two previous books having been published by Logaston Press : The Mercian Maquis (with Mick Wilks) and (with Mick Wilks and Colin Jones) 20th Century Defences in Britain: The West Midlands Area.
Paperback | 128 pages | 232 x 154 mm | 2010