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STAFFS HOME GUARD WEBSITE - GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE HOME GUARD

  HOME GUARD REENACTMENT GROUPS

 

This is a page of  the GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE HOME GUARD section of www.staffshomeguard.co.uk.
Please go to Site Map for complete site contents. Page last updated 21 May 2016

 

Within the U.K. reenactment scene there are a number of groups in different parts of the country who specialise in recreating the activities of the Home Guard of 1940-1944. These groups pride themselves in reproducing, as authentically as they can, all aspects of that service, including uniform, equipment and activities. They are often to be seen by the general public at such events as 1940s weekends. Their aim - like that of this website - is to commemorate the contribution made by the original Home Guards who served their country with devotion, energy and skill for four-and-a-half long years.

HG reenactment groups offer one big advantage over others: individuals can enact their own age - anything from 15 to 75 - just like the original members and unlike any other branch of the Armed Services.

These 21st century Home Guard units welcome any potential new member of any age who has an interest in joining them in their hobby. Details of some of them are listed below including an introductory comment from each.

BERKSHIRE - CHESHIRE - GLAMORGANHERTFORDSHIRE - ISLE OF MANKENT - LEICESTERSHIRE - NORTHAMPTONSHIRE - OXFORDSHIRE - SUFFOLK - SUSSEX - YORKSHIRE  - .....and OTHERS

BERKSHIRE - Abingdon, Didcot and Wallingford  

The group writes as follows:

The 1st Berkshire (Abingdon) Battalion ("D" & "E" Coy.) Home Guard Living History Group was formed in 2011.

Our aim is to pay tribute to Our Brave Local Berkshire Men, who volunteered to defend our homes & countryside from the threat of the expected German invasion in 1940. Even once the threat of invasion had passed, the local Home Guard provided guard posts to vital military installations, air bases, railways, river crossings and also performing other duties, to free up regular troops for duties overseas. During their short history of four years, approximately 1,200 members of Britain’s Home Guard were killed as they performed their duty and many more injured. “We will remember them”.

We currently have five members who came together with all the duty, comradeship, humour and sense of adventure of the original Volunteers. We are actively seeking to have open days along the GHQ Stop Line to display one of the many pillboxes that are along the River Thames footpath between Abingdon & Pangbourne. The 1st Berkshire’s forty Platoon bases are now in the region of South Oxfordshire, after the 1974 County Boundary Changes, another piece of History long forgotten.

We attend local shows and railway events around their old patch, and where possible we try to recreate aspects of the 1st Berkshire "D" Coy. (Didcot) or "E" Coy. (Wallingford) Home Guard, with uniforms, kit, and weapons of the day. It has been our privilege to have met some of these Home Guards and to hear the many stories from their unique experience of that time in our History. Our group would welcome like-minded recruits.

Please contact Mike by email (as below) or by phone on 01491682148 or 07804857648.

 
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CHESHIRE - Chester                               

A new Home Guard unit formed in January 2013 in Chester, Cheshire. Representing the 6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment Home Guard (CH6) in 1943, although all representations of the Home Guard are welcome. Working in conjunction with Chester Living History, we plan to be doing displays at the St John's Church Fairs throughout the year and Chester Living History in the Autumn.

New recruits will be welcome. Please contact Guy Story using the link below.

  New Website available soon

GLAMORGAN, Bridgend, mid-Glamorgan

The Glamorgan Home Guard was formed at the end of 2007 and consists of some experienced re-enactors and some people new to the hobby.

We try to recreate all aspects of the Home Guard and try to stay within the early years 1940/41. We meet at the 1940 Swansea Bay Museum for regular training events and also travel further afield to events around the country. In addition to the contact details below you can get in touch with us via the Museum.

We also have a strong link with 'a Very Special Regiment', the Lovat Scout Group. We also have a member who is associated with 'UK Home Front', the premier 1940 Civilian Living History Group.Membership is open to anyone who has a genuine interest in the British Home Front during WW2. Apart from a Home Guard section, we also have Navy, RAF and civilian members.


 

HERTFORDSHIRE, Hatfield      

The Hertfordshire Home Guard Living History Group is new, having been formed in 2012. We reenact the Hertfordshire Home Guard, using only those weapons and equipment which the original Home Guards in our area would have used. We have a weapons display and also reenact HG bomb disposal procedures and drill.

This is our aim:
- To pay tribute to the men and women who volunteered their time and effort to help protect this country from an expected/imminent invasion force and to keep alive the memory of the largest volunteer army in history.

We seek to achieve this:
- by researching the history of the Home Guard in Hertfordshire and taking part in 1940s events. We also take part in drill and weapons training which helps us better to portray life in wartime Britain. We make
school visits in Hertfordshire where local school children experience a little of what life was like during the dark days of the Second World War. We also provide displays and demonstrations at living history events and venues throughout Hertfordshire and beyond.

Recruits wanted!
We are looking for new members to join us for a great time, to meet people and to do demonstrations to show off the Home Guard.

Please visit our website.

 

ISLE OF MAN

The Isle of Man Home Guard Re-enactment Society portrays the I.O.M. HG, specifically:

THE RAILWAY SECTION
"D" COY.
1ST BATTALION MANX HOME GUARD.

We are actively looking for recruits aged between 17 and 65. Please contact us via email (below) or telephone 07624 466094.

Our website went online in August 2011 - please click the link below.

 

KENT, Chatham

Chatham Home Guard was formed in 1994 to accurately portray the Home Guard, research their history and to educate the public.  Chatham Home Guard is a member of NAReS, the National Association of Re-enactment Societies, and has worked for many organisations over the last 15 years including The Royal
British Legion, The National Trust and English Heritage.  Our members have experience working for the film & television industry and in the past Chatham Home Guard has supplied both re-enactors and technical advice.

Based at Chatham Historic Dockyard we portray the 31st Kent Chatham Dockyard) Battalion, Home Guard.  We hold training days once a month allowing our members to familiarise themselves with Home Guard weapons, uniforms and equipment and gain knowledge of the Home Guard's role during WWII.  We also attend events both large and small, mostly in south-east England.

As a unit we portray men who were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in defence of their country so we have a duty to take our role seriously.  At the same time we make living history and reenactment an interesting and enjoyable experience for our members.

We are always looking for new members and, as with the original Home Guard, previous experience is not a requirement.  A good attitude and a willingness to do it right is what is important to us.  If you are interested in joining Chatham Home Guard, please visit our website or contact us via the e-mail link


 

  KENT, Maidstone

 

 

The Barmy Army Film Club is based in Maidstone Kent and is run by a group of friends who hold meetings at The Swan Public House Maidstone (excellent range of Ales and fine food) on the first Monday of each month.

 

 

 

See the website for further information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


            

LEICESTERSHIRE  

Leicestershire was no different than many parts of the country when its menfolk received the call from Antony Eden to enlist in, what was called in the early days, the LDV, later the Home Guard. They came from all walks of life and all ages to “do their duty”.

Leicestershire Home Guard Living History Group relive those days with what must be one of the best Home Guard displays in the country. Displaying not only the weapons but the uniforms, documents and paraphernalia associated with what became a fully trained “Army”. Training weapons as well as front line rifles all displayed for members of the public to see, often for the first time, what a real Tommy gun looks like.


The members of the group are always on hand not only to discuss this time of great turmoil but to explain and educate members of the public whose only knowledge of the Home Guard is watching that much-loved Dad’s Army. Whilst that programme is a sitcom many members of the public over the years have explained that in fact real life was indeed stranger and funnier at times than fiction. These tales have been retained and are woven into the display so that anyone visiting it is taken back to those bleak times in both detail and atmosphere.

Whilst, had the Nazi hordes reached Leicestershire the overall situation would have been difficult for the country as a whole, it goes without saying that the men and women of the Leicestershire Home Guard would have given their all to defeat the enemy. As it was 18 Home Guardsmen gave their lives during the war so that we could have ours!


If you would like to know more about the Leicestershire Home Guard's background and uniform or wish to tell us your tales then come and visit us at the many shows we attend in the Midlands throughout the year.

                     Contact:
Neil Hunt -
07929952865 or email below
Dave Morse - 07747397172 or email below
                          or
follow the Leicestershire Home Guard Living History Group on facebook below

 

For further information on the Leicestershire Home Guard a good read is "To The Last Round: The Leicestershire & Rutland Home Guard 1940-1945" by Austin J. Ruddy, Breedon Books, 2007, ISBN 978 1 85983 559 3

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, Pitsford and Brixworth

Pitsford Home Guard was formed in September 2005 and is a tribute to the 9th (Brixworth) Battalion of Northamptonshire Home Guard who answered Anthony Eden's call in May 1940. Many of our members are volunteers at the Northampton & Lamport Railway and the unit supports the railway at their 1940s events just as railway workers during WW2 would have volunteered for the Home Guard.

We portray No 5 Platoon (Pitsford) of D Company 9th (Brixworth) Battalion Northamptonshire Home Guard. Our uniforms and equipmennt have developed just as the original Home Guard did, starting off with civvies and LDV arm bands, denim overalls and later 1937 pattern battledress. The platoon can now muster a denim section and a battle dress section. The Pitsford Home Guard researches the history of the Home Guard in Northamptonshire and takes part in Home Guard re-enactments, 1940s events and talks for local groups and schools. At our monthly parades we take part in exercises covering drill and weapons training as well as lectures, presentations and information films from the period which helps us better portray life in wartime Britain. We have developed links with other museums around the county and have good working relationships with Sywell Aviation Museum, the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne and the Rushden Historical Transport Society.

Our main event is the Railway at War event at the Northampton & Lamport Railway in September each year. We are always pleased to welcome visiting Home Guards to this event where they are able to take part in our exercises and displays. New members are welcome to join us from Northamptonshire or beyond. Further details are available from our website or via email using the links below.


 

OXFORDSHIRE

The Oxfordshire Home Guard and Women's HG Auxiliaries Living History Group was formed in January 2013 and is dedicated to the memory of those who were prepared to give their lives when the invasion of the United Kingdon in WW2 was a very real threat.

The group aims to preserve the history of the Oxfordshire Home Guard (e.g. the Bicester unit seen right) and the Home Front in general including:

  • The Land Army
  • Women and their part in the war at home
  • Air Raid Wardens

The Oxfordshire Group attends shows throughout the United Kingdom providing an interesting and educational experience for those interested in the Home Front.

We also provide educational presentations to schools and other groups within the local area.

As a group we are very keen to expand our knowledge of the Home Front and we welcome new members whatever experience they may have on the subject.

Any enquiries please direct to our email address below (under Contact Us) or by phone to Pete Salcombe on 07804 501930

 

SUFFOLK, Elmswell                              

3rd SUFFOLK HOME GUARD LIVING HISTORY GROUP

About the Elmswell Home Guard

Headquartered in Bury St Edmunds, 'F' Company of the 3rd Battalion Suffolk Home Guard originally formed in Elmswell as the Local Defence Volunteers in May 1940 becoming the Home Guard a few weeks later under the command of Captain James "Jock" Henderson. By 1941 Elmswell was the largest unit in its area with 2 officers and 61 men.

Although much smaller than the village of today, Elmswell was located along Eastern Command’s invasion Stop Line 'D' and was home to a number of food producers as well as timber production. The railway yard formed a central point for these industries, so security was paramount, even more so after the US Army Air Force moved into Great Ashfield from 1942 with the 385th Bombardment Group. Much of the base's supply came via the railway at Elmswell, so regular patrols were mounted around the station.

About us

Starting in 2015, the 3rd Battalion Suffolk Home Guard Living History Group aims to tell the real story of the wider Home Guard, and the story of the Elmswell Home Guard through our display of photos, weapons, equipment and other artefacts. 

With personal links to the men of the Elmswell Home Guard, this living history group strives to ensure we do these men justice in a way that is accurate, interesting and enjoyable to our members and the public who see us at events. Being local is not a prerequisite to membership, one of the original F Company NCO’s hailed from as far away as Somerset!

As with the original Home Guard, we are currently looking for new members aged 17-65 and previous experience is not a requirement.  All we ask is that you are keen to learn, have a willingness to do things right, and have your own transport in order to get to events and training days where we learn about the equipment and hone our knowledge. While all this may sound a bit serious we also have fun too, after all there's little point if it's not enjoyable!

If you are interested in joining us, please contact us - either via email as below or by phone
(07791 649751) - and we will be in touch soon
afterwards. 

 

            

SUSSEX, Hastings         

The 23rd Sussex Home Guard was formed in 2000, the aim being to recreate a fully trained and armed Home Guard Battle Platoon as they would have appeared in early 1942. They are located in Southern England and represent the Hastings Battalion of the Home Guard. To this end they now muster over twenty men under the command of a First Lieutenant. The Platoon is trained in WW2 arms drill as well as battle tactics and when the occasion demands it can stand to with a full complement of firing P14s & P17s. They also have firing S.M.L.E.s, shotguns and Ross Rifles.

Light support weapons include 2 firing Boys Anti Tank Rifles and a Northover Projector on wheeled carriage. At non-firing events the Platoon turns out armed with deactivated rifles, B.A.R., E.Y. Rifles, Sten Guns & Thompson Sub Machine Guns. For display purposes there are both WW1 era Lewis Gun and Vickers Gun. A full tented encampment is usually featured along with support motor vehicles, motor cycles and pedal bicycles.

If required they are able to parade as L.D.V. in 1940 era civilian clothes or early wartime denim uniforms.

 

YORKSHIRE, Doncaster, South Yorkshire                              

A group has been formed to reenact WR 46, Doncaster Homeguard.

The original of the unit which is now re-created was based at the Doncaster Plant works during WW2 and undertook protection duties there. For further information please make contact by email using the link below.

   

YORKSHIRE, Harrogate, North Yorkshire                              

We are called the WR5 Harrogate Home Guard. We display period uniforms, equipment and weapons of the Home Guard units from WW2. As the veterans of the Home Guard become fewer the public perception of the Home Guard in WW2 has been taken over by the antics and humour of the Dad's Army television shows and their exploits. Whilst some of this was gleaned from real life the grim wartime days of food rationing, 50 and 60 hour working weeks in reserved occupations followed by compulsory guard duties on a freezing cold night were a truer but less audience thrilling reality.

We aim to give a broad picture of life in Home Front Britain and what the Home Guard were asked to achieve. Over 1,700 Home Guards were actually killed on active service, a figure staggering to many. In the West Riding area this sadly included one former WW1 veteran who was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry.

Based up in the North East we attend events at various times through the year, but also travel further afield! For further information feel free to contact us by email using the link below.

 

  
    YORKSHIRE, Haworth      

Peter Whitaker (Pte - WR28HG) writes:

We are 'C' Coy., West Riding 28th Battalion (who were Haworth Home Guard). We meet once a month in the Old White Lion in Haworth (where our wartime heroes met too!) - usually on the third Wednesday of the month when anyone is welcome - and are regularly seen in our area on re-enactments. The Haworth 1940s weekend in May is one of our highlights and HG reenactors from other groups will receive a warm welcome.

"C" Coy., WR28 at Ryedale Folk Museum

 Front row:
from left, Sgt. John Clegg, Capt. Peter Wedel, Cpl. Peter Whitaker and L/Cpl. Patrick Hargreaves
Second row:
our HG Aux. Women members
Third row:
the rest of our Home Guards

Feel free to contact our C.O. Capt. Peter Wedel who would be pleased to talk HG with anyone. And please check our website for up-to-date news.

FURTHER NOTES
March 2011
This unit made a major contribution to the ceremony marking the 90th anniversary of the unveiling of the War Memorial in Sutton-in-Craven, Yorkshire on 19th March 2011. See here for images of the event.

January 2016
The unit has created an excellent training film dealing with the Northover Projector. It is filmed in the style of the time and includes a sequence where the weapon is used in connection with the recapture of escaped POWs.  It can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/hBFDYQ49doM


YORKSHIRE, Ingleton, North Yorkshire      

The WR31 (West Riding 31 - Duke of Wellington Regiment) Home Guard Unit of today is based in Ingleton and takes part  in living history displays, 1940's weekends, re-enactments and weekend camps. We are also members of the Military Vehicle Trust (MVT) South Cumbria and North Lancashire group. Forthcoming events (which are detailed in our website) include Operation Home Guard in Ingleton, the Myerscough College Event near Preston, Wray Fair, a weekend training camp and other events. Members include Home Guard, RAF, Naval and civilian Re-enactors. Gracie Lands (1940's singer and DJ) is the chair person.

But we also need new members to join us. We are seeking anyone who has an interest in the Home Guard or the Home Front in general. Younger members will be especially welcome. Check us out on our website. If you would like to join us, please email us for infomation, using the Contact Us link below. 

 

YORKSHIRE, Pontefract

It's 8 years since the humble beginnings of Pontefract Home Guard Living History Group and it has grown as the interest in the Home Guard has grown and now commands a membership of 18, with ATS, Civilian and 13 wearing the Home Guard uniform of the West Riding 48th Battalion.

We look at the seriousness through the uncertainty and the comic through the improvisation, but never allow ourselves to trivialise, romanticise, fictionalise or glorify the war years on the Home Front. A second impression is of the secret work of the Auxiliary Units and we are proud to claim to be the first group to portray these men in our way and are honoured to have a close relationship with the A.U. museum in Suffolk.

If you are interested in our activities, please get in touch with us using the Contact Us link below.

   

YORKSHIRE, Redcar, North Yorkshire (now Cleveland)  Amended entry!             


A new group has been formed to reenact NRY 4, Redcar Home Guard 4th Battalion Green Howards.

The original of the unit which is now being re-created was based in and around the town of Redcar and its steelworks, undertaking protection duties both there and in the area surrounding Redcar.

The group's founder, David Lambert, has been personally reenacting a private in this unit since October 2012 and is seeking other potential members who are interested in joining him. Please contact him by using the email link below.

The Group now has a Facebook presence which enables members and potential members to intereact, ask questions and keep up-to-date on what is going on. Please use the link below.

 

There are many other groups and individuals in various parts of the country recreating HG units which may or may not be local to their area. Here are the locations of some of those of whom staffshomeguard is aware (but who have not so far provided further information and contact details):

CARMARTHEN - CRM 6, St. Clears Region

DURHAM, Sunderland

HAMPSHIRE, Alton

LANARKSHIRE

LANCASHIRE, Rochdale

NORFOLK, King's Lynn and Sandringham, Holt and Sheringham

NORTHUMBERLAND, Blyth

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, Bulwell and Basford

PEMBROKESHIRE, Tenby - PEM 2, Tenby Battalion HQ

SHROPSHIRE, Ironbridge

SUFFOLK -10th Suffolk Battn.        

SURREY, Farnham

WORCESTERSHIRE, Kidderminster (WOR 2 Group)

WORCESTERSHIRE, Worcester (WOR 1 Group)  

YORKSHIRE, Sheffield

           and

USA, Mass. (Perthshire)

Vickers Armstrong Home Guard 1st Battalion - Factory Defence Unit
(location
unknown)

If you wish details of your group to be included on this page, please use this FEEDBACK link.

Many reenactors use the excellent WWIIReenacting Forum to discuss aspects of their activities.

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