As the only men who know all the paths,
field track and by-ways, the efficiently trained Home
Guard despatch riders are the D.R.s who will maintain
and help to maintain the communications—not only
for their own units but for those drafted in. This has
been proved in big-scale exercises; it would be proved
to the hilt in the event of invasion. And communications
That is why I stated, "The probability
is that everything would depend
upon their knowledge and efficiency."
I have found that there is realisation
of all this when it is pointed out and that steps are
taken to develop the Don R side. What facilities are
needed? What form should the training take?
First, of course, the motor cycles used
by the Home Guard D.R.s must be reliable. They must
be kept in good fettle, be ready for instant use (and
I mean instant: fuel and oil
always aboard and start readily) and be equipped with
reasonably good tyres that give some hope of the machines
getting across country. Incidentally, they should be
well silenced. For the machines to be maintained in
a satisfactory state there must be adequate mileage,
and therefore mileage money, and there should, in addition,
be lectures and workshop facilities—vide
the article "In a Home Guard Workshop'' in our
issue of January 15th.
The Necessary Training
Secondly comes the training. As it cannot
be assumed that good roads will be available on the
day, there must be training in cross-country riding.
The best basis, I suggest, is the specialised ''Training
on the Lines of Reliability Trials" which has been
standardised by the Army. Our descriptions of the Army-wide
and Army Command demonstrations have given full particulars.
Naturally, the whole scheme would not be laid on for
a single day. One morning or afternoon a couple of the
special types of hazard laid down would be tackled,
with the accompanying lectures and demonstrations. In
a series of three mornings or afternoons all six hazards
would be embraced and just about every lesson in cross-country
riding got across. Correct choice of hazards is necessary,
of course. This is training—not a civvy club's
half-day trial. Trials sections as such are not required.
In areas where the going is sameish, suitable hazards
can generally be improvised even though the Home Guard
has not the working parties, water carts and other facilities
of the regular Army.
So much for the basis, except to point
out that experience has shown that this initial training
should not be too spread out and that in cross-country
riding constant practice is necessary. Having been shown
and told how to tackle all types of going, the Home
Guard D.R.s need next to brush up their knowledge of
their whole locality—to learn all the field paths
and by-ways and how best to negotiate them. This keeps
them in trim, provided they are at the work at least
fortnightly: much better, of course, weekly. They should
go out irrespective of the conditions. None can guarantee
what the weather will be like if and when invasion occurs.
Daytime alone, of course, is not sufficient.
By such means, in operation month
after month, and with map-reading and the other necessary
instruction, the D.R.s will become the tower of strength
that they should be and, in my view, must be.
on specially picked hazards, with lectures and demonstrations,
is desirable in order that there may be the knowledge
necessary for the efficient negotiation of paths, field
and woodland tracks, etc.
In the Yorkshire Dales,
and in many other parts of the country, knowledge of
the tracks and ability to negotiate them would prove
essential. It is also desirable to be experienced
in riding in a respirator
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