STAFFS HOME GUARD WEBSITE - GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE HOME GUARD
ANTHONY EDEN'S BROADCAST
This is a page of www.staffshomeguard.co.uk.
On the evening of Tuesday, May 14th,
1940, The Rt. Hon. Anthony Eden, MP, then Secretary of State
for War in Churchill's new government, broadcast the following
appeal to the country. The German onslaught on Holland, Belgium,
Luxembourg and France had been in progress for just four days.
want to speak to you to-night about the form of warfare which
the Germans have been employing so extensively against Holland
and Belgium - namely, the dropping of troops by parachute
behind the main defensive lines. Let me say at once that the
danger to us from this particular menace, although it undoubtedly
exists, should not be exaggerated. We have made preparations
to meet it already.
me describe to you the system under which these parachute
raids are carried out. The troops arrive by aeroplane - but
let it be remembered that any such aeroplane seeking to penetrate
here would have to do so in the teeth of the Anti-Aircraft
defences of this country. If such penetration is effected,
the parachutists are then dropped, it may be by day, it may
be by night. These troops are specially armed, equipped, and
some of them have undergone specialised training. Their function
is to seize important points, such as aerodromes, power stations,
villages, railway junctions and telephone exchanges, either
for the purpose of destroying them at once, or of holding
them until the arrival of reinforcements. The purpose of the
parachute attack is to disorganise and confuse, as a preparation
for the landing of troops by aircraft.
success of such an attack depends on speed. Consequently,
the measures to defeat such an attack must be prompt and rapid.
It is upon this basis that our plans have been laid. You will
not expect me to tell you, or the enemy, what our plans are,
but we are confident that they will be effective. However,
in order to leave nothing to chance and to supplement, from
sources as yet untapped, the means of defence already arranged,
we are going to ask you to help us, in a manner which I know
will be welcome to thousands of you. Since the war began the
Government have received countless enquiries from all over
the Kingdom from men of all ages who are for one reason or
another not at present engaged in military service, and who
wish to do something for the defence of the country.
is your opportunity. We want large numbers of such men in
Great Britain who are British subjects, between the ages of
17 and 65, to come forward now and offer their service in
order to make assurance doubly sure. The name of the new force
which is now to be raised will be the "Local Defence
Volunteers". This name, Local Defence Volunteers, describes
its duties in three words. It must be understood that this
is, so to speak, a spare-time job, so there will be no need
for any volunteer to abandon his present occupation.
members of existing civil defence organisations should ask
their officers' advice before registering under the scheme.
Men who will ultimately become due for calling up under the
National Service (Armed Forces) Act may join temporarily,
and will be released to join the Army when they are required
to serve. Now a word to those who propose to volunteer. When
on duty you will form part of the Armed Forces, and your period
of service will be for the duration of the war. You will not
be paid, but you will receive uniform and will be armed. You
will be entrusted with certain vital duties, for which reasonable
fitness and a knowledge of firearms are necessary. These duties
will not require you to live away from your homes. In order
to volunteer, what you have to do is to give in your name
at your local police station; and then, as and when we want
you, we will let you know.
appeal is directed chiefly to those who live in small towns,
villages and less densely inhabited suburban areas. I must
warn you that, for certain military reasons, there will be
some localities where the numbers required will be small,
and others where your services will not be required at all.
Here then is the opportunity for which so many of you have
been waiting. Your loyal help, added to the arrangements which
already exist, will make and keep our country safe."
appeal was rapidly followed up by the War Office the following
day with the initial instruction
implementing the decision to establish a force.
Myers, The Patch