GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE HOME GUARD
WAR OFFICE MESSAGE - May 18th 1940
is a page of www.staffshomeguard.co.uk.
initial telegram from the War Office to Home Commands,
sent on the day following Eden's announcement, was supplemented
three days later, on Saturday, May 18th 1940, by a more detailed
set of instructions.
THE WAR OFFICE,
27/Gen/2594 (A.G.1.A.). 18th
1. I am commanded by the Army Council to refer to War Office
Teleprinter message 8560 (A.G.1.A.) dated 15th May, 1940,
in connection with the formation of an unpaid Local Defence
2. This Force will form part of the Armed
Forces of the Crown and will be subject to Military Law. But,
the intention of the Army Council is that for the purposes
of administration, the outstanding features should be simplicity,
elasticity and decentralised control, coupled with the minimum
of regulations and formalities.
3. There will be no establishment for the Force. There will
be no officers nor non-commissioned officers in the ordinary
Army sense of these terms. There will be no pay nor other
emoluments. The engagement of the volunteer will be for a
period not exceeding the duration of the present emergency,
but may be terminated by the competent authority at any time,
or at his own request on his giving fourteen days' notice
4. The numbers to be enrolled will depend
entirely upon the numbers available and the numbers required.
The latter will be fixed by Area Commanders, but it should
be remembered that in addition to the total numbers required
to bear arms in an emergency, additional personnel will be
necessary for clerical and similar administrative duties.
Volunteers, when enrolled, will be formed into sections. The
normal approximate size of a section (which will be the basic
unit) will be ten men, but rigid adherence to this figure
is unnecessary. Sections will be grouped into platoons and
platoons into companies, according to local defence requirements.
5. Volunteer Area organisers (in conjunction
with volunteer Group and Zone organisers) will select, and
nominate to the Area Commander, individuals for appointment
as Company commanders. The Company commanders will then appoint
platoon commanders and section leaders. When the initial organisation
has been completed and Company commanders are appointed, the
retention of volunteer Area, Group and Zone organisers, referred
to in paragraph 4 of War Office urgent postal telegram 8560
(A.G.1.A.) dated 15th May, 1940, will be reconsidered.
6. All appointments will be acting and unpaid. Appointments
below that of Company commander will be made or relinquished
at the discretion of the Company commander. Appointments of
Company commanders and above, and their relinquishments, will
be effected on the authority of the Area Commander.
7. No commander of a unit or sub-unit of
the Local Defence Volunteer Force will have any power of command
over any personnel other than his juniors in the Local Defence
8. Enrolment of volunteers on the prescribed
form will be effected by Company commanders who are authorised
to accept applicants, as soon as possible. When completed,
these forms will be kept by the Company commanders. There
will be no Record or Pay Office organisation, and no forms,
other than the enrolment form (with record of service on the
second page thereof), are contemplated at present.
Relevant extracts from the enrolment forms and any further
particulars or records affecting volunteers will be entered
into a Company book to be kept by the Company commander, and
where it is necessary to do so, extracts from these books
will be entered on the volunteer's enrolment form.
All casualties or appointments will be reported to the Company
commander and will be entered on the back of the enrolment
form. In the event of known casualties of a serious nature
the next of kin will be informed by the Company commander.
9. Volunteers whose conduct has been satisfactory
but who may be found to be surplus to requirements, will be
granted a discharge under the heading "Services no longer
required - surplus to requirements." The competent authority
for purposes of termination of engagement under this heading
will be the Company commander.
Instructions in connection with discipline, and termination
of engagement for disciplinary reasons will be issued separately.
10. Arms, ammunition and uniform will be
issued under Command arrangements to Areas, who will be responsible
for arranging their storage, distribution and safeguarding.
The utmost care will be exercised in the selection of suitable
Separate instructions will be issued with regard to the provision
of arms, ammunition and uniform.
11. Instructions dealing with travelling,
travelling allowances, petrol issues, etc., supplementing
those contained in War Office urgent postal telegrams 20/Misc/1763
(F.4.a) dated 17th May, 1940 and 53/Gen/5277 (S.T.2) dated
27th May, 1940, are being issued separately.
12. Claims for compensation on account of disabilities attributable
to service will be dealt with under the regulations for the
time being in force. Those regulations will provide for the
same terms in the case of death or permanent disablement,
as are applicable to private soldiers and their dependants.
13. A specimen of an Enrolment Form is
attached. Supplies of these forms are being despatched at
once direct to Area Head-quarters for distribution to Company
14. The Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces,
is responsible for the
operational control, organisation and training of the Local
Defence Volunteer Force.
I am, Sir, your obedient
(Signed) G. W. Lambert
Copy to :- The Commander-in-Chief, Home