STAFFS HOME GUARD WEBSITE - GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE HOME GUARD
INDIVIDUAL HOME GUARD MEMBERS
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.
Searching for information
about individual members of the Home Guard is not easy. Officers
are marginally less difficult than N.C.O.'s and Other Ranks
but detailed information on the vast majority of Home Guards
is either hidden away, or inaccessible or even wholly lost.
Nevertheless there are some lines of investigation which it
is worthwhile to pursue.
ON THIS PAGE are some guidelines
about possible sources of information and how you might pursue
ON AN ASSOCIATED PAGE is a list of "Missing Members" whom visitors to this website are seeking.
RECORDS AND MEMORIES
This is of course the obvious one and is possibly the motive
for searching further in the first place. The individual Home
Guard may still be with us but, regrettably, more often than
not he (or she) will survive only in the memory of one's siblings,
cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, older friends.
Or in some old papers sitting long forgotten in a family member's
loft - a group photograph, a training
certificate, a King George VI Certificate of Commendation,
a diary. Perhaps even an item of uniform or equipment. So
- think, ask and search!
The official personal records are held by the Ministry of
Defence. These are accessible on application and are subject
to a fee when the applicant is anyone other than the individual
himself. It should be noted that only the baldest of facts
will be accessible. Further details about how to apply are
More detailed personal records
and enrolment forms are closed for 75 years and are thus inaccessible.
They are currently being held at TNT Archive Service at Swadlincote,
Derbyshire, whose details are given below.
It is recommended that before
parting with money and submitting a formal application you
check with the department concerned about the likelihood of
their being able to provide a useful service in your particular
3. A HOME GUARD
UNIT'S OWN PUBLISHED HISTORY
You may be fortunate in that the unit
- sometimes Battalion, sometimes Company, sometimes even Platoon
- to which the individual Home Guard belonged published a
history of its activities. A reasonable number of units did
this. You may be even luckier and find that he/she is mentioned
There seems to be nowhere any comprehensive
list of all these unit histories (although all those for Staffordshire
are mentioned within this website). The webmaster however
has a note of several and is happy to respond to specific
queries. (Please use Feedback).
Copies of these invaluable publications may
be held in reference libraries appropriate to the unit's location.
The Imperial War Museum
holds copies of some within their archive. In the National
Archives collection there are copies held within WO 199
(see Appendix 5 - Records of the Militia & Volunteer Forces
1757-1945 Readers Guide No. 3). While there may be a record
online of the document, you will almost certainly need a personal
visit to examine it. The British
Library is another source of these publications.
4. HOME GUARD
Mention of an individual's name may be made in
one of the Home Guard Lists - but only if he was an officer.
The National Archives
hold copies of these lists which were prepared periodically.
The Imperial War Museum
may have them too.
One of them, recording serving officers in
every unit of the Home Guard throughout the United Kingdom
as of 1st February 1941, has been published and may be purchased
or viewed within local libraries. There are several volumes,
Home Guard List
by Jon Mills
Savannah Publications, London SE23 3HZ
This is a series of 7 volumes which list all serving Home
Guard officers at 1st February 1941, as follows:
1. Eastern Command ISBN 1
902366 22 0
2. London District ISBN 1
902366 23 9
3. Northern Command ISBN 1
902366 24 7
4. Scottish Command ISBN 1
902366 25 5
5. Southern Command ISBN 1
902366 26 3
6. South Eastern Comm. ISBN 1
902366 27 1
7. Western Command ISBN 1
902366 28 X
5. OTHER OFFICIAL
AND PERSONAL RECORDS
- Other records, mainly odd documents about
a unit, have sometimes been lodged in the local library and
these will often refer to individual members.
- In the National
Archives, WO 32 code 66 holds the general registered papers
of the Home Guard, while operational records are included
with papers of the Prime Minister's Office in PREM 3. Home
Guard War Diaries for the Second World War are in WO 166,
and a file containing recommendations for the award of the
British Empire Medal to Home Guard members is in AIR 2/9040.
- The Imperial
War Museum is another source.
- Local history societies can sometimes help.
See 7. below.
- Awards for acts of bravery are recorded
in the London
Gazette, searchable online.
- If a Home Guard lost his life on active
service, his name will be commemorated on the Commonwealth
War Graves Commission website.
- The Army Medal Office
has brief records of those who were eligible for the Defence
Medal. Contact the following address for more information:
Officer in Charge
The Army Medal Office
Gloucestershire GL3 1EZ.
are personal reminiscences of life in the Home Guard to be
found in many websites, usually community or personal sites.
A number of these have been identified and are mentioned within
this website. Look under the individual
There are certainly more -
use Google or a similar search engine to seek them out, using
a search definition such as - YourTown +"home guard".
It may be worthwhile asking
the question in the reference section of one's local library.
One massive online resource
which is worth exploring is the BBC's WW2
People's War archive. A number of specific references
to the archive are made within this website (again under individual
counties) but there are many, many more waiting to be uncovered.
Search the People's War site using the following definition:
YourTown and "home guard" and WW2.
And of course do not forget
to check what is on this site. Find under the individual
county pages or use the Search
facility. (It's a long shot but miracles do sometimes happen!) Consider putting
an appeal in our Visitors'
LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETIES
your family's home town or village have a Local History Association?
Perhaps the latter holds an archive of relevant WW2 material.
Check with your local library to find out about any local society. And does this, or another local organisation or individual,
have a community website (although these are not always well-maintained)? Or, better still, an internet forum?
Consider registering and asking for help. (In all cases, give
as much information as you are able - full name of course
but also, if at all possible, age, rank, unit, dates, location, duties,
comrades' names etc.)
if you do discover something interesting and relevant which
you would like to share, and you would like to commemorate
a father, grandfather or uncle, please consider
The information on this page is provided
for guidance only. Researchers should check its validity and
appropriateness to particular circumstances before expending
time and money in pursuit of their investigations. And if as a result of your own experience you can suggest additions or improvements to this page, PLEASE share them with us and others, using Feedback.
Grateful acknowledgement is made to the sources of some of
the information: "scrimnet"/GB, "IMBER"
and the Veterans Agency.
OFFICIAL PERSONNEL RECORDS - DETAILED
INFORMATION (see 2. above)
The official personal record
of individual Home Guard members is normally held by
the Ministry of Defence. This is accessible on application
but you should note that it will probably only provide
the baldest facts.
Requests from former Service
personnel for his/her personal data held by the Ministry
of Defence are processed in accordance with the Data
Protection Act 1998; such requests are called Subject
Access Requests (SAR). A SAR must be made in writing
and must be accompanied by proof of identity (e.g. a
copy of a passport or recent utilities bill), and sufficient
information to locate the data sought. To assist the
search, your letter should include as much information
as possible eg: Service Number, Rank, Full Name, Date
of Birth and period served; and of course mention of
the Home Guard.
A full copy of the record can be requested;
however, original documents, discharge papers/books
cannot be replaced (and also see below). The MOD will
also provide extracts from service records. Once all
the necessary information has been received, your request
will be processed and you should receive a reply within
40 calendar days.
To obtain a SAR form, please visit the
The following should be noted:
with regard to requests from
service personnel and interested parties:
Enquirers must provide a letter of consent, signed
by the person to whom the records relate.
with regard to requests for records
of deceased personnel:
Enquirers must provide the consent of the Next of Kin
and unless the person died in Service, proof of death.
A charge may be made for enquiries. (in 2007 - £30).
The following address should be used
wishing to access their personal records:
Army Personnel Centre,
Mail Point 515,
65 Brown Street,
Tel: 0845 600 9663
The following address should be used
for family members wishing
records of deceased soldiers:
Army Personnel Centre,
Mail Point 400,
65 Brown Street,
It is strongly recommended that
before submitting a request for information on any Home
Guard member the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency
be contacted to assess the likelihood of success and
the extent of any information which is likely to be
available. Use the Free Veterans Helpline: 0800 169
2277 (Overseas tel. no. +44 1253 866043)
See also the
It should be noted that detailed personal records are
closed for 75 years, and are currently being held at
TNT Archive Service, Tetron Point, William Nadin Way,
Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE11 0BB, Tel: 01283 227 911/912/913,
Fax: 01283 227 942. This means that in normal circumstances
this information remains inaccessible for several years