This photo of the South Molton Home Guard was taken in the playground of the former Infant School.
On the night of 14th May 1940, Anthony Eden made his first speech as Secretary of State for War. Part of this speech was asking for volunteers for the LDV (Local Defence Volunteers)
Within 24 hours of the broadcast, 250,000 men had put down their names and by the end of May 1940 the number was between 300,000 and 400,000. By the end of June, 1940 the number of volunteers was just under 1½ million. The number peaked at 1.8 million in March 1943 and never fell below 1 million until the Home Guard was disbanded.
The name was changed from 'Local Defence Volunteers' to 'Home Guard' in July 1940 on the instructions of Winston Churchill who felt that the original name was uninspiring.
Members of the Home Guard were either in reserved occupations (essential to the war effort), too young or too old to serve in the Army.
The Home Guard stand-down was on 3rd December 1944. From this date, the Home Guard became an inactive reserve unit The Home Guard was finally disbanded on 31st December 1945.
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