Home Guard


R J C Allison wrote the following article for the Chobham Museum.  The photographs and list of names are held by the museum.

I am writing this article, not so much as what might have been achieved, as to what was attempted. More to the respect of men of Chobham, sadly most no longer living.

Most of these men in the 40 - 60 years age range had already offered their lives and fought in the first World War, in the trenches of France etc. Yet the treatment most received at the Armistice did not stop them from offering to do their bit again. The Local Defence Volunteers formed in Autumn 1940. Sadly the only thing future generations will recall of this service, is the TV farce "Dad's Army". I joined at the age of seventeen and was not called up until 20 years of age and never heard it referred to by that name.

True, we 17 year olds that joined were that different in as much as although we had no battle experience, we were full of patriotic fervour, drummed into us by the British Ministry of Propaganda, so the steadying influence of the older men was useful.

Although sixty years have passed since its formation, I never remember drilling with broomsticks. There was at Burrow Hill about 20 of us assembled, led by Captain Pincent at the time, we were very shortly issued with 10 Le Ross Rifles .303 and 5 rounds of ammunition per man on duty nights. We first off nicknamed ourselves `parashots', but was then issued with LDV armbands - Local Defence Volunteers. We were further issued army fatigue suits, greatcoats and forage caps.

Our nightly patrols covered most of Chobham common, and our guard hut was an old building where  `Metco' was built.

The orders for the platoon was the same at the formation as it was at the end. `Patrol and watch for for "5th columnists"', `check the ID cards of unknown personnel', `watch for any parachutists', but observe and report to military if in any numbers.

Whilst at this stage, we were gradually updated with more rifles, which were later changed to 300 Enfield rifles. The night the church bells sounded for an invasion, which gave way to all sorts of rumours, we were called out, but the propaganda showing masses of people wielding scythes, pitchforks etc. was quickly put to good use.

In fact, 80% of the people were nothing to do with the LDV as it was and would have been a disaster if it was for real. The age for enlisting was from 17 - 60 years old. Though some got by the rules.

As after the war it became known that there was contingency plans to evacuate the whole cabinet and others, it would appear that our designated role was that of local scouts, and possibly a ready armed resistance movement if the worst happened. Fortunately, it didn't. A point to note, at the end of the war Hitler had his own "Volkestorm" `Peoples Army' aged 14 - 70 years old.

Further arming and equipping of the platoon carried on, with the formation of a machine gun section, armed with a heavy machine gun, `Vickers 303' later substituted with a Browning heavy 300 water cooled. Plus a strip Lewis 303 machine gun. Various weapons, such as Thompson Sub machine gun, stens and other back up weapons.

Chobham No 1 platoon was later stationed in the Round Pond Woods and No 2 platoon at Benhams mill. As I was with the No 1 platoon under Major Long, Valley Wood Place, where the photo shown was taken, I regret the names of the majority of No 2 platoon are not known to me.

I was made a corporal in the machine gun section and most of the young men were with me in that section. By this time we were almost equipped as regulars, service respirators, battledress, helmets, boots etc, large pack, small pack and 5th Queens cap badges. The only difference was by this time it was long since changed to `Home Guard', depicted by a shoulder flash and we wore leather belts, spats and pouches, instead of webbing.

Each patrol did 2 or 3 full nights a week from 8 pm until 7 a.m. on duty, covering as far as Sunningdale Railway Bridge to Longcross and Burrow Hill. No 2 platoon covered the Village and surrounding area.

The parade on the Wheatsheaf common was a march of No 1 and No 2 Chobham Homeguard, joined by Horsell platoons, presented by General Wallace-Wright of Chobham to O/C Commanding S/E Forces, name not given at the time - approximately 1942.

I was called up before the `Home Guard' stood down, but during the years I was with them I remember irrespective of age and station of life the friends I made during that time. Stand down date was late 1944.