We start with a pair of Local Defence Volunteers, dressed in their own clothes, patrolling on a dreary, cold day. Next we see the Home Guard, which was the old LDV, now equipped with uniforms and weapons. Numerous drills on a neglected tennis court are followed by rifle and grenade practise, in woods and fields. A platoon is seen stalking the ‘enemy’ before having a relaxing smoke and a chat. Machine gun practise follows before we end with a pair of observers on active duty.
The Local Defence Volunteer force was hastily formed in May 1940 during the Battle of France. Comprised of civilian men between 17 and 65 who wished to defend their country in its darkest hour, it had few resources available. Men patrolled in their own clothes and often trained with broom-handles instead of real rifles. As the LDV became better equipped with proper weapons and uniforms, its name was changed, at Churchill's directive, to the more familiar, Home Guard. This film shows that transition to a more professionally trained and kitted-out army of volunteers who performed all sorts of valuable work throughout the war until they were formally ‘stood down’ in December 1944.
Screen Archive South East is a public sector moving image archive serving the South East of England. The archive's collections of magic lantern slides, films, videos and associated materials capture the many varied aspects of life, work and creativity from the early days of screen history to the present day and serve as a rich and invaluable historical resource.