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GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE HOME GUARD

TIMELINE 1938-1945 
KEY DATES OF THE HOME GUARD
with 
 RELATED DOMESTIC EVENTS
  
and  

MAJOR INTERNATIONAL EVENTS

Blue text for international/military events, green for domestic, khaki for Home Guard.

1938 - 1939 - 1940 - 1941 - 1942 - 1943 - 1944 - 1945


    1938
MCH  
12   Germany annexes Austria, the Anschluss.  
SEPT    
29   Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier, the British and French prime ministers, reach agreement with Hitler and Mussolini at Munich, resolving the Sudetenland crisis. A separate resolution provides for Germany and Great Britain settling all future disputes by peaceful means, thus ensuring "peace for our time".  Czechoslovakia will pay the price.
OCT    
10   In accordance with the Munich agreement Germany takes control of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.
NOV    
9/10
 
  Kristallnacht, a night of state-sponsored destruction, violence and murder, is a further development in the Nazi policy of persecution of the Jews.
11   On this day, twenty years earlier, there ended the Great War - "the war to end all wars".
     
    1939
FEB    
    Anderson air raid shelters start to be issued.
MCH    
15   In breach of the Munich agreement Germany occupies Prague and takes control of all of Czechoslovakia.
APR  
27   Conscription introduced in U.K. for all men of ages 20-21.
AUG    
11   There is a blackout trial in London.
 23   Germany and the U.S.S.R. sign a non-aggression pact.
24   Military reservists are called up and the A.R.P. is put on alert.
25   Great  Britain and Poland sign a Mutual Assistance Treaty.
31   Thousands of British children start to be evacuated from cities into safer areas as the threat of war looms - "The First Evacuation".
SEPT     
  Germany invades Poland.
3   Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation and Great Britain declares war on Germany.
  President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares the U.S.A.'s neutrality.
10    The main force of the British Expeditionary Force starts to arrive at Cherbourg.
17    In accordance with a further secret pact with Germany, the Soviet Union invades eastern Poland.
OCT    
  British men between 20 and 22 are now liable for conscription.
  Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, is proposing the forming of a "Home Guard" of about 500,000 men.
14    HMS Royal Oak is sunk whilst moored at Scapa Flow.
NOV   An uneasy calm descends on Great Britain - "The Phoney War". About 1.5 million men will have been conscripted into the armed forces by the end of the year.
    Germany and its new Soviet ally continue to carve up Poland between them and brutally subjugate it.
30    Russia invades Finland.
DEC    
17    Following the Battle of the River Plate the Graf Spee is scuttled.
     
    1940
JAN -
FEB
   
    The Phoney War continues in Western Europe with military activities limited to the air and sea. Hitler and Mussolini meet.
Rationing begins in Great Britain. Conscription is extended to the ages 20 - 27. A large proportion of evacuated children have now returned to their homes. January is a particularly cold month in the U.K.
MCH    
12   After a valiant struggle Finland makes a peace agreement with Russia.
APR    
9   Germany attacks Norway and Denmark by air, land and sea. British, French and Polish troops go to Norway's aid.
MAY    
    As the month progresses and events rapidly unfold, in Great Britain there is an increasing sense of shock and fear of a "Fifth Column" of traitors and saboteurs. A great popular pressure develops to form a civil militia.
8   Proposals in the House of Lords for the creation of "local levies armed with rifles".
10   The German Army and Luftwaffe attack Belgium, the Netherlands and France.
11   Crucial War Office meeting to consider the forming of a militia.
12-16   Thousands of aliens are interned.
12   Parallel schemes being prepared by the War Office and General HQ, Home Forces in collaboration with Eastern Command for a local defence force.
13   Essential details are agreed.
The second evacuation of children starts from vulnerable areas and continues into July.
14   Secretary of State for War, Anthony Eden, broadcasts to the nation announcing the formation of the Local Defence Volunteers and enrolment starts immediately.
Rotterdam is heavily bombed and the Netherlands surrenders.
15   Some Home Guard groups start patrols.
16   The German Army smashes through the French lines at Sedan.
17   The legal staus of the L.D.V. is established via the issue of an Order in Council.
18   Detailed instructions concerning the L.D.V. issued from GHQ, Home Forces.
20   The German Army reaches the sea at Boulogne.
22   250,000 L.D.V. armbands are on their way to members.
23   An appeal is launched for owners of shotguns and rifles to hand them in for use by the L.D.V.
Boulogne is evacuated by the British.
24   Middlesbrough is the first British town to be attacked by the Luftwaffe.
27   Evacuation of B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) from Dunkirk starts.
Sir Edmund Ironside is appointed Commander-in-Chief of Home Forces.
28   Belgium surrenders.
31   Total of L.D.V. volunteers reaches 750,000.
late   Small numbers of S.M.L.E. .303 rifles start to be issued to some L.D.V. units. Orders are placed for 75,000 Great War Ross rifles from Canada and 100,000 .300 Springfield and Remington P14 and P17 rifles from the U.S.A. Denim overalls start to be issued to L.D.V. members. The Northern Ireland Government decides to raise the Ulster Defence Volunteers as a branch of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and equivalent to the Home Guard.
JUNE    
1   All signposts which might be helpful to parachutists landing in Britain are taken down.
4   Evacuation from Dunkirk ends with 340,000 British and French soldiers safely reaching Southern England, but without their arms.  Fighting continues in France.
8   The last Allied troops withdraw from Norway after the unsuccessful attempt to defend the country.
11   Householders in possession of Anderson shelters must by law have them up and earthed by today.
14   Paris surrenders.
17   British withdrawal from France is completed.
20   Lt.-Gen. H.R. Pownall, C.B., D.S.O., M.C. is appointed Inspector-General of the L.D.V.
22   France capitulates and signs an Armistice with Germany, and with Italy on the 24th. France is partitioned into a German occupied zone and a sympathetic "independent" zone, "Vichy France". Great Britain is now alone apart from the Commonwealth countries.
25   Bristol has an air raid, the first of many up to 15th May 1944. The heaviest attacks will occur on 24th November, 2nd December and 6th December 1940, 3/4th January 1941 and 16/17th March 1941.
30   The Channel islands are occupied by German troops.
JULY    
    The first Ross rifles arrive from Canada.
Debate rages during the month over the role of the L.D.V. - passive or active? Opinion is shifting towards a more active role. This will be confirmed and formalised in August.
3   The Royal Navy attacks and destroys much of the French fleet at Oran and Mers-el-Kebir.
9   The Luftwaffe's air war against Great Britain starts - the Battle of Britain.
10    Italy declares war on Britain and France.
13   1,166,212 men have enrolled in the L.D.V.
14   In a broadcast Churchill refers to the "Home Guard".
16   Hitler issues a directive for the invasion of Great Britain, "Operation Sealion".
19   General Sir Alan Brooke takes over from General Ironside as C-in-C, Home Forces.
20   The King inspects 2000 Home Guards at Woodford, Essex.
21   The start of Operation Sealion is provisionally scheduled for 15th September 1940.
23   Formal acceptance of the name change to "Home Guard" under pressure from Churchill.
24   German radio issues a threatening warning to members of the Home Guard.
AUG    
1   There are now 1,472,505 members.
3   The Home Guard units are given county titles.
6   Army Council Instruction 92.4 sets out the role of the Home Guard as a part of the Army.
8   The Luftwaffe's heightened main offensive against Great Britain begins, prior to invasion. 
9   The first air raid on Birmingham. There will be 26 more until 23rd April 1943, the most serious taking place between the end of August 1940 and May 1941.
13   The War Office announces that it will issue light machine guns to the Home Guard "where necessary".
18   The Home Guard brings down its first enemy aircraft with rifle fire in South London.
20   The King inspects 3000 S.E. London Home Guards at West Wickham.
25   The first bomber attack by the RAF on Berlin takes place.
28   The issue of full battledress to all Home Guards is approved in principle but initially only to those without denims.
SEPT    
    A dedicated Home Guard training base is created at Osterley Park under the direction of Tom Winteringham.
Further large evacuations of children and the vulnerable occur with the onset of the Blitz.
7/8   The Luftwaffe switches its main target from RAF airfields and radar installations to London. The London Blitz has started.
The code word "Cromwell" is inadvertedly issued which leads to a major invasion scare overnight throughout the country.
13   Italy invades Egypt.
15   Rising Luftwaffe losses peak today at between 50 and 60 aircraft.
17   The first military award to the Home Guard, a Military Medal, is awarded to Volunteer Glyn Jones for his actions during an air raid on 12/13th July at an unspecified location.
"City of Benares", a ship carrying children being evacuated to North America, is torpedoed by submarine U-48 with heavy loss of life.
Operation Sealion is postponed.
28   Maj.-Gen. T.R. Eastwood, D.S.O., M.C. is appointed Inspector-General of the Home Guard succeeding Lt.-Gen. Pownall.
end   The Luftwaffe switches its main bombing effort to night operations thus acknowledging that the Battle of Britain is being lost.
OCT  
12

15/16
  Unknown to the British, Operation Sealion, the plan to invade the British Isles, is postponed further until Spring 1941.
A posthumous George Cross is awarded tn May 1941 to Section Commander George Walter Inwood for courage and self-sacrifice in Bishop Street, Birmingham during an air-raid on this night
.
24   British Summer Time is to be extended throughout the winter.
26   For their bravery on this day, two Birmingham Home Guards are later awarded the George Medal.
28   Italy invades Greece.
29   British troops land in Greece.
31   Official end of the Battle of Britain.
NOV    
6   In Parliament an announcement is made: an army rank structure will be introduced, administration arrangements will be tightened, regular Army personnel will be inserted into Home Guard battalions as instructors and administrators and standard Army battledress will replace the denims although the latter will probably take 6 months.
11   The first large Italian raid on Great Britain takes place.
The Fleet Air Arm attack the Italian fleet at Tarranto.
12/13   After more than two months of daily attacks, the relentless aerial attack on London temporarily ceases.
The first consignment of rifles, revolvers and ammunition donated by private U.S. citizens is distributed to an unspecified Home Guard unit.
14/15   The Luftwaffe switches to other targets for its bombers, industrial centres starting with a devastating attack on Coventry.
19   The House of Commons demonstrates its keen interest in the Home Guard by again debating its role.
DEC    
9   The British Army opens its offensive in the Western desert.
10   Two German spies are executed at Pentonville Prison.
17   Home Office announces a third German spy hanged at Pentonville Prison.
An Isle of Wight housewife is sentenced to death at Winchester for "Treachery", the cutting of a military telephone wire; this is later commuted to 14 years of penal servitude.
20   Liverpool suffers a 48 hour attack by the Luftwaffe. It will endure many other attacks until early 1942, some of the most serious occurring between 1st and 7th May 1941.
22   The start of a 48 hour onslaught by the Luftwaffe against Manchester.
29   Much of the City of London is destroyed.
     
    1941
JAN    

9

13

18
end
  A month of severe weather.
Churchill inspects the 1st American Motorised Squadron of the Home Guard, founded officially last September.
The War Office announces that Home Guards may be employed in helping to deal with incendiary bombs at the discretion of the local unit commander.
Dive bombing attacks on Malta begin.
Battledress has replaced denims in most units and has been issued to 1.2m. men. A small stock of denims will be retained for use for dirty work or in those cases where full battledress has not been issued.
FEB    

3

19
  The official number of evacuees is now 1.37 million.
The War Office announces details of commissioned ranks for the Home Guard, ranging from Second Lieutenant up to Brigadier.
The start of a three-day bombing attack on Swansea, the worst in a series from 27th June 1940 to 19th May 1943.  
       
MCH    
11   Compensation for unavoidable loss of earnings fixed at a maximum of 10/- (£0.50) per day.
The Lend Lease Bill is signed by President Roosevelt.
APR  
6

22/23
  German forces invade Yugoslavia; and also Greece where they rapidly overwhelm the British forces and take complete control by 11th May.
Plymouth suffers a devastating air raid, the worst of a long series from 6th July 1940 to 30th April 1944.
MAY    
10


14

15

17


24
27
28
31

Hitler's deputy, Rudolph Hess, bales out over Scotland and is captured by the Home Guard. The mystery of his appearance is never properly explained.
The last major attack on London of the 1940/41 Blitz. 

The first anniversary of the establishment of the Home Guard. It is given the privilege of mounting guard at Buckingham Palace.
     
The establishment of a National Fire Service, combining local brigades and the A.F.S. (Auxiliary Fire Service), is announced.
Maj. Gen Lord Bridgeman, D.S.O., M.C., takes over from Maj. Gen. T.R. Eastwood as Director-General.
It is announced that Tommy Guns and anti-tank weapons are being distributed.
HMS Hood is sunk
by the German battleship Bismarck.
Bismarck is sunk.
Every cadet unit will be eligible for affiliation to the local Home Guard unit.
German airborne forces, despite heavy losses, finally overcome British resistance and take Crete.  This gives rise to renewed fears of an airborne attack on Great Britain.

JUNE    
1
22
  Clothes rationing is introduced in Britain.
Germany attacks its ally, the Soviet Union, without warning. Russia thus becomes the first ally of Great Britain and the Commonwealth since mid-1940 in the fight against Nazism.
JULY    
5
12
25
  Foreign Secretary Eden categorically rules out possibility of negotiating with Hitler.
Britain and Russia sign mutual assistance agreement, pledging ‘no separate peace’.
Announcement that 1 million Home Guards will take part in exercises over the next two       weeks.
AUG
1

10

15
  Compensation for loss of earnings increased to 12/- (£0.60) per day or 70/- (£3.50) per          week maximum.
London and Birmingham are the scene of fierce simulated battles involving the Home Guard.
Lord Bridgeman talks of the lessons from Russia and the suitability of the Home Guard for the necessary duties of behind-the-lines sabotage in the event of invasion.
Josef Jacobs, captured by the Home Guard within 12 hours of his descent by parachute, is shot in the Tower of London after conviction for espionage.
SEPT    
12   A small number of Liverpool Home Guards will transfer to anti-aircraft batteries on an experimental basis.
OCT  

             

5  

The battle for Moscow begins. This will last until 6th December.      

NOV    


12


27
  Announcement that w.e.f. January 1942 all eligible men between the ages of 18 and 51 must serve in the Home Guard and accept strict obligations of service.
Order issued by War Office stating that training of women as unofficial Home Guards has not been authorised and the use of weapons or ammunition in the training of women is not permitted.

German Panzers are only 19 miles from Moscow.
DEC    
2


5
8

9
10
11
12
18



24

25
Churchill introduces a new National Service Bill, including compulsory service for women.
It is announced that Home Guards have been manning coastal artillery batteries for some time. The question of manning AA batteries is still under consideration.
Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary and Rumania.
The Japanese attack the U.S.A. at Pearl Harbour and simultaneously attack Malaya and The Philippines.
Great Britain and the U.S.A. declare war on Japan.
HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse are sunk off Malaya by Japanese aerial attack.
Germany declares war on the U.S.A. The war is now truly global.

Britain declares war on Bulgaria.
All men and women aged between 18 and 60 now liable for some form of national service including military service for those under 51. This includes compulsory service in the  Home Guard in certain districts, the removal of the right of Home Guards to resign and the imposition of obligatory training and duty of 48 hours per month.
Those disabled in Home Guard service will be liable to pensions. There will be allowances for the dependents of those killed in service.
Hong Kong falls to the Japanese.
     
    1942
JAN    

1

10

15
20


22

23

29
  Two months of particularly severe weather in the U.K.
The Merseyside Home Guard anti-aircraft batteries start their operations. An extension of this experiment is still being considered.
It is revealed that 90,000 employees of the main line train companies are fully trained as  Home Guards.
The Japanese Army moves into Burma.
At Wannsee, near Berlin, the S.S. chair a conference of 15 top Nazi bureaucrats to coordinate the practical details of the "Final Solution", the systematic murder of all Jews in Europe.
It is reported that for some time Home Guard units, in cooperation with the Army and the  new RAF Regiment, have been testing aerodrome defences.
Those living in East Anglia are warned of the continuing probability of invasion, possibly in the spring.
In the House of Commons Churchill seeks and obtains an overwhelming vote of confidence.
FEB    
1
11

12

15

16

17
19
  First Travelling Wing established for the training of Home Guard units in situ.
There is pressure on the Government to permit the recruitment of women into the Home Guard.
A Government statement in support of the issue of pikes to the Home Guard is met with incredulity and ridicule.

Singapore surrenders and its huge British Garrison falls into the hands of the Japanese
Army.

Deadline for original volunteers in the Home Guard either to resign or to accept the new terms of service.
Fewer than 2% of Home Guards have resigned before that option is closed to them.
The Australian city of Darwin suffers a heavy aerial attack from the Japanese.
MCH    
7
23




26
  Rangoon falls to the Japanese.
The War Office decides, following successful experiments, to recruit large numbers of Home Guards to man special anti-aircraft batteries.
The first court martial of Home Guards leading to detention takes place in Altrincham, Cheshire. Two brothers get 56 days for insubordination and disobedience.
The duty of civilians in the event of invasion is clarified by a statement in Parliament.
Compulsory service, previously limited to the south of England, is extended to the entire country.
APR    

1
13

15
17
23
  The Home Guard voluntarily mans anti-aircraft batteries in Aberdeen.
Mandalay falls to the Japanese.
Four Home Guard officers are amongst those killed during a combined exercise in Southern England near Warminster.
Gun crews for 12 A.A. sites in London are being recruited from the Home Guard.

It is confirmed that the Blacker Bombard, or spigot mortar, is now being issued to units.
Beginning of so-called Baedeker air raids by the Luftwaffe on picturesque provincial British cities such as Exeter, Canterbury, Bath, Norwich, York, Bury St. Edmonds, Cambridge, Great Yarmouth and Ipswich. These will last until 6th June.             
MAY    
8


14


17
26
30/31
  The Philippines fall to the Japanese.
Despite heavy losses, in the Battle of the Coral Sea the US Navy thwarts Japanese landings at Port Moresby in New Guinea which would have threatened Australia.
The second anniversary of the Home Guard is marked by a tribute from Churchill in the House of Commons. The War Office has expressed a desire that the public be allowed to witness demonstrations by Home Guards under training.
The King becomes Colonel-in-Chief.
Bristol and Cambridge are the object of major military exercises.
Axis offensive launched in Libya.
First RAF 1000 bomber raid is launched against Cologne.
JUNE    

7

17
24
  The Japanese reach the north-eastern frontier of India.
The Battle of Midway ends with the sinking of four Japanese aircraft carriers and establishment of air superiority in the area by the US Navy.
In North Africa Tobruk falls to the Germans.
The Germans penetrate 50 miles into Egypt.
JULY    
2


4
  Attacks begin on PQ-17, one of 78 Arctic convoys throughout the war transporting supplies from the U.K. to Russia. Of the 36 ships of PQ-17, only 11 reach their destination. Two of the survivors will also be sunk on their return journey.
The USAAF launches its first major attack on German targets.
AUG    
19   A nine hour raid is made on Dieppe which involves heavy Allied losses.
SEPT    
27 The minimum age for joining the Home Guard is reduced from 17 to 16. Parental consent will be needed.
OCT    
23   The Battle of El Alamein begins.
NOV    
4
8

11

28
  The British Eighth Army defeats Rommel and his army at El Alamein.
A combined British and American force starts landing on the Algerian and Tunisian coast - Operation Torch".

French forces in Morocco and Algeria capitulate.
German forces enter Vichy France.
The George Cross is awarded posthumously to Lt. William Foster, 7th Battalion Wiltshire Home Guard, for throwing himself on a grenade before it detonated and thus saving several comrades.
DEC    

23
  The British 14th Army attempts its first, and unsuccessful, offensive in Burma.
The ringing of church bells will be permitted before noon on Christmas Day; but the general ban remains in place.
     
    1943
JAN    
18   The siege of Leningrad is raised.
FEB    
2
8
11
  The remnants of the German 6th Army surrender at Stalingrad.
The Americans take Guadalcanal.
Suggestions that the Home Guard will be used as a post-war police force are refuted in Parliament.
MCH    
    Home Guard membership peaks at 1,793,000.
A determined Japanese offensive to invade India is repulsed.
6/7   The Home Guard attack Birmingham from the south-west in a massive exercise.
APR    
20   The limited recruitment of women into the Home Guard is announced. Duties will be non-combatant, such as driving, cooking and clerical work. Age range: 18-65 but preference to go to those over 45.
MAY    



13
14
  The turning point is reached in the Battle of the Atlantic when the "wolf pack" tactics of the German submarines, adopted in 1940 against Atlantic supply convoys and murderously successful, begin to be effectively countered by the convoys and their escorts.
Final total victory by the British and American armies in North Africa.
The third anniversary of the Home Guard is marked by a speech delivered by Churchill in Washington D.C. and heard in the U.K. by radio. Guard is mounted at Buckingham Palace and the King takes the salute at a march past in Hyde Park on Sunday the 16th.
JULY    
10
15
  Allied forces invade Sicily
The German offensive at Kursk ends in failure after the biggest tank battle in history. This marks a turning of the tide for the Red Army and the long suffering Russian people.
AUG    
23   A firebombing attack by the RAF destroys much of Hamburg.
27   Men already working 60 hours per week will not be directed into Home Guard service unless circumstances make it imperative.
SEPT    
8

9
  The Italian surrender is announced but Germany immediately assumes control of
the country.
Allied forces invade the Italian mainland
.
OCT    
4
22
  Corsica is liberated.
A future large scale surprise exercise to test London's defences is announced. This takes place on Saturday night 23rd/Sunday 24th and involves every H.G. unit in Greater London repelling 100 separate "attacks" from regular troops.
NOV    
9   Churchill warns of future "new forms of attack on the this island" which, if they come, will call for the utmost efficiency and devotion in the firewatchers and the Home Guard.
DEC    
2

26
  Minister of Labour Ernest Bevin announces conscription to mines as coal output continues to flag in Britain.
The German battlecruiser Scharnhorst is sunk.
     
    1944
JAN    
4
22
  In Italy the battle for Cassino begins.
The Allies land south of Rome at Anzio.
FEB    
3   The Germans launch an offensive against the Anzio beachhead.
MCH    
7

18

30
In Burma a Japanese offensive is launched across the Chindwin River but is eventually repulsed by the 14th Army.
Some details are revealed about the rocket A.A. batteries which have been operating since 1941 and which are now mainly manned by the Home Guard.
For purposes of national defence all men in Germany will be subject to rifle training.
APR    
15


23

25
  Changes in the organisation of the Home Guard mean the abolition of zone commands and groups and their work taken over by sub-district commands, the commander bearing the title "Home Guard Adviser".
One officer and five members of an Essex unit are killed, and three more injured, in an accidental explosion.
It is revealed that since earlier in the year and with the greater availability of ammunition some training exercises are being undertaken using live ammunition and explosives.
MAY    
14


18
The fourth anniversary of the Home Guard is marked by an appreciative speech by H.M. King George VIth, his taking the salute in Hyde Park and a H.G. guard being mounted at Buckingham Palace.
The Battle of Monte Cassino ends, opening up the road to Rome.
JUNE    
5
6
13
19

21
  Allied troops enter Rome.
D-Day - Allied forces land in Normandy.

The first V1 "doodlebug" falls on London
.
Five Home Guards are killed when their HQ is hit by a V1 in Crofton Park, London S.E.4.
Maj.-Gen. Sir James Syme Drew, K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O., M.C. is appointed Director-General of the Home Guard in succession to Maj.-Gen. Lord Bridgeman.
     
JULY    
8


9
20
24
  Thousands more children are evacuated over the weekend from London to escape the new onslaught, continuing a trend which started soon after the arrival of the first V1s; many families make private arrangements to avoid the danger. Caen finally falls to British and Canadian forces.
An attempt on Hitler's life fails.
The military commander of the London District pays generous tribute to the work done by the Home Guard during V1 attacks.
AUG    
1
10
11

12
15
24
  Start of the Warsaw uprising.
Japanese resistance on Guam ceases.
Five Home Guards are killed when a gun explodes in a coastal battery at Corbyn Head, Devonshire.
The Germans start to retreat from Normandy.

Allied forces land in the South of France.
Paris is liberated.
In an Order of the Day, South-Eastern Command stresses the continuing need for the Home Guard until there remains no further possibility of an invasion of the country. In the meantime the threat "is by no means over".
SEPT    
2
3
5

6

8
11


17


30
  In Italy the German Gothic Line is broken by the Eighth Army.
Brussels is liberated by the British Guards Armoured Division.     
              
The War Office states that whilst the existence of the Home Guard remains necessary, plans for its eventual stand-down are being prepared.
Sir James Grigg, Secretary of State for War, makes a generous broadcast tribute to the Home Guard.
The first V2 rocket missile falls on London. 
Conscription into the Home Guard ends, as do compulsory training and parades. The membership stands at 1,727,095. There are 142,246 manning 93 rocket batteries and 27 heavy A.A. batteries throughout the country.
"Operation Market Garden", the airborne assault to capture Rhine bridges, is initially successful but eventually fails at Arnhem.
Reduction of complete black-out to "dim-out".
The last of the German cross-Channel guns which have pounded the southeast coast of England for three years are silenced.
There is confusion, disappointment and even resentment in many quarters at the way in which the Home Guard is apparently being allowed to "fizzle out".
OCT    
10

18


20
21

25
28
  It is announced that Home Guards will be permitted to retain their greatcoats, boots and other articles of clothing at stand-down.
All able-bodied Germans between the ages of 16 and 60 are to be conscripted into a Volkssturm, equivalent to the British Home Guard, under the command of Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler.  
American forces land in the Philippines.        
The Germans state that a Volkssturm (Home Guard) Division has been in action against Russian tanks.
A German Home Guard division is identified as fighting in the Vosges Mountains.
Home Guard units are advised that stand-down will begin on 1st November and all units will remain in reserve until final disbandment. Stand-down parades will take place on Sunday 3rd December.
NOV    
1
12
19
23
  Stand-down begins.
The German battleship Tirpitz is finally sunk.

The wholly secret Auxiliary Units are stood down.
It is revealed that over the last three years the annual cost to the nation of each Home Guard has been £9.   
                                                                                                                                 
DEC    
3


12

13
15

16

22
31
  Home Guard stand-down parades take place in London and throughout the country. In London 7000 Home Guards from every battalion in the country march past the King.
In the evening the King broadcasts a generous tribute to the force.

The 14th Army launches a successful offensive which eventually penetrates deep into Burma.
The USAAF makes its first of many damaging raids on Japanese industrial targets.
808 Home Guards are honoured with appointments to various divisions of the Order of the British Empire or awards of the British Empire Medal.
German forces break through the Allied lines in the Ardennes, temporarily halting the relentless Allied advance.
The deepest German penetration, of 40 miles, is achieved.
Home Guard stand-down is completed.
     
    1945
JAN    
17
19
26



27
  The Russians enter Warsaw, too late to help the uprising. The Russians cross the German border and enter East Prussia.
The Allied counter-offensive in the Ardennes has forced the Germans back to the German border.

The President of The Historical Association writes to The Times warning of the risk of Home Guard records being destroyed without thought for the needs of future historians.
Auschwitz is liberated by the Russians. This event is barely noticed in Great Britain.
FEB    
1
4
13/14


16
  The Russians are 50 miles from the centre of Berlin.
Belgium is liberated.
Dresden, the only major German city not to have been attacked in the Allied bombing campaign, is devastated by the RAF and USAAF in night and day assaults. The air raid remains controversial to this day.
The Americans land on Corregidor.      
MCH    
6
7
9/10
23

27
29
end
The Americans capture Cologne.
The Allies cross the Rhine.

Tokyo is fire-bombed by the USAAF. 100,000 people are estimated to have died.
Mandalay is retaken.
The main Rhine crossing, using 40,000 airborne troops, occurs.
The last V2 falls on London.
The last V1 falls on London.
The Americans complete their conquest of Iwo Jima.
APR    
11
13
15

16
18
22
26
29
  The Americans liberate Buchenwald concentration camp.
Vienna is captured by the Russians.
The British liberate Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The images which emerge shock the country and the world.
The Russians start their final assault on Berlin and five days later enter the city.
German forces in the Ruhr surrender.
The American campaign in the central Philippines is officially over.
Russian and American forces link up on the Elbe at Torgau.
Hitler commits suicide in his Berlin bunker
.
Munich is entered by the Americans who also liberate Dachau concentration camp.
The RAF drops food supplies on German-occupied Holland.
MAY    
2

3

4
7
8
10

18
29
  The unconditional surrender of German forces in Italy comes into effect.
Berlin surrenders to the Russians.
Hamburg surrenders to the British without a fight.
Rangoon is retaken.
German forces in Northern Europe surrender to Field Marshall Montgomery.
Unconditional surrender of all German armed forces.
Formal end to the war in Europe
- V.E. Day.
An appeal is made by the Netherlands Welfare Commissioner for the donation of old Home Guard or Civil Defence clothing.
Home Guards with three years of service will be eligible for a defence medal.
It is confirmed that 438 Home Guards were killed or died of wounds and 557 were wounded as a result of enemy action; a further 768 died from causes attributable to their service and 5633 were admitted to hospital.
JUNE    
6
13
21
  The campaign in Burma is effectively over, with the Japanese ejected from the country.
US and Australian troops enter Brunei.
Organised Japanese resistance ceases on Okinawa after weeks of vicious fighting.
JULY    
5
26
  The liberation of the entire Philippines is announced.
Atlee succeeds Churchill as Prime Minister.
AUG    
6
8
14
15
  The first atomic bomb destroys Hiroshima.
A second atomic bomb falls on Nagasaki.
The war against Japan ends with total surrender.
V.J. Day.
NOV    
17   A tongue-in-cheek letter to The Times - from a Home Guard private/retired Admiral - suggests that now the risk of invasion has decreased it may be time to consider disbanding the Home Guard; or at least releasing those in the 60-80 age group.
DEC    
12

31
  It is announced that the Home Guard will be formally disbanded on 31st December. Articles of clothing and equipment will be retained by all ranks as personal property. 
The Home Guard is formally disbanded.
     
    LATER YEARS
   

Home Guards will however be seen again as they participate in the Victory Parade in London on 8th June 1946.

The force will be revived in the 1950s for a short period in the face of the Soviet threat.


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J5 - 2006, updated April 2016