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TIMELINE 1938 -1945 
- KEY DATES OF THE HOME GUARD -

with  RELATED DOMESTIC EVENTS  and   MAJOR INTERNATIONAL EVENTS

 This 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.

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

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








 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1938

MARCH 
12th      Germany annexes Austria, the Anschluss.  

SEPTEMBER
29th      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.

OCTOBER
10th      In accordance with the Munich agreement Germany takes control of the Sudetenland region of              Czechoslovakia.

NOVEMBER
9/10th    Kristallnacht, a night of state-sponsored destruction and murder, is a further development in               the Nazi policy of persecution of the Jews.
11th      On this day, twenty years earlier, there ended the Great War - "the war to end all wars".

1939

FEBRUARY
              Anderson air raid shelters start to be issued.

MARCH
15th       In breach of the Munich agreement Germany occupies Prague and takes control of all of               Czechoslovakia.

APRIL
27th       Conscription introduced in U.K. for all men of ages 20-21.

AUGUST
11th       There is a blackout trial in London.
23rd       Germany and the U.S.S.R. sign a non-aggression pact.
24th       Military reservists are called up and the A.R.P. is put on alert.
25th       Great  Britain and Poland sign a Mutual Assistance Treaty.

31st       Thousands of British children start to be evacuated from cities into safer areas as the threat of                war looms - "The First Evacuation".

SEPTEMBER           
1st        Germany invades Poland.
3rd        Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation and Great Britain declares war on Germany.
5th        President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares the U.S.A.'s neutrality.
10th      The main force of the British Expeditionary Force starts to arrive at Cherbourg.
17th      In accordance with a further secret pact with Germany, the Soviet Union invades eastern              Poland.
           
OCTOBER
1st    
   British men between 20 and 22 are now liable for conscription
8th       Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, is proposing the forming of a "Home Guard" of              about 500,000 men.
             Meanwhile recruitment into the tiny "National Defence Forces", started in 1936, is halted.
14th  
   HMS Royal Oak is sunk whilst moored at Scapa Flow.

NOVEMBER
             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.
30th      Russia invades Finland.

DECEMBER
17th      Following the Battle of the River Plate the Graf Spee is scuttled.

1940

JANUARY - FEBRUARY
             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.

MARCH
12th     After a valiant struggle Finland makes a peace agreement with Russia.

APRIL
9th       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.
 8th       Proposals in the House of Lords for the creation of "local levies armed with rifles".
10th      The German Army and Luftwaffe attack Belgium, the Netherlands and France.
             Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister.
11th      Crucial War Office meeting to consider the forming of a militia.
12th-16th  Thousands of aliens are interned.
12th       Parallel schemes being prepared by the War Office and General HQ, Home Forces in               collaboration with Eastern Command for a local defence force.
13th       Essential details are agreed.
              The second evacuation of children starts from vulnerable areas and continues into July.
14th       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.
15th       Some Home Guard groups start patrols.
16th       The German Army smashes through the French lines at Sedan.
17th       The legal staus of the L.D.V. is established via the issue of an Order in Council.
18th       Detailed instructions concerning the L.D.V. issued from GHQ, Home Forces.
20th       The German Army reaches the sea at Boulogne.
22nd       250,000 L.D.V. armbands are on their way to members.
23rd       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.
24th        Middlesbrough is the first British town to be attacked by the Luftwaffe.
27th        Evacuation of B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Force) from Dunkirk starts.

               Sir Edmund Ironside is appointed Commander-in-Chief of Home Forces.
28th        Belgium surrenders.
31st        Total of L.D.V. volunteers reaches 750,000.
l
ate         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
1st         
All signposts which might be helpful to parachutists landing in Britain are taken down.
4th          Evacuation from Dunkirk ends with 340,000 British and French soldiers safely reaching                Southern England, but without their arms.  Fighting continues in France.
8th          The last Allied troops withdraw from Norway after the unsuccessful attempt to defend the                country.
11th        Householders in possession of Anderson shelters must by law have them up and earthed by                today.
14th        Paris surrenders.
17th        British withdrawal from France is completed.
20th        
Lt.-Gen. H.R. Pownall, C.B., D.S.O., M.C. is appointed Inspector-General of the L.D.V.
22nd       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.

25th        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.
30th        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.
3rd          The Royal Navy attacks and destroys much of the French fleet at Oran and Mers-el-Kebir.
9th          The Luftwaffe's air war against Great Britain starts - the Battle of Britain.
10th        Italy declares war on Britain and France.
13th        1,166,212 men have enrolled in the L.D.V.
14th        In a broadcast Churchill refers to the "Home Guard".
16th        Hitler issues a directive for the invasion of Great Britain, "Operation Sealion".
19th        General Sir Alan Brooke takes over from General Ironside as C-in-C, Home Forces.
20th
        The King inspects 2000 Home Guards at Woodford, Essex.
21st        The start of Operation Sealion is provisionally scheduled for 15th September 1940.
23rd        Formal acceptance of the name change to "Home Guard" under pressure from Churchill.
24th        German radio issues a threatening warning to members of the Home Guard.

AUGUST
1st          There are now 1,472,505 members.
3rd          The Home Guard units are given county titles.
6th          Army Council Instruction 92.4 sets out the role of the Home Guard as a part of the Army.
8th          The Luftwaffe's heightened main offensive against Great Britain begins, prior to                 invasion.                
9th          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.
13th        The War Office announces that it will issue light machine guns to the Home                Guard "where necessary".
18th        The Home Guard brings down its first enemy aircraft with rifle fire in South London.
20th        The King inspects 3000 S.E. London Home Guards at West Whickham.
25th        The first bomber attack by the RAF on Berlin takes place.
28th        The issue of full battledress to all Home Guards is approved in principle but initially only to                 those without denims.

SEPTEMBER
                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.
7th/8th    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.
13th         Italy invades Egypt.
15th         Rising Luftwaffe losses peak today at between 50 and 60 aircraft.
17th         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.
28th         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.

OCTOBER
12th         Unknown to the British, Operation Sealion, the plan to invade the British Isles, is postponed                 further until Spring 1941.
24th         British Summer Time is to be extended throughout the winter.
28th         Italy invades Greece.
29th         British troops land in Greece.
31st         Official end of the Battle of Britain.

NOVEMBER
6th           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.
11th         The first large Italian raid on Great Britain takes place.
                The Fleet Air Arm attack the Italian fleet at Tarranto.
12/13th    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.
14/15th    The Luftwaffe switches to other targets for its bombers, industrial centres starting with a                 devastating attack on Coventry.
19th         The House of Commons demonstrates its keen interest in the Home Guard by again                 debating its role.

DECEMBER
9th           The British Army opens its offensive in the Western desert.
10th         Two German spies are executed at Pentonville Prison.
17th         Home Office announces 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; t
his is later commuted to 14 years of penal servitude.
20th         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.
22nd        The start of a 48 hour onslaught by the Luftwaffe against Manchester.
29th         Much of the City of London is destroyed.

1941

JANUARY
                   A month of severe weather.
9th             Churchill inspects the 1st American Motorised Squadron of the Home Guard, founded                   officially last September.
13th           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.
18th           Dive bombing attacks on Malta begin.
end            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.

FEBRUARY
                   The official number of evacuees is now 1.37 million.
3rd              The War Office announces details of commissioned ranks for the Home Guard, ranging                     from Second Lieutenant up to Brigadier.
19th            The start of a three-day bombing attack on Swansea, the worst in a series from 27th June                    1940 to 19th May 1943.  
       

MARCH
11th             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.

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

MAY
10th             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. 

14th             The first anniversary of the establishment of the Home Guard. It is given the privilege
of                      mounting guard at Buckingham Palace.
15th             The establishment of a National Fire Service, combining local brigades                      and the A.F.S. (Auxiliary Fire Service), is announced.
17th              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.
24th              HMS Hood is sunk
by the German battleship Bismarck.
27th              Bismarck is sunk.
                     A posthumous George Cross is awarded to Section Commander George Walter Inwood for                      courage and self-sacrifice in Bishop Street, Birmingham during an air-raid on 15/16                      October 1940.
28th              Every cadet unit will be eligible for affiliation to the local Home Guard unit.
31st              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
1st                Clothes rationing is introduced in Britain.
22nd             Germany attacks its ally, the Soviet Union, without warning. Russia thus becomes                                    the first ally of Great Britain and the Commonwealth in the fight against Nazism.

JULY
5th                Foreign Secretary Eden categorically rules out possibility of negotiating with Hitler.
12th              Britain and Russia sign mutual assistance agreement, pledging ‘no separate peace’.
25th              Announcement that 1 million Home Guards will take part in exercises over the next two                      weeks.
AUGUST
1st                Compensation for loss of earnings increased to 12/-
(£0.60) per day or 70/- (£3.50) per                      week maximum.
10th              London and Birmingham are the scene of fierce simulated battles involving the Home                      Guard.
15th              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.

SEPTEMBER
12th             A small number of Liverpool Home Guards will transfer to anti-aircraft batteries on an                     experimental basis.

OCTOBER
5th               The battle for Moscow begins. This will last until 6th December.

NOVEMBER
                    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.
12th            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.
27th            German Panzers are only 19 miles from Moscow.

DECEMBER
2nd              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.
5th              Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary and Rumania.
8th              The Japanese attack the U.S.A. at Pearl Harbour and simultaneously attack Malaya and                    The Philippines.
9th              Great Britain and the U.S.A. declare war on Japan.
10th            HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse are sunk off Malaya by Japanese aerial attack.
11th            Germany declares war on the U.S.A. The war is now truly global.

12th            Britain declares war on Bulgaria.
18th            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.
24th            Those disabled in Home Guard service will be liable to pensions. There will be allowances                     for the dependents of those killed in service.
25th            Hong Kong falls to the Japanese.

1942

JANUARY
                   Two months of particularly severe weather in the U.K.
1st              The Merseyside Home Guard anti-aircraft batteries start their operations. An extension of                    this experiment is still being considered.
10th            It is revealed that 90,000 employees of the main line train companies are fully trained                    Home Guards.
15th            The Japanese Army moves into Burma.
20th            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.
22nd           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.
23rd           Those living in East Anglia are warned of the continuing probability of invasion, possibly in                    the spring.
29th            
In the House of Commons Churchill seeks and obtains an overwhelming vote of confidence.

                  
FEBRUARY
1st              First Travelling Wing established for the training of Home Guard units in situ.
11th           There is pressure on the Government to permit the recruitment of women into the Home                    Guard.
12th            A Government statement in support of the issue of pikes to the Home Guard is met with                    incredulity and ridicule.
15th            Singapore surrenders and its huge British Garrison falls into the hands of the Japanese                    Army.
16th            Deadline for original volunteers in the Home Guard either to resign or to accept the new                    terms of service.
17th            Fewer than 2% of Home Guards have resigned before that option is closed to them.
19th            The Australian city of Darwin suffers a heavy aerial attack from the Japanese.

MARCH
7th              Rangoon falls to the Japanese.
23rd           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.
26th            Compulsory service, previously limited to the south of England, is extended to the entire                     country.

APRIL
                   The Home Guard voluntarily mans anti-aircraft batteries in Aberdeen.
1st              Mandalay falls to the Japanese.
13th            Four Home Guard officers are amongst those killed during a combined exercise in Southern                    England near Warminster.
15th            Gun crews for 12 A.A. sites in London are being recruited from the Home Guard.

17th            It is confirmed that the Blacker Bombard, or spigot mortar, is now being issued to units.
23rd            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
8th               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.
14th             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.

17th              Bristol and Cambridge are the object of major military exercises.
26th              Axis offensive launched in Libya.
30/31st         First RAF 1000 bomber raid is launched against Cologne.

JUNE
                    The Japanese reach the north-eastern frontier of India.
7th               The Battle of Midway ends with the sinking of four Japanese aircraft carriers and the                      establishment of air superiority in the area by the US Navy.
17th             In North Africa Tobruk falls to the Germans.
24th             The Germans penetrate 50 miles into Egypt.

JULY
2nd               Attacks begin on PQ-17, one of 78 Arctic convoys throughout the war transporting supples                      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.
4th               The USAAF launches its first major attack on German targets.

AUGUST
19th             A nine hour raid is made on Dieppe which involves heavy Allied losses.

SEPTEMBER
27th            The minimum age for joining the Home Guard is reduced from 17 to 16. Parental consent                     will be needed.

OCTOBER
23rd            The Battle of El Alamein begins.

NOVEMBER
4th              The British Eighth Army defeats Rommel and his army at El Alamein.
8th              A combined British and American force starts landing on the Algerian and Tunisian coast -                    "Operation Torch".

11th            French forces in Morocco and Algeria capitulate.
                   German forces enter Vichy France.
28th            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.

DECEMBER
                    The British 14th Army attempts its first, and unsuccessful, offensive in Burma.
23rd             The ringing of church bells will be permitted before noon on Christmas Day; but the                      general ban remains in place.

1943

JANUARY
18th            The siege of Leningrad is raised.

FEBRUARY
2nd             The remnants of the German 6th Army surrender at Stalingrad.
8th              The Americans take Guadalcanal.
11th            Suggestions that the Home Guard will be used as a post-war police force are refuted in                    Parliament.

MARCH
                
   Home Guard membership peaks at 1,793,000.
                   A determined Japanese offensive to invade India is repulsed.

APRIL
20th           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
                  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.
13th           Final total victory by the British and American armies in North Africa.

14th           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
10th           Allied forces invade Sicily
15th           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.

AUGUST
27th            Men already working 60 hours per week will not be directed into Home Guard service                    unless circumstances make it imperative.

SEPTEMBER
8th              The Italian surrender is announced but Germany immediately assumes control of the                    country.
9th              Allied forces invade the Italian mainland.

OCTOBER
4th              Corsica is liberated.
22nd           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.

NOVEMBER
9th               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.

DECEMBER
2nd               Minister of Labour Ernest Bevin announces conscription to mines as coal output continues                      to flag in Britain.
26th             The German battlecruiser Scharnhorst is sunk.

1944

JANUARY
4th              In Italy the battle for Cassino begins.
22nd           The Allies land south of Rome at Anzio.

FEBRUARY
3rd              The Germans launch an offensive against the Anzio beachhead.

MARCH
7th              In Burma a Japanese offensive is launched across the Chindwin River but is eventually                    repulsed by the 14th Army.
18th            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.
30th            For purposes of national defence all men in Germany will be subject to rifle training.

APRIL
15th            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".
23rd            One officer and five members of an Essex unit are killed, and three more injured, in an                     accidental explosion.
25th             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
14th            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.
18th            The Battle of Monte Cassino ends, opening up the road to Rome.

JUNE
5th               Allied troops enter Rome.
6th               D-Day - Allied forces land in Normandy.

13th             The first V1 "doodlebug" falls on London
.
21st              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
8th               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.
9th               Caen finally falls to British and Canadian forces.
20th             An attempt on Hitler's life fails.
24th             The military commander of the London District pays generous tribute to the work done by                      the Home Guard during V1 attacks.

AUGUST
1st               Start of the Warsaw uprising.
10th             Japanese resistance on Guam ceases.
12th             The Germans start to retreat from Normandy.

15th             Allied forces land in the South of France.
24th             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".

SEPTEMBER
2nd             In Italy the German Gothic Line is broken by the Eighth Army.
3rd             Brussels is liberated by the British.     
              
5th             The War Office states that whilst the existence of the Home Guard remains necessary,                    plans for its eventual stand-down are being prepared.
6th              Sir James Grigg, Secretary of State for War, makes a generous broadcast tribute to the                    Home Guard.
8th             The first V2 rocket missile falls on London. 
11th   
    
    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.
17th            "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".
30th            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".

OCTOBER
10th            It is announced that Home Guards will be permitted to retain their greatcoats, boots and                    other articles of clothing at stand-down.
18th            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
                   Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler.
  
20th            American forces land in the Philippines.        
21st            The Germans state that a Volkssturm (Home Guard) Division has been in action against                    Russian tanks.
25th            A German Home Guard division is identified as fighting in the Vosges Mountains.
28th            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.

NOVEMBER
1st              Stand-down begins.
12th            The German battleship Tirpitz is finally sunk.

19th            The wholly secret Auxiliary Units are stood down.
23rd            It is revealed that over the last three years the annual cost to the nation of                     each Home Guard has been £9.    
                                                                                                                                        

DECEMBER
3rd             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.
12th           
The 14th Army launches a successful offensive which eventually penetrates                    deep into Burma.
13th           The USAAF makes its first of many damaging raids on Japanese industrial targets.
15th            808 Home Guards are honoured with appointments to various divisions of the Order of the                    British Empire or awards of the British Empire Medal.
16th          
 German forces break through the Allied lines in the Ardennes, temporarily halting the                    relentless Allied advance.
22nd           The deepest German penetration, of 40 miles, is achieved.
31st            Home Guard stand-down is completed.

1945

JANUARY
17th          The Russians enter Warsaw, too late to help the uprising.
19th          The Russians cross the German border and enter East Prussia.
26th          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.
27th           Auschwitz is liberated by the Russians. This event is barely noticed in Great Britain.

FEBRUARY
1st            The Russians are 50 miles from the centre of Berlin.
4th            Belgium is liberated.
13th/14th  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.
16th          The Americans land on Corregidor.      

MARCH
6th            The Americans capture Cologne.
7th            The Allies cross the Rhine.
9th/10th    Tokyo is fire-bombed by the USAAF. 100,000 people are estimated to have died.
20th          Mandalay is retaken.
23rd          The main Rhine crossing, using 40,000 airborne troops, occurs.
27th          The last V2 falls on London.
29th          The last V1 falls on London.
end           The Americans complete their conquest of Iwo Jima.

APRIL
11th          The Americans liberate Buchenwald concentration camp.
13th          Vienna is captured by the Russians.
15th          The British liberate Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The images which emerge shock the                   country and the world.
16th          The Russians start their final assault on Berlin and five days later enter the city.
18th          German forces in the Ruhr surrender.
22nd         The American campaign in the central Philippines is officially over.
26th          Russian and American forces link up on the Elbe at Torgau.
29th          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
2nd           The unconditional surrender of German forces in Italy comes into effect.
                 Berlin surrenders to the Russians.
3rd            Rangoon is retaken.
4th            German forces in Northern Europe surrender to Field Marshall Montgomery.
7th            Unconditional surrender of all German armed forces.
8th            Formal end to the war in Europe
- V.E. Day.
10th          An appeal is made by the Netherlands Welfare Commissioner for the donation of old Home                  Guard or Civil Defence clothing.
18th          Home Guards with three years of service will be eligible for a defence medal.
29th          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
6th            The campaign in Burma is effectively over, with the Japanese ejected from the country.
13th          US and Australian troops enter Brunei.
21st           Organised Japanese resistance ceases on Okinawa after weeks of vicious fighting.

JULY
5th            The liberation of the entire Philippines is announced.
26th          Atlee succeeds Churchill as Prime Minister.

AUGUST
6th            The first atomic bomb destroys Hiroshima.
9th            A second atomic bomb falls on Nagasaki.
14th          The war against Japan ends with total surrender.
15th          
V.J. Day.

NOVEMBER
17th            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.

DECEMBER
12th           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. 
31st           The Home Guard is formally disbanded.

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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