STAFFS HOME GUARD WEBSITE - GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE HOME GUARD
INDIVIDUAL HOME GUARD MEMBERS
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.
Searching for information
about individual members of the Home Guard is not easy. Officers
are marginally less difficult than N.C.O.'s and Other Ranks
but detailed information on the vast majority of Home Guards
is either hidden away, or inaccessible or even wholly lost.
Nevertheless there are some lines of investigation which it
is worthwhile to pursue.
ON THIS PAGE are some guidelines
about possible sources of information and how you might pursue
RECORDS AND MEMORIES
This is of course the obvious one and is possibly the motive
for searching further in the first place. The individual Home
Guard may still be with us but, regrettably, more often than
not he (or she) will survive only in the memory of one's siblings,
cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, older friends.
Or in some old papers sitting long forgotten in a family member's
loft - a group photograph, a training
certificate, a King George VI Certificate of Commendation,
a diary. Perhaps even an item of uniform or equipment. So
- think, ask and search!
The official personal records are held by the Ministry of
Defence. These are accessible on application and are subject
to a fee when the applicant is anyone other than the individual
himself. It should be noted that only the baldest of facts
will be accessible. Further details about how to apply
can be accessed here (MoD); The
Veteran's Agency website also
contains useful information about applying.
More detailed personal records
and enrolment forms are closed for 75 years and are thus
They are held at TNT Archive Service at Swadlincote,
It is recommended that before
parting with money and submitting a formal application you
check with the department concerned about the likelihood of
their being able to provide a useful service in your particular
3. A HOME GUARD
UNIT'S OWN PUBLISHED HISTORY
You may be fortunate in that the unit
- sometimes Battalion, sometimes Company, sometimes even Platoon
- to which the individual Home Guard belonged published a
history of its activities. A reasonable number of units did
this. You may be even luckier and find that he/she is mentioned
within it. Most unit histories are listed within this
owns only a few of these but is happy to respond to specific
queries - please use
Copies of these invaluable publications may
be held in reference libraries appropriate to the unit's location.
The Imperial War Museum
holds copies of some within their archive. In the
Archives collection there are copies held within WO 199
(see Appendix 5 - Records of the Militia & Volunteer Forces
1757-1945 Readers Guide No. 3). While there may be a record
online of the document, you will almost certainly need a personal
visit to examine it. The
Library is another source of these publications.
4. HOME GUARD
Mention of an individual's name may be made in
one of the Home Guard Lists - but only if he was an officer.
The National Archives
hold copies of these lists which were prepared periodically.
The Imperial War Museum
may have them too.
One of them, recording serving officers in
every unit of the Home Guard throughout the United Kingdom
as of 1st February 1941, has been published and may be purchased
or viewed within local libraries. There are several volumes,
Home Guard List
by Jon Mills
Savannah Publications, London SE23 3HZ
This is a series of 7 volumes which list all serving Home
Guard officers at 1st February 1941, as follows:
1. Eastern Command ISBN 1
902366 22 0
2. London District ISBN 1
902366 23 9
3. Northern Command ISBN 1
902366 24 7
4. Scottish Command ISBN 1
902366 25 5
5. Southern Command ISBN 1
902366 26 3
6. South Eastern Comm. ISBN 1
902366 27 1
7. Western Command ISBN 1
902366 28 X
5. OTHER OFFICIAL
AND PERSONAL RECORDS
- Other records, mainly odd documents about
a unit, have sometimes been lodged in the local library and
these will often refer to individual members.
- In the National
Archives, WO 32 code 66 holds the general registered papers
of the Home Guard, while operational records are included
with papers of the Prime Minister's Office in PREM 3. Home
Guard War Diaries for the Second World War are in WO 166,
and a file containing recommendations for the award of the
British Empire Medal to Home Guard members is in AIR 2/9040.
- The Imperial
War Museum is another source.
- Local history societies can sometimes help.
See 7. below.
- Awards for acts of bravery are recorded
in the London
Gazette, searchable online.
- If a Home Guard lost his life on active
service, his name will be commemorated on the
War Graves Commission website.
- You can apply to the
Army Medal Office
for details of awards of, or eligibility for, service medals.
are personal reminiscences of life in the Home Guard to be
found in many websites, usually community or personal sites.
A number of these have been identified and are mentioned within
this website. Look under the individual
There are certainly more -
use Google or a similar search engine to seek them out, using
a search definition such as - YourTown +"home guard".
It may be worthwhile asking
the question in the reference section of one's local library.
One massive online resource
which is worth exploring is the BBC's WW2
People's War archive. A number of specific references
to the archive are made within this website (again under individual
counties) but there are many, many more waiting to be uncovered.
After accessing the People's War Archive, search within it using the following definition: YourTown and "home guard" and WW2.
And of course do not forget
to check what is on this site. Find under the
county pages or use the
facility. (It's a long shot but miracles do sometimes happen!) Consider putting
an appeal in our
LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETIES
your family's home town or village have a Local History Association?
Perhaps the latter holds an archive of relevant WW2 material.
Check with your local library to find out about any local society. And does this, or another local organisation or individual,
have a community website (although these are not always well-maintained)? Or, better still, an internet forum?
Consider registering and asking for help. (In all cases, give
as much information as you are able - full name of course
but also, if at all possible, age, rank, unit, dates, location, duties,
comrades' names etc.)
8. SOCIAL MEDIA
Forums and Local History Facebook groups - many areas have
them - are often an invaluable source of anecdotal information
about local Home Guard units and their members. Sign up and
ask your question!
if you do discover something interesting and relevant which
you would like to share, and you would like to commemorate
a father, grandfather or uncle, please consider
The information on this page is provided
for guidance only. Researchers should check its validity and
appropriateness to particular circumstances before expending
time and money in pursuit of their investigations. And if as a result of your own experience you can suggest additions or improvements to this page, PLEASE share them with us and others, using Feedback.
Grateful acknowledgement is made to the sources of some of
the above information.