Originally called Local Defence Volunteers (LDV’s), the home guard was made up of volunteers, often men who were not able to join the army, who in their free time protected the 5,000 miles of British coastline in preparation for a German attack.
The jobs the home guard mainly did were to defend key targets such as factories, explosive stores or sea fronts. During the night some patrolled fields where it was thought German paratroopers may land, and although not expected to defeat the Germans, their aim was to slow them down so the army had time to arrive. They also captured shot down German air-men who landed over Britain and checked people’s identity cards.
The type of people who joined the home guard ranged widely from the young to the old, and from any background or job, such as a baker or a farmer or a banker.
Britain needed a Home Guard because while most of the army was abroad they needed some protection encase of an attack. Places such as munitions factories also needed guarding so it was vital a group were there to do that job. This was very important because if there was a German attack, if the home guard were not their to delay them, the army wouldn’t be able to prepare a strong front line to defend with, and the Germans could more easily invade.