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"Dad's Army" - How much can you learn from these sources about the work of the Home Guard?

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Introduction

Year 9 History Coursework "Dad's Army" 1. How much can you learn from these sources about... a) The work of the Home Guard? From the source interpretations about the Home Guard of 1940 - 1944, we can learn quite a few things about the work they did to help protect their neighbourhood from German invaders. They also tell us about the different men who joined the Home Guard, willing to fight for Britain. In source A, we are told about the sorts of people who volunteered to join the Home Guard, including railway porters, gamekeepers, publicans and blacksmiths. Therefore much of the work was done by amateurs, except from the veterans from WWI who often reverted to their former military status with enthusiasm. The source also tells us that the group had no funding to do things; '...organised parades in an old farmyard'. This tells us that men had to do work in a make-do way with the few resources and funding given and also caused the volunteers to innovate with what they were given. We can see this in source B, which was written by an old member of the obstruction gang who tried to delay German tanks with objects they found, but it didn't do much to hold up the Germans. Source C is a picture of a Home Guard officer checking his unit's rifles that are lining the wall. ...read more.

Middle

Sources E and F show us this. Source F also shows that the Germans were surprised that the Home Guard was patrolling and armed. In this way they served as a deterrent to the opposing armies. In the event of a German invasion, I think that the Home Guard were able to offer an organised resistance, but which was unlikely to be a match for a well-oiled and disciplined invading army because the work was done by people with other full time jobs who in many cases had no military experience. 2. The "Dad's Army" television series offers an interpretation of what the Home Guard was like. How accurate is this interpretation likely to be? The "Dad's Army" television series offers an interpretation of what the Home Guard was like but as a BBC comedy series, "Dad's Army" would possibly come over as a joke to most people. In the opening episode of "Dad's Army", the wartime reality was similarly chaotic. Before Eden's broadcast had ended, police stations in all regions of the nation found themselves with many eager volunteers. By the end of the first 24 hours, 250,000 men - equal in number to the peacetime Regular Army - had registered their names. The platoon featured in "Dad's Army" included Pike, one volunteer who was too young to join up full time, and others too old for regular service. In reality, although the official age range was from 17 to 65, there was no medical examination and the upper age limit was only very patchily enforced because the older men had experience with the military from World War I. ...read more.

Conclusion

The boy was deaf and when he failed to turn round, the officers shot him, missed completely and ended up killing his brother just 17 years old and on the British side. "Sticky bombs" also caused many problems. They had to be stuck along the side of tanks and boats but if they were thrown, they would not stick. They also exploded prematurely. Meaning that they were dangerous and unsafe to use. Over 50 British civilians were killed by the Home Guard in the war. However, the Secret Army was an effective group. It was a small trained force set up in the summer of 1940 under Churchill's direction. Men had to be below 30 and were trained to work behind the lines in enemy territory in the event of an invasion. The Home Guard was their cover. There were 5-6 units based in underground bunkers. Their job was to sabotage, destruct and dislocate and they were instructed to kill anyone who knew about them if the Germans invaded. I believe that the support of the Home Guard in WWII was vital. Having the Home Guard also meant that the main army had time to train as they had less pressure on them to carry out duties at home. From this I do agree that the Home Guard was a group of enthusiastic amateurs, except from the secret army, and were not sufficiently trained to defend the country from German invasion. Their role was to provide a line of defence which raised the morale of the British public, which itself helped people meet the threat with less fear. Nicole Gooding 9c ...read more.

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