Home Guard History


On 14 May 1940, Mr. Anthony Eden made an appeal 'to men aged between 17 and 65 who were not engaged in military service and who wished to do something for the defence of their country, to come forward and offer their services'. This led to the formation of Local Defence Volunteers (L.D.V.) whose main roles were observation, information and prevention of sabotage and catching of spies. In July 1940 at the behest of the new Prime Minister, Mr. Winston Churchill, the Local Defence Volunteers were renamed the Home Guard. After D-Day and once the threat of invasion was no longer deemed to be credible, the Home Guard was stood down on 3 December 1944 and disbanded on 31 December 1945.

The Wiltshire Home Guard comprised 13 general service battalions, an anti-aircraft battery, and a motorised transport company, details of which can be found using the menu on the right.


14 May 1940

Formation of Local Defence Volunteers

July 1940

Renamed Home Guard

3 August 1940

Home Guard affiliated to county regiments; permission to wear regimental cap badge and battledress. Shoulder titles, abbreviated county and battalion numbers adopted to differentiate them from regular and territorial forces

1 February 1941

Home Guard officers granted commissions. Gen. Hon. Sir Francis Gathorne Hardy appointed Zone Commander

1 May 1941

Wiltshire divided into North and South Group; Lord Roundway commanded North Group, Gen. Freeth South Group

16 February 1942

Compulsory enrolment of men between the ages of 17 and 51.

March 1942

Lord Roundway appointed Zone Commander; designation altered to Group Commander. North and South Groups abolished

29 March 1944

Lord Roundway passed away; Group Commander appointment abolished, replaced by a Home Guard Adviser - Col. His Grace The Duke of Somerset, D.S.O., O.B.E.

September 1944

Compulsory enrolment ceases

3 December 1944

Home Guard stood down

31 December 1945

Home Guard disbanded