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History Revealed - - CONTENTS -

In May 1940, the Ger­mans launched their in­va­sion of the Low Coun­tries and France, which led to a rapid sur­ren­der of those coun­tries and the evac­u­a­tion of the Bri­tish Army through Dunkirk. Even as that cam­paign was un­fold­ing, there were calls in Bri­tain from MPs, army of­fi­cers and news­pa­pers for a lo­cal mili­tia to be formed. Many peo­ple took mat­ters into their own hands. Lo­cal groups were formed to shoot Ger­man para­troops, round up shot-down Ger­man air­men, and to guard town halls or other key build­ings. Own­er­ship of firearms was much more wide­spread in 1940 than it is now, so thou­sands of peo­ple were in­volved. Many of these were women. But when the Lo­cal De­fence Vol­un­teers (as the Home Guard was at first known) was of­fi­cially formed, it was a ma­le­only or­gan­i­sa­tion. In De­cem­ber 1941, the un­of­fi­cial Women’s Home De­fence was es­tab­lished to per­form aux­il­iary sup­port roles, though be­fore long, armed women were guard­ing fac­to­ries and bridges that were feared to be tar­gets for sab­o­tage. The Home Guard was dis­banded in De­cem­ber 1945.

Age and back­ground posed no boundary to women wish­ing to en­list in the un­of­fi­cial Home De­fence

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