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Spalding Home Guard Update

Jean Hodge reporter on the Spalding Guardian has done a fantastic job on find out more about the local Home Guard. http://www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/news/community/features/memories-of-holbeach-home-guard-1-6451753

Copy of the article:

‘Look, duck and vanish’ was what the men who joined the forerunner of the Home Guard in this area called the Local Defence Volunteers.

Sam Todd (92), now living in Bourne, was one of the first to join a local LDV, and the tales he tells of that time help to explain the Dad’s Army interpretation of Britain’s approach to protecting the home soil against invasion.

Sam told us some of his stories in response to an appeal for information about the Home Guard that appeared in the Spalding Guardian of November 20.

That article contained a photograph of the Home Guard submitted to Chain Bridge Forge in Spalding by Sheila Pitts, who identified her father John Russell in the image. Since then, former Spalding fireman Dennis Fell has identified a couple of people and says he believes some of those pictured were in the Army Cadet Force once the Home Guard disbanded. Dennis recognised Stephen George Blissenden (second row back, fourth from the right) and, immediately to his left, a man called Stimpson.

Sam’s ‘Dad’s Army’ style tale involved him as a young 17-year-old in the Holbeach LVD of 1940 – armed with no more than a rifle shaped piece of wood.

He says: “We were called up by Churchill in May 1940 to form the LDV. We were protecting this country against the Germans, but we didn’t do a lot. It consisted mostly of people who were too old to join up and quite a few veterans from the First World War.”

In fact, Sam remembers people who hadn’t joined up because they worked on the land were conscripted to join what became the Home Guard. After a day working the land, Sam and the dozen or so in his platoon were stationed at isolated outposts.

Sam says: “One night – there were three of us, Frank Pettit and Alf Twait and me – and the platoon commander John Kinder and Sgt Taber said there was an emergency on. Bearing in mind all we had was one rifle and five rounds of ammunition, we couldn’t do a lot, but John Kinder said there had been parachutes dropped at Spalding and we had to call the section out.”

Sam went round the houses rousing other members of the LDV to tell them to report to a haystack near Boston Road North, their look-out post for the night.

He says: “When I got to the last one, I went home and went to bed. Nobody told me what to do next so I went to bed.”

Luckily it was no more than an exercise, though Sam was missed and next time there was a section meeting – held weekly at Taber’s fish shop at Holbeach – he was questioned about where he’d got to.

In fact Sam, who subsequently joined the Royal Marine Commandos, says the Home Guard did gradually become more organised, with uniforms and more arms.


Vistor comments

5 Responses

  1. i was in the home guard in spalding 1955/56 with my friend cynthia. I think we were the only two females

  2. Geoff, there is a whole Pathe News (or similar) documentary regarding the men who formed the local Homeguard. I saw it some years ago and can’t quite remember who showed us the film. It was interesting to me as one of the first older men I got to know in the village was a man named Louis Stanton, who saw himself on the newsreel. He also told me many stories about his life in the village of Whaplode.

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