On this day in history : 23rd July 1940 – Winston Churchill changes the name of the Local Defence Volunteers to the Home Guard….

From the collections of the Imperial War Museums

The LDV had been set up in May 1940; Anthony Eden, the Secretary of State for War, called for men between the ages of 17 and 65 to sign up for the new force…. Very often they were in fact men above and below this age, or those deemed unfit for active service…. In the beginning it was very much a ‘make-do’ organisation, with improvised uniforms and weapons….

However, it evolved into a well-equipped and trained army of some 1.7 million men – not only ready for a possible invasion but also involved with bomb disposal and manning coastal artillery and anti-aircraft guns….

The Home Guard was stood down on the 23d of December 1944 – during its existence 1,206 men lost their lives through serving it….

From the collections of the Imperial War Museums

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