World War II British Home Guard: Boys

World War II Home Guard
Figure 1.--The boys are participating in what is described as Cadet Batallions. The press caption read, "Britain's Youth in Training: Thrioughout the country the youth of Britainare now training for the time when they will take their place in one of the various services. One if the smartest of the Cadet Batalions is the Lonsdon Irish Reifles Cadet Corp. A voluntary group affiliated wiuth the localHome Guard. Here some young members are pictured at bayonet drill. They also receive instructions in drill, signaling, and field exercizes." The photograph was dated April 6, 1942.

Boys all over Britain began seeing saw the Home Guard drilling in open areas, often with their older brothers, fathers, uncles, and perhaps even grandfathers. And as boys are want to do, they began drilling themselves in imitation. Playing war became a major activity for British boys. And the War was no longer a far off activity. Many boys could watch in unfold in the skies over southern England. This was mostly play at war, but we see some more organized groups in uniforms. We do not yet know much about them. As far as we know there was no junior Home Guard officially organized. This may have been, however, junior auxiliaries formed on a local basis by Regular Army regiments. At least we see some obviously organized groups like the boys here (figure 1). Regular army units would have had access to uniforms and equipment. Britain also had a well organized cadet corps, but it was not associated with the Home Guard. This was an officer training program organized through the secondary schools and universities. The local units formed by regiments may have used the term cadets, but were not part of the established cadet organization. The boys here are called a cadet battalion (figure 1). As far as we know, there was no organized national cadet battalion program and they were not part of the established school cadet program. We do not know how many cadet battalions like this were formed. Perhaps readers will know more. Many boys participated in the school cadet program during the War, the older boys actually entered the services.


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Created: 4:40 AM 11/19/2013
Spell checked: 5:36 AM 11/20/2013
Last updated: 5:36 AM 11/20/2013