Wartime

On 14th May, 1940, the Government broadcast a message asking for volunteers for the LDV (Local Defence Volunteers). On 23rd August, 1940, Winston Churchill changed the name of the LDV to the Home Guard.


As Jack was now in a management role in the company, Jack was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in 'C' company of the 7th Derbyshire Battalion. The battalion was made up of men who worked for the collieries in the area. Hewers, loaders, banksmen and deputies, all trades enlisted to do their bit.


 The Home Guard was formed when there was a real risk of invasion. Most men who could fight were already in the forces, those that were left were either too young, too old, or in reserved occupations (those jobs vital to the war effort).


In the UK, coal mining was not a reserved occupation at the start of the war, and there was a great shortage of coal miners. Consequently, starting in December 1943, one in ten men conscripted was chosen at random to work in the mines. These men became known as "Bevin Boys" after the creator of the scheme, Ernest Bevin, the Minister of Labour and National Service.


The men who volunteered to join the Home Guard at this time were expected to fight an invasion of crack German troops with nothing more than a collection of old shotguns and pieces of gas pipe with bayonets welded on the end! The government was expecting 150,000 men to volunteer for the Home Guard. Within the first month, 750,000 men had volunteered, and by the end of June, 1940, the total number of volunteers was over one million. The number of men in the Home Guard did not fall below one million until they were stood down in December 1944.