In May 1940 the creation of the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV) was announced on the radio by Secretary of State for War, Anthony Eden. He called for men between the ages of 17 and 65 not in military service to join and help defend their country. Some 250,000 volunteers offered their services in the first week and by July when the LDV was renamed the Home Guard the figure had risen to 1.5 million.
However, equipment uniforms and training were not so quick to appear and until 1943 they were supplied on a somewhat ad hoc basis. The Home Guard quickly gained the nickname ‘Dad's Army’.
Robert Sawyer's painting made later in the war shows the Home Guard properly kitted out with uniforms and guns and, if slightly lacking in military bearing, nevertheless putting on a show for the gathered crowd.
John Noott: “The Home Guard was a big part of my father’s life at the time. He had served throughout the first war, and volunteered immediately when the LDV (Local Defence Volunteers) was formed – I still have the armband he wore instead of a uniform. The LDV soon became the Home Guard, and after work he spent most nights, with the rank of Captain, helping guard a local anti-aircraft battery. The fact that it was situated a few hundred yards from a public house can only have added to the appeal”.
We are grateful to John Noott of John Noott Galleries and Malcolm Rogers for assistance with the catalogue note.