©Local Defence Volunteers or Home Guard
On the evening of May 14th 1940, the Secretary of State for War made an important speech, pointing out that Europe was being overrun by the Germans. To alleviate such a likelihood of this taking place in Great Britain, a new special force was being assembled. Since the war began, the Government had received countless enquiries from all over the country from men of all ages, who were not already engaged in military service, to do something to defend their country. The Government asked all such men aged between 17 and 65 to join this new force which would be called the LOCAL DEFENCE VOLUNTEERS. Within 24 hours, a quarter of a million men had enlisted
acronym was Look, Duck and Vanish.
Bures men rallied to the call to form
No4 Platoon of "C" company 15th Essex Battalion of the Home
These were men with
reserved occupations, such as farmers, firemen, doctors etc.
The original Patrol Members were:-
Gordon Drake owned a butchers
shop in Bures, as well as a slaughterhouse. A number of the patrol were
employees of the slaughterhouse.
Pat Baker was an assistant slaughterman
at the slaughterhouse.
David Chambers was one of the local Chambers brothers, David left the Home Guard and joined the RAF in September 1941, reaching the rank of Warrant Officer flying Hurricanes.
Fred Smith joined the RAF in August 1941.
Normally the patrol met in Gordon Drakes
house. The patrol went to River House at nearby Earls Colne for training.
Gordon Drake mentioned going to Wiltshire, so he almost certainly went
Not sure when Gordon Drake was promoted
to the Headquaters staff at Parsonage Hall ( see below)
Their Commanding Officer was
Dr Thomas Wood, an elderly famous but very short sighted musician.
Staff, Parsonage Hall.
1.St Edmunds Lane
2, Slaughter House
Sect 3, Spout Lane
Messrs, Six-Smith, Bird, A Eaves, C Cardy, Symonds, D Chambers, F Hume, P Hume.
In the event of an emergency or "Red Warning" from HQ, key members of the group would be informed by telephone.
However Messrs, Clampin, Keys, Smith W and Healey were not to be disturbed on a Saturday night - I leave this to your imagination.
During August 1940,
six Browning automatic rifles arrived from the USA. There were no manual
or instructions and they were assembled by trial and error, in the post
room of the vicarage.
During the same month, the group had to collect boxes of `Molotov Cocktails` from Boxford. The inflammable material inside the bottle was liquid phosphorus, somewhat delicate and very dangerous to the handler. They were intended to be thrown at the invading German Tanks. As far as anyone can remember, these were stored in underground drains at Chambers Bus Station yard.
Richard Probert shot enormous quantities of rabbits for a Mrs Wood to bottle. The idea was to to store these in a dugout as emergency rations, against any impending invasion. As sterilizing and vacuum sealing was not very familiar to her, they all turned rotten........
There were several incidents during this Aug - Sept period, The most memorable was a `white parachute` reported landing in a nearby field on a moonlit night. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a white cow moving around behind a hedge in St Edmunds Lane. This incident took place at the height of the Battle of Britain, when invasion was though to be imminent, everybody was naturally very nervous. It was a very highly intense and jittery period - although the local residents seemed to be very calm about it at the time.
gave the codeword "Cromwell" for the imminent invasion of
the British Isles. Subsequently on 7th September 1940 the codeword was
issued and Church bells rang throughout the land. 1.5 million Home Guard
troops were mobilised in order to defend our country. Fortunately it
was a false alarm and the troops stood down.
Never a dull moment in the days of the LDV in 1940..........
kindly supplied by Col R.H.C Probert.