The Homefront

Here are examples of our Homefront displays and portrayals.

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Women's Voluntary Services (W.V.S.)

The Women's Voluntary Services (WVS) was a voluntary organisation concerned with helping people in need throughout England, Scotland and Wales. It was founded in 1938 by Stella Isaacs, Marchioness of Reading, as a British women's organisation to recruit women into the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) services to help in the event of War, by the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939, the WVS had recruited over 300,000 members.

More information can be found here Formation of the WVS

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Air Raid Precautions and Civil Defence

Air Raid Precautions (ARP) was  set up in 1937 dedicated to the protection of civilians from the danger of air raids. Every local council was responsible for organising ARP wardens, messengers, ambulance drivers, rescue parties and liaison with police and fire brigades.

From 1 September 1939, ARP Wardens enforced the "blackout". They managed the air raid sirens and ensured people were directed to shelters.

From 1941 the ARP officially changed its title to Civil Defence Service. In all some 1.4 million men and women served as ARP wardens during World War Two. The Civil Defence Service was stood down after the end of the war in Europe on 2 May 1945.

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Women's Land Army (W.L.A.)

The Women's Land Army (WLA) created so women could work in agriculture, replacing men called up to the military. Women who worked for the WLA were commonly known as Land Girls.

As the prospect of war became increasingly likely, the government wanted to increase the amount of food grown within Britain. In order to grow more food, more help was needed on the farms and so the government started the Women's Land Army in June 1939.

The majority of the Land Girls already lived in the countryside but more than a third came from London and the industrial cities of the north of England.

At first it asked for volunteers. This was supplemented by conscription, so that by 1944 it had over 80,000 members.

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Army Cadet Force (A.C.F.)

Army Cadets By 1941 over 220,000 boys aged 13-18 were being trained in cadet units, they assisted the Home Guard and Civil Defence.
The Cadet Forces with only limited Government support aided the Home Guard during the early part of the war.

The Government as a result of the War decided to re-establish the Army Cadet Force in 1942 with War Office funding and support.

The Army Cadets of early part of WW2 were found in both independent and public schools but most community based units under the British National Cadet Association. The boys at age 17 joined the Home Guard and at 18 the regular Army. Boys could join when they reached 13 1/2 years. There was a lot of marching and once Britain with American aid was rearmed they got their hands on real weapons, including rifles and Bren Guns and eventually artillery pieces.

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The Home Guard

The Home Guard (initially "Local Defence Volunteers" or LDV) was a defence organisation of the British Army during the Second World War.
Operational from 1940 until 1944, the Home Guard was composed of 1.5 million local volunteers otherwise ineligible for military service, such as those too young or too old to join the services, or those in reserved occupations–hence the nickname "Dad's Army".
Their role was to act as a secondary defence force, in case of invasion by the forces of Nazi Germany and their allies. They were to try to slow down the advance of the enemy, even by a few hours in order to give the regular troops time to regroup.
The Home Guard continued to guard the coastal areas of the United Kingdom and other important places such as airfields, factories and explosives stores until late 1944 when they were stood down, and finally disbanded in December 1945