Friday, 18 November 2011

Book Review: The Real Dad's Army by Norman Longmate

The Real Dad's Army by Norman Longmate
- Amberley
One wonders if it hadn’t been for the popularity of a particular wartime based sitcom, if the Home Guard would ever have been remembered to the degree they are today. 

Norman Longmate’s book on the real Home Front heroes was originally issued in the early 1970s at the height of Dad’s Army’s TV success. It has been a much sought after read in the decades since it was originally published by anyone with more than a curious interest in World War Two Home Front Defence.

Amberley have refreshed and revised the original title and produced an excellent book packed with photographs, illustrations and anecdotes from original members of the Home Guard. 

The result shows that Jimmy Perry and David Croft weren’t that far off the mark when writing about the escapades of the Walmington-On-Sea platoon.

The response in some quarters to Sir Anthony Eden’s call to take up arms in the event of an enemy invasion in 1940 is likened to events at tea parties leaving the real work to be done by vicars and bank managers. 

When Local Defence Volunteer platoons were formed the public refusal to believe these men were doing anything but playing soldiers was met with humour and disdain when curfews and blockades were implemented.

One humorous story refers to one LDV leader checking a young couple's identity cards after an imposed curfew. He asked them "Do you know you have been in a prohibited area?" "Oh no he hasn't" snapped the girl.

A recommended read and certainly a title that should be read by anyone with an interest in Home Defence.

The Real Dad's Army by Norman Longmate is published by Amberley.

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