The Real Dad's Army: The Story of the Home Guard Hardcover – 15 Aug 2010
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'A fascinating history' --Daily Mail
'Wonderful stories - a well-written account of the last line of defense' --Daily Mirror
About the Author
Norman Longmate, ex-Private ‘F’ Company, 3rd Sussex Battalion, Home Guard, joined ‘Dad’s Army’ at the same age as the fictional character ‘Pike’, 17. To this day he contends that the much-loved sitcom was remarkably accurate in it’s portrayal of life in the Home Guard. After the war he read modern history at Worcester College, Oxford worked as a journalist and radio producer of history documentaries and is the author of twenty books on the Second World War. He lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, as a former 17-year-old Sussex Home Guard, he was expertly placed to write the first major post-war history of the Home Guard (amazingly, it took 30 years for the first major book on the subject). Originally published in 1974 as a paperback, although rather thin, it was a detailed and accurate history of the HG, with Longmate using accurate examples from end-of-war HG unit histories, to back up his narrative.
This 'new' version is sufficient but could have been tweaked to make it even better. It retains exactly the same written content, which although still stands the test of time, could have been expanded. The original paperback was 128 pages: the new hardback is 192 pages: the majority of which is new illustations that on the whole do not appear in Longmate's original. These include cartoons from the 1945 comic book 'Home Guard Humour', which amusingly and accurately portrays the HGs shortcomings but nonethess ribs the force and excellent colour plates of Eric Kennington's wonderful portraits of HGs from all over Britain, originally published in John Brophy's 1945 Britain's Home Guard book. The majority of the new photos are (c) Jonathan Reeve archive and despite studying the HG for 30 years, although they are posed press photos, I have not seen many of them.Read more ›
Longmate describes the Browning M1917 medium machine gun as a “heavier two-man version” of the Browning Automatic Rifle, which is not very enlightening (and plain wrong technically), and also claims that it had a rate of fire twice that of the BAR (actual rate was 450-600 rpm).
He further states “In 1941 tommy-guns were no sooner issued than they were withdrawn again for use by the Commandos”. Apparently in one or two cases some Thompson submachine guns were in fact withdrawn again after issue to the HG, but as a general statement that is clearly incorrect. Thompsons were distributed to the HG on a remarkably generous scale for such an expensive weapon; according to the official monthly returns, they had no less than 43,017 of them by March 1942, after which they were gradually replaced by Stens.
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