Ancestry adds Lancashire Home Guard records
The family history website holds over 60,000 records of the Second World War volunteer defence force
The family history website has added a collection of 67,353 records thanks to an exclusive partnership with Lancashire Archives.
The records include the age, enlistment date and regiment of each member of the Guard.
Kristian Lafferty, content acquisition manager at Ancestry, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Lancashire Archives to make this unique collection of records available online for the first time.
‘’The records are an invaluable resource for those looking to research their family history in Lancashire.
“Nominal lists of volunteers combined with individual’s letters, orders, instructions, and other documents provide an interesting glimpse into the Lancashire Home Guard during World War II, and thus an important part of what life was also like on the Home Front too.’’
The Home Guard was set up in May 1940 to serve as a volunteer defence force in the event of a German invasion of Britain during the Second World War.
It began as a ‘rag-tag’ militia, with scarce and often make-do uniforms and weaponry, but evolved into a well-equipped and well-trained army of 1.7 million people, with roles including bomb disposal and manning anti-aircraft and coastal artillery.
The Durham Home Guard enrolment forms are available via The National Archives and are currently free to download, but the Lancashire collections are a valuable additional source of online Home Guard records.
They reveal that the image of the Home Guard as a mix of those too old and too young to serve popularised by the sitcom Dad’s Army has some basis in fact.
One of the youngest volunteers in the Lancashire records is 14-year-old Norman Bromley, while one of the oldest is 70-year-old Sergeant T Mooney.
They also show that some women served in the Guard. The records of the 41st County of Lancaster (Prestwich) Battalion include the female volunteers Margery Cooper, Margaret Coyle and Lily Cheetham.
Rosemary Collins is the staff writer of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine