Title ID 3246Collection ID471
TitleWest Sussex Home Guard
CollectionWest Sussex Home Guard
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionEducational/Training
ThemeWartime and Military Case Study The Home Front
KeywordsArmed Forces Civil Defence Second World War (1939-1945) Wars
RegionalWest Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionWest Sussex Home Guard
ParticipantsColonel C. H. I. Jackson; Colonel E. Pike (Zone Commander); No. 6 Company, 1st Battalion, West Sussex Home Guard
FormatBlack & White Silent
Duration20 min.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Part of a series of training films made by the West Sussex Home Guard demonstrating "the right and wrong ways" of dealing with situations which may arise in their line of duty. Many of the scenes are repeated in slow motion. Intertitles introduce each scene.


The first demonstration shows how to deal with ‘fifth columnists’. A man approaches two Home Guards, asks for light, then pulls a gun on them. Guards are advised to “avoid being too friendly”. The “wrong way” of “Stopping a Car”: guards step out in front of an approaching car, they attempt to crowd around the car but it speeds off and a hidden passenger fires at them from the back seat, leaving the guards for dead on the ground. The “right way” is explained: two guards lie in ambush at the roadside, the others flag the car down. When the car stops the driver exits the car with hands raised while a guard approaches and examines the car. He finds papers in the front then discovers the hidden passenger in the back of the car who is then marched away at gunpoint. “Road Blocks - the wrong way”: a group of guards make uncoordinated efforts to construct a road block. The correct way is demonstrated: a motorcyclist approaches and his papers are checked, the guards then work together to build the road block. “Dealing with Paratroopers - the right way and the wrong way”: paratroopers jump from planes, the planes land and a close-up of swastika on a plane tail is shown. In a field a German paratrooper removes his jumpsuit and is suddenly set upon by two Home Guards. “Beware of egg bombs & weapons fired by strings in his Sleeves”: the guards frisk and disarm him. “Prisoner’s actions hindered by pulling down coat & pants”: the guards do this then march him off. “Attack from flank & rear, not from the front”: the guards demonstrate that by doing this the paratrooper is able to push them aside and set off a smoke bomb and make his escape. “Bringing in a prisoner - the wrong way and the right way”: two guards march a prisoner towards their officer, the prisoner and officer shake hands over a fence. The officer gives the prisoner a cigarette who then reaches inside coat for his papers and takes out a pencil which explodes into smoke. “Do not use prisoner’s pencil which may be loaded!” The right way shows the prisoner held at gunpoint, and not allowed to use his hands, the guards remove papers from his coat. “Stalking and Killing stationary outpost. Wrong way - shadows in front. Right way - shadows behind”: in a field a guard creeps up on a German soldier and stabs him in the back. “Taking cover - the right way and wrong way”: various shots of men hiding in and behind trees. “‘Arthur’ - uniform camouflaged to melt into dark background”: a shot of man camouflaged against a tree trunk. The film ends with an advertisement for the ‘Home Guard Pocket Book’.


A still from 'West Sussex Home Guard' (1941?)A still from 'West Sussex Home Guard' (1941?)

Contextual information

In May 1940 an appeal was made for men aged between 40 and 65 to join the Local Defence Volunteers (LDVs - later known as the Home Guard). By the end of June nearly a million and a half men had been recruited nationwide, creating a force intended to delay an enemy invasion until the Armed Forces could be mobilized. The Home Guard was established at a time when the threat of such an invasion was very real. Initially however the Home Guard was poorly resourced - weaponry mostly consisted of First World War relics, bayonets and imported guns. In addition, the Home Guard came to be nicknamed 'Dad's Army' because the majority of volunteers were too old to serve in the regular army.

Training was organised by individual commanders. This film, then, was one commander’s creative way of training his men. Made under the auspices of Zone Commander Colonel E Pike, with the cooperation of No. 6 Company, 1st Battalion. Further episodes in this series show other duties carried out by the Home Guard such as building road blocks and checking identity cards.

Civilians in Uniform (1946) describes the work carried out by the Civil Defence Services during the Second World War. They are also featured in Leatherhead Newsreel (1940 - 1945).

Related titles

Related resources


Crook, Paul. Sussex Home Guard. Midhurst: Middleton Press, 1998

Copies of this book about the Home Guard in East and West Sussex are available at various Sussex libraries.

Green, A.F.U. Home Guard Pocket Book (West Sussex H.G.). Worthing: Worthing Gazette Ltd, 1940

This book, written by Brigadier General A.F.U Green a volunteer in the Storrington Platoon, is available at Chichester and Worthing libraries.

Home Guard List 1941. South Eastern Command - Kent, Surrey and Sussex.* n.p.: Savannah Publications, 2005

Copies of this book are available at various West Sussex libraries.

Mackenzie, S.P. The Home Guard: A Military and Political History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995

Copies of this book about the history of the Home Guard are available at various Sussex libraries.

West Sussex County Council Library Service. Chichester and District at War, 1939-1945. n.p.: West Sussex County Council Library Service, Local Studies Department, 1994

This book contains a compilation of material about Chichester during the Second World War, covering a range of subjects including the Home Guard and bombing raids. A copy of the book is available at Chichester library.


Imperial War Museum

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the collections of the Imperial War Museum include Film and Video, Photographs, Sound, Art, Documents and Printed Books. Amateur film is well represented in the Film and Video Archive. The collections’ database is searchable online.

Mass-Observation Archive

“The Mass-Observation Archive specialises in material about everyday life in Britain. It contains papers generated by the original Mass-Observation social research organisation (1937 to early 1950s), and newer material collected continuously since 1981.” The Archive holds a large amount of material relating people’s experiences during wartime, including material relevant to the Home Guard and other Civil Defence Services. A search facility is available online.

The National Archives

The National Archives at Kew houses numerous collections that refer to the Home Guard, including governmental records. The National Archives' database is searchable online.

West Sussex Record Office

"West Sussex Record Office collects and preserves the documentary and recorded heritage of the County of West Sussex." The West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) holds various collections on the subject of the Home Guard in West Sussex. The WSRO collections can also be searched on the National Archives website

Search West Sussex Record Office Collections via The National Archives


About the Home Guard* (1940)

"The Local Defence Volunteers are new renamed The Home Guard. The men are busy training for the defence of the country." The film record can be found on The British Universities Film and Video Council's News On Screen database.

Home Guard Anniversary* (1943)

Representatives of the Home Guard celebrate its 3rd anniversary by parading in front of King George VI at Hyde Park. This Pathé newsreel, along with numerous others about the Home Guard, can be accessed via the British Pathé website.

Further Information on File at Screen Archive South East

Newspaper articles about the Chichester Home Guard are held in the Accession File. The articles are from the local newspaper in the 1980s and feature photographs and personal accounts of duties carried out by the Home Guard during the war.


Articles on the West Sussex Home Guard can be found in various local newspapers including Chichester Observer, Chichester and Sussex Post, West Sussex County Times and West Sussex Gazette. Copies of the aforementioned newspapers are held at the West Sussex Record Office.