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Don't panic - the real Home Guard is here!

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

With the nationwide release this week of the much anticipated movie 'Dad's Army', all eyes are on Bridlington and other parts of the East Riding that acted as filming locations for the fictional Walmington on Sea.

The famous drill hall, where the classic characters of Dad's Army regularly assemble in the film, was recreated using Beverley's East Riding Theatre on Lord Roberts Road. Before it was a theatre however, it was the home to the East Riding Archives and thousands of historic records about the history of the local area. Now, those historic documents have been used to find out a little more about the real 'Dad's Army' of East Yorkshire.

Photographs in the archive include group images of the Woodmansey Home Guard and 3rd East Riding (Beverley) Battalion.

Although there were 15,000 men in the East Yorkshire Home Guard it is unclear if there were any real Mainwarings, Jones or Godfreys among them; the training and operational duties register for Beverley Battalion instead show various other names including Privates Gorbutt, Tinkler, Senior and Bullard.

The Beverley Battalion's HQ was in fact at Hornsea – a coastal location being the most likely point of first contact with the enemy – and among its officers were Captains Mulchinlock, Wheatley, Cameron, and Lieutenants Jolley and Whalley.

A book of weekly orders gives an impression of the kind of day-to-day business the battalion were involved in, and covers everything from ammunition and captured aircraft to travelling claims and clothing. One particular order deals with 'grenade training' and reads: "From recent observations it would appear that instruction in all types of grenades held on charge has in some cases been badly neglected and some NCOs and men appear to be pretty scared when asked to handle dummies."

Another order states: "A soldier acting as a policeman and provided with a cudgel, revolver or machine carbine is usually fully effective during the hours of daylight."

Archivist Sam Bartle said: "On reading through these orders you quickly see the difference between the comedy of Dad's Army and the reality of the real East Riding Home Guard. These men were handling deadly equipment and the threat of invasion was certainly no joke to them."

People wanting to research the Home Guard in the East Riding can visit the Archives at the Treasure House in Champney Road, Beverley. For more details call (01482) 392790.

'E' Company East Riding Beverley Battalion Home Guard

Home Guard Woodmansey 

Home Guard Certificate of Service for Charles Derrick Massey

Charles Derrick Massey

High Street Bridlington 

High Street Bridlington