'Dad's Army '
(the Local Defence Volunteers or 'Home
(A selection of stories, paraphrased from
'Verwood at War' presented by members of the Verwood Evening
Womens' Institute in 1984.)
One local man tells the story of
when the Home Guard were called out to arrest a German pilot
who had baled out when his plane came down, to crash at
Gotham. In the early hours, in darkness, the Guard made
their way up the road and met someone walking. The usual
"Good morning!" was exchanged and the search
continued. Luckily the police later met the early morning
wanderer, took him into custody and escorted him to the
nearest POW camp!
The LDV drilled with
broomsticks, hay-forks or shot- guns. One lady remembers the
rubber tube her husband was given into which he was to
insert an iron bar with which to fight off the Germans. At
Eastworth, a wagon was positioned near the railway bridge,
to be pulled across the road if invasion came. The signpost
at the Crossroads was removed.
The Cows Attack
Eventually each platoon of the
Home Guard had a rifle and five bullets. One night a young
volunteer was on guard near the railway and heard rustling.
He called out "Halt, who goes there?" but there
was no reply and the rustling got nearer. He threw down the
gun and ran. It was later thought to have been a cow.
Soon the Home Guard were issued
with battle- dress and more sophisticated weapons with which
they were sometimes less than professional! Here, in
Verwood, they were given an anti-tank gun which, it was
felt, should be demonstrated on the recreation ground. A
large bonfire was built, with a lump of steel in the middle
to represent an oncoming German tank. Great excitement was
generated for the Sunday afternoon demonstration. The gun
was set up and the order given to fire. It missed. So the
gun was moved closer. A second order was given, but again,
it missed. It was moved even closer....and finally the
'tank' was hit to great cheering and much relief!
When over 7000 of 'Dad's Army',
from all parts of
, marched in the final parade before the
King (in 1944), the following proudly represented Verwood
(according to the Dorset County Chronicle):
F Shearing, Privates V A Bailey and A F Lockyer