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Personnel (Co-Operation With Home Guard)

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 18 March 1943

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asked the Home Secretary how far the Civil Defence units, especially National Fire Service, are co-operating with Home Guard duties in sparsely inhabited localities; and to what extent reciprocity has been secured?

Co-operation naturally varies according to local circumstances, but I am glad to say it is improving and in some areas is already close and effective. The Civil Defence Services can help the Home Guard by enrolling in list (ii), and several thousands of such enrolments come from the rural areas. Conversely, in many country districts Home Guards undertake training and duty in the wardens' and other services, and instructions have been issued whereby in many places the Home Guard give their assistance after air raids. In addition the Home Guard depend on the Civil Defence casualty services in case of invasion, and co-operation in this and other activities is secured by joint exercises. In the case of the National Fire Service, while the same general principles apply, the nature of the duties which firemen will have to perform in time of invasion limits the numbers who can be permitted to enrol in list (ii). A certain number have, however, been permitted to enrol, and in some areas Home Guards are being earmarked and trained as members of fire pump crews. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War and I wish to promote full co-operation between the Home Guard and the Civil Defence Services, and within the bounds of what is practicable no opportunity is lost of extending the system of mutual aid and dual training and duty.

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him to ensure that this information gets down to the lower ranks and is not confined to the higher ranks?