The Home Guard were organised as Britains Home Front Defence force. Originally called the ‘Local Defence Volunteers’, they started off as being armed with no more than pitch-forks and personally-owned shotguns and rifles. However, after the Regular Army had been re-equipped due to leaving large amounts being at Dunkirk, the Home Guard began to receive more ‘sophisticated’ weaponry, including the Vickers MG.

To start with, they were armed with the US-made Colt-Vickers M1915 in .30 M1906 but as more 303-inch Mk. I guns became available, they also received these.

Training units

Training for the Home Guard was often centralised to ensure that permanent staff and regular soldiers weren’t travelling to individual units all around the country. The Schools were central and regional, distributed by Commands.

Central Schools

No. 1 War Office School for Instructors

A school established to train instructors that would then disseminate the training to smaller units. It included one Vickers machine gun in .303-inch by late 1941.

In 1942, this became the General Headquarters Home Guard School. It still included just the one Vickers MG but it was now the .300-inch M1915 Colt-made Vickers supplied through the lend-lease arrangements.

District and Regional Schools

Northern Ireland District Tactical and Home Guard School

Working alongside the District Tactical School was a Home Guard Wing for the Ulster Home Guard. There was also a travelling wing to visit troops. The School contained a range of Home Guard weapons, including the Northover Projector, the Spigot Mortar and the Vickers machine gun, .303-inch Mk. I. It would instruct 110 soldiers at any one time.

County units

Somerset Home Guard

It would appear that the Paulton Platoon of No. 3 (Temple Cloud) Company of the Somerset Home Guard had two Vickers MGs at their disposal.  The photograph of the platoon in September 1944 shows these and they appear to be Mk I guns rather than the M1915, as can be seen by the long tangent sight bar, the muzzle attachment and Mk IV tripod.

Paulton Platoon, No. 3 (Temple Cloud) Company, Somerset Home Guard (Wilson, 2004)

Sources