The Home Guard was formed in May 1940 as the Local Defence Volunteers, after a speech on the BBC by Anthony Eden, Secretary of State for War. The response was overwhelming, and within 24 hours a quarter of a million men between the ages of 17 and 65 had signed up at their local Police Station. By the close of June over one and a half million had volunteered.
The 1st Essex Battalion Home Guard covered south-east Essex and consisted of five companies: Canvey Island, Southend, Rayleigh, Rochford and Wickford. Rayleigh Company, with sections at Thundersley, Rayleigh and Hockley, was commanded by Major W. T. Wormington.
This is a picture of the Thundersley Section, with my wife’s maternal Grandfather, Fred Horner, standing top left. I’m certain that there must be relatives hereabout of many of the others: it would be a delight to identify as many as possible.
Those men who served for three full years would have been entitled to (at least) the Defence Medal, but this was not awarded automatically.