WW2 Home Guard Cloth Badges

When the military situation in France was not looking good in 1940, Mr Anthony Eden made a speech appealing for men to join the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV). It was expected that around 250,000 men would join but in the end, 1,500,000 joined. Within a short space of time, the title of this force was changed to 'The Home Guard'. Older and younger men and those not able to join the army in the field, were equipped and uniformed with the intention of carrying out guard duties at vital points, roads, railways and factories throughout the country and were a line of defence in static locations until they could be reinforced by regular troops. 

In the Autumn of 1944, once the threat of invasion had disappeared, the Home Guard was stood down and was disbanded in December 1945.

16 Battalions of Home Guard were affiliated to the York and Lancaster Regiment. They proudly wore the Tiger and Rose in their cap and on their battledress blouse, a curved shoulder title with the words 'Home Guard' and below it the letters WR (for West Riding) along with the Battalion number. The Battalions and their numbers were:

  • 55th West Riding  (Rotherham)
  • 56th West Riding  (Barnsley) 
  • 58th West Riding  (Rotherham) 
  • 59th West Riding  (Rotherham)
  • 61st West Riding  (Rotherham)          (based in Rawmarsh)
  • 62nd West Riding (Rotherham) 
  • 63rd West Riding (Rotherham) 
  • 64th West Riding (Sheffield) 
  • 65th West Riding (Sheffield)        
  • 66th West Riding (Sheffield)             
  • 67th West Riding (Sheffield)            
  • 68th West Riding (Sheffield)             
  • 69th West Riding (Sheffield)           
  • 70th West Riding (Staincross)           
  • 71st West Riding (Staincross)                (based at Cudworth)
  • 72nd West Riding (Staincross)              (based at Ward Green)

The Hallamshire Zone was formed in July 1940 and included the Sheffield Group of five battalions, the Rotherham Borough Group of three battalions, and a Rotherham County Group of four battalions.

In May 1941, the Hallamshire Zone was extended to include  the Barnsley and Staincross Groups and a further change was made in May, 1943 when the Sheffield Group became the Hallamshire Sector, the Rotherham Group became the  Rotherham Sector and the Barnsley and Staincross Groups became the Staincross  Sector.

The final change was made in March 1944 when the seven works units in 65 Battalion and the two railway units in 69 Battalion were formed into a new 55 Battalion.

In addition, 3 Anti Aircraft Batteries were formed in 1942 from men who were transferred from the existing battalions . These were numbered WR 101, WR105 and WR106 

These 'Z' batteries manned the three rocket projector sites within the  Sheffield Gun Defended Area at Shirecliffe (WR101), Brinsworth (WR105) and Manor (WR106). These three sites operated the rocket projectors which were manned nightly. 

Although many men of these anti aircraft units wore the Royal Artillery cap badge, others continued to wear their Tiger and Rose badge having been transferred from the York and Lancaster badged Home Guard Battalions. It is for this reason that an example of the anti aircraft title is included.

It is difficult to find examples of all the cloth titles of the York and Lancaster affiliated Home Guard units and so a small example is included in this section.