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• Over 60,000 historic records and 5,000 images of Lancashire World War II Home Guard records now available on


25th January 2021, London UK – Today Ancestry, the global leader in family history, has launched the Lancashire World War II Home Guard Records 1940-45. Exclusive to Ancestry, the digital record collection is a regional representative of the national Home Guard and provides fascinating insight into what life was like on the Home Front during World War II.

Fondly called 'Dad's Army' since many of the local volunteers were above the age of conscription, the Home Guard was set up in May 1940 as Britain's 'last line of defence' against German invasion. Other volunteers included those too young or ineligible to serve. Despite the Home Guard starting off as ‘rag-tag’ militia, with scarce and often make-do uniforms and weaponry, it evolved into a well-equipped and well-trained army of 1.7 million men and some women, with roles including bomb disposal and manning anti-aircraft and coastal artillery.

The newly digitised Lancashire records on which feature more than 60,000 historic records are listed by battalion, and people can find information about their relatives’ enlistment, transfers, promotions, resignations and on occasion, their death. Some Home Guard records have also been linked back to the 1939 Register, offering further detailed information including birth dates, religion, previous service and next of kin too.

Other interesting facts from the collection include:

  • Women were part of the Lancashire Home Guard: Despite its moniker, the collection includes the nominal roll of women from the 41st County of Lancaster (Prestwich) Battalion. Miss Margery Cooper, Miss Margaret Coyle and Miss Lily Cheetham were some of the women who were in the Battalion
  • Age is just a number: Norman Bromley was one of the youngest people in the Lancashire Home Guard records to enlist. By cross matching his details with the 1939 Register, we can see he was only 14 at the time (with the official minimum age for enlistment being 16). A Sergeant T Mooney was amongst the oldest to volunteer at aged 70
  • Codewords: In order to help slow down the advance of the enemy to give regular troops time to regroup, the Home Guard often used codewords to describe certain actions against paratrooper landings. Some of these codewords can be found in the records including ‘bouncer’ and ‘bugbear’

 “We’re thrilled to be working with Lancashire Archives to make this unique collection of records available online for the first time,’’ comments Kristian Lafferty, Content Acquisition Manager at Ancestry®. ‘’The records are an invaluable resource for those looking to research their family history in Lancashire. Nominal lists of volunteers combined with individual’s letters, orders, instructions, and other documents provide an interesting glimpse into the Lancashire Home Guard during World War II, and thus an important part of what life was also like on the Home Front too.’’

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