Abbotsley Home Guard

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  • I can confirm that the man at the centre of the back row is my grandfather, Matthew George Radford, usually known as George. He owned Rectory Farm from 1937 until the late 50s.

    My father (George’s son) died last year but left a memoir which included the following:

    “Father joined the LDV, or Home Guard as it was later known. A German invasion was expected and he took his turn with the rest of the village platoon in watching for parachutists at dawn and dusk from the church tower. He also helped to guard the power station at Little Barford. We had a good supply of weapons in the farmhouse, the rack over the back staircase held a point 300 Home Guard rifle, two 12-bore double-barrelled shotguns, a light 410 shotgun, father s heavy 22 rifle for competition use and a lighter 22, which I was allowed to fire under supervision.

    I think father enjoyed being in the Home Guard. Abbotsley platoon used to play war games with Gransden, the next village, and on one occasion Gransden outwitted our road block by sending in men hidden in a van full of baby calves. Abbotsley had its revenge later, scattering their sentries with a high speed charge in the lieutenant s nineteen-twenty something open Vauxhall, a huge car which held most of the platoon. The BBC  Dad s Army programme is sometimes not so very far from the truth. On the other hand marksmanship was taken very seriously and Abbotsley had a good competition record. Our tractor-driver, a 1914 veteran, was the best shot with the heavy 300 rifle while father was the best in the platoon with the point 22.”

    By Matthew Radford (16/01/2016)

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