In May 1940, the government called up the Local Defence Volunteers force, for men who were either too old, too young, or too infirm to fight, or were in a reserved occupation. Later called the Home Guard, they trained as an armed civilian force to defend against possible invasion. The No 1 (Porlock) Company served under the 1st Somerset (Minehead) Battalion. The Porlock company had four platoons – Porlock (based at Court Place Farm), Selworthy (based at Holnicote House), Oare & Brendon and Wootton Courtenay.
The platoons were a rich mix of First World War veterans, farm and forestry workers, teachers and shop keepers, and even members of the clergy. The battalion’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel R D Alexander, lived at Doverhay House in Porlock, where he stored the battalion’s ammunition in a bunker in his garden.
The Porlock platoon met for drills each Tuesday evening and Sunday morning. Shooting ranges were set up on Ley Hill and grenade training took place on Bossington Beach. Daytime and night exercises were staged with other platoons. There was a permanent Home Guard post on Porlock Hill, based in a cottage opposite Culbone Stables, keeping a constant watch for invading forces. A mounted patrol also toured the moors.
The local Home Guard was never called into action and they were finally stood down in November 1944, once the threat of invasion had finally passed. However, two men died through their duties with the Home Guard - Jack Robins from the Porlock platoon and Jim Farmer from the Selworthy platoon (see Roll of Honour).
Porlock Home Guard at Court Place 1944
Left to right, back row: ?, Bill Keal, Raymond Keal, Stan Hooper, ?, Bill Thomas, Bill Thomas snr, Bill Tame, Jeff Farrant, Tom Harris.
4th row: Revd. J A Smart, Jack Mead, George Hill, Cecil Westcott, Bill Chiswell, Patrick Joyce, Bert Tancock, Harry Rawle, Reg Huntley, Charlie Brooks.
3rd row: Tom Sully, Bert Gibbons, Alf Keal, Sid Rawle, George Bushen, Vivian Langrish, Francis White, Clifford Barwick, Herbert Kingdon, Henri Webb.
2nd row: ?, Arthur Ward, Jack Farmer, Ernest Sully, Fred Kent, Dudley Richards, Peter Leach, Sid Gibbons, Fred Middleton.
Front row (sergeants): Jim Wilson, Sid Ferris, Bill Yeandle, Sidney Bass, Bill Glasco, Fred Willicombe.
In front (officers): Captain Bill Parsons, Major Sandford, Lieutenant Hugh Webber.
Selworthy Home Guard at Holnicote Stables c.1941/42
Left to right, back row: Arthur Kingdon, Ted Rowlands, Jack Gould, Philip Moore, Harold Prescott, Albert Stark, Arthur Moor, Wallace Harding.
Centre: George Davis, Reg Tame, Stafford Miles, Dick Creech, Eddie Keal, Robert Williams, Tom Farmer, William Tame, Leonard Bennett, Jack Farmer.
Front row: Mervyn Arscott, Walter Bellamy, Sidney Webber, Bill Gunter, Jack Kingdom, Tom Rawle, Jack Crockford, Thomas Hill, Tony Hale, Percy Sedman, Clifford Clarke.
Porlock Weir Home Guard
Left to right, back row: Ernest Pollard, Alfred Cook, Arthur Lee, Victor Manley.
Front row: Cpl. Bruce Baldwin, George Garnish, Capt. Parsons, Sgt. Jack Roberts, Henry Pollard.