Home Guard records digitised at National Archives

Durham Home Guard Records now online.

The National Archives have released online a new set of genealogy records, the personnel documents for WW2 Home Guard volunteers for the county of Durham. This section of the defence force became immortalised in the TV programme “Dad’s Army”, anyone of a certain generation will remember Captain Mainwaring and his platoon!! However the digitising of these records have revealed that many of the Home Guard were too young to enlist rather than too old.

The records comprise 40,000+ personnel records and cover the time period 1940 – 1945.  It should be noted that the records of people born less than 100 years ago are closed which means that although you can find them listed on the index you can not download and view them. However if you can prove the person is deceased then there is a specific form to fill in requested access.


The record series reference is WO 409 and contains the enrolment forms which were completed by the men as they joined the service. They generally contain

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Address
  • Date of Enlistment in Home Guard
  • Promotions
  • Previous Military Service
  • Date of leaving Home Guard

It can be seen that this set of records contain very useful family history information which could lead onto military, census, civil registration and other records. It would be wonderful if The National Archives decided to either digitise the records for the whole of the Britain or enter into a partnership with either Ancestry or Find My Past.

If you have family in the county of Durham then this is a document set that is well worth searching, if not then we can only sit and hope that these valuable records are soon online for the rest of Britain. The National Archives, Ancestry and Find My Past often put out surveys about their services and one of the questions is which records you would like to see digitised, now we can ask for Home Guard records and then keep our fingers crossed !


Image – Wikimedia -photograph H1896 from the IWM collection.

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