Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Thanet Home Guard Booklet and some thoughts about buying books online

KT6 – An Informal History of the 6th (Thanet) Battalion of the Kent Home Guard by Ian Smales.

Newly published today at £3.99, available in my bookshop now, I can also post this to anyone who can’t get to the shop. Post free in the UK overseas post at cost. I haven’t yet set up the page on my website with a buy it now button due to the web hosting problems that I have been having, although this facility should be available soon.

If you can’t wait for this email me MichaelChild@aol.com and I will send payment instructions.

This is publication No. 138 of my local history publications, to view the rest go to http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/ most titles are also available via Ebay although I charge postage to cover the extra costs involve in selling them this way, see http://stores.ebay.co.uk/thanet-books

These days so much of buying on the internet is about trust, which is one reason that I also sell via Ebay, you can also check my Ebay feedback by clicking on this link http://feedback.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewFeedback2&userid=thanet-books&&iid=370456753563&sspagename=VIP:feedback&ftab=FeedbackAsSeller

Anyway here is the beginning of the of the booklet:


A range of books have already been written dealing with the origin and development of the Home Guard in Britain during WW2. There are a number of unit histories and an invaluable book which concentrates on the Kent Home Guard but there does not appear to be any record of the Thanet Home Guard – those charged with guarding the stretch of coastline from Westgate round to Pegwell; deemed one of the most likely areas for a German invasion.


After several months of the “Phoney War”, events in Western Europe took on a more ominous tone when in May 1940 the might of the Wehrmacht swept into Holland, Belgium and France.

After what Churchill termed the “miracle of deliverance” when the British Expeditionary Force was rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk, it seemed only a matter of time before the Third Reich would turn its eyes to Britain. Indeed, on 16th July 1940, Hitler - growing impatient with England’s recalcitrance - issued Directive No. 16, which sought to finalise the plans, which had been drawn up several months earlier for a seaborne invasion of Britain. Operation Sealion as it became known initially planned for the landing of 260,000 men along the coastline between Ramsgate and Lyme Regis.

Even without this inside knowledge, it seemed obvious to the British Government that the coastline around Thanet formed one of the most obvious sites for the Germans to land. With most of its military hardware abandoned on the beaches of Dunkirk, Britain looked to the resourcefulness and determination of its citizens to help fortify and defend this country; the aim being to ensure that if Hitler did land, the progress of his forces would be harried and hindered at every turn with whatever resources could be pressed into service.

FORMATION OF THE Local Defence Volunteers (LDV)

Our story starts with a radio appeal by the Minister of War, Anthony Eden. Broadcast on Tuesday 14th May 1940, he asked for male volunteers, aged 17-65 and reasonably fit to join a new force which was to be called the “Local Defence Volunteers”. Their main role was to be one of observation – a human early warning system aimed at the Paratroops who were expected to be dropping in large numbers from the sky at any moment.

Even before the broadcast had finished, a burgeoning flow of volunteers – all eager to do their bit – flocked to sign up at Police stations throughout the country. Nationwide, over the next 24 hours, 250000 men responded to Mr Eden’s appeal and 100,000 of these were from Kent.
By Friday the 17th, close on 2000 men from Thanet had volunteered, including one 81 year old from Margate, who was indignant when his declared age of 65 was questioned! By the end of June, a total of 1.5 million men throughout the country had volunteered for the new force.

At Ramsgate, enrolment for the LDV was undertaken by the Special Constabulary at the Conservative club in Cliff Street. In Margate, the Aliens office had to be re-opened to cope with the flood of volunteers.
The desperate nature of the nation’s plight had given little time for preparation and it was several days before any sort of organisation could be imposed on the men. The HQ for Kent’s LDV was established at the TA centre at 67 College Road Maidstone.

The South East Regional Commissioner for Civil Defence - Sir Auckland Geddes and a General Staff Officer (at GSOIII level) had the task of dividing up the existing Military Areas into Zones and Groups and in order to choose suitable men to take command of the LDV they were assisted by the Lord Lieutenants of each count (Kent’s at that time was John Pratt 4th Marquess of Camden)
On 17th May Brigadier General Franklin (appointed on 15th May as LDV Kent Zone Commander) was ordered to have 1500 men on armed patrol by the next evening. Some 3500 Lee Enfield rifles of WW1 vintage, coated in thick grease and with around 5 rounds apiece were obtained from military storage at Chatham and distributed to police stations in Canterbury, Ashford, Tonbridge & Maidstone. By 10:30 on the following night (18th) the shores of
Kent, including Thanet were being watched over by over 1000 armed men who therefore had the honour of forming the very first armed patrols on duty as part of the LDV.”

More about the booklet and some thoughts about buying online now.

The booklet is A5 size, that is about 6X8 inches, it has 40 pages of text and black and white photos, it also includes an up to date list of my other publications.

I found the booklet an enjoyable read and I learnt some more about our history.

There is much less information about WW2 in Thanet than I would like there to be so this one adds to what there is, I have another 3 of my own publications about the war, here are the links to them.




I can usually come up with a few WW2 in Thanet related titles published by other people, that said there isn’t enough in the way of titles to satisfy the demand.

As I promised now some thoughts about buying books online, the first rule of thumb here is don’t give your payment card details to anyone you don’t know.

I would say that you are as safe in this respect paying a large online company as you are using your card in a reputable shop in the high street.

If you wish to use your card to pay an unknown business or individual online I recommend using one of the well know intermediaries like PayPal, you can pay me money for books this way.

Using this intermediary for payment means that the person you are paying doesn’t get your card details sent to them, so if I they are a criminal with no books to actually sell, your card details wouldn’t be compromised and you would probably get your money back.

Back when I first started using the internet to buy and sell books about twelve years ago, internet crime was very rare in the online bookselling world, credit card details were regularly sent all over the place often by email.

Now I would say that most people are much more careful.


  1. Good luck with selling your books Michael. I love the internet and have never had a problem but I know people who have.

  2. "I would say that you are as safe in this respect paying a large online company as you are using your card in a reputable shop in the high street"

    My wife purchased a fridge using a card,instore at Comet and the next statement showed illegal payments to mobile phone companies, for which we did not even have phones.

    Chip and pin has reduced this sort of fraud in shops but not via the internet.

    PS. The Halifax refunded all the money without quibble.


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