Home Guard of Beaulieu Drew Maps to Prepare Defense

The BBC show Dad’s Army was a comedy about an aged Home Guard which was true in spirit, but often seemed to have something missing in terms of military expertise. A similar group from the village of Beaulieu has been discovered to yield something more in terms of prowess when it comes to planning, as demonstrated by a compilation of maps made by their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Sir Morgan Crofton.

The maps were made up in 1943, and provide several meticulous plans depending upon which side of the village may have been attacked. The Home Guard of Beaulieu was in charge of keeping safe not only their own village, but also the nearby railways, fuel lines, and refinery. The most unfortunate correlation between the Home Guard of Beaulieu and that of Dad’s Army, however, is that the maps show they may have fallen short were an attack by the Germans ever actually came to pass.

The maps do their best to station men at every available post within the village. The Home Guard had prepared positions for snipers, gunners, mine fields, and road blocks. The plans were so extensive that Crofton envisioned the entire village turning into something of a defense post if such a need came to pass. They were ready to fight invaders by land, air, or sea, depending on how an invasion might be staged. It was very clear that once the Home Guard was in place, they were to stay there and away help from British troops. Crofton was aware that his village could not single-handedly repel a Nazi invasion, and so he was prepared for the outcome that they might simply be stalling while waiting for assistance, the Mail Online reports.

Crofton’s maps are now housed with the New Forest Remembers World War II Project, where they are considered a vital part of the local history, as well as a testament to the organization skills of the Beaulieu Home Guard. Those who work there believe that Crofton’s troops may not have adequately fought off an invasion, but that they may have been successful in biding time.

The project has scanned Crofton’s scrapbook to include the maps online, so that internet users may learn more about the Home Guard and their plans, something they believe to be of interest to anyone fascinated by WWII or military strategy in general. Although the Home Guard’s maps were marked as top secret, Crofton kept them nonetheless. While this decision may seem baffling to some, the project is grateful that they may now share this bit of history with the rest of the world.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE