IN May1940 Anthony Eden made a historic broadcast appealing for volunteers to help defend Britain against the threat of German invasion.

The Ilkley Gazette recorded: “The response to the appeal was electric, for even before the speech was finished men were on their way to register their names.”

By July, nearly 1.5 million men had signed up to the Home Guard - or ‘Dad’s Army’. Over the course of the war they played a crucial role, including bomb disposal and manning anti-aircraft artillery - and more than 1200 of them lost their lives in the line of duty. Finally with the threat of invasion over, the Home Guard was stood down on December 3, 1944.

The Gazette recorded: “Throughout the country final parades are to take place, words of appreciation and farewell spoken, and the units dismissed. During the day, over the radio, His Majesty the King is to voice his personal thanks, and those of his people, for loyal and devoted service rendered.

“In order to appreciate fully the efforts of this great army of home defenders, we must recollect the dark and grave hour that called them into being. France had just fallen, the evacuation at Dunkirk had taken place, and we as a nation stood alone against a tremendously powerful and arrogant foe. Our enemy was armed to the teeth and the threat of invasion imminent.

“It was an hour of supreme crisis, which put to the test the moral fibre and strength of our people.”

All these Home Guard photographs are from the archives of Aireborough Historical Society.