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Book Review
The British Home Front 1939-1945

by: Dave O'Meara [ GRUMPYOLDMAN ]

Originally published on:


The book is broken down into three basic sections. The first deals with the coming of war, preparations, Dunkirk, labour and production, the conscription of women, wartime romance, (we had several “war brides” in my neighbourhood when I was a kid growing up, and they always had interesting stories about the “Blitz”). Rationing food, clothing, and domestic goods, fuel. The “black market”, looting, and evacuation, wrap up this section.

The next section deals with the campaign against England, the Blitz, later phases of the air raids, the arrival of the V-weapons, the dropping of anti-personnel bombs, and of course the casualties.

The final section covers the “Home Front Services” that were mentioned in the earlier sections of the books. Each is covered with a brief history, and the duties and services they performed.


The services covered are as follows:

Air Raid Precautions & Civil Defense

Home Guard

Auxiliary Fire Service & National Fire Service

Supplementary Fire Services

Women’s Voluntary Service

Women’s Land Army & Women’s Timber Corps


Royal Observer Corps NAAFI & ENSA

Women’s Legion

Women’s Transport Service (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry)

Motor Transport Corps

Air Transport Auxiliary

Following the usual Osprey format, there are clear photographs throughout the book, each clearly identifying the wearer’s clothing/uniform and service. Several photographs of impressed vehicles, along with their rather proud crews are scattered among the collection. As always the excellent colour centre section illustrations are presented. For anyone interested in this time frame of British history and subject matter, leaning more toward civilian life, or for the figure modeller looking for an unusual uniform, or figure to do, or even the vehicle modeller looking for something to do with a British civilian vehicle of this era or conversion, and for the diorama builder, there are plenty of shots of bombed out buildings. In all, there’s a little something for everyone.


As I said in my summary, I enjoyed this book, Martin J. Brayley's fluid writing style, the interesting photographs, and Malcolm McGregor's illustrations make for an interesting, and relaxing change of pace. It still hasn't made me an expert, but these books continue to add to the oldman's data base.

Contact details

Osprey Direct
PO Box 140
Northants, NN8 2FA
United Kingdom

(01933) 443 863

Thank you to Osprey Publishing for kindly supplying the review sample.

I totally enjoyed reading this book, in fact I enjoyed it so much, I read it twice. If you think this is another one about “Dad’s Army” the Home Guard, you are way off base. Well written about the many unsung, and often unheard of services in Britain during World War Two.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 1841766615
  Suggested Retail: $14.95 US
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Sep 22, 2005
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Dave O'Meara (Grumpyoldman)

I'm rewriting this in a much more humoristic way, to help over inflate my ego, and place my self on a pedestal, because I don't have a life, and plastic models are the only thing I live for. I plead guilty as charged to excessive babble, light hearted humor, and continued encouragement to youngsters...

Copyright ©2018 text by Dave O'Meara [ GRUMPYOLDMAN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.

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