Last of Pulham Market Home Guard remembers Second World War service

Peter Blackburn was a member of Pulham Market's Home Guard. Picture: Submitted.

Peter Blackburn was a member of Pulham Market's Home Guard. Picture: Submitted. - Credit: Archant

When Peter Blackburn was 17-years-old he joined the Pulham Market Home Guard.

Peter Blackburn was a member of Pulham Market's Home Guard. Picture: Submitted.

Peter Blackburn was a member of Pulham Market's Home Guard. Picture: Submitted. - Credit: Archant

He spent 18 months learning how to defend the country in case of Nazi invasion while working on his father's farm.

Mr Blackburn, 90, who is the only remaining member of Pulham's Home Guard, said he joined on his 17th birthday in May 1943.

'When I was able to I was quite happy to join,' he said. 'It sounds awful now to say, but I enjoyed it. I was a young man and we got to do a bit of shooting.

'I was given a 303 rifle and I was pretty proud of that. I was allowed to keep the rifle at home but I did not cart it around, mind you.'


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The farmer recalls taking part in 87 parades with the 35 men who made up Pulham Market's Home Guard.

They met every Sunday at the village hall, except during harvest as many of the men were farmers.

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Mr Blackburn said he enjoyed the rifle practice, battle drill and lectures. And there is one lecture in particular which sticks out in his mind.

He said: 'We had a military person come down and he was giving us a lecture and he said 'down boys, the Germans are coming, the Germans are coming'. He said 'we don't want any prisoners, you've got your bayonets you've got your rifle bullet and you've got to us them. I couldn't have stuck a bayonet into a rabbit.

'I thank the good Lord I didn't have to shoot anyone. If you would ask how I would have reacted I do not know.'

What are your memories of the home guard? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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