The Land Army and Home Guard
The Local Defence Volunteers were organized nationally in May 1940 to supplement field troops and in November were incorporated into the army as the Home Guard. Enrolment became compulsory in March 1942 for all men from 17 to 65 in civil defence regions. They were fully equipped and served a maximum of 48 hours every 4 weeks. They received subsistence allowances while on duty but did not receive pay. Their primary role was defence, to delay the enemy until regular formations moved to the attack.
One of the tasks of the Home Guard in Malhamdale Yorkshire was to mount a twenty-four hour watch at Ribblehead Viaduct on the main west coast railway. This was to prevent sabotage by the German Fifth Column and members from Malhamdale would take their turn on that duty. Further duties also involved guarding a bomb store at Halton West and it was necessary to obtain a permit to go into that area.
Bren gun carriers came on an exercise from Kilnsey over Mastiles Lane to Malham, the gates were so narrow and they caused damage to the walls at Gordale which were was knocked down and also broke all the stone posts, these were replaced after the war with sandstone posts but the gate at Smear Bottoms was never replaced.