There was a branch of the Home Guard in every village, throughout the county and throughout the land, and then we'd meet at times: one group defending their area and the other attacking. It was a lot of fun. Then when we met again, like a battalion say, every village in Cardiganshire would meet on the common in Lampeter. In one big crowd on a Sunday to rearrange what we were taught about guns. First aid was important. It all tied together. And it was interesting and it was serious in a way. If the enemy had come, it would probably have been a big help. But down in the south of England, they were using the Home Guard to shoot planes down. They were being taught on the big guns that were shooting the planes down.
But before the Home Guard became well known there was the LDV, Local Defence Volunteers, and we were being trained with hedge fence posts, rakes or anything that represented a gun. And to get used to it and to handle it properly. Then the Home Guard began. We had real guns to handle.
Girls came then, what they called 'Morse Code'. Their work was to send letters or messages from one area to the other about what was going on in Morse code. Then the boys would meet once a week in the hall. After finishing work at about 8 o'clock, to learn how to defend the area. And that was the purpose of the Home Guard; if something happened the Home Guard knew every path, about every part of a map that showed the area. We had 'map reading', as they call it in English.
Well now, we had to go out then about 2 o'clock in the morning. Anyone who came along the road in a car at that time, he was stopped. We went out in twos, one to stop the car and the other to cover him, isn't it, to defend him if something happened. Well I know of one night, the car stopper was down in the valley and who was in the car but the 'Lady of the Manor', shall we say, coming back from one of these late committees somewhere. And then the boy from the Home Guard asked her for her identity card and she said:
“Good God,” Johnny was the boy's name. “What are you doing here on your own?”
“Stopping the Germans, madam.”
“All on your own?”
“No, no, no, Twm bach’s behind the hedge.”
And that's the joke isn't it, that Twm Bach was going to stop the Germans.