Unseen Dad's Army: The hilarious comics by WWII veterans mocking the Home Guard... years before TV show aired
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 2:43 PM on 15th February 2011
Last updated at 2:43 PM on 15th February 2011
A hilarious collection of cartoons showing the real Dad's Army during World War II has come to light - and can be seen for the first time since 1945.
The comical pictures form part of Home Guard Humour, a pamphlet originally written by veteran servicemen to commemorate the end of the war.
Pictures show a hapless platoon of volunteers conducting shambolic military exercises in an attempt to protect British shores from invasion.
Real life Dad's Army... Book was released in 1945 years before the television programme went into production
The hilarious drawings portray elderly and youthful recruits stepping valiantly forward to defend their communities, and demonstrate the true spirit of Dad's Army.
Several of the sketches show the bemused faces of former soldiers, as they are presented with ill-fitting uniforms and a ramshackle array of weapons.
Others show cheerily inept Captain Mainwairing-types leading their troops on ill-fated training exercises, hiding in cow fields and navigating their way into ponds.
Another set demonstrates the Home Guard learning to use new and unfamiliar weapons, including one keen soldier who throws a bomb onto his own head.
The un-PC cartoons also display a rather healthy disregard for health and safety, with recruits climbing trees and nailing tentpegs into their own feet.
The black-and-white sketches were intended as a tribute to the plucky spirit of the volunteers, as well as a tongue-in-cheek record of their accomplishments.
Originally the booklet was printed in May 1945 once the Home Guard ceased to be on active service.
It is not known how many copies were published but very few have survived.
Oops: Sketch depicted in the cartoons could be straight out of sitcom which regularly attracted worldwide audiences of up to 18 million
Dad's Army: The BBC sitcom didn't begin until 1967 but ran for nine series and 80 episodes in total
But it has now been reprinted after one of the last-surviving booklets turned up at an antique postcard fair in Woking, Surrey.
Campbell McCutcheon, who edited the new book, said: 'I found a copy of the booklet completely by chance at a sale, and thought it was fascinating.
'The pictures are very funny. They could have come straight out of a Dad's Army sketch, but were all based on true experiences during the war.
'It was supposed to be a fun thing for members to have, after it became clear we were going to win the war and the Home Guard were disbanded.
'We know very little about who wrote it or who drew the cartoons, other than they must have been involved in the Home Guard themselves.
'We don't know how many were originally printed, but when I researched it I could only find one other surviving copy in the entire world - the rest seem to have been lost or thrown away.
'The work of the Home Guard is such an important part of our history, and hopefully this book will preserve it for future generations.'
The foreward to the original text says of the Home Guard: 'Its appeal was instant and to it flocked many who brought with them the spirit of those distant years and with that spirit was entwined the immortal humour of the British under arms.
'Every section of the community responded to the call - drayman and director, lorryman and lord - all were there!
'Everyone was 'on the level', discipline was but a thread, but spirit was high.
'Memory could not easily recall the correct military thing to do or say - and there had been many changes in 25 years.
'This all led to amusing situations, but amid the lack of knowledge, there shone a humour which somehow matched every circumstance and made light of every trial.
Comic: Images have been republished for the first time since the war in a new book
'To what extent the Home Guard contributed to ultimate victory cannot be really assessed, but it did contribute by its watchful determination and its mighty numbers.
'It was ready to do its part had the occasion arisen; than that there could have been no greater praise.
'It would have tried valiantly and - we believe - succeeded in its task.
'This booklet seeks to perpetuate some of that fun and will, we trust, be regarded as a permanent memento of momentous days.'
Home Guard Humour is available to buy through Amberley Publishing, and costs £4.99.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1357224/Unseen-Dads-Army-The-hilarious-comics-WWII-veterans-mocking-Home-Guard--years-TV-aired.html#ixzz1E2Y2SF3R