The Final Stand-Down of the Johnstone Home Guard
When the Second World War came the call went out for local volunteers to perform home defence duties in their towns, villages and counties. First known as the Local Defence Volunteers, the LDV, which it’s members jokingly referred to as “Look, Duck, and Vanish.” A more suitable name was shortly found to replace it - The Home Guard, immortalised by the well known BBC series “Dad’s Army.”
Captain Charles Anderson Scott, MC, a local man who had served in South Staffordshire Regt. In WW1, who was a school teacher, and later the headmaster of Johnstone High School after the war, was chosen as the Commander of the Johnstone Company, which was part of the 2nd Renfrewshire Battalion, Home Guard, affiliated to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Battalion HQ being in Paisley.
The Johnstone Company’s first HQ was based at the police station in Collier Street and later in the Territorial Drill Hall in Dimity Street. They were a familiar sight in the town throughout the war.
By 1944 the position had changed considerably after D-Day and the allied invasion of Europe and the hope of the allies winning the war, it was felt that the Home Guard could be “stood down”.
The Johnstone Advertiser, Friday, 6th October 1944 reported -
Johnstone - Home Guard.
Handing in of rifles, sten guns and small arms. All men must parade on Sunday first, 8th October at 12 noon
for the above purpose. (Signed) Charles A Scott, Captain.
Johnstone Advertiser, Friday, 13th October 1944
Johnstone - Home Guard
Battalion parade to Paisley Abbey (probably the last uniform parade), Sunday first, 15th October.
Transport leaves Drill Hall, Johnstone at 1.30pm. (Signed) Charles A. Scott, Captain.
Johnstone Advertiser, Friday, 1 December 1944
Johnstone Home Guard
Final Stand-Down Parade as recommended by His Majesty The King.
A ceremonial parade will be held in the Thomas Shanks Public Park (or if weather unfavourable, in the Town Hall) on Sunday, 3rd December 1944. Assemble at Drill Hall at 2.30pm.
All members of the Home Guard, past and present, including M.G.(Machine Gun) Section, are requested to observe His Majesty’s recommendation by being present to receive the final “Dismiss.”
Dress - Anklets, greatcoats and balmoral.
Battalion Parade same evening to the La Scala Picture House, Paisley to hear King’s broadcast. Transport leaves Drill Hall at 6.20pm.
Johnstone Advertiser, Friday, 8th December 1944 - Home Guard
As in most other towns the local Platoon of the Home Guard held its final stand-down parade on Sunday afternoon. Owing to the weather conditions, the detachment, headed by the Pipe Band, marched to the Town Hall, where Captain Scott read the King’s Message , thanking the men for their services.
Provost W.B. Gibson thanked the members on behalf of the community for the part they had played in the
National Emergency. Major Jack also spoke. The Pipe band played “The Retreat” after which Captain Scott gave the final “dismiss.”
A battalion parade was held at the La Scala Picture House on Sunday evening to hear the King’s Speech, and as in the afternoon, there was a good turn-out of Johnstone men.
The last act appears to have been as follows -
Johnstone Advertiser, Friday, 19th January 1945
Johnstone Home Guard Service Certificates, Signed by His Majesty The King.
These are now available and members should call for them (bringing a large envelope or piece of paper) at the Drill Hall on Sunday, 1st January , between 3 and 5 pm. (Signed) C.A. Scott, Captain.