How to look for records of... Durham Home Guard 1939-1945

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

How many are online?

  • All

What are these records?

These are the records of over 80,000 people who served in the Home Guard in the County of Durham only, between 1939 and 1945.

You can search the entire Durham Home Guard collection, but if the date of birth is less than 100 years ago the records may be closed.

This means that although you can find them listed on our website, you cannot download them – this is the case for about a quarter of the records.

If the record you want is closed you can make a Freedom of Information request.

The records, in series WO 409, consist of enrolment forms which were completed when the men joined the Durham Home Guard. This is the first set of Home Guard enrolment forms that has ever been released to the public.

What information do the records contain?

The records contain the following information:

  • first and last name
  • date and place of birth
  • address
  • brief details of former military service

How do I search the records?

You can search the records in Discovery, our catalogue by filling in the form below.

Searching is free, but there may be a charge to download documents.

If you search for a record and find it is closed, you will see an online form that you can complete to request a review. You will need to pay a search fee and provide evidence that the person who served in the Durham Home Guard is no longer living.

Example of a record in WO 409

Example of a record in WO 409

What do the records look like?

Most of the records consist of a two-page enrolment form, like the example to the right. Click on this to see a larger image. When a person joined the Home Guard they were asked a series of questions. Their answers were then recorded on the enrolment form.

Some of the records also include applications for medals, medical forms and general correspondence. The medical forms are closed until 2045 for data protection reasons.

Why can’t I find what I’m looking for?

These records only include the Home Guard personnel who served in the County of Durham. Home Guard records for other counties are held by the Ministry of Defence and cannot be found at The National Archives. Visit the Veterans UK website for information about how to request a summary of a service record from the Ministry of Defence.