An Appreciation From The Regular Army By Lt.-Col. J.H. Constable R.A.

  • Post category:Features

An Appreciation From The Regular Army By Lt.-Col. J.H. Constable R.A.

As an old Regular Army officer of 30 years’ service, I feel it an honour to have been associated with the 29th (Gosport) Battalion Home Guard. For some time I was in charge of the Regular Army Establishment in Gosport, and for Defence purposes, was in command of a Sub-Sector. This Sub-Sector was, in conjunction with other Sub-Sectors, part of the Gosport sector, and consequently I had the pleasure of serving under a Home Guard Officer. May I say now, that at no time did it strike me as strange or out of place that I should take my orders from a non-professional soldier. I knew that the major burden of defence of this vital place depended on the Home Guard.

I knew also that the Home Guard had brought to bear on the problem that immensely valuable asset “local knowledge,” plus an amazing keenness. At all times I have been filled with admiration, not only for the work put in, work done willingly in addition to the normal day, but also for the military knowledge displayed. To anyone like myself who attended various conferences on Defence, one of the noticeable features was the grasp of military necessities, and the power of organisation to fit in the material at hand to the best advantage. How many Divisions has the Home Guard saved the Regular army? It is certainly not too much to say that without the Home Guard it would not have been possible to send such a large force abroad.

We of the Regular Army are citizens of the British Empire just as you are. We have always acted as an insurance against aggressors and have, perhaps in the past rather neglected our duties as citizens. The soldier has for several years now been taught that it is essential for him to learn how to be a good citizen when he leaves the Army, and I trust we will see the benefit of this in years to come.

The civilian has on his part learnt that he cannot leave defence entirely to a small Professional Army and so it has, I believe, at last been realised that, in addition to his civilian occupation, it is his duty to learn the art of bearing arms in emergencies to defend his country, and also that if we are to influence the world for good we must never again be weak. I believe that one of the greatest things we of our generation can do is to pass on the lessons to our children and grand-children. It has been has been proved, time after time in this War, that the British way of life is worth fighting for, that it would be a tragedy for the world, and not only for ourselves, if it was destroyed. We can surely, with a clear conscience, tell our children that we have struggled to maintain, and where necessary, improve, our national heritage, and have endeavoured by example of sacrifice to bring benefits to other nations. But we will also have to tell them that their duty is. As ours has been, to work, and if necessary fight, for these blessings and not only to sit back and grasp the opportunities others have made. See more at: