New Zealand Home Front – 1939-45

The Unit will cover a range of the emergency services put in place or enhanced as a result of the crisis the threat of invasion placed on the Country during WW2.

Units such as the Home Guard which at its height had approximately 120,000 members, the NZ Medical Corp or Emergency Protection Services (EPS). The Home Front Unit could also cover the future introduction for example - of a Women’s. War. Service. Auxiliary (W.W.S.A) – including an Ambulance Service Unit, also a Fire Service display, or Cadet Unit. The possibilities are many and varied.

The Unit Medical display to date covers a snapshot of an Aid Station or Medical tent depending on the event. With a nursing Team, equipment, bedding and such as available during the war. Recruitment is always welcome – in possible roles like Army nurses, doctors, stretcher bearers or orderlies. Additional props or ideas too are always welcome.

Our Home Guard reenactors cover the period from 1941 up to 1945 - when the Guard was wound up and disbanded. The public will see a variety of “uniforms” from Civilian dress to Uniforms when they finally where issued in full and worn. The NZ Home Guard was run along similar lines to that of the Guard in the UK and started the war in their own clothes with HG armbands - they then ended up being issued initially some WW1 Uniforms and equipment until “surplus modern” 37 Pattern became available. Weapons included their own shotguns, surplus WW1 rifles such as the P14, Sten guns and MK1 No 111 303 Rifles. They made their own “bombs” and roadblocks and traps. They even had a limited number of “tanks” – the Semple tank built on a bulldozer body mounted with Vickers machine guns.

As a reference and guide to a uniform for a new recruit to the Home Guard see the 21st Battalion Unit manual. 37 Pattern Uniform and webbing with helmet or side-cap would see a recruit able to “join up”. Loan uniforms are possibly available as well. The HRS are always keen to hear ideas or suggestions to improve or add to our re-enactment offer to the public and would welcome new recruits.

Our unit manual is downloadable here (2mb).