Re-enactment: Museum turns into Home Guard training ground

Stuart Wilby and recruit

Stuart Wilby (left) with a new recruit for the Home Guard at Valence House Museum. - Credit: Ian Pycroft

It was bayonets at the ready during a wartime re-enactment in Dagenham.

Actors in uniform from the Black Knight Historical group put visitors at Valence House Museum through their paces on Sunday, September 5 in order to take a look back at how the Becontree estate managed in World War Two.

Wearing Tommy hats and armed with wooden weapons, members of the public completed rifle drills and marches as the museum's grounds were turned into a Home Guard training centre for the day.

drill training

Trainees had overcome a barbed wire obstacle, venture through a tunnel and end by giving a hanging sack a good prodding. - Credit: Ian Pycroft

The Home Guard was an armed militia made up of British citizens during the Second World War.

Ian Pycroft, owner of Black Knight Historical, said: "We were delighted to be asked along to Valence House Museum."

drill training

Take that! A recruit takes aim as part of the event at Valence House Museum. - Credit: Ian Pycroft


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Carrying rifles, a casualty on a stretcher, a lorry tyre and a bucket of water, trainees had to take everything under a heavy tarpaulin, over a barbed wire obstacle and through a tunnel, and then give a hanging sack a good prodding with dummy bayonets.

"Great fun was had by all and one lad came back six times during the day," Ian said.

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