Statue of Captain Mainwaring near Bridge House
At the end of the summer, I made my second visit to the Dad’s Army Museum in Thetford. It has come a long way since 2012. On the surface it is about the popular 1970s BBC sitcom, but it also marks the history of the real British Home Guard of World War Two.
The museum’s displays contain stills from the 80 episodes of the programme, as well as memorabilia and props from the same. It also has an area dedicated to the Thetford Home Guard detachment.
The museum has some really dedicated volunteers, and they are very helpful. While photography is officially banned, allowances are made as long as pictures of the actors, or of BBC copyright materials are not taken. This is a relaxing of the rules I found in place on my first visit.
The museum also houses the Marigold Tea Rooms, and a small gift shop.
Related to the museum, there is a statue of Captain Mainwaring sitting on a bench along the riverside nearby. It is positioned so that the Bridge House (the actual headquarters for the Thetford Home Guard) provides a backdrop.
Bunker along rail line in the Thetford area
” . . . we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender . . . .” Winston Churchill
“Dad’s Army,” or officially “The Home Guard” was made up of one and a half million men, who were otherwise exempt from service because of such factors as reserved occupations or age. They were to act as a delaying force in the case of invasion, with the mission to harass and delay the enemy until the regular forces could be organised. They also operated as coastal watchers, and as guards at airfields, railways, and other strategic locations.
The museum is closed for the season now, but will reopen on its regular schedule in March, and the J. Jones Butcher van will be on display from April. (The Mainwaring statue is always available to visit.)