Worcestershire VTC The WW1 Home Guard
Malcolm Atkin, BA, FSA, MCIFA, is a retired professional archaeologist with a long-standing iinterest in military history, perhaps best known until recently for his publications on the English Civil War. He was County Archaeologist for Worcestershire from 1993 - 2009, during which time he served as representative of local government archaeologists on the Steering Committee of the national Defence of Britain Project. In Worcestershire, an enthusiastic volunteer project was established under the wing of the County Archaeology Service and continues as the Defence of Worcestershire project.
Since 2009, when the progression of MS both obliged an early retirement from work and ended his career as a musketeer with the Fairfax Battalia of the English Civil War Society, Malcolm has been carrying out research on the local Home Guard of WW1 with Mick Wilks and on the development of a British Resistance during WW2. It has only been possible due to the support of his wife, Susanne, and the services of Lee Richards of ARCRE, which brings all of the resources of The National Archives to one's sofa!
In 2015 his new appraisal of the role of the Auxiliary Units was published as part of the first comprehensive survey of the plans for clandestine warfare following any Nazi invasion in WW2 (Fighting Nazi Occupation: British Resistance 1939 - 45, Pen & Sword Books, 2015). This led to a publication of the work of Section D of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) across Europe (Section D for Destruction: forerunner of SOE, Pen & Sword Books, 2017). See www.mwatkin.com for further details.
A consistent theme in his research has been a study of the development and impact of popular mythology upon the pattern of historic research and publishing. This can be seen in the continued myth of Worcester as the 'faithful city', the romantic (if chilling) stereotypes of WW1 and the development of the popular perception of the WW2 Home Guard as a result of the Dad's Army TV series. The first of a series of essays on this topic was published as Myth and Reality: The Second World War Auxiliary Units. This is in the course of expansion as a wider study of the Home Guard, to be published in late 2018 / early 2019 as To the Last Man: the Home Guard in War and Popular Culture - escaping the myth of Dadf's Army. Historic integrity seems to be increasingly suffering at the hands of media soundbites, some dreadful films, 'artistic interpretation' and fanciful reenactments. Another interest is in the development of war photography, for which see his pages on Past Image Photography.
Malcolm lectures widely on the Home Guards of WW1 and WW2, as well as the WW2 British Resistance. He also works with the historical interpretation group Discover History in schools and at public events, specializing in authentically sitting down and drinking tea as a member of the Home Guard.
Malcolm Atkin is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Field Archaeologists.
© Copyright Malcolm Atkin 2018. Contents not to be copied or otherwise reproduced without permission.