Don’t panic! Military chiefs plan to bring back real Dad’s Army in event of war

Top military chiefs are planning to bring back a World War 2 style Dad's Army division.

The Strategic Reserve will be “held at low ­readiness and largely dormant, but will hold ­periodic exercises”.

The army claims it will be “a key component” of the UK’s ­reserve forces.

But one former senior Army Reserve officer has compared it to TV's Dad’s Army led by the hapless Captain Mainwaring.

The officer said the over-the-hill veterans will be wheeled out a couple of times a year to make sure they can still march.

He said: “The concept of a ­strategic reserve is laughable – it is nothing more than a Home Guard.”

Ordered by the head of the Army, General Sir Nick Carter, the review was led by Lord Mark Lancaster, who wants to see the role of the reserves expanded.

Lord Lancaster – himself a ­reservist – proposes that the future reserves will need to support homeland security, civil contingency emergencies such as Covid, the new “grey-zone warfare”, and frontline operations.

The move was revealed in a report recommending the reorganisation of the reserves – formerly the Territorial Army – into three tiers of combat readiness.

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In 2014, the TA was rebranded the Army Reserve but it has faced a recruitment crisis and has failed to meet its manning targets of 32,000 since 2014.

In a bid to maintain current force levels, it has allowed staff to continue serving until they are 60 and older.

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First broadcast in 1968, TV's Dad’s Army went on to be a smash hit, running for 80 episodes, until 1977.

The idea came from writer Jimmy Perry’s own experiences in the Home Guard – Britain’s local defence volunteers in World War Two. Private Pike was partly based on him.

At its height, the programme attracted 18million viewers with the Queen among its fans.

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Clive Dunn played butcher and decrepit ex-Boer war veteran Corporal Jones, famous for catchphrases “Don’t panic!” and “They don’t like it up ’em!” Although Jones was born in 1870, Dunn was only 48 when the series began.

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