13 AUGUST 1948, Page 5

The nearest I ever got to taking part in international

archery (a tournament is now in progress at Dulwich College) was persuading the War Office to buy some bows and arrows to shoot Germans with. The idea wasn't quite as silly as it sounds. In the summer of 1940 the Army's chances of repelling a German invasion were not large. We had very few troops and the troops had very few arms (there were, for instance, only forty tommy-guns in the country) ; the Home Guard—known in those days as the Local Defence Volunteers—had only just been thought of and were appealing for shotguns. If the Germans got a footing in Southern England it was possible, if not probable, that our forces would have to fall back and concentrate for the defence of London on what was euphemistically known as the "stop-line," a large ditch which was being hastily dug a few miles outside the suburbs. General " Bulgey " Thorne, then com- manding XII Corps and responsible for the whole of the Kentish and most of the Sussex coast, had the sensible idea that if the Germans pushed him back their subsequent operations might with advantage be harassed from the rear by what we later learnt to call mtiquis ; and this plan was put into force all round our coasts.