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Walmington-on-Sea's Home Guard

    Captain Mainwaring 

Captain George Mainwaring

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/captain_mainwaring.jpg

The commanding officer of the Home Guard, Captain Mainwaring is the local bank manager. Very pompous but focused on the war effort, Mainwaring strives to mold his ragtag group of volunteers into a capable fighting force in case Those Wacky Nazis invade.

  • Armchair Military: Of a sort; the Home Guard are an official military fighting force, but Mainwaring himself has no actual combat experience. To quote from his biography in Jimmy Perry's and David Croft's 1975 book Dad's Army:
    "When war broke out in 1914, he at once volunteered. [...] But he was turned down because of his eyesight. During the next few years he made repeated efforts to join up and at last, thanks once more to his determination, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Pioneer Corps. Mainwaring arrived in France on 14 November 1918, forty-eight hours after the Armistice, just too late to get any medals."
    • For added "Fridge Brilliance" value to the above, the Pioneer Corps were light engineers, responsible mainly for various logistical and supply functions behind the lines. Mainwaring would have been unlikely to face that much frontline combat even if he'd arrived earlier.
  • Awful Wedded Life: It is frequently implied that he is trapped in a loveless and unhappy marriage to Elizabeth, his unseen wife, who is domineering, neurotic and withholding of affection. For example, in "If the Cap Fits..." Mainwaring reveals he learned to play the bagpipes on his honeymoon in Scotland because "there was nothing else to do".
  • Badass Mustache: He has a rather neat little moustache.
  • Blind Without 'Em: He volunteered to enlist in 1914 but was rejected due to poor eyesight. In "Mum's Army", Mrs. Gray compliments his eyes, prompting him to go without his glasses, with the expected results.
  • The Captain: Of the platoon.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "You stupid boy!" – his most famous line, to Pike, on average a couple of times an episode.
    • "Is that you, Jones?" – usually uttered when Jones has donned some outlandish disguise.
    • "I think you're entering the realms of fantasy there, Jones" – often his response to some of Jones' more fanciful plans or ideas.
    • "Just testing you Wilson" – often said when Wilson points out an obvious flaw in one of Mainwarings' plans or he corrects one of his factual errors.
    • "Ah, just waiting to see who'd be the first one to spot that" – whenever a member of the platoon makes a good suggestion that he's missed, or spots an obvious flaw in one of his plans.
    • "Oh, there's no time for that sort of thing" or "There's not time for all this red tape" – usually to Wilson if his deputy is pointing out that permission ought to be obtained first.
    • "Hello ... Elizabeth?" – when answering telephone calls from his wife Elizabeth, in an almost sheepish and low voice.
    • "Don't be absurd" / "How dare you!" – usually in response to a statement that contradicts Mainwaring's delicate British sensibilities.
    • "Come away, Wilson" – always in response to one of Hodges' tantrums.
    • "Let's not have any of that sort of talk here" – whenever a member of the platoon makes a comment even slightly criticising the British or a vaguely positive comment about the Germans.
    • "Good, good- What!" - When told some bad or distressing news which he, at first, does not recognise or comprehend at once.
    • "This is war, you know!" / "Don't you know there's a war on?" – whenever a platoon member (usually Wilson or Godfrey) trivialises an aspect about the war.
    • "That's a typical shabby Nazi trick!" - whenever he hears of something that the Nazis are formatting against him and his men.
    • "Oh no, my men wouldn't do a thing like that." – his pro forma denial of any accusation against his men.
    • "We're not savages, we're British!" – Mainwaring uses this remark when a member of the Platoon attempts some sort of vandalism or damage to achieve a goal. An example is in Menace from the Deep where the Platoon are trapped on a pier overnight with no food. Mainwaring makes the Platoon win the chocolate from a machine fairly when breaking the glass would allow them easy and convenient access to the only nutrition available to them.
    • "Stop talking in the ranks!" – said when Mainwaring wants silence.
    • "In the name of the King, I demand that you [obey X instruction]!" - usually declared whenever Mainwaring was in a particularly officious mood and a civilian was disobeying one of his (often rather high-handed) commands.
  • The Comically Serious
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Captain Mainwaring can be very awesome when needed, particularly in The Movie where he and his men manage to apprehend Nazi airmen by ambushing them. He is also seemingly fearless. As the writers stated in an interview, if there had been an actual invasion "he would always have been the first one to charge a Nazi tank with a sticky bomb, that wouldn't actually stick."
    • In one episode an invasion warning is issued, and he sets out with Jones and Godfrey to man a machine gun post admitting that they have no chance of survival when the Germans attack.
  • Drunk with Power: Needless to say, a bank manager going from his position to head of the local Home Guard unit does this to you.
  • A Father to His Men: Only really counts with Pike since most of his troops are his age (or older.)
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Responsible Sibling to his brother Barry's Foolish Sibling.
  • The Ghost: Mrs. Mainwaring.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Often claims he allowed his troops to spot he things he already had (when he actually did not).
  • The Good Captain: Tries to be.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He's jealous of Wilson's upper-class background and actual military experience.
  • Henpecked Husband: He tries to pretend otherwise, but we get plenty of hints throughout the series that his wife nags and bullies him constantly.
  • The Hero: Although the focus shifts, Mainwaring is the main focus of the story and certainly gets plenty of heroic moments.
  • Hidden Depths: His pomposity and over-enthusiasm for the Home Guard conceals a rather miserable marriage, an unsatisfying and stalled career, and overall a rather unhappy and lonely life. Exemplified quite nicely by his revealing that he can play the bagpipes:
    Mainwaring: I spent my honeymoon in a remote village in Scotland called InverGeechie. It was a wild and lonely place. The nights were long... ...and there was nothing else to do.
  • Hypocritical Humour: He often has a go at Walker for his black market dealings while being involved in them himself. As this is a sitcom, it's Played for Laughs as opposed to him being an out and out hypocrite.
    • On some occasions where Pike is not responsible for accidents and he is, he will call Pike a stupid boy anyway. This is rare enough, but some notable occasions include him bumping into Pike because he wasn't paying attention, or following Mainwaring's instructions to the letter, when it would have been better to be more specific.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: Captain Mainwaring is easily offended if directly or subtly insulted.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: He often claims to know something, only to be proven wrong almost immediately.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": He often has to remind people how to pronounce his name correctly (It is correctly pronounced as "Manner-Ring").
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is pompous and petty. However, he would fight with his last dying breath to defend Britain, and is so concerned with the welfare of his men that in "Asleep in the Deep" he engineers the situation so that he's the one in physical danger, rather than one of them.
  • Large Ham: It helps that he's very serious.
  • Late to the Punchline: Often starts repeating his men's (usually Walker's) gags with a straight face for a second before catching on.
  • The Napoleon: His height and background are frequently mocked as indicating a Napoleon Complex and often referred to by Hodges. In "A Soldier's Farewell", Mainwaring dreams he is Napoleon Bonaparte and is thwarted at the Battle of Waterloo by a Duke of Wellington resembling Wilson.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Usually when working at the bank.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: While Captain Mainwaring can be very rude and pompous, he has his moments of genuine kindness, always willing to help out his troops and even gives Mrs. Fox away to Corporal Jones.
    • Due to his lower-middle-class background, the class-conscious Britons of the era would probably have disputed the "gentleman" part. Perry and Croft in their 1975 book mention that in 1902 Mainwaring had considered a military career, but had seen it as hopeless because he as the son of a tailor and having only attended Grammar School he was simply not considered "officer material".
  • Only Sane Man: Believes himself to be this, although he is just as looney as most of his troops.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Very patriotic and scolds those who do not follow his example.
  • Phony Veteran: He became commander of his home guard unit by saying that he had served as a captain in the last British conflict, despite serving 'somewhere in the Orkneys' during the Great War and only being deployed to France in 1919, the year after the armistice was signed. He was later officially designated as the Captain by the GHQ, in the episode "Room at the Bottom", after his brief reduction in rank.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: His patriotism can lead to xenophobia. He is not keen on the French, because they are emotional and smell of garlic, the Russians, because of their former alliance with Germany and their communism, the Americans because of their late entry into the war and the fact that many of them have German names, the Italians because of their opera and being the enemy and the Germans for obvious reasons.
  • Self-Made Man: Slowly made his way up from Office Boy to Clerk to Assistant Chief Clerk to Chief Clerk to Assistant Manager to Manager of the bank.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: His pomposity and conviction of his prowess mean that he yearns to be in control of any situation and he behaves in an arrogant manner; for instance in the first episode he organised the Home Guard unit and appointed himself commanding officer despite lack of experience and qualifications (and had to wait until the episode "Room at the Bottom" before he received his commission).
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Though he's Not So Above It All himself.
  • Unknown Rival: Heavily implied. As part of his inflated self-opinion thanks to his role in the Home Guard, he tends to think that and act like he's Hitler's personal arch-nemesis. While we never see him, we can safely assume that Hitler has no idea of his existence.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Wilson, despite their differences in attitude and class.
  • What an Idiot!: Several characters In-Universe think he is an idiot, mainly Frazer, Hodges, and Captain Square.
  • Working-Class Hero: Came from this background.
  • Zany Scheme: Often utilises these whilst on duty. And then regrets using them.
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    Sergeant Wilson 

Sergeant Arthur Wilson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sgt_wilson.jpg

Second-in-command of the Home Guard and deputy bank manager. Wilson is very laidback and diffident, having gone to a public school and is very suave and popular with the ladies. Mainwaring seems to hold Wilson in mixed regards. He has an interesting relationship with Mrs. Pike. Referred to as "Uncle Arthur" by Pike.

  • Apologises a Lot: But with Mainwaring around, he has to. He seldom loses his politeness, though, even if it's while getting in a sly dig at Mainwaring.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Wilson never raises his voice, but considering he was a Captain in the Royal Artillery forces during World War I, he must have been quite a force to behold.
    • Best shown when a group of Irish thugs had given Pike a cut lip. Wilson, who up until that point had been a emotional wreck, calmly walked through the door and beat them all single handed.
    • Also clearly demonstrated in another episode where an air-raid has destroyed the local railway line, cut off the telephone lines, and severely reduced the town's supply of fresh water and gas. For one of the only times in the series, Wilson barks orders to the platoon authoritatively and in a manner that is not to be messed with.
    • In one episode, on learning that Hodges has been trying to sexually harass "favours" out of Mrs. Pike in exchange for leniency over her rent, Wilson coldly stands up, walks deliberately slowly over to Hodges, and decks him.
  • The Captain: Revealed to have been one during World War I.
  • Catchphrase: "Are you sure that's wise?" Also, "Oh, Lor'..."
  • The Charmer: When it comes to women, Wilson is especially debonair, effortlessly flirting and attracting the attention of women, often to the exasperation of Mainwaring, who detests Wilson's flirtatious manner (such as when he is flirting with Mainwaring's nurse, some of the ladies signing up to join the Home Guard, or even the young woman serving drinks at a social event). In the episode "Man Hunt", Wilson asks an attractive young woman to let him come in and look at her knickers, when it is suspected they may have been made of material from a German pilot's parachute (as a result of one of Walker's many black market schemes); in response to this request, the young woman eagerly agrees and invites Wilson inside. This prompts Walker (who was forced to remain outside with Mainwaring after the young woman invited Wilson inside) to remark to Mainwaring about the "extraordinary influence" Wilson has over women.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Comes across as this at times, yet oddly enough he's often the Only Sane Man.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His humour is very dry.
  • The Ditz: Occasionally his vagueness leads him into trouble: he leaves Mainwaring's office with a dripping ceiling after poking a sheet of tarpaulin in "When Did You Last See Your Money?" and with sand on the floor in "High Finance".
  • Honourary Uncle: To Pike.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Which annoys Manwairing greatly.
  • The Lancer: To Mainwaring.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father:
    • Heavily implied to be Pike's real father. In an interview, David Croft said that this was true "in his opinion", and when Ian Lavender asked him he said "yes, absolutely!".
    • Later revealed that he has an adult daughter from a previous marriage, and has a good relationship with her. Only Frazer discovers this and he becomes Wilson's Secret Keeper.
  • Mellow Fellow: A kind man, who goes with the flow of life, he has a vague and dreamy personality and an aura of mystery.
  • Nice Guy: Polite, cheerful, easy-going and well-spoken.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Subverted in that he was an officer, and he behaves like an officer, but in the show he's an NCO. Wilson also takes the "Gentleman" part of it to an extreme: his idea of giving an order is to cough discreetly and murmur to the platoon "Excuse me - um, would you mind very much falling in, please". In one of their radio shows where they're doing a radio play for the interests of self-promotion and morale boosting, the broadcaster insists that Mainwaring and Wilson switch roles because Mainwaring sounds more like a sergeant than an officer and vice versa.
    • In the biography in Perry and Croft's book Dad's Army (1975), Wilson is not yet an ex-officer: "He served in the army from 1915 to 1918 and would undoubtedly have been commissioned had he not failed to turn up at the selection board owing to the breakdown of a chorus girl's alarm clock." This was retconned towards the end of the series, when he reveals he was a Captain of artillery in World War 1.
  • Only Sane Man: When Mainwaring is off doing something looney, Wilson holds this trope. However he's normally too distracted or unfocused to make to much of a difference.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The only time in the entire series he ever shouts a proper order and doesn't question Mainwaring's choices, is when the Town is facing its greatest crisis, with the recent air raid having destroyed the railway line, cut of the telephone lines, and left the town with a miniscule supply of water and gas. Mainwaring is noticeably surprised.
  • Retired Badass
    • In "Absent Friends" where several Irish men invade the church hall to rescue their friend from the Home Guard, all of the troops save Wilson and Godfrey are defeated by the Irish. Wilson steps in and has an Offscreen Moment of Awesome where he casually walks back into Mainwaring's office after beating the Irishmen senseless.
    • Also in the episode where Hodges ups Mrs. Pike's rent but then tells her that she needn't pay it if she'd be "nice to him." Wilson belts him to the approval of the onlooking cast.
  • Upper-Class Twit: He exhibits traits.
    • Wilson's biography in Jimmy Perry's and David Croft's 1975 book Dad's Army states that his civil-life career depended entirely on the aid he received from various great uncles and that he is now stuck in his position as Chief Clerk at the bank: "Arthur Wilson has run out of time — and great uncles."
  • You Are in Command Now: Happens twice. Once when Mainwaring is stripped of his command when it turns out he is a self-proclaimed officer; and again when Wilson becomes the Eastgate bank manager.

    Lance-Corporal Jones 

Lance-Corporal Jack Jones

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lcprl_jones.jpg

Third-in-command of the Home Guard, Jones is the local butcher. A veteran of the 1890s Sudan war and World War I, Jones joins the Walmington-on-Sea troops to fight in the second world war. Eager for battle, Jones is the most energetic and zaniest of the group.

  • Bayonet Ya: Jones often carries his old bayonet with him, claiming them "Fuzzy-Wuzzies don't like it up 'em!"
  • Badass Mustache: Which is always kept neatly trimmed and waxed.
  • Blood Knight: Played for Laughs.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: To Captain Mainwaring.
  • The Butcher: His day job, though his fondness for bayonets could paint him as the other use for the word.
  • Butt-Monkey: He tends to be subject to a lot of physical humiliation, although it's mainly his own fault. Often justified in a meta-sense by the fact that, although the oldest character in the show, he was portrayed by one of the youngest actors, and so could withstand a lot more physical duress than the older members of the cast.
  • Catchphrase: "Don't panic! Don't PANIC!"; "Permission to (insert word here), sir!"; "They don't like it up 'em!"; "Fuzzy Wuzzies"; "You saved my life Mr (insert name here)! I'll never forget that!"
  • Chest of Medals: He wears several rows of ribbons on his uniform. This becomes even more impressive when he wears all his decorations as medals.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The nuttiest of the troops and that's saying something.
  • Cool Old Guy: The oldest member of the platoon and the one with the most combat experience.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: While largely incompetent, he has managed to pull the group through a few tight spots... a lot of which he may have caused.
  • Food as Bribe: Often gives food to Captain Mainwaring and Wilson when he wants something, which is how he got his rank in the home guard. He even bribed the other platoon members to vote for him with sausages in one episode. The food is often tricky to get due to rationing.
  • Hot-Blooded: See the other tropes for why.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Once an Episode, he yells "DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIC!" while doing exactly that.
  • Idiot Hero: His boundless enthusiasm gets him (and sometimes others) into a number of physically painful and/or humiliating situations. Though while he is the biggest nut-case in the Home Guard, he is respected for his experience in the previous wars.
  • Irony: A meta-example; the oldest member of the platoon was played by one of the youngest members of the cast.
  • Knife Nut: He is very fond on bayoneting any enemies. Especially in the posterior, hence, "they don't like it up 'em".
  • Large Ham: DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIIIIIIIC!!!"
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Jones' solution is to run into a situation headfirst first.
  • Madness Mantra: Whenever something alarms or excites Jones he will leap about shouting "Don't panic! Don't panic!"
  • Obsolete Mentor: Although much of the Home Guard seem to admire his advice.
  • Old Soldier: He's been in two-to-three wars.
  • Rambling Old Man Monologue: Usually happens Once an Episode, only tangentially related to the matter at hand. Lampshaded once when Pike questions how a conversation about porridge ended on a tale of a Scottish soldier getting a scorpion up his kilt.
  • Ship Tease: With Mrs. Fox. They eventually get married in the last episode.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: In the first few episodes, Jones wears his old World War I uniform until more current ones are issued. Later on, he'll wear his even more outdated Victorian dress uniform on special occasions, showing just how old he is.
  • Team Dad: Acts very fatherly (or grandfatherly) to Pike.
  • Vague Age: It is a bit of a puzzle on how old he is. In "The Showing Up of Corporal Jones", he says that he is sixty years old. Yet later in the same episode, he says that he is seventy. But in "Fallen Idol", he says that he is not sixty yet. Yet Walker says that due to all of the military activity Jones keeps claiming that he took part in, he must be over ninety.
  • Yes-Man: His undying loyalty towards Captain Mainwaring tends to tip over into rather boot-licky fawning. Played with, since he's not usually doing so for his own advantage (it's mainly out of excessive zeal), and usually ends up inadvertently annoying or unsettling Mainwaring rather than flattering him.

    Private Walker 

Private Joe Walker

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/private_walker.jpg

The second-youngest of the Home Guard, Walker is a spiv from London who often makes deals and offers to other characters to make money. Most of his goods can be used for the war effort. The character was dropped from the show after the death of his actor (although other actors played him in a radio Spin-Off).

  • Badass Mustache: In the classic long-and-narrow spiv style.
  • Breakout Character
  • Calling Card
  • The Casanova: He considers himself a ladies' man; an early episode showed Walker entering an unknown woman's house at night and departing the next morning. In "War Dance", he brings twin sisters as his dates to a dance Mainwaring is hosting. He also has a recurring girlfriend named Shirley, who is seen in several episodes.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: His actor sadly passed away, leading the character to disappear, apparently gone to London to cut a deal.
  • Coat Full of Contraband
  • Deadpan Snarker: Even more so than Wilson.
  • Draft Dodging: Walker managed to evade military service by claiming he was allergic to corn beef. When he actually was forced to sign up, he was quickly dismissed when it turned out he actually was allergic to corn beef.
  • Friend in the Black Market: He tends to deal in goods of questionable origin. Since the show is set in World War II England a lot of his business is in food since rationing at the time limited the availability of food.
  • The Gadfly: He often interrupts Mainwering's briefings with quips. In "Scouts at Sea", Mainwaring praises Walker's "lively sense of Cockney humour" and for keeping his cool under stress, to which a surprised Walker stammers that he was "only trying to keep people cheerful".
  • Honest John's Dealership: He's your man if you want more of something than your ration book allows.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a scoundrel who frequently makes jokes at Mainwering's expense, but he's loyal, brave and good-natured. Plus, his sense of humour keeps everyone's spirits up.
  • Lovable Rogue: He's basically a criminal, a con-man and a black-marketeer, but he's very loyal to the platoon and his friends and is a pretty nice guy when all is said and done.
  • The Nicknamer: He calls Jones "Jonesy", Pike as "Pikey", and Scotsman Frazer as "Taffy" (a nickname for a Welshman).
  • Only Sane Man: He keeps his cool in a crisis, usually has some good ideas for how to solve a problem, and generally has less quirks and eccentricities than the other characters. His deadpan quips nevertheless help keep him an entertaining presence.
  • Put on a Bus: After the death of his actor.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: He's a constant thorn in Captain Mainwaring's side, for he doesn't share Mainwaring's idealism, and makes cheeky and witty interruptions during his serious lectures. However, despite this he is good-natured and loyal to his commanding officer and platoon comrades, and is a valuable asset to the platoon, owing to his many "business" connections and his ability to mysteriously conjure up almost anything that, due to the War, is rationed or no longer in the shops—and he will also have it in vast supply (for a price).
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!: Likes nothing more than a drink down the pub.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Walker wears a sharp suit and a trilby when not on duty.

    Private Frazer 

Private James Frazer

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/private_frazer.jpg
Played by: John Laurie
An elderly Scottish undertaker and formerly a cook in the Royal Navy, Frazer is a very dour and pessimistic man who often goes into rants and tales about Doomy Dooms of Doom, usually with wide eyes of madness. He hates Captain Mainwaring and makes no secret that he thinks he'd be better off in charge.
  • Catchphrase: "A wild and lonely place" whenever he goes into one of his old stories, usually describing Scottish Islands.
  • Characterization Marches On: As mentioned above, Frazer's main occupation in the Series is as an undertaker; However, In the Pilot Episode, when Frazer introduces himself, he is established to run a Philatelist Shop.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: As much as he might think himself the voice of reason, between his creepy stories, theatrical habits and shameless ambition, he's certainly no better than the others.
  • Creepy Mortician: Actually lampshaded in "My Brother and I."
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Has very deeply set eyes and frequently makes a Mad Eye expression.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Constantly goes on about how he is doomed.
  • Drunk with Power: In one episode, Mainwaring allows Frazer to run the troops for a while and it goes to his head. In something of a variation, he turns out to be reasonably effective in the role, if enough of a martinet to ensure that no one really minds when Mainwaring resumes command at the end. Frazer also never misses a chance to claim his (self appointed) position as fourth in command of the platoon.
    • He was briefly fourth in command when he got a promotion to Lance Corporal, but soon made Mainwaring regret it when he spent his time putting his comrades on report for any reason he could find.
  • The Eeyore: A notoriously miserable and miserly soul, he's known for his bleak, pessimistic outlook on life. In any situation where circumstances seem bleak for the platoon, he will never fail to find more reasons to feel doom. He will often find the time in the various predicaments that the platoon face to observe that their potential fate is "a terrible way to die", to note that "we're doomed" when peril is awaiting them or to regale the platoon with an anecdote of a much similar experience he is aware of that ended rather bleakly for all concerned.
  • Father Neptune: Previously served in the Navy and is the one they always fall to when they need to row something.
  • Grumpy Old Man: The most crochety and cranky of the platoon.
  • Hidden Depths: Turns out to be an excellent marksman.
  • Hypocritical Humor: He tends to loudly, vocally and belligerently express one viewpoint, usually involving someone else's incompetence or the chances of failure or disaster regarding the latest enterprise, only to then later switch to loudly, vocally and confidently expressing the exact opposite viewpoint once he's been proven wrong and it is no longer prudent to hold the first viewpoint.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: He's the best shot in the platoon, shooting multiple bullseyes in a row, having been involved in shooting sea mines during World War I. The improbable part comes from the fact that he has to physically bob up and down in order to shoot accurately, since he's so used to shooting from a ship at sea.
  • In-Series Nickname: Walker often called him "Taffy" (a slang term for Welsh people, used as a playful dig at Frazer's Scottish heritage).
  • Jerkass: Sometimes. He takes delight in talking about the shortcomings of other platoon members and was outright vile towards Godfrey in the episode Branded. He also has a few elements of The Starscream.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sometimes. Such as in the season eight episode "Is There Honey Still For Tea", when Godfey's cottage was to be demolished to build an aerodrome. Frazer blackmails the minister in charge of building it to move the aerodrome to save the cottage.
  • Large Ham: DEATH WILL CLAIM THEE! He certainly gets into his stories and performances.
  • Man in a Kilt: Only wears one on special occasions, and is bothered by why Englishmen are so obsessed with knowing what is under a Scotsman's kilt.
  • Old Soldier: Technically sailor, Frazer served in the Navy. Despite being one of the oldest members, Frazer is among the more capable members of the platoon, being the best shot (leading to him manning the Lewis gun) and is always ready for the more dangerous situations.
  • Phony Veteran: He was in the Navy as a Chief Petty Officer, but it's not until he was pressed that he reveals his job was a cook. He allowed everyone to assume he fought at Jutland, but when pressed, admitted that he had been "at Jutland" - while everyone else was on deck fighting, he was down below making the shepherd's pie.
  • Rambling Old Man Monologue: He has quite a line in dark, atmospheric and rather long-winded tales which start promisingly with the lure of supernatural horrors and terrors, only to ultimately prove disappointing and end rather mundanely, such as the tales of "The Auld Empty Barn" (there was nothing in it) and his friend Jethro, who apparently fell victim to a curse that ensured certain death; Jethro indeed did die at the age of 86.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: He's hyper-critical of Mainwaring's leadership and makes no secret of the fact that he's angling for greater power within the platoon, but he's loyal enough when and where it counts.
  • The Scrooge: He's President of the local Caledonian Society and is the only one in it after he threw the other member out, for not paying his subscription when Frazer increased it.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: His opinion of the rest of the platoon (not without some merit granted) though like Mainwaring, he often shows to Not So Above It All after all.
  • Thrifty Scot: He does all he can to make people think his business can barely make ends meet, but has a secret hoard of gold sovereigns worth thousands of pounds.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Had a tendency to tell wild stories about his past encounters with things like giant squids and voodoo curses. Played with in that there was always a mundane twist that hinted that there was at least some truth to them. The sidekick in the yarns is always called Wally, but Wally's surname is always different. Possibly to indicate that if you take these stories seriously, YOU are the wally.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Not the most violent example, but he certainly has a short temper, and despite his age is never above threatening. Not that he can't back up his threats if the need be.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Thinks he's in a disaster horror series. He's really in a sitcom. That said, he's not exactly wrong about chaos and calamity befalling the platoon.

    Private Godfrey 

Private Charles Godfrey

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/private_godfry.jpg

A retired employee of Civil Service Stores, Godfrey is a polite, kind and humble elderly man. He has a weak bladder and has to excuse himself a lot. He lives with his eccentric sisters in a cottage. He later becomes The Medic of the Home Guard.

  • A Father to His Men: More so than Captain Mainwaring.
  • All-Loving Hero: To a near detriment at one point, when he pities to Nazi captives enough to let them go for a supposed bathroom break.
    Godfrey: Well, we're not beasts, are we, Mr Mainwaring?
  • Badass Pacifist: Godfrey is outright set against violence, admitting he couldn't even bring himself to kill a mouse, however he's incredibly brave and always ready when the situation requires him to be awesome. He was a conscientious objector, but still served as a stretcher bearer and saved many lives.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: According to Pike in "My British Buddy" Godfrey hit one of the American soldiers with a chair. For stepping on his sister's upside-down cake, no less.
  • Characterization Marches On: In a Season Two Episode; "Under Fire", Godfrey casually mentions that he is not a Conscientious Objector. Come next Season, in the Episode "Branded", Godfrey reveals that he is indeed one.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Godfrey himself can be somewhat absent minded, but his two sisters seem quite batty.
  • Combat Medic: Served as a stretcher bearer in the First World War and is the platoon's medic.
  • Cool Old Guy: The supposed medic, Godfrey's also a nice person and also served as a stretcher bearer in World War One.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Although he was later established as a pacifist who couldn't hurt a mouse, he's actually introduced as the only member of the platoon to own a personal firearm (and refuses to give it up) and is also seen happily taking part in an impromptu bird hunt.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Frequently uses the words "gay" and "queer" with the old meanings.
  • Humble Hero: In "Branded", it's revealed that he was a stretcher bearer in the Great War and was responsible, during the Battle of the Somme, for a tremendous act of heroism in rescuing several wounded soldiers from no man's land under heavy fire. He downplays and refuses to wear his medal on the grounds that it feels ostentatious.
  • Nice Guy: So much so, that the worst things he ever does is twice insult the Warden (with perfectly accurate claims) when Hodges pushes even his patience beyond breaking point.
  • Old Soldier: Sort of, the majority of his experience was in Army and Navy stores, however he was a decorated stretcher bearer during the First World War.
  • Potty Emergency: An aspect of his old age is his weak bladder, which lets him down and postpones all platoon activity, hence his catchphrase, "May I be excused, sir?"
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: Godfrey was a conscientious objector during the First World War, but he was nevertheless awarded the Military Medal for heroic actions as a combat medic during the Battle of the Somme.
  • Retired Badass: Its revealed that during the first world war he was decorated for bravery, due to being in the Medical corps as a stretcher bearer and going out into no man's land to fetch wounded soldiers, saving many lives.
  • The So-Called Coward: Godfrey is revealed to have been a conscientious objector in World War I. He was shunned briefly by the other troops until he rescues Captain Mainwaring from a smoke-filled building. At home, the troops are shocked to discover he had enlisted as a stretcher bearer regardless of his views, and rescued soldiers in No Man's Land, winning the Military Medal. Actor Allusion, as Ridley was in the Battle of the Somme and WW2note .
  • Support Party Member: The team medic.
  • Team Dad: Closer to team Grandfather, although Jones is officially the oldest, he never the less has a kindly grandfather feel with all the members of the platoon.
  • Undying Loyalty: Perhaps the most sincerely and infallibly loyal and admiring towards Captain Mainwaring, as best demonstrated in "Branded". Despite Mainwaring shunning him under the revelation he is a conscientious objector, Godfrey at no point demonstrates hard feelings towards him and succinctly rescues him from an army exercise gone wrong.
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    Private Pike 

Private Frank Pike

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/private_pike.jpg

The youngest member of the troop, Pike works in the bank under his "Uncle Arthur" and Captain Mainwaring. Often asking stupid questions and making equally pointless comments, Pike is very childish, much to Captain Mainwaring's irritation who refers to Pike as a "stupid boy". He is mollycoddled by his mother, wears a scarf on parade, and tries to excuse himself from platoon events on the basis of his mother's hypochondria-by-proxy. There's basically nothing wrong with him. He was passed A1 by an R.A.F. medical.

  • Author Avatar: Jimmy Perry based Pike on his younger self.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: The youngest member of the platoon at 17. He exasperates Mainwaring but he is humoured by other members, particularly Jones, Godfrey and Walker.
  • Bankruptcy Barrel: A variant of this in "Things That Go Bump In The Night". Pike is ordered to strip naked so that the platoon can escape dogs. He initially covers his privates up with two small bags, but later dons a potato sack for the walk home.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: In the bank, and he's usually lumbered with the most tedious jobs for the platoon as well.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Interestingly despite all his immaturity and child like behaviour, Pike is apparently quite good at his job at the bank. He is less good at being a member of the home guard.
  • Butt-Monkey: He gets soaked, shoved into mud, hit by oncoming obstacles, forced to strip naked and run around a field with two small bags covering his crotch and behind or face charges, and generally has the mick taken out of him on a day to day basis. This was partly justified by his age; as one of the youngest characters played by one of the younger actors, he was capable of withstanding a lot more physical comedy that the older members of the cast were no longer able to do.
  • Disappeared Dad: His ostensible father (Mrs. Pike's husband) died years before the beginning of the show. Sergeant Wilson is implied to be his real father.
  • Draft Dodging: It is implied that a lot of his supposed medical illnesses are attempts on the part of his hyper-protective mother to ensure this. When he finally was called up to join the army the medics said that there was nothing wrong with him that couldn't be cured by plenty of exercise, fresh air and good food. But it turns out that he has a rare blood type that would could not be replaced with transfusion.
  • Hidden Depths: In "The Royal Train", it is revealed that he can drive a steam locomotive, having learned to do so at the Schoolboys' Exhibition.
  • Humiliation Conga: "Things That Go Bump in the Night" is one for him. He repeatedly gets covered in water, humiliated, and at the end, has to surrender his clothes in order to escape a pack of dogs. He is threatened by Mainwaring to 'be put on a charge' if he doesn't strip his clothes off. If that wasn't enough, Pike is sent out first, completely naked, to check on the dogs, his only protection of his modesty being two small bags covering his front parts and backside.
  • Idiot Ball: Happens a lot, but this trope is shared between the whole platoon.
  • Ill Boy: He appears sickly and unhealthy, though most of his "illnesses" stem from his mother's protectiveness. She usually makes him wears a claret and blue scarf with his Home Guard uniform, which supposedly prevents him from getting croup, even though only infants and (apparently) chickens are supposed to get it ("Menace from the Deep"). Despite all this an army doctor certifies him healthy when he receives his call-up papers, though having a rare blood type excludes him from military service.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: His immature moments mostly come from that.
  • Manchild: He's naive, acts childishly; he has limited grasp of adult issues. He is frequently found with confectionery, is upset in "The Big Parade" to leave a cinema early because he had "missed the Donald Duck" and can be petulant to superiors. This annoys Captain Mainwaring, who refers to him as a "stupid boy" due to his carelessness and mistakes and his bouts of childish humor. Mainwaring treats Pike as a child, sometimes threatening to send him home from meetings if he does not behave. Downplayed, however, as he is supposed to be in his late teens during the events of the series.
  • Meaningful Name: His name is a reference to the derogatory name given to the cheap spear-like weapons issued to the Home Guard in 1942, which were unpopular to the point of generating "an almost universal feeling of anger and disgust from the ranks".
  • Momma's Boy: His mother smothers him, so he doesn't really know how to adjust.
  • The Movie Buff: Encyclopaedic knowledge of 30's talkies. His favourite actress is Joan Blondell.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Probably the main reason he has to remove his uniform and run around a field naked in "Things That Go Bump in the Night".
  • Phrase Catcher: From Mainwaring- "You stupid boy!"
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Averted. He wears a scarf because he gets cold a lot.
  • Tagalong Kid: Somewhat, he is the youngest member of the platoon and the others often treat him like a child.
  • Undying Loyalty: In "Something Nasty in the Vault", he refuses to leave the bank (and his "Uncle Arthur") when it is discovered that Wilson and Mainwaring are precariously cradling an unexploded German bomb in the bank's vault.
  • The Unintelligible: Pike's girlfriend Ivy, who appeared in several episodes. She spoke so quietly that no one could hear her unless he was nearby to repeat what she'd just said.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Prone to using '20s gangster slang to try and intimidate people, and often suggests plans based on movie scenes despite not knowing how they're actually supposed to work.

    Private Sponge 

Private Sponge

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/colin_bean.jpg

A recurring member of the platoon, Sponge is a sheep farmer who leads the second half of the platoon (the background characters). He somewhat became an Ascended Extra after Walker's departure.

  • Ascended Extra: Started off as a background character, but became a more prominent character. He was often used for the leads to talk to, and cracked the occasional joke.
  • Hero of Another Story: He doesn't get much focus, but leads the second half of the platoon.
  • Hufflepuff House: Him and the rest of the platoon.
  • Mauve Shirt: He generally doesn't get much characterisation, but hangs around in the background and gets a name.
  • You Didn't Ask: In an episode where the platoon help to gather a harvest, Sponge is asked by Captain Mainwaring to demonstrate how the harvesting machinery works. Sponge admits he is a sheep farmer and does not know how. Mainwaring calls him out on this, but Sponge tells Mainwaring he never asked if he knew how to use the machinery.

    Private Cheeseman 

Private Cheeseman

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mr_cheeseman.jpg

A Guest-Star Party Member, Private Cheeseman is a Welsh journalist who joins the platoon to get an idea of how they live and operate. He speaks in a thick Welsh accent, has big teeth and large glasses.

  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Almost always sprouts one with his noticeable big teeth.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Becomes a member of the platoon for one season following Walker's vanishment.
  • Intrepid Reporter: If he thinks there is a story to be found he'll find it.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Always wears a pair.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: Gone within a few episodes with no fanfare or explanation.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Played with; he was introduced to replace Private Walker following Actor Existence Failure, but he's not very similar to him. He is surprisingly similar to Frazer (exotically-accented eccentric from a non-England part of the United Kingdom) and Jones (tends to suck up to Captain Mainwaring), however. This is one of the reasons the writers ultimately decided that he didn't really work, since they were still around.

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Supporting Characters

    Warden Hodges 

Warden Hodges

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mr_hodges.jpg

William Hodges is Chief Air Raid Warden in Walmington-on-Sea and Captain Mainwaring's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis. He is a greengrocer when off-duty, but is a grouchy, power mad, and rude man. He has a short temper and often clashes with the Home Guard, referring to Mainwaring as "Napoleon". He keeps a wary eye open for anyone in town who might threaten the safety of everyone, storming in to give the culprit a piece of his mind.

  • Ambiguous Disorder: He served in World War One and is implied to have some sort of mental illness, he has moments of near outright break down.
  • Berserk Button: Anything can set Hodges off, but he particularly hates it when someone leaves a light on during an air raid or at night.
  • Butt-Monkey: If it's possible something bad will happen to him, but he nearly always brings it on himself.
  • Catchphrase: "PUT THAT LIGHT OUT!"; "You ruddy 'ooligans!"; "Now, look here, Napoleon..."
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a dry wit half the time, when he's not laughing his head off. In-Universe, however, only the Verger finds his jokes amusing.
  • Dirty Coward: For all his bluster Hodges will normally turn white at the first sign of danger. If he stays it's because someone is forcing him, or that he's more afraid of the Platoon members jeering him for being a coward.
  • Drunk with Power: He's let the power go to his head. It's best demonstrated that he was a lot more reasonable during the first two seasons, before his promotion to Chief of the ARP in Walmington-On-Sea.
  • Freudian Excuse: In the original edit of the first episode, it is implied his vendetta with Mainwaring started after the latter refused him a loan a few years earlier, with him now using his power to give him what he believes to be a taste of his own snubbing.
  • Food as Bribe: Less than Jones, but is not above doing this.
  • Grumpy Bear: Almost perpetually angry.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Especially when it comes to lights showing in the blackout.
  • Hidden Depths: Is a brilliant cricketer and fluent in German (due to serving in POW camp).
  • Jerkass: Even when not around the Platoon, Hodges generally isn't the nicest man.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Some of the time; some of his nagging towards the Home Guard is technically following the rules, and they are supposed to be living in the blackout.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He occasionally has moments to indicate his character has a softer side; in "The Deadly Attachment", when one of the German sailors fakes being ill, Hodges is taken in and urges Mainwaring to do something, showing concern for the German as a fellow human by remarking "he's some mother's son".
  • Kick the Dog: Loves doing this to the Home Guard, although sometimes it comes back to bite him in the butt.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Often falls victim to this, be he mocking the Home Guard, harassing Mrs. Pike or being generally unhelpful.
  • Mood-Swinger: Goes from calm to unhinged way too fast for him to be completely sound of mind.
  • Not So Different: With Mainwaring. Despite their class differences and antagonism, they're both rather pompous and officious men who've let their newfound wartime authority go to their heads a bit too quickly.
  • Pet the Dog: For all his faults, he does seem to care about his nephew Hamish and niece Sylvia, although they're fairly nasty in their own right and they sometimes irritate him as well as the others.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: In "My British Buddy", he has no hesitation in showing his contempt for "bloomin' Yanks" and the United States' late entry into the war, sarcastically remarking to the visiting American Army colonel "it's an improvement on last time...two and a half years instead of three!"
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis/The Rival: To Captain Mainwaring. Hodges despises Mainwaring, blaming him for ruining his fun and his life. Mainwaring in turn openly views Hodges as nothing but a constant nuisance.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Much like Mainwaring he let his newfound position of power get to his head.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Despite Hodges' grumpy attitude and persistant aggressiveness, he is only looking out for Walmington-on-Sea's safety.

    Mrs. Pike 

Mrs. Mavis Pike

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mavis_pike.jpg

  • Almighty Mom: One thing that could derail the orderly military life of the Walmington-on-Sea platoon of the Home Guard was her storming round to complain about all the things Captain Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson were making her son do. Private Pike, the youngest member of a platoon composed of elderly men too old for regular military service, and otherwise a pampered mummy's boy note was frequently excused the more arduous and dirty aspects of military service for this reason. Nobody wanted his mum coming round to complain.
  • Doting Parent: Frequently gushes about her son to others, despite being critical towards him.
  • Lysistrata Gambit: Threatens Wilson with this.
  • Mama Bear: Say what you like about her over-protectiveness, but when Frank's caught in some barbed wire and in danger of drowning in "Sergeant, Save My Boy!" she's willing to charge through a mine field to get to him.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: In a series two episode. It turns out she's actually arranged to take in a young evacuee.
  • Ms. Fanservice
  • My Beloved Smother: She's the reason Pike is always seen with a scarf.
  • Romancing the Widow: The aim of both Wilson and Hodges.

    The Vicar 

Reverend Timothy Farthing

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rev_farthing.jpg

  • Ambiguously Gay: He's seen leaning forward for a kiss from a man at least once or twice. His actor admitted that he played him as gay.
  • Hidden Depths: His hobby is archery, and in "Time On My Hands" he uses it to help rescue the platoon when they're stranded in the bell tower of the town hall.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The "reasonable" part is in comparison to the Verger and Warden Hodges; he gets in the platoon's way from time to time (although, in complete fairness, they often get in his way as well), but unlike the other two, who seem to have it in for the platoon mainly on spite, he has no real animosity against them and is ultimately fair-minded and decent. And the "authority" part comes from the fact that while he has no practical military or command authority over Mainwaring, the hall and office Mainwaring uses are in fact technically his, which the Vicar is quick to remind him of whenever Mainwaring gets a bit too pompous about it.
  • Trademark Favorite Drink: A recurring line was him ordering a double whisky whenever someone else was paying, the joke being that whisky was expensive and in very short supply.
  • The Vicar: His job in the town.

    The Verger 

Maurice Yeatman

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_verger.gif

  • Jerkass: He's not a particularly nice man, being usually rather sour, officious and self-important, and his antagonism with the platoon tends to be based mainly on spite.
  • Lovable Coward: His cowardice is played for laughs.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Quite often gets in the way of the Home Guard more than his boss.
  • Phrase Catcher: His arguments with the platoon tend to end up with Jones accusing him of being "a troublemaker!"
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: He doesn't really get on with any of the platoon, but seems to have particular enmity for Corporal Jones, as the two often end up squabbling about how he's a "troublemaker".
  • Stealing from the Till: He's in charge of counting the church collections after services, which he often does in the Red Lion public house. Throughout the series, there are numerous insinuations from Lance-Corporal Jones and Chief Warden Hodges that Mr Yeatman is engaged in the systematic embezzlement of church funds, but the Vicar seems to be either in denial of this reality, too trusting and naive to believe it, or he simply turns a blind eye.
  • Too Dumb to Live: On occasion.

    Mrs. Fox 

Mrs. Fox

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mrs_fox_3.jpg

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Occasionally behaves this way towards Mainwaring and others.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: What she, and apparently Jones, think herself to be.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Jones does.
  • Retcon: The episode "Mum's Army" gave her first name as Marcia, but this changed to Mildred in the final episode.
  • Ship Tease: With Jones. They get married in the final episode.

    Captain Square 

Captain Square

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/captain_square.gif

Commanding officer of the Eastgate Home Guard Platoon, and Mainwaring's equally pompous windbag of a rival.

  • Accidental Misnaming: Frequently pronounces Mainwaring's name as "Mane-wearing." It's never specified whether this is deliberate or a result of his absent-mindedness (or a combination of both.)
  • Malaproper: Makes up bizarre words and mispronounces people's names.
  • Old Soldier: Genuinely does have an impressive service record, a sore point between him and Mainwaring.
  • Retcon: In the first few series he was Corporal-Colonel Square (an amalgamation of his current rank in the Home Guard with his previous rank in the military.) This was later Handwaved by Word of God saying he had received a promotion.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis / The Rival: Sometimes fills in this role in place of (or as well as) Hodges.
  • Trigger Happy: Mainwaring ends up Tempting Fate when he believes that Square won't shoot the building that the platoon are in note . He is then furious when proven wrong.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Noticeably one of the poshest characters in the show.
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