In September 1941 General Alan Brooke was Chief in Command Home Defence, a post he had held for just over a year. In his first year he estimated he had travelled 14,000 miles by air and 70,000 miles by car travelling around Britain inspecting troops and preparing for the expected invasion. The previous week he had been inspecting ‘stay behind units’ that were intended to conduct guerrilla war behind enemy lines in the event of invasion.
When Russia was invaded he believed that they would not last more than ‘three or four months’, in line with German expectations. He saw this as a breathing space for the preparation of Home forces and was as energetic as ever in this pursuit:
Left Hendon 8.45 am, flew to Duxford where I inspected 70 Welsh Young Soldiers’ Battalion. Dirty but not a bad lot of boys. Then flew on to Debden to see A Coy of 70th KRRC [King’s Royal Rifle Corps], quite good and should make a good battalion. By car to Castle Camp aerodrome to see B Coy 70th KRRC.
Back to Debden aerodrome where I lunched with Churchill, the aerodrome commander. Left at 2.15 for Martlesham, to see A and B Coys of 70th Suffolks – a good battalion.
On again by car to Southend, where I saw A and B Coys of 70th Essex, disappointing! and half trained. Finally flew back to Hendon where I landed at 6 pm, Just as Gort was taking off to fly back to Gibraltar. Remained in office till 8 pm and have now got heavy evening in front of me to prepare tomorrow’s conference.