A semi autobiographical novel set in Duns, Scotland.
The Nazis have invaded Britain.
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In 1940, after the evacuation from Dunkirk, Britain prepared for and expected an invasion by
Nazi Germany - an invasion, which for reasons known only to Hitler, thankfully never
As part of the British preparation for any such invasion, Churchill ordered the formation of
secret ‘stay behind’ resistance units. Personnel of the Home Guard and local volunteers were formed
into top secret patrols throughout the entire country and trained to a high standard of efficiency
in the use of explosives, booby traps, time-fuses, mines, and unarmed combat. These patrols were
known as Auxiliary Units, which had approximately 3,500 members around Great Britain. They would
operate from specially prepared underground bases set up countrywide. The bases were equipped and
ready, the locations only known to those who would man them.
This gripping novel relates to the formation and training of these units and also charts the
revenge, sabotage and murder they delivered to the Nazis in occupied Britain. Set in the small town
of Duns in Scotland, much of the information relates to the town and wider area, with references to
real locations used by the Duns Patrol.
Duns Library hosted the launch of the book on Monday 29th August 2011. You can see some images of
the launch below.
David Blair, CART's Scottish Information Officer, gave a short
talk about the Scottish patrols.
About The Bookby David Blair(CART's Researcher in
Bill Watson has brought this story alive and paints a vivid
picture with a true depiction of life during those dark uncertain times under occupation, especially as he
personally experienced a similar kind of harsh imprisonment as a prisoner of war in Germany.
This story is set in and around the Scottish Border town of
Duns, where Bill was born and brought up, an area that had its fair
share of Auxiliary Unit patrols all along the Scottish Borders
which were located at strategic road and rail links. In the face of overwhelming odds and faced with a long brutal
occupation they were prepared to give the ultimate sacrifice. Bill completed the manuscript in April 2004 which
included a dedication to his late wife, Betty. Bill’s dream was to have it published one day. Sadly Bill died
in November 2004, aged 80 and his work remained unpublished. In 2011 the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team
(CART) a national team of Auxiliary Unit researchers, obtained the rights to publish the book from Bill’s son. Now
is the time to tell that story……………….
About The Author
Bill Watson was born in Edinburgh in 1924. His spent his early
years in the town of Duns inBerwickshire where he was educated at Duns
Public School and Berwickshire High School. Heleft school at the age of
fourteen and was apprenticed to a local joiner.
CART has learnt that Bill was briefly a member of the Duns Patrol but in 1942 he joined the Scots Guards as a volunteer and served
as a regular soldier for four yearswith the Colours and eight years in
the Reserves. He served in the Middle East and Italy –where in 1943 he
was captured and imprisoned in Germany until 1945.
He joined Edinburgh City Police in 1947. In 1975 this became part of
Lothian and BordersPolice, and in 1976 he was appointed Divisional
Commander of ‘G’ Division – better known asBerwick, Roxburgh,
Selkirk and Peebles. In 1977 he was seconded to the Scottish PoliceCollege as Deputy Commandant from where he retired from the police service in 1979.
Hethen worked for Ferranti as Security Controller for their
Scottish Establishments until 1988.
Bill Watson lived in Peebles until his death in November
The Red Cross helped Bill through a tough time whilst he was
imprisoned and he was a campaigner for them later in his life. CART will be donating 15% percent of the profit
from this book to the British Red Cross on Bill's behalf.
See what the Berwickshire News has to say about this here and
another story here
The press article about the launch can be seen here