Feb 022016
 

In Grievous TimesA new fictitious novel inspired by Auxiliary Unit research in Sussex.

M. H. Lowe’s In Grievous Times takes the reader to the heart of English country village life at a turning point in Britain’s history: the era of evacuees and air raids, sudden death from the skies and the expectation for every man and woman to do their patriotic duty. When Clement, a country vicar, is summoned to London by an old friend to be involved in a covert “suicide mission” to thwart the impending German invasion, his world changes forever. Priorities shift and every aspect of his life is called into question as he is forced to make choices that affect a great many lives. And when members of his secret, carefully-chosen team are one by one discovered dead, Clement finds himself at the centre of a far more complex situation than he had realised…

The drama and intrigue of In Grievous Times, played out against a seemingly innocent rustic backdrop with superb characterisation, keep the reader hungry throughout for the next piece of the puzzle. A riveting read.

The book is available in hardback or paperback.

Buy from our shop today. 

Feb 022016
 

Tawstock Auxiliary Unit Patrol 4Today we have added a very detailed report on the Tawstock Auxiliary Unit Patrol in Devon.

The report has been compiled by Nina Hannaford, our Devon CIO with help by our Somerset Researcher, Chris Perry.

The report provides great insight into the men behind the patrol, their training and targets, not to mention a very unusual Operational Base.

See more the report here.

Dec 312015
 

We have updated the following patrol reports today.

Ulceby/Kirmington (2e) Auxiliary Unit – Lincolnshire

Swaton (5b) Auxiliary Unit – Lincolnshire

Swineshead (5c) Auxiliary Unit – Lincolnshire

Thanks to Nina Hannaford for collating material in our archive and providing these updates.

Wheatley Hill Auxiliary Unit – County Durham

Thanks to Grant Holland and Stephen Lewins for this update.

Sep 292015
 

Chirnside 4 Puckington OUT Station 2Today we have added a report by Chris Perry and Nina Hannaford to the site.

The Special Duties OUT Station was located near Puckington in Somerset and had the codename of ‘Chirnside 4’.

The station would have communicated directly with “Chirnside Zero” at Castle Neroche near Buckland St Mary.

Read their excellent report here.

 

Sep 262015
 

Arms_of_Essex.svgThanks to the hard work of Hugh Frostick and Dr Will Ward we have added another 4 patrol reports to the website this morning.

Colchester A Patrol

Horsley Cross/Mistley Patrol

Rowhedge Colchester B Patrol

Fingringhoe Patrol

We still need your help to fill in a few blanks so if you can help please do contact us.

Aug 262015
 

The Sunderland Miner Who Became Churchill’s ‘Secret Weapon’.

A Wearside woman’s family tree research has uncovered the top secret role her father played during World War Two.

Jim Jarvis 1Miner Jim Jarvis officially served in the Home Guard during the conflict, but behind the scenes he was actually part of a British Resistance organisation known as Auxiliary Units – or ‘Churchill’s secret weapon’.

“These were highly secret groups and officially didn’t exist. Their aim was to resist occupation of the UK by Nazi Germany at all costs,” said his daughter, Ruth Raine.

“The men were trained to live underground and fight to the death if captured. Each signed the Official Secrets Act and we only found out about dad’s involvement by chance.”

Jim, son of pitman and World War One veteran James Jarvis and his wife Elizabeth, was born in 1919 and lived at 92 Front Street, High Moorsley. After finishing school he joined a gas company.

As the storm clouds of war gathered over Europe, however, James forced his son – who was still under 21 – to take a job at the local pit, in the hope a reserved occupation would keep him safe.

Jim and Phyllis on June 16, 1979 at their son Alan's wedding

Jim and Phyllis on June 16, 1979 at their son Alan’s wedding

“My grandfather had a terrible time in WWI and, although he would never talk about it, he still suffered from nightmares. He was injured in France, but we don’t know how,” said Ruth. “That made him determined to keep my father safe, which is why he made him go down the pit. It wasn’t the job he’d have normally picked for Jim, but he wanted to keep his son out of harm’s way.”

Jim was, however, determined to play his part and on July 8, 1940, signed up for the Home Guard. Three years later, in May 1943, the corporal was recruited into the Hetton-Le-Hole Auxiliary Unit.

The role demanded “more skill, coolness and hard work” than any other voluntary organisation, according to official documents. Recruits also had to be prepared to face “greater dangers” too.

“We used to ask dad what he’d done in the war, but he couldn’t tell us because of the Official Secrets Act. He just used to say he’d been in the Home Guard,” said Ruth.

“But he did say he’d tell us a bit more when he got word from the Ministry of Defence to claim his defence medal at around the age of 65. Unfortunately he died shortly before that letter arrived.

“It was complete chance we found out anything at all. We stumbled across his name while looking for my grandfather’s WWI records, and found dad had been in something called an Auxiliary Unit.”

Little has been written about life in Auxiliary Units, although the general idea was that soldiers based in secret tunnels would form a resistance force in the face of enemy invasion.

Recruits were expected to turn “night into day” while underground; sleeping in daylight and patrolling at night. Many tunnels can still be seen today – including at Houghton.

“The men were told that if there was any chance of being captured they either had to shoot themselves, get someone to shoot them,” said Ruth.

“It is difficult to associate my dad with something like that, as he was such a family man. It is also sadly ironic that instead of keeping his son safe, my grandad put him right in the firing line.”

Jim successfully combined a pit job with his secret life in the Auxiliary Unit; even finding time to marry his sweetheart Phyllis on July 31, 1943 – although he never told her what he did.

“We will never know exactly what dad went through. The secrecy still surrounding the units is such a shame – many people probably have no idea just how brave their relatives were,” said Ruth.

“My dad always said it was the only secret he ever kept from mam. He wanted to tell her, but couldn’t until the Official Secrets Act ran out – but he passed away before that happened.”

The Auxiliary men were finally stood down in late 1944, but Jim remained in the Home Guard until December 1945. He stayed in the mines after the war, working as a shot-firer at Sherburn Hill and Dawdon.

“All the family are very proud of what he did in the war; I can’t tell you how proud we are that dad was one of Churchill’s secret weapons.

“One day, hopefully, we will find out more,” said Ruth.

l More information on the secret units, including ones at Haswell, Hetton and Wheatley Hill, can be found at the website www.coleshillhouse.com

[SOURCE: Sunderland Echo.]

Jul 242015
 

MC Tierney No TashIt has come to our attention that a person in Hampshire known as Mike Tierney, also known as Penfold, MC Tierney, Mycroft, Coastbloke or Jeromesausage is pretending to be a CART researcher.

Image copyright to Barry James Wilson

Image copyright to Barry James Wilson

He attends WW2 re-enactment events mainly in the South and is a known fraud with a very complex and historic record. http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/Mike_Tierney

He has told members of the public he is a CART researcher as recently as last month.

M C Tierney

He is now believed to be operating in London under the name MC Tierney and/or Mycroft Tierney and likes to frequent The Chap, New Sheridan Club and Handlebar Club where he regals all present with tales of his extensive military service.

Rather worryingly our records show that he has bought our replica Aux badges when they were first released. Based on a recent post he made on Facebook, and the fact he is a known fraudster, we would be concerned that he COULD try to pass these off as genuine badges!

We can confirm he is nothing to do with us or our research.

 

Jul 192015
 


Today we filmed a unique event. 12 vintage fighter planes flying over GHQ Coleshill.

This was part of the centrepiece of the 2015 Royal International Air Tattoo and their official commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The planes billed to fly were,

Hurricane IIc PZ865
Hurricane LF363
Hurricane R4118
Hurricane llb BE505
Hurricane AE977

Spitfire II P7350
Spitfire IX MK356
Spitfire LF.XVI TE311
Spitfire Vb AB910
VS Spitfire XVI
VS Spitfire XVI
Spitfire PR.XIX
Spitfire IX MK912
Spitfire IX MH434
Spitfire 1 P9374
Spitfire 1 N3200

It is unclear exactly which ones flew over us.

Jul 142015
 

Margaret Jackson, who has died aged 96, was entrusted with many of Britain’s wartime secrets in her role as principal secretary to the first Commander of Aux Units & later Special Operations Executive (SOE), Brigadier (later Major-General Sir) Colin Gubbins.

Margaret JacksonIn 1940 Margaret Jackson was working for the Royal Institute of International Affairs when she was interviewed by Gubbins. He was looking for a French-speaking secretary and she joined him in Paris, where he headed the mission to liaise with resistance groups run by the Polish and Czech authorities in exile.

In Paris she was a secretary to No 4 Military Mission before being recruited to Military Intelligence Research (MIR), a small department of the War Office. After the German breakthrough, on June 17, with the French surrender imminent, she escaped from St Malo on a hospital ship and got back to England.

In London, having reported to MIR, she was told that Gubbins had been directed to form the Auxiliary Units, a clandestine civilian force which would operate behind German lines if Britain were invaded. She worked for him first in Whitehall and then at a country house in Wiltshire.

Promising recruits were found in the Home Guard and organised into patrols. They were trained in the use of explosives, including Molotov cocktails. Specially prepared hide-outs were found in woods and farm buildings, and Margaret Jackson personally took a hand in selecting these for members of the units.

In November, Gubbins was seconded to SOE, which had recently been established to wage guerrilla warfare in Nazi-occupied countries and, in Churchill’s words, to “set Europe ablaze”. Priority was given to cutting enemy communications and subverting their morale. After paramilitary training, students completed a parachute course at Ringway (now Manchester airport). Selected agents might then be sent to learn sabotage techniques or to be trained as radio operators. In early 1941 a group of so-called “finishing schools” was set up in the New Forest to provide general training in clandestine operations. SOE had its headquarters in Baker Street. Having outgrown two gloomy family flats in an apartment building, it moved to a modern office block. In the autumn of 1940 and the winter of 1940-41, everyone was working almost around the clock, and many of the staff slept in their offices. All had cover stories to match the work that they were doing, and the necessity to keep the organisation secret made it very difficult to take on new recruits.

When Gubbins and Margaret Jackson first arrived, there was not a single radio set operating in Occupied Europe. By the summer and autumn of 1941, however, more than 60 agents had been dispatched to north-west Europe, nearly half of them to France.

Gubbins was proving to be the linchpin of the organisation, and in November his responsibilities were widened: French, Belgian, Dutch, German and Austrian sections were added to the Polish and Czech sections for which he was already responsible.

Margaret Jackson’s already heavy workload increased correspondingly. Her role was to coordinate the work of the senior secretaries who had to wrestle with multiple carbon copies and manual typewriters. With large bundles of telegrams being the lifeblood of the organisation, she sifted and annotated them for Gubbins, who would read them and pass them on to section heads. Security was a priority. Posters on the wall warned against careless talk and the danger of informers. Every night papers had to be locked up or shredded, and diaries and blotters removed. In September 1943 Gubbins became executive head of SOE, and Margaret Jackson regarded him as a born leader. For his part, he was not afraid to delegate responsibility to her and to other members of his very competent staff; he would not countenance any form of discrimination against women.

SOE had to survive setbacks, mistakes, betrayals, intrigues and constant efforts to remove its independence. The battle with Whitehall for scarce resources was, at times, almost as fierce as the fight with the Germans. The “Baker Street Irregulars” were, however, buoyed up by an unshakeable conviction that eventually the war would be won.

Margaret Wallace Jackson was born in London to Scottish parents on January 15 1917 and was brought up in Argentina, where her father was in business. She was educated at home by a governess until the age of 13, when she was sent to a Methodist school in England, where the family returned to live after her father’s death in 1934.

When SOE was disbanded in 1946, Margaret Jackson was appointed MBE. She joined the Allied Commission for Austria in Vienna and took notes at the quadripartite meetings. She subsequently joined the Organisation of European Economic Co-operation in Paris and worked as its deputy secretary for about four years.

Margaret Jackson believed that many in Britain underestimated the miracle of Franco-German reconciliation. She was a passionate advocate of European unity and reconstruction, and regarded this period of her life as immensely satisfying.
She returned to England in 1952 and, having joined the Foreign Office, was posted to Melbourne in Australia as an information officer. There she became involved in Moral Re-Armament, a movement that was gaining traction among dockside workers at a time of considerable industrial strife.

When she was told to sever her association with MRA on the ground that she was dabbling in politics, she refused; the matter was dropped, but she subsequently resigned and returned to England. Back in London, she worked in a number of secretarial jobs, including nine years as PA to the secretary of the Malaysian Natural Rubber Producers’ Research Association. For eight years she served as a Conservative councillor for the London borough of Southwark.

She retired to a Methodist home at Croydon. The Imperial War Museum has a recording of an interview that she gave about her time with SOE.

Margaret Jackson was unmarried. One of her three sisters, Patricia, married Sir Patrick Dean, British Ambassador to the UN (1960-64) and to the United States (1965-69); another, Elisabeth, was the wife of Lord Roskill, the Law Lord.

Margaret Jackson, born January 15 1917, died June 2 2013

[Source: Telegraph]