Jul 282016
 

Taunton Auxiliary Unit Patrol 22

After months of detailed research by Chris Perry and Nina Hannaford we are pleased to be able to publish a report on the Taunton Auxiliary Unit.

This is the most accurate and detailed account of the patrol ever published. Our thanks go to many people who helped with this report including Neil Bent son and nephew of Group Commanders Lt. Bent.

Read the full report here.

Jan 242015
 

Winston-50th

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill.

Thank you on behalf of a grateful nation for guiding us through dark days and ensuring we had a well equipped and well prepared resistance force.

On 2 July 1940 Winston Churchill and the War Cabinet stated that:-

“The regular defences require supplementing with guerrilla type troops, who will allow themselves to be overrun and who thereafter will be responsible for hitting the enemy in the comparatively soft spots behind zones of concentrated attack”

Winston Churchill to Anthony Eden, 25th September 1940 stated:

“I have been following with much interest the growth and development of the new Guerrilla formations……known as ‘Auxiliary Units’. From what I hear these units are being organised with thoroughness and imagination and should, in the event of invasion, prove a useful addition to the regular forces”.

The guerrilla type troops Churchill described became known as the GHQ Auxiliary Units or British Resistance Organisation. Colonel Colin McVean Gubbins then established a network of civilian saboteurs to attack invading German forces from behind their lines.

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Nov 052013
 

Remembrance-Sunday

This remembrance Sunday (10th November) remaining veterans of what would have been Britain’s last line of defence against an invading German army will proudly march past the Cenotaph for the very first time.

The British Resistance, or Auxiliary Units as they were known, were formed of volunteers who were too old or too young to be called up, or in reserved occupations. They were picked because of their intimate knowledge of their local surrounding areas and were often farmers, gamekeepers or poachers.

In the event of an invasion they were to go directly to their operational bases (OBs) hidden underground throughout the British countryside, without letting a soul know where they were going or their mission.  Once in their OB these highly trained volunteers would wait for the invading army to pass over them and then come out at night and disrupt the enemy’s supply chain, cut vital communications, ‘deal’ with collaborators and generally try to make a nuisance of themselves to allow the regular forces to counter-attack.

Such was the danger of their mission the life expectancy of an Auxiliary Unit member was only expected to be a fortnight after the invasion started. They signed the Official Secrets Act and never told their nearest relatives or friends what they had to do, most never revealed even after the war, taking their secrets to the grave.

Another group that will be represented at the Cenotaph for the first time will be the volunteers of the Special Duties Branch. These volunteer civilian’s and ATS personnel were to gather information on the invading army’s forces, numbers of vehicles, specific regiments etc and pass this on covertly to the regular forces via a secret radio network.

The Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team, (CART) the group behind the British Resistance Archive, the largest collection of research into this highly secretive group, has worked with the Royal British Legion to ensure these veterans are included in the march past, representing their first official recognition.

Tom Sykes, founder of CART said. “We are hugely proud to have made it possible for veterans and families of volunteers no longer with us to march on Sunday 10th.

“Although we are finding out more about these groups of civilians and the extraordinary lengths that they were prepared to go to protect their country, we are sadly meeting fewer and fewer surviving members. Soon we will be left with none, and so the importance of the work our researchers are undertaking throughout the country takes on even more significance.

“The situation could very well be that this will be the first and the last time these veterans will get the nationwide recognition they deserve and so this Sunday will be a hugely moving and proud day for all of us involved.”

Read more about the Cenotaph march http://www.coleshillhouse.com/march-at-the-cenotaph-campa…

Aug 132012
 

Today we have published a few pages on Major Malcolm Ernest Hancock MC.

Major Hancock protected Churchill and other VIP’s at Chequers before becoming a senior staff officer at Coleshill.

Our Coleshill research Bill Ashby has prepared a detailed overview of his military career. See it here

May 192012
 

We have just added a patrol report on the Admiralty 4 Bath Auxiliary Unit Patrol by our Devon researcher Nina Hannaford.

The OB was constructed in an exsisting structure of an ice house in Prior Park which was built c1750 and parts of it can still be explored today.

Nina’s report has some great first hand accounts of training and life in the OB.

Read it here

 

Oct 052011
 

Today we have also added info on the Aylsham Auxiliary Unit to our site.

The land where the OB is located is owned by the National Trust and CART has been invited to join in with an excavation plan as advisers and also to record any future activities, which are scheduled to commence sometime next spring.

See it all here