Churchill's British Resistance - The Special Duties Branch

 

Rev. H. Vincent Evans, B.A. - The Secret Reverend
Provided by his son David Evans

Page last updated at 1:08pm on 10/2/12

My father died, aged 93 years, on 11th April 1992.

The name of the Church reputed to have been a Special Duties radio station is St Teilo's Church, Llantilio Crossenny. It was not the Church of my late father however.

The Vicar of Llantilio Crossenny (and radio operator) at that time was Rev. Richard Sluman who was one of the Monmouthshire 3 Vicars featured in the Sunday Express and Sunday Times articles of 2001 and 2002 - the other Vicars being my father, Rev Vincent Evans of Llanddewi Rhydderch, and the Rev Gower Rees of Llanarth.

According to the late George Vater a loose stone in the churchyard wall at St. David's Church (see below), Llanddewi Rhydderch was the drop-off point for messages to/from my father, Rev Vincent Evans.

 

St David’s Church

St David’s Church, Llanddewi Rhydderch, Nr. Abergavenny

The altar at nearby Llantilio Crossenny Church (below) is said to have been the hiding place for the radio and the lightning conductor used for/or to support the aerial.

St. Teilo's Church, Llantilio CrossennySt. Teilo's Church, Llantilio Crossenny

The altar at St. Teilo's Church, Llantilio Crossenny

The altar at St. Teilo's Church, Llantilio Crossenny 2

The altar at St. Teilo's Church, Llantilio Crossenny

How did I learn about this “Secret Past” of my father?  A centre page spread article “Dad’s Army vicars who spearheaded secret war” by Timothy Carroll in the Sunday Express of 19 August 2001 which was brought to my attention by a former neighbour of my parents.

Home defences were:

Home Guard
Auxiliary Units – which consisted of:

1. Special Patrols
2. Special Duties

According to information given by another member, George Vater, my father was part of a Special Duties unit based around his then parish of Llanddewi Rhydderch in Monmouthshire, South Wales.
The final paragraph from the article which appeared in the Sunday Express on the 19th August 2001 reads as follows -

A similar article appeared in the News Review section of The Sunday Times on 10 November 2002 with the caption “Dad’s underground army” – New evidence has emerged of the brave men and women who formed Britain’s wartime resistance finds Timothy Carroll.

The BBC website now also has the story which was given in an interview to them by George Vater just before he passed away. You can read that here

The following poem written by George Vater was kindly given to me recently by his widow.

SECRET ARMY

They were trained to fight the Germans – counter invasion first of all,
Then, trained to fight in Britain.........should their country fall.
They were trained in night patrolling, trained to wreck, but never riot
The war went on around them, as they trained upon the quiet.
Few folks knew about them then,
Few folks know them now.
Winston Churchill said “You’re hand-picked men.
You are my ‘Secret Army’ so YOU dare not take a bow.”
They were never issued uniform, they were to fight in the clothes they stood.
Their battleground was to be the field, the hedge, the ditch, the wood.
They were trained to fight in Britain, never to fight abroad.
But Hitler’s armies did not land here AND for that they thank the Lord.

You can see a dramatisation below which includes a reference to the SDS Vicar as well as featuring George Vater. It is taken from 'Hitler's Britain'

 OUR THANKS GO TO DAVID EVANS FOR SUPPLYING US WITH THIS PERSONAL INFORMATION ON HIS FATHER.