Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Glossary Of Terms And Abbreviations Used On This Website

This page was last updated at 2:37pm on 1/1/14

Compiled by CART CIO's  Nina Hannaford, Stephen Lewins and Bill Ashby with help from Aux researchers Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye.

AA Anti-aircraft 
Ammo   Ammunition
Ammo dump  Facility designated for the storage of ammunition and explosives. Most ammunition dumps were designed to be temporary, commonly in form of a small dugout a short distance away from the OB so that Auxiliers had ready access to their supplies when needed .  
ARP  Air raid precautions  
ATS  Auxiliary Territorial Service. The women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War. A number of INstation wireless operators were ATS officers and subalterns who had volunteered for this task.  
AU   Auxiliary Units. Specially trained, highly secret units created by the government during WW2, with the aim of resisting the expected occupation of the UK by Nazi Germany. AU operational patrols were composed entirely of civilians. 
Auxiliary Units Scout Sections  Consisted of small units (12 men) of regular soldiers who were
tasked with assisting and training Auxiliary Units operational
patrols. There were commonly two Scout Sections per County.  
Auxiliary Units Signals  Consisted of regular soldiers from the Royal Corps of Signals, setting up, operating and maintaining the secret wireless network, under the command of Major RNA Jones, Auxiliary Units Signals, GHQ Home Forces. 
Auxiliary Units Signals Workshop  Under command of Capt KM Ward designed, developed, produced, repaired and maintained wireless sets for use by Special Duties Branch. 
Auxilier   Member of an Auxiliary Units operational patrol. 
Aux Units Mk1  A box containing a selection of explosives and incendiaries, issued to all Auxiliary Units operational patrols. There was an improved version called Aux Units Mk2. 
Bde   Brigade. Military unit, typically composed of three to six battalions and supporting elements. 
Bn  Batallion. Military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a lieutenant colonel or a colonel. Several
battalions are grouped to form a regiment or a brigade. 
BRA British Resistance Archive (This website managed by CART)
BROM  British Resistance Organisation Museum, Parham Airfield Museum, Parham, Framlingham IP13 9AF, Suffolk 
British Army Ranks  

British Army personnel are ranked according to level, from the lowest (privates) to the highest (generals). Above private soldiers there are three types of officer: non-commissioned officers, warrant officers, and commissioned officers. The term used to refer to all ranks below officers is Other Ranks (ORs). It includes Warrant Officers, Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and ordinary soldiers with the rank of Private or regimental equivalent. There are two abbreviations for the rank of Sergeant: Sgt and Sjt (the latter originating from Serjeant, a generally obsolete spelling of

British Army Ranks

CIO  County Information Officer (Name given to an Official CART researcher) 
CO  Commanding officer 
Coy   Company. Military unit, typically consisting of 75-200 soldiers. 
CSD  Central Supply Depot 
Dead letter drops  Used by civilian spies or couriers of the Special Duties Branch for leaving
messages which were picked up and distributed by runners.
Div  Division. Military unit, typically consisting of between 10,000 and 30,000 soldiers. 
Div HQ  Divisional headquarters 
DoB   Defence of Britain Project. Volunteers of the DoB project recorded nearly 20,000 20th-century military sites. 
Elsan   Chemical toilet 
G2  Officer in the staff branch of military headquarters. G2 Branch was responsible for
security and intelligence. 
GCO   Group Commander
A GCO was in command of a group of Auxiliary Units operational patrols.  
GHQ  General Headquarters. GHQ Auxiliary Units was based at Coleshill House, Wiltshire, from July 1940 to January 1945. 
GHQ Line  General Headquarters Line. A defence line built in the UK during WW2 to contain an expected German invasion. 
GPO   General Post Office 
HG   Home Guard. A defence organisation of the British Army during WW2. Operational from 1940 until 1944, the HG comprised 1.5m local volunteers. 
HQ  Headquarters 
INstation  INstations formed part of the wireless network commanded by Major RNA Jones of
Auxiliary Units Signals (GHQ Home Forces). They commonly consisted of an
above-ground hut designed to look like a meteorological hut (for every day use) and a
concealed dugout (sometimes referred to as Zero-station) nearby, intended to be used
in the event of an invasion. Sometimes also referred to as Control stations, they
commonly housed two wireless sets, used to communicate with a number of
OUTstations within one particular network, as well as with neighbouring INstations.
The wireless sets were operated either by ATS or by Auxiliary Units Signals staff. See
also SDS.
IO  Intelligence Officer 
IWM Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road London SE1 6HZ
LDV  Local Defence Volunteers. In July 1940, on the instructions of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the name was changed to Home Guard.  
MI6   Military Intelligence, Section 6 (see SIS), Based at Vauxhall Cross, London SE1 1BD. 
NCO   Non-commissioned officer 
OB   Operational base. Dugout used by Auxiliary Units operational patrols and Scout Sections. 
OCTU   Officer Cadet Training Unit 
OP  Observation post. Lookout used by Auxiliary Units operational patrols and Scout Sections (usually associated with an OB). 
OUTstation  OUTstations formed part of the wireless network commanded by Major RNA Jones of
Auxiliary Units Signals (GHQ Home Forces). Every OUTstation consisted of a
wireless set operated by a civilian, providing the local INstation with the latest
intelligence. See also SDS. 
Patrol  A group of Auxiliers recruited to operate clandestinely in their own
locality behind enemy lines. Each patrol had their own OB. 
Pers coms  Personal communications 
Phantom  The official name of this special reconnaissance unit, which was first formed in 1939,
was GHQ Liaison Regiment.  
PRO   Public Record Office (see TNA/The National Archives) 
QM  Quartermaster. Officer responsible for stores and supplies. 
RAF   Royal Air Force 
RASC   Royal Army Service Corps. Now called the Royal Logistics Corps, the RASC was responsible for supply and transport in the army.
RCS  Royal Corps of Signals. Responsible for providing battlefield communications and information systems essential to all operations. A number of RCS officers and other ranks served in Auxiliary Units Signals, setting up and maintaining the secret wireless network.  
Regt  Regiment 
RE   Royal Engineers. The Corps of Royal Engineers provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces. Special RE units assisted with the
construction and wiring of operational bases and IN-stations of the wireless network 
REME   Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers. A British Army corps (formed in 1942) responsible for the maintenance, servicing and inspection of electrical and mechanical equipment.  
ROC   Royal Observer Corps. A civil defence organisation operating between 29 Oct 1925 and 31 Dec 1995. 
Runners   Civilians used by Special Duties Branch for picking up and distributing messages
deposited in dead letter drops. Also sometimes referred to as Couriers.
SAS  Special Air Service. The SAS traces its origins to 1941 and WW2. It is has been a regiment of the British Army since 31 May 1950, currently forming part of the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF). A number of Auxiliers joined SAS after the threat of an invasion was no longer imminent.  
SDS   Special Duties Branch. Often called Special Duties Section and abbreviated SDS, the organisation formed Part of GHQ Home Forces Auxiliary Units and is always referred to as Special Duties Branch in original documents. (Not to be confused with the Administrative and Special Duties Branches of the RAF.) The Special Duties Branch consisted of civilians, both men and women, who were tasked with the gathering of intelligence by spying on and observing enemy formations and troop movements. They would leave their reports in dead letter drops. The Special Duties Branch also set up a wireless network intended to be used for the passing of information. (See also ATS and Auxiliary Units Signals). 
SIS  Secret Intelligence Service. Commonly known as MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6), the agency supplies the government with foreign intelligence. It operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) alongside the internal Security Service (MI5), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the Defence Intelligence (DI). 
SOE   Special Operations Executive. Officially formed by the Minister of Economic Warfare, Hugh Dalton, on 22 July 1940, to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe against the Axis powers, and to aid local resistance movements. It was initially also involved in the formation of Auxiliary Units.  
TA   Territorial Army. Voluntary reserve force of the British Army. 
TNA  The National Archives (formerly PRO/Public Records Office), Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU 
TRD  Wireless set used in INstations (see SDS). 
WO   War Office. A department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence. 

         Please click me