Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Greenlaw Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 6:40pm on 3/2/14

Thank you for selecting information on the Greenlaw Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Scotland. The info and images below have been supplied by CART's Fife & Angus CIO, David Blair. 

Research into this patrol and its training is ongoing. The information below is published from various sources and is by no means conclusive. If information is not listed below it does not necessarily mean the information is not out there but normally means CART researchers have not found it yet.

If you have any information on this patrol or can help with research in this area please do contact us.

The Patrol was based near Greenlaw in the Scottish Borders and had their OB within the grounds of Marchmont House. Major Peter Forbes (Cameron Highlanders) was IO of all patrols in the Scottish Borders and was based in the stables there. Having 20 patrols to administer, his time in Scotland was mixed and varied and he was a well travelled Intelligence Officer travelling from east to west Scotland and on occasion as far north as Fife at Melville House attending conferences and training courses with some of his patrols. His immediate boss was Captain Eustace Maxwell. Forbes was seconded in 1943 to run the SDS side of the organisation at Coleshill.

Late 1940

Sgt J. Lilico BEM
Pte J. Smith
Pte J. Ede
Pte J. McLean
Pte R. Fortune
Pte J. Fortune
Pte Andrew Burns (Died of wounds 26th July 1942)

The OB is in the grounds of Marchmont House which is not normally accessible to the general public.

Access is via a steep slope from a single tracked metalled road leading to a narrow river (burn) mixed woodland with some mature broadleaf as well as Wellingtonia planted during the Victorian era, the site was heavily covered with scrub and rhododendrons within the understory during my August 2011 site visit. The entrance to the OB has been bricked up (c 2001) as well as the escape exit, when it was bricked up; there were still bunk beds in evidence.

The bricked up entrance was approximately 700mm in width, unknown depth as it was full of soil and tree/leaf debris; (Below). (Further site visit in winter and will update site record accordingly)

Greenlaw Auxiliary Unit Patrol 1

The OB is orientated East / West

Greenlaw Auxiliary Unit Patrol 2

(Above) This brick wall runs 2.6 metres behind the camera towards the entrance.

Greenlaw Auxiliary Unit Patrol 4

(Above) Possible escape hatch, pipe just visible (note: the cover is modern and for safety purposes)

Observation Post:  Possible site for OP is some 200mtrs away (tbc) a structure is in evidence, but closer inspection required to confirm. (This was not possible during my site visit in August 2011)

Other physical remains nearby: Some remnants of metal structure some 3.8 metres from bricked up entrance, which is to the right of picture (below) unknown origin or use.

Greenlaw Auxiliary Unit Patrol 3

Road and rail links to the North and South.

Training was carried out at several locations, but mainly at Monksford House, which was the above ground HQ for the Borders patrols. Explosive/demolition training and small arms conducted by Scout Section (Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders). Some night time exercises carried out on the main railway line and other buildings related to goods yards and supply depots.

Thompson sub-machine Gun, 38 Revolver, knuckle duster, various types of fighting knives
(Some non military ones modified by patrol members)

Andrew Burns was killed during training at Monksford; he was handling a device which failed to detonate, it exploded while he was carrying out a closer inspection with the aim of removing it. He lost hands and suffered chest and lower abdomen injuries as well as facial injuries. Due to the severity of the injuries and blood loss sustained as well as shock trauma, some 12 hours after the explosion he lost his fight for life at 09:25 on the 26th July 1942 in Peel hospital Galashiels with his wife Margaret by his side. Bringing home a stark reminder to the rest of the patrol members, who witnessed and treated Andrew at the scene, that this was all too real.

Recently a letter sent to Major Peter Forbes from Sergeant Lilico was sold on ebay for £46.

The letter, written from the unit's base at Greenlaw, is mostly personal/social, with New Year greetings, but Lilico does say at one point "I am sorry to say that all the good men feel that their chance is over now, we seem to have been cast aside like some old equipment..." He also discusses the state of their old buildings and another officer. Most of the pages can be seen below.

You can the letter here

Major Peter Forbes IO (Borders Patrols), George Burns, Elizabeth Orr, Frank Richardson, Major General Sir John Swinton.

If you can help with any info please contact us.