A grim subject on a holy day but one that has lessons for today and tomorrow. The Coleshill Auxiliaries.
Trevor Miners stands in front of the entrance to the secret HQ in Cornwall.
Churchill's secret guerillas who were poised to execute senior British figures if there was a risk of them helping the Germans after Nazi invasion.
They were Britain’s ‘secret army’, courageous volunteers prepared to sacrifice their lives to fight against a Nazi invasion of the UK.
Issued with top-secret orders, their role has remained unsung for decades. But now the undercover resistance units Churchill planned to activate in the event of a German invasion during the Second World War are at last to be honoured.
The Royal British Legion has agreed to officially recognise the 4,000 volunteers who once formed the secret guerrilla cells created to resist the Nazis. And for the first time, former members are to parade with other veterans at this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Cenotaph.
If wartime church bells rang to warn of enemy invasion, the orders for the Auxiliary Unit volunteers were to disappear without telling anyone and to report to hidden bases in the countryside.
Each was issued with sealed orders giving a list of potential collaborators, some as senior as county chief constables, who might have to be executed if there was a risk of them helping the Germans.
Most of the volunteers worked in the countryside and were chosen for their knowledge of the local area and ability to use a weapon.
Trained at Coleshill, in Oxfordshire, they operated in tight groups and their role was to disrupt and destroy the enemy’s supply chain, kill collaborators and take out strategic targets. Unable to tell anyone about their activities, they disguised their real mission by pretending to belong to the Home Guard.
Tom Sykes, of the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team, which has campaigned for the men to be honoured, is delighted by the RBL’s decision. ‘Many of these veterans were in reserved occupations and could not join the regular Forces,’ he said. ‘But when the call came, they did not hesitate to join what would have been a suicide mission to confront the enemy.
‘They were taught cutting-edge guerrilla warfare and even used Thompson sub-machine guns before they were given to the British Army.
‘But they were sworn to secrecy and sadly suffered taunts and were sent white feathers by people who thought they were cowards for not fighting. . .
Trevor Miners, 86, from Perranporth, Cornwall, joined an Auxiliary Unit at 16. He says: ‘Our base was in an old mineshaft at a local farm. We learned to make booby traps and explosives, and how to blow up fuel dumps. We learned unarmed combat and we had all sorts of weapons. No one knew the secret army existed.’
I have been a WWII history geek for a long time. I thought that I knew all there was to know, now this comes along and I find myself at a loss for words to describe my appreciation for these brave mens' sacrifice for our freedoms. Thank you for posting this.
There is a lesson here which may well have been already understood and implemented by present patriots ...
It can be done... again.
Ought six, you're right, it can. Don't bet Obie hasn't got his own lists and his own people working on it.
Maybe another group should be so diligent.
Slightly OT - all the ammo that's been ordered by all the alphabet agencies is delivered by truck, if it iS delivered. (It may be just a dodge to put money into the proper pockets.)
I drove a few thousand miles last month and saw a lot of flatbeds around the country with loads covered up in OD tarps. The piles were pallet sized, about four feet tall, and spotted around the deck of the trailer. It didn't occur to me until later that it might be ammunition.
Maybe someone who works at a truck stop ought to get chatty with a trucker or two.
Maybe they'd find a way to share what they learn with like-minded folks.
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