The wartime Auxialiary Units

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by Fireplace, Mar 31, 2013.

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    It must be ten or fifteen years ago I picked up a used book in London entitled "The Last Ditch." It was such an amazing story of these blokes - and some women who were their wireless operators and messengers - that if the book were serialise today everyone would claim it's another Daily Mail "exclusive."

    These people were terminally nasty and very highly trained by the Commandos in Scotland. The units also had Thompson SMGs before the commandos.

    In one incident, the local commander contacted the senior officer of an RAF station and told him they were going to infiltrate his base. Being warned in advance, security was supposedly air tight. One morning later the OC was surprised to find someone had entered his office and nicked his rubber stamp rack.

    At war's end they were stood down and one local commander kept waiting for the Army to come collect the "goodies" he'd been issued. His wife, feeling uneasy about the crates of hand grenades beneath their bed, convinced him to start making inquiries. But those in the know had been demobbed and the others were clueless. Finally he stretched the point and told one young officer he'd "found" some leftover ordinance. The officer, feeling granddad probably had a few rifle cartridges, sent a sergeant to the man's estate. Must have been an interesting phone conversation when the sergeant told the officer how many lorries would be needed to haul away the grenades, crates of small arms ammo, more crates of sweating explosives and - possibly - a large stash of semi- and fully- automatic weapons.
    The book is long out of print but still available. It is an excellent read . . . the sort of thing one would expect was hatched in the imagination of the DM.
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  2. Tell you what, I'll give it a go, and if it doesn't entertain me I have an idea of what I can put it to good use... something brown and unpleasant

  3. Churchill's Underground Army: A History of the Auxiliary Units in World War II

    With Britain in Mortal Danger: Britain's Secret Army

    The Wikipedia entry is also worth a look

    Both of the above books by John Warwicker are the definitive books on the Aux Units

    There's the museum at Coleshill and also an excellent museum at Parham in Suffolk

    They were told that they would probably have had an operational "life" of 2 weeks. After the War, my FiL was told that it would probably have been 2 to 3 days; grim stuff.

    My Father in Law was in charge of Thundersley Patrol (Essex) and he was, and still is, a big nasty fecker
  4. Your father-in-law is exactly the sort of bloke who ought to be sat in front of a video camera and possibly a bottle of excellent whisky and convinced to do a personal history.
    In the 1960s I was posted to The Midlands and in that unit were two senior sergeants, gunners on 8AF B-17s. I still regret to this day not lugging my reel-to-reel tape recorder to the Orderly Room and asking them to talk.
  5. For Twitter fans the British Resistance archive is @britresistarch and there are other local branches. I keep meaning to go to the museum. There is a communications bunker in a bit of land near my house which I must try to find one day.
  6. Coleshill House is run by the National Trust, last September they held a 'Coleshill Underground' weekend with displays, reenactors etc. One of the highlights was the launch of a project to build a replica OB with a ribbon cutting by one of the Auxiliers (I would say 'ex' but the buggers are probably still on strength) Bob Millard, who did the honours with his FS dagger!
    Here are a couple of relevant links:-

    Coleshill Undeground Weekend - 15th & 16th September 2012

    Churchill's Underground War
  7. At a slight tangent;

    Brigadier Sir Jeffrey Darell, 8th Bt, who has died aged 93, was one of a small group of men responsible for the protection of the Royal family in the early years of the war.

    Brigadier Sir Jeffrey Darell, 8th Bt - Telegraph
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  8. On the basis of having played rugger together, Col. Newman invited Don to go on Operation Chariot. The FiL asked to go but was denied permission because, as Auxilliers, they were too much "in the know"
  9. In the late 1970's I was called to a farm in Scotland by the police. The old farmer had just died and told his son on his death bed that he had a load of explosives, ammo wepons and booby trap switches that he had been issued with as he was member of an Aux Unit. In 1940 an English officer gave him a load of kit and told him to tell no one. The officer went off and was never seen again. Of course no records were kept of who had the kit for obvious reasons. Apparently there was a lot of other kit in the area but all those known to the dead farmer had also died. So there still must be lots of good stuff out there.
  10. Not too much of a tangent. A number of men who had been part of the Auxiliary Units ended up in the SAS in 1944/45.

    Melville House - Scottish Headquarters of the Auxiliary Units

    Roy Bradford
  11. I'm up for a Thompson smg in original cosmoline if you find one. Just think of the countless tons of this stuff in saltwater that could still be protected from corrosion.
  12. All the stuff was in excellent condition but the explosives, switches and ammo was destroyed. The weapons were well greased and in "as new" condition. The police told me they were to be handed over to a government department, probably the Ministry of Accidents.
  13. My Father in Law was a member of the Auxillary units.I have his badge which apparently they used to wear on the back of their lapel .I also found a photo on the internet of his stand down and a copy of the letter informing them of the stand down .He never talked of his role during the war and only after his death did we learn more.
  14. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    did you find out where his hide was? they are trying to find any good ones and preserve them.

    someone said we know more about the romans than the defense network set up to deal with a german invasion.