British Resistance Organisation
The story of the English Auxiliary Units is fairly well-known, having featured on television programmes such as one by Channel 5, which described the Secret Army. We know they had bunkers and hides organised in England, stocked with weapons and stores which would have allowed them to operate against occupying forces in the event that Britain had been invaded and occupied, the aim of Hitler's Operation Sealion. Their job would have been to disrupt the enemy by destroying bridges and supplies. These units were organised as cells, with only a handful of agents knowing the location of each hide, so they could not give the others away if they were captured. Latterly, it has become apparent that the threat of invasion was not only considered from the south, across the English Channel, but from the west, through Wales via neutral Ireland.
The Auxiliary Units were set up in 1940 all around the coast (except opposite the Irish Sea which was guarded by mine fields). Volunteers were uniformed for cover as members of the Home Guard, latterly absorbed into one of three GHQ Special Reserve Battalions, with the distinctive numbers 201 (Scotland and the North), 202 (The Midlands), and 203 (Southern Counties).
The remains of a Resistance Bunker are listed by RCAHMS at Balcormo Mill in Fife. A brick wall and some corrugated iron sheeting are recorded on site.
North East Scotland
Information has become available regarding the activities of Auxiliary Units located in the north east of Scotland, and the full text can be found at the link provided at the end of this page.
The article describes the organisation of the units in the surrounding area, the hides and their locations where known, and goes on to discuss new information. This refers to Intelligence Gathering, or spying, which was established in 1942 as the Special Duties section, and was quite separate from the Auxiliary Units, which were dedicated to sabotage. The underground hides used by Special duties were referred to as Zero Stations.
What was the British Resistance Organisation?
In 1938, with the increasing threat of Germany's militancy, the idea was conceived by a major in the Foreign Office of organising some form of resistance by civilians in the event of invasion.
After the outbreak of war explosives and other stores were dumped around Britain but with no co-ordination, hopefully to be used by any persons willing to carry out sabotage behind the German occupation.
In June 1940 the selection and training of the patrol members began in earnest. Auxiliary Units, the cover name given to the organisation, comprised of two parts.
The first consisted of specially selected civilians with a good knowledge of their local area and physically capable of living rough and fighting and harassing enemy forces. The other part consisted of local wireless networks operated by Royal Corps of Signals personnel with outstations near the coast, each having a civilian operator...
We are not alone
It would seem that we are not alone in seeking Scottish tales of the British Resistance, and the site given below already has an appeal for such contributions. Perhaps repeating the request may help find some answers:
- GHQ Coleshill - The Official Home Of The Auxiliary Units Retrieved June 12, 2010.
- British Resistance Organisation Museum
- The Caithness Secret Army in World War II
- Auxiliary Units of the British Resistance Organisation
- Auxunit News, a personal memory of the British Resistance Organisation
- References to Inverailort training by Major R F 'Henry' Hall
- British Auxiliary Units - World War 2 Talk Forum
External links in England - For information
- Hollingbourne (Kent) Zero Station
- Shipley (Sussex) Zero Station
- Iden Patrol (Auxiliary Units)
- Stanstead Patrol (Auxiliary Units)
- Staplefield Patrol (Auxiliary Units)
- Hurstpierpoint Patrol (Auxiliary Units)
- Ditchling Patrol (Auxiliary Units)
- Bathampton Patrol (Auxiliary Units) Operational Base (OB)
- rc Balcormo Mill NO50910407
- Reay NC94176393
- Skail ND019678
- Thurso Near Glengolly, ND109662
- Bulliemore ND141641 approximately
- Dunnet ND222697 approximately
- John O Groats ND391719 approximately
- Keiss ND34796276
- Wick ----- lost?
- Thrumster ND33194283
- Latheron 1 Latheron-Forse, ND21813363, also ND20473570 Latheron 2
- Camster ND262417
- Berrieldale ND09272252
- Loch Watten ND244578 approximately
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