Churchill’s Secret Army in North Yorkshire – An Appeal For Information

The British Resistance Archive encourages the public to come forward with possible leads of the volunteer resistance force.
By: The Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team
Jan. 8, 2015 - PRLog -- Churchill’s Secret Army in North Yorkshire – An Appeal For Information

The British Resistance Archive encourages the public to come forward with possible leads of the volunteer resistance force.

In the dark days of 1940 with the German army just a few miles away across The Channel, the threat of invasion looked inevitable. The stories of men flooding to join local Home Guard units with no weapons or uniforms in well known, but a group of civilian volunteers that were to act as the resistance force in the event of an invasion remains a relatively untold story. The Auxiliary Units as they were known, a purposely bland title as to not arouse suspicion, was made up of hundreds of separate patrols the length of the UK, mainly in coastal areas.

This remarkable group of men that could not get called up because they were in a reserved occupation or were outside of the age limits, were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country in its hour of need. However, such was the secrecy surrounding their existence that they signed the Official Secrets Act, with most going to the grave without revealing their role to even their closest family and friends.

They received the latest weapons (often before the regular army) and were to, in the event of an invasion, head straight to their Operational Bases (bunkers buried beneath the countryside) without telling a soul. From there they would literally wait for the invading army to pass over them and then come out at night to cause as much disruption as possible. Destroying transport, blowing up railways, setting up boobytraps and ‘dealing’ with collaborators, anything that could slow down the advance to give the regular army time to counter-attack.

Most of those that were signed up had extensive knowledge of their local area and were often farmers, farm workers and gamekeepers.

The British Resistance Archive, was set up by the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART), a group of volunteer researchers that have come together to find out more about the Auxiliary Units and identify where there Operational Bases still remain undisturbed under the British countryside. The team has found evidence of 18 patrols in the North Yorkshire region and have published names of the men involved.

(see more here They are now appealing for the public to come forward with any information they might have, and also for volunteers in the area to join the team to help research and gather further information.

Tom Sykes, founder of CART and the British Resistance Archive, said: “We have evidence of 18 patrols in North Yorkshire. In many cases we have the names and addresses of the men in the patrol, but what we are missing is stories of their involvement, where their Operational Base’s were located and the types of targets they would have hit had the worst happened.

“We have come across many families that had no idea that their father or grandfather was involved in such activity as their relative kept quiet taking their secret to the grave. Most assumed that they were in the Home Guard, but looking out for clues such as an enamel brooch presented to the Auxiliary Units at their stand down (see an example here ( or training manuals disguised as calendars or diaries (see here are often the first signs of their actual involvement in the Auxiliary Units.

“We’re very keen to hear from anyone that suspects that their relative was a member, or might know the existence of an Operational Base. We’re also on the look out for volunteers to help continue our research in this area. It is important that the sacrifice that these volunteers were willing to make should not be forgotten.”

Thanks to the work of the British Resistance Archive the Auxiliary Units marched past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday for the first time in 2013 and did so again in November last year. This marked the first time that there had been any official recognition of the volunteers. However the team at CART are now pushing for further recognition from the Government, to highlight the sacrifice these brave and modest volunteers were willing to make for their country.

If you have any information about the Auxiliary Units or believe that your relative might have been involved, or wish to volunteer please contact

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About CART & The British Resistance Archive.

The Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART) publishes its findings on the British Resistance Archive (BRA) website.

CART also provides an internal network for serious and dedicated researchers who focus on the British Resistance and agree with CART's core value of making the research public.

·       CART is made up of select volunteer historians and published writers known as County Information Officers (CIOS) and also public members.

·       CART is not a business or an academic body of professional researchers.

·       CART is non-profit making and has no financial support from any company or organisation. It is funded solely by donations and the revenue it makes from the sale of various items sold in the shop.

·       Since CART's birth in June 2009 the website has seen over 110,000 unique visitors and has attracted TV, Radio and national press attention.

For further information about CART please go to this page or call 0872 045 9940 or email

Media Contact
Andy Chatterton
0872 045 9940

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