Isle of Wright’s World War Two Secret Army Members Revealed
The secret British Resistance, or Auxiliary Units, as their purposely vague code name referred to them, were made up of civilian volunteers who had not signed up or been called up to the regular forces as they were in reserved occupations or over or below the age brackets. They were called up across the length of the country (around 3,500 men in small groups of five to six) and were often those that knew their local area intimately, farmers, farm workers, gamekeepers etc.
They were highly trained, often at the Auxiliary Units’ HQ at Coleshill House in Wiltshire, and received the latest weapons and equipment, often before the regular forces.
As soon as invading forces entered their sector, these volunteers would immediately head to their underground bases (operational bases) buried beneath the British countryside (many of which are still being found in tact). From these bases the Aux Units members would come up, mainly at night, and cause as much havoc to the invading forces as possible. Destroying railway lines, transport, and where necessary ‘taking-out’
Such was the secrecy of their mission they all signed the Official Secrets Act with many going to the grave without revealing the true the extent of their wartime role. As such many families have no idea that their father or grandfather had any other role in the war other than a farmer or a member of the Home Guard.
Now for the first time all names of those involved in the Auxiliary Units on the Isle of Wright can be found on the British Resistance Archive’s website (www.coleshillhouse.com)
CART is now appealing to the public to come forward if they recognise any of the names recorded or have further information that might add to the growing and remarkable records on the Auxiliary Units, Tom Sykes explains. “As these volunteers all signed the Officials Secrets Act there is relatively little information about them in the official records. We have to rely on those remaining with us to come forward, or relatives with snippets of information. The Isle of Wright is a particularly good example of a region where we have very little information indeed, aside from the names of those involved.
“We would love to hear from any surviving members or their relatives so we can add to our and publics knowledge and appreciation of this remarkable group of volunteers that were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, without any hope of recognition.”
If you do have any information please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0872 045 9940.
Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team
0872 045 9940
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