Churchill’s Secret Army at the Chalke Valley History Festival
The team behind the British Resistance Archive will be displaying items on this most secretive of WWII groups.
Amongst those exhibiting at the event will be the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART), a group set up to research one of Britain’s most secret organisations during WWII, the British Resistance, or Auxiliary Units as they were known.
The Auxiliary Units were groups of civilian volunteers, who during this country’s darkest days in World War Two answered Churchill’s call and volunteered to ‘stay behind’ in the event of a German invasion. They were to disrupt and where possible destroy the enemy’s supply chain and reserve troops, ‘deal’ with collaborators and take out strategic targets within their local areas. Every member signed the Officials Secrets Act and never told families and friends about what they were up to – many taking their secret to the grave.
Auxiliary Units were highly trained, well equipped volunteers that would literally go underground in the event of an invasion and strike at targets from their operational bases, buried beneath the British countryside. Such was the danger of their mission their life expectancy after an invasion had started was just two weeks.
At CART’s stand visitors will be able to learn more about the Auxiliary Units, the type of training they undertook and just what a dangerous mission theirs would have been if the balloon had gone up. CART researchers will be on hand to talk in more detail, and there is also the opportunity to check whether any of your relatives were involved this most remarkable group of volunteers. There will also be a chance to view some of the impressive weapons and kit that the Aux Units had at their disposal with Auxiliary re-enactors showcasing just how effective some of these might have been at dealing with an invading army!
Tom Sykes, the founder of CART commented. “Telling the Auxiliary Units story to the public is the most enjoyable part of the work we do. The sheer secrecy surrounding this group means that still for a majority of the public this brave group of volunteer’s role during the war is relatively unknown. Educating the public is great as we feel the Auxiliary Units need more recognition for the dedication they showed this country in its darkest hour.
“When we do find a relative of someone who had no idea that their parent or grandparent was involved in the Aux Units it is even more rewarding – and who knows we could be giving a visitor at the Chalke Valley History Festival a missing part of their family’s history!
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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 600,000 unique visitors and has attracted TV, Radio and national press attention.
For further information about CART please go to this page http://www.coleshillhouse.com/
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