Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Banff Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 4:39pm on 18/5/15

Thank you for selecting information on the Banff Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Scotland. The info below has been supplied by CART's Aberdeenshire CIO, Alan Stewart.

Research into this patrol and its training is ongoing. The information below is published from various sources and is by no means conclusive. If information is not listed below it does not necessarily mean the information is not out there but normally means CART researchers have not found it yet.

If you have any information on this patrol or can help with research in this area please do contact us.

Banff is a busy fishing port along with Macduff (separated by a bridge over the River Deveron.  Nearby was RAF Banff at Boyndie, and a possible invasion beach on the coast.

GC Lieut G.S. Fisher, Asst GC 2/Lieut R Cook.

The Assistant Group Commander 2nd/ Liet Robert “Robbie” Was a Seedsman and possibly a greengrocer also based in High Street, Banff.

Unknown



Sgt George Copeland, Fishmonger,, 54 High Street Banff
Pvt Robert “Jackie” Field – Barber, High Street , Banff
Pvt George  Sandison – Chemist, High Street Banff
Sgt William (Bill)  Smith – Farmer & Hotelier of Royal Oak Hotel (former WW1  Soldier?)
Pvt Alexander Watt – Painter and Decorator, High Street Banff.
Pvt J Wilson
Cpl. G. Adams – Alvah (possibly in Banff Patrol)

All members of the patrol appear to be from the retail side and located in/around the High Street in Banff. Fish shop owner, Barber, Chemist, Painter and Decorator  and Hotelier.  The group were all known Freemasons also.

It is reported there was an OB on the Hill of Alva at Rob’s Knowe, (above) to the SE of the Knock thunder OB on an estate there.

Knock Thunder (Above) - Cleared after the war, The OB remained intact.  It collapsed in about 2002, and the farmer who owned the field filled it in for fear of animals falling in. 

Hill of Alvah. formerly lay within the woodland covering Rob's Knowe It is now destroyed but the present farmer recalls seeing the structure.  In the 1960s, a fire on the Hill of Alvah resulted in ammunition exploding all over the hill.  It was commented by a fireman (who was believed to be the local blacksmith) at the scene, that “the Polish Army didn’t make a good job of clearing the hill after the war.

The OB was set into a gentle slope at an altitude of 45m, it comprised two Anderson shelters of corrugated iron, linked with a series of large concrete pipes forming entrance and escape tunnels.

It was recalled that to get onto the OB, you had to “drop in”.

The Aberdeenshire SMR states an aerial photo (1076) showed two circular enclosures
https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/smrpub/shire/detail.aspx?refno=NJ66SE0119 These are believed to be the the OB at Knock Thunder which had two underground shelters.

The location of the patrol was close to RAF Banff. The main coastal road passed through Banff, and two railways existed separated by the River Devron. The main roadbridge over the River Deveron was close to the Royal Oak Hotel that Bill Smith owned. As there was prisoners of war held at Duff House, it is likely the patrol may have have been assigned to deal with prisoners from assisting and joining an invasion force.  It is possible the OB at Knock Thunder had stores to deal with RAf Banff, and the OB on Hill of Alvah to deal with the POW camp at Duff House. A likely invasion beach was present near at Banff and along to Whitehills.

Most likely Blairmore House in Huntly.

We suspect they were issued with the standard kit. A friend of the son of Sgt George Copeland remembers “at the back of the fishmonger were shed/stable buildings that were full of grenades and sticky bombs during the war.  These were eventually cleared by George Copeland out in the mid 1950s and “dumped out in the Banff Bay off a small boat to dispose of them.

The friend also mentions that they let off a few grenades and sticky bombs” for some fun” and that the “worked well”. Sgt Copeland also showed him how to break somebodies back (in case of the need in any fure war etc).  It was noted the grenades were stored without detonators.

The friend also received a Fairbairn Sykes knife from the patrol Sgt Jonathan Taylor (of Mountblairy patrol ) who he knew from fishing and shooting on the Forglen estate years after the war.  The scabbard he recalls had a loop  to allow the scabbard to be stitched onto clothing. He was also shown a “frontal attack knife”. During his time as a youth, and in swapping war items, he owned a Smith and Wesson revolver and Sten Gun.

The patrol during and after the war would never speak of their roles. Sometimes after a “dram” the odd snippet of information would come out. On the whole, that patrol members were quiet businessmen.  Out of the group, only Bill Smith appears to have had military experience in World War 1.

TNA – WO199/3388 201 Bn rolls.
Hancock report
George Davidson
Anon Source (a friend of patrol sgt George Copelands son)

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/246531/details/knock+thunder+home+guard+secret+hideout/
https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/smrpub/shire/detail.aspx?refno=NJ66SE0126
http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/246528/details/rob+s+knowe+home+guard+secret+hideout/

If you have any info please contact us.