Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Lieut. John Rupert Hunt Thouron

Researched by Stephen Lewins, CART's Northumberland Information officer. cartnorthumberland@gmail.com

Page last updated at 5:09pm on 24/1/14

Some new information on the last “Regular” Army Intelligence Officer for the Northumberland Area has come to light. John Rupert Hunt Thouron was the last appointed I/O.

From documents in the National Archive it has been found that he was appointed as Scout Officer Auxiliary Units in Northumberland on 7/9/43. At this time he was W/S Lieut. J R H Thouron. His Service Number 162569 and a member of the Black Watch Regiment.

By November the same year he was promoted to Captain on 8/11/43 relinquishing the Scout Officer roll 7/11/43. He took over the Intelligence Officer post vacated by Victor Albert Gough ex Somerset Light Infantry who left to retrain with SOE. Thouron’s role as I/O for Northumberland seems to have been forgotten as his name did not crop up with any of the Auxiliers when they were asked about the set up of the organisation. This could have been that he did the job only briefly and never got around all the patrols to introduce him to the men of his command. The general story is that Lambert Carmichael from the Allerdean patrol took on the role. Captain J Thouron appears to have used Berwick upon Tweed as his base as Gough had done. Both Thouron and Gough are listed in one document referring to the “Drawing of Ration Packs” and the kerosene ration entitlement. 

I can find no other reference to him as I/O and do not know what he did within the set up. By early 1944 the invasion threat was gone and many of the Auxiliers had gone back to the normal work and given up all things military unless specially called for.

He was born in Crookham-Maidenhead in Berkshire in 1907. Later he married his first wife Miss Lorna Elliot of St. Thomas in Devon. They divorced just as war broke out in 1939.

Thouron enlisted with the Gordon Highlanders and was commissioned into the Black Watch on 21/12/40 as a 2nd Lieut but almost immediately acted as Captain, an emergency commission due to the state of things in WW2.

By 1941 he was a Captain, General Staff Officer 3rd Grade (GSO 3) at the War Office in the Command & Staff Section appointed 6/10/41. Some of this time he spent at Bletchley Park with SOE. From this post he managed to run Street and House to House Fighting courses (FIBUA) for Glasgow Home guard and any other units in the Home Guard in his role as part of GSO 3 in General Staff Scottish Command.

His next move was the Scout Officer Auxiliary Units and then finally to the post of Intelligence Officer Auxiliary Units. How long he remained in Northumberland is uncertain. The next place he crops up is in the Special Allied Air Reconnaissance Force (SAARF) working within “Vicarage” a department set up to stop the massacre of POWs in Germany as the war was ending and things were going badly for Germany. Thouron made several parachute jumps behind enemy lines at this time scouting out the POW camps.

After the war Thouron married Esther DuPont in 1953 (she Died 1984) and spent much of his time in America. Here he and his wife set up a fund for students to study at the University of Pennsylvania, this graduate/fellowship program helped approximately 700 students, British and American to study either in the UK for the Americans or Pennsylvania for the British.

In Doe Run in Unionville, Pennsylvania he turned some fields into award winning gardens and was well known for his gardening abilities. He was awarded the CBE in 1967 and KBE in 1976.

He died in America on 6/2/07 at the age of 99, if only I had known of him earlier he may have been able to give some insight into his time in the Auxiliary Units during WW2.

 Captain John Rupert Hunt Thouron

The above shows Captain John Rupert Hunt Thouron in his Black Watch kilt at the stand down of SAARF

The National Archives at Kew, a prompt from CIO Devon, Nina Hannaford.