Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Relative Search

This page was last updated at 7:55am on 24/8/15

Auxiliary Unit Relative SearchWe want to learn as much as possible about the men who served in the Auxiliary Units. If you have strong reason to think your friend or relative might have been a member of an Auxiliary Unit and you would like to learn more about what they got up to we will try to help you find out more.

Our experienced researchers will look into the person in question. We cannot promise anything so please don't get your hopes up!!

 

FIVE STEPS TO DISCOVERING YOUR RELATIVE

1. Collect every known scrap of information about the individual. (Read our advice below)

2. Use our search page here. We would advise you search geographically as well as using the text search.

3. Ask us to check our database by applying for our help here.

4. Get contact details of your local area County Information Officer (CIO) if we have one in your area. These can be obtained here.

5. Leave a request on our Q & A Forum.

You may also like to contact the BROM (The British Resistance Organisation) Museum at Parham although they may well send the request back to us!

CAN I RESEARCH THIS MYSELF?

Yes you can. Please read through our advice notes below.

Who are you researching and what do you know about them?  The ‘Volunteers’ who became Auxiliers acted out of patronism knowing that they were undertaking a dangerous task and the likelihood of them surviving was slim. They received no pay and no recognition. Many have since died taking their secrets with them. Very little was recorded officially and this is the problem when trying find out about them.

To those people who have inherited WW2 items from an ancestor but are unsure whether they served with Aux Units there are a few items that would indicate that they did.

Auxiliary Unit enamel badge

Aux and Home Guard Flashes

 

A small enamel badge

Cloth Insignia with Nos. but only 201,202 or 203

A Fairbairn-Sykes dagger issued to Aux before Commando Units

 

The Countryman's Diary

             

Training manual disguised as the Countryman’s Diary or similar

 Stand down letters dated July 1944 from General Franklyn (C-in-C Home Forces) and Colonel Douglas (GHQ Aux Units)
 


Some basic information:

Auxiliary Units was the non-descript name given to Churchill’s Secret Resistance Organisation. It was formed in 1940 and would become operational as soon as Germany had invaded Britain.

Organisation: The aim of Aux Units was to create resistance cells around the coast stretching from Outer Hebrides southward down to Kent, Westward to Cornwall and back North Eastwards through South Wales to Herefordshire. This coastal area was divided into areas or zones. Control came from the GHQ that was based at Coleshill House, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire).

Each area was commanded by an Officer called an I.O. Intelligence Officer who would oversee all the Patrols in his area. Patrols would act independently and did not normally know of the others.
To assist I.O’s with training and construction of underground bunkers they were allocated one or two Scout Sections – 12 man teams of regular troops lead by an officer. At each area H.Q there were a few more regulars.


Personnel:  For research purposes Auxiliary personnel fall into three categories.

1. Officers – Career Officers and Temporary Commissioned or Territorial Officers also women ATS Subalterns’ serving in the Special Duties Branch.

2. Non Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks – Royal Signal’s, R.A.S.C., RE’s and Regiment’s.

3. ‘ Auxilier’s – civilian volunteers selected and recruited for their local knowledge and skills (Game keepers, poachers, farm workers and the like). At the start enrolment was simple with little paperwork if any involved. Later (1943+) the organisation became more official and Auxiliers were reorganised into three new Home Guard battalions. Aux Units in Scotland and Border Counties were grouped in 201 Battalion. Eastern English Counties down to the Thames in 202 and the South and South West 203.

Officers, N.C.O’s and Other Ranks will each have a personal Service Record at the MOD. Anyone who has permission from the next of kin can apply for a copy but Full Name, Rank. Army No., Regiment and Date of Birth are required. The is a charge of £30.

 Visit here for more information.

Auxilers - NO official Service Records were kept. Some lists do exist and CART are endeavouring to collate these.  There are a few Public Record Office files,

WO 199/3390 - Lists some names in Dorset, Kent and Somerset.
WO 199/3389 - Lists some names in Northern and Eastern counties and Hereford and Carmarthen areas.
WO 199/3388 - Lists some names in Scotland and Northumberland areas.

Although the Auxiliary Units had no operational connection with the Home Guard these documents list names under the local Home Guard battalion numbers, possibly for security reasons so that Auxiliary Units would not be separately identified.

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