Thursday, December 03, 2020

How the British Resistance would have fought Nazi occupation

From an article on The Conversation by Peter Doyle, Jamie Pringle and Kristopher Wisniewski:

Eighty years ago, as Nazi Germany’s military might amassed along the French coast, small groups of highly trained British killers bade farewell to their families and made their way underground for what could well have been their last, lethal mission. 

Known as "scallywags", these individuals – many of them gamekeepers, landowners and poachers with an intimate knowledge of the rural areas in which they would operate – were members of Britain’s clandestine World War II "Auxillary Units". And their mission, in the event of a Nazi invasion of the UK, was to operate behind enemy lines – and kill, harry and sabotage. ...

As we wrote in a recent article, the story of these individuals has long remained a closely guarded secret. And despite facing a life expectancy of just 12 days, these "scallywags" would have received no medals and no official recognition. 

Indeed, the only comfort they would have found in their hidden underground bunkers would have been their rum ration, each other – and the knowledge that they were playing a vital role as Britain’s last-ditch line of defence.

This video shows a scallywag bunker the authors recently discovered in Suffolk.

1 comment:

PeteB said...

The HQ of the 'Auxiliers' was at Coleshill just outside Swindon, where 'over 3,000' men were trained. There's an interesting report on some of the personalities - including Peter Fleming (brother of Ian who lived and is buried nearby) and Montgomery - on Swindon Web though they appear only as bit-parts in the article which is mainly about the local postmistress.

There's a brief National Trust article here and this is a local organisation, the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team that has more detail on the site, including the reconstruction of a bunker there.

The manor house,incidentally, which was the HQ of the Auxiliary Forces, survived the war but was destroyed in '52 when, I believe, a decorator went for a brew forgetting to turn off his blowlamp, which was close to a door. So it goes...