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Forces War Records Blog


Blogger: GemSen

The records of one of Britain's best-kept secrets of World War II, the Home Guard Auxiliary Units, have been exclusively made available as a fully searchable database for the first time, by Forces War Records.

The ‘Home Guard’ status was used to cover up the real activities the secret units, which were often called ‘Britain’s Secret Army’ or ‘Churchill’s secret weapon’.

The records involve individuals serving in the top secret ‘Auxiliary Units’ comprised of men who were to act as resistance fighters if Britain was ever invaded during WWII. These highly secret units were made up of men that were specially trained with the aim of resisting any eventual occupation by Nazi Germany. The Auxiliary Units were created after a planned invasion from Germany called ‘Operation Sea Lion’. The UK, after seeing the fall of several continental nations, was the only country during the war that was able to create such a resistance movement in advance of a potential invasion. Winston Churchill initiated the units in the early summer of 1940 and appointed Colonel Colin Gubbins to recruit them. Gubbins had gained considerable experience and expertise in guerrilla warfare during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War in 1919 and in the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921. He had also previously headed the Independent Companies in Norway, which were the predecessors of the British Commandos. Gubbins eventually moved to the Special Operations Executive (SOE).
Home Guard Auxiliary Units (1939-1945) Exclusively Available as Fully Searchable Database at Forces War Records.

It was a very dangerous job... Men in the Auxiliary Units were expected to do a very dangerous job and were likely to get either captured or killed. They were expected to do what they could to disrupt German activity by gathering intelligence, identifying vehicles and high-ranking officers, and blowing up bridges and transport links. The Auxiliary Units carried on operating until late 1944 — long after any immediate Nazi threat had passed. And despite a 1960s book on the subject, the unit’s existence didn’t really become widely known about until the late 1990s. Many members went on to join the Special Air Service and many men saw action in the campaign in France in late 1944, notably in Operations ‘Houndsworth’ and  ‘Bulbasket’ (the coordinated French resistance delaying and harrying tactics to prevent German units reaching the Normandy area after D day). The Special Duties Sections had around 4,000 members, largely recruited from the civilian population — were any of your ancestors involved? Maybe they were but you just haven’t found out about it yet? Search the ‘Home Guard Auxiliary Units’ records via the Forces War Records site. The information contained in these records is likely to include: surname, first name, initials, rank, home town/address, area, group number and commander, patrol number and leader and national identity card number. Some records will contain even more detail including: next of kin, date of birth and date of promotion, e.t.c. The records consist of information hand transcribed by Forces war Records from the original nominal rolls held at the National Archives under reference WO199/3388-3391. Want to find out more about your ancestors and their roles during war? Why not log on to Forces War Records and search our vast collection of records including this latest collection involving the Home Guard Auxiliary Units, and start your family history research… Delve into our ‘historic documents’ library and read some of the interesting war diaries that we get sent – there’s nothing quite like reading a personal account of war as history unfolds itself through the eyes of somebody who was actually there. Source:  Wiki
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