Dan Snow's History Hit

WWII Britain: The Home Guard's Silent Assassins

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Episode notes

WWII Britain's Home Guard wasn't a bumbling dad's army but in fact included factions of highly trained silent killers and spies hiding out in secret bunkers, caves and safe houses all over the country. The Auxiliary Unit was given a deliberately boring name to disguise the top secret mission they'd been tasked with- if and when the Germans invaded the British Isles, they would have to stop the first waves of soldiers, taking them down as they moved inland, often in brutal and secretive ways. They were locals chosen from and posted around coastal areas who knew the land particularly well and most went to their graves never revealing what they'd been a part of so we're only really just learning about them now.

Today, Andy Chatterton and his organisation Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team are mapping the bunkers left by this secretive unit and those used by Special Operations Wireless Operators who were posted in similar areas in the same sorts of hideouts. Many were sealed straight after the war with everything inside, while others have collapsed, revealing their secrets to the outside world. Andy got word there must be some hidden in the New Forest where Dan lives, so for this episode, Dan and Andy are joined by New Forest historian Marc Heighway as they go bunker hunting. The team come across some very promising discoveries...

If you've found something you think could be or relate to an Auxiliary bunker, get in touch with Andy and his team at https://www.staybehinds.com/contact-us

Produced by Mariana Des Forges and edited by Dougal Patmore.

Image Credit: “Parham airfield, Museum of the British Resistance Organisation - Auxiliary unit operational base” by Gaius Cornelius is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.02.0.

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