Britain’s Secret Defences

Civilian saboteurs, spies and assassins during the Second World War

Andrew Chatterton

A comprehensive new history of the secret defensive preparations made in Britain in World War II to be deployed in the case of Nazi invasion.
Publication date:
July 2022
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
50 photographs
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ISBN : 9781636241005

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
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• First comprehensive history of highly secretive defensive plans put into place by British government during World War II
• Tells the untold story of secret networks of civilian volunteers, and the training in sabotage and guerrilla warfare they undertook, ready to counter a German invasion or occupation
• The general public still has little idea about these Auxiliary Units, as well as unofficial ‘Shock Squads' and the shadowy Section VII units which were to deploy in case of Nazi occupation - some may even unknowingly have family members who were involved
• Includes details of the secret underground bunkers built for these defensive networks, often hidden in woodlands across the UK
• Foreword by James Holland.

The narrative surrounding Britain's anti-invasion forces has often centred on ‘Dad's Army'-like characters running around with pitchforks, on unpreparedness and sense of inevitability of invasion and defeat. The truth, however, is very different.

Top-secret, highly trained and ruthless civilian volunteers were being recruited as early as the summer of 1940. Had the Germans attempted an invasion they would have been countered by saboteurs and guerrilla fighters emerging from secret bunkers, and monitored by swathes of spies and observers who would have passed details on via runners, wireless operators and ATS women in disguised bunkers.

Alongside these secret forces, the Home Guard were also setting up their own ‘guerrilla groups', and SIS (MI6) were setting up post-occupation groups of civilians - including teenagers - to act as sabotage cells, wireless operators and assassins had the Nazis taken control of the country.

The civilians involved in these groups understood the need for absolute secrecy and their commitment to keeping quiet meant that most went to their grave without ever telling anyone of their role, not even their closest family members. There has been no official and little public recognition of what these dedicated men and women were willing to do for their country in its hour of need, and after over 80 years of silence the time has come to highlight their remarkable role.