How secret were the Aux Units? (Did they know of other patrols, Did they tell loved ones?)

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How secret were the Aux Units? (Did they know of other patrols, Did they tell loved ones?)

CART Web Monitor
Administrator
David Blair starts us off with this;

"It was not all kept secret from loved ones, I know of some patrol members who were related, cousin/brother/uncle etc and in different patrols but known to other patrol members from another area. I have spoken to 4 former patrol members who told me their wife's knew of their activities, not all details but what he was doing on certain occasions.

Close knit communities and kith and kin, country folk being a secret lot anyway and any stranger treated with suspicion..that kind of thinking...I have heard of no children being told of their fathers activities, until after the war.

This practise I would think was not carried out everywhere, but there would have been times when it was fairly impossible to be completely covert about it, 'within the married couple environment'.A distortion of the facts maybe, the odd lie.....would or could lead to confrontation, even back then when females were not as outspoken to their husbands as we are now in an equal equality world.(i don't mean that in a sexist way)"
Kind Regards,

CART Team
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Re: How secret were the Aux Units? (Did they know of other patrols, Did they tell loved ones?)

Nina
I have spoken to a gentleman who was evacuated to Cornwall at the start of the war and lived with a family where the father was in an Auxunit Patrol. He was around 12 and fully aware of the patrol and what there were preparing to do. He was used as a "dummy" for their first aid training and as far as he can remember it was not a secret in the house.

Another son of an auxilier from Cornwall has said he was trained to be a go between the patrol and the village. He was taught a secret code ie "Stanley" was a sten gun, "weather is inclement" meant don't come , Germans are about.
He was to leave notes in a haystack about German movements and "world events" for the patrol. He was again a early teenager.
Nina
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Re: How secret were the Aux Units? (Did they know of other patrols, Did they tell loved ones?)

CART Web Monitor
Administrator
Auxilier Bob Millard wants to add that he met 2 other Aux patrols in the early part of the war. He and his patrol also found an OB belonging to another patrol whilst they were on ops.

On another occasion he met 3 Auxilliers on a joint op but they still all thought it was just local to their area. It was not until 1994 that he learnt of other patrols in the Bath area.

He is of the impression that from 1943 onwards senior staff at Coleshill had a more relaxed approach to the patrols and he heard that some patrols were more aware of each other and in some cases they trained together.
Kind Regards,

CART Team
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Re: How secret were the Aux Units? (Did they know of other patrols, Did they tell loved ones?)

Evelyn Simak
In reply to this post by CART Web Monitor
From patrol members that we've had the pleasure of meeting here in Norfolk and Suffolk we know that patrols in the same group sometimes trained together and occasionally also visited other patrols' OBs.  

One member told us that his patrol used to be taken to another patrol's OB at night only.  On trying to re-visit the OBs after the war he found his own without a problem but he failed to find the one they'd been taken to at night by their Group CO.  

Entries in Pte John Fielding's (Earlham Patrol) diary confirm that at least some of the patrols knew of each others existence:

20 Jan    At Earlham OB
18 Mar   Night patrol at Cringleford OB
30 Mar   Marston Lane night patrol
1  Apr    Patrol at Sprowston OB
18 Apr    Patrol at Hellesdon OB

etc.


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Re: How secret were the Aux Units? (Did they know of other patrols, Did they tell loved ones?)

CART Web Monitor
Administrator
Richard Ashley, CART's Weapons Adviser adds;

Did they tell anyone ? No, not even close family. These folk were certainly aware that their actions would have resulted in dreadful reprisals in their own immediate area. They, the Germans, would have scooped up family members, neighbours, these folk after all were operating in their own intimate location, their superb knowledge of their immediate area was partly why they were chosen in the first place. Reprisals were almost always carried out where the destruction occurred and these BRO folk were dreadfully aware of this. Resistance and sabotage would quickly result in mass hangings, shooting and/or deportation to a K.Z. I am certain that every BRO volunteer knew this would have been done with savagery, immediately and was almost bound to have included members of their family. This fact alone makes these folk truly amazing, no, humbling.
Kind Regards,

CART Team
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Re: How secret were the Aux Units? (Did they know of other patrols, Did they tell loved ones?)

Malcolm_A
In some areas at least, secrecy was as much provided by the atmosphere of 'don't ask questions' as much as anything else.  In Worcestershire the names of patrol members and their patrol, promotions and transfers were posted on Home Guard notice boards as part of Part II Orders.  Auxiliers were also included in a general reminder for the Home Guard to carry their respirators! Security was only improved in 1942 when responsibility for them was passed to the Territorial Army Association in York.  I have seen a similar published list of aux Unit members from Kent.  Hiding in plain sight!.
Regards
Malcolm Atkin