Britain's Secret Defences

Civilian saboteurs, spies and assassins during the Second World War

Andrew Chatterton

A new comprehensive history of the secret defensive preparations made in Britain in World War II to be deployed in the case of Nazi invasion.
Date Published :
August 2022
Publisher :
Contributor(s) :
James Holland
Illustration :
50 photographs
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781636241005
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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The narrative surrounding Britain’s anti-invasion forces has often centered 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.

About The Author

Andrew Chatterton is a Second World War historian and Public Relations professional. His role as Press Officer for the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART) led to his fascination with the secret layers of defense in place in case of an attempted German invasion during the Second World War. CART maintains the British Resistance Archive where the story of some of the civilian volunteers is kept, providing public recognition of the significant role they would have played in the event of an invasion.

James Holland is a historian, writer, and broadcaster. The author of the best-selling Fortress Malta, Battle of Britain, and Dam Busters, he has also written nine works of historical fiction. He regularly appears on television and radio, and has written and presented the BAFTA-shortlisted documentaries, Battle of Britain and Dam Busters for the BBC.


Chapter One - Formation
Chapter Two - Role, ruthlessness and training
Chapter Three - Bunkers, equipment, explosives and weapons
Chapter Four - Changing role and stand-down
Chapter Five - Special Duties Branch: Civilian spies and wireless operators
Chapter Six - Signals and ATS
Chapter Seven - Secrecy and change of role
Chapter Eight - 'Unofficial' auxiliary unites and Home Guard guerrillas
Chapter Nine - Post-occupation resistance: SIS Section VII and industrial saboteurs


"Truly, this is a must read for those seriously interested in all the heroic actions generally known but rarely mentioned in detail we approach the 8th decade since World War II ended."


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