Parham Airfield Museum

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Home > British Resistance Org. > "Britain's Best Kept Wartime Secret"

"Britain's Best Kept Wartime Secret"

In 1992, Ron Buxton hinted privately that Percy Kindred himself had something to tell of his own WWII experiences but had kept to himself for fifty years following a commitment entered into in 1944 under the Official Secrets' Act. This revelation led, as associated research continued through the years, to the creation of the Museum of the British Resistance Organisation which opened in 1997.

The opening ceremony was carried out by Lieutenant Colonel JW Stuart-Edmundson TD RE, one of the founders of the nondescript 'Most Secret' GHQ Auxiliary Units, as they were officially known. The 'Auxunits' were one of Britain's nine secret services of WWII, alongside better known clandestine organisations such as the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Like the SOE, the Auxunits had been formed under the express authority of the new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and his Inner War Cabinet, directly after defeat at Dunkirk. Both the Auxunits & the SOE were to be headed by Major General Colin McVean-Gubbins, a legendary vetern of irregular warfare.

These credentials called down extraordinary post war secrecy, amplified by the fact that the men of the Auxiliary Units (there were about 3,500 throughout the land at any one time) had existed and operated, although generally without their knowledge illegally and in direct contravention of the Rules of War. The nation's survival was the indisputable imperative. Before 1997, the Auxiliary Units were left with virtually no public recognition.

For morale and propaganda reasons and their own security the 'stay behind' Auxiliaries were a closely guarded secret. It would not 'do' for the general population to know that an organised resistance movement was in training and in place ready for the unthinkable. This meant that the museum faced immense difficulties in researching the background of the Auxiliaries and other aspects of the UK's resistance organisation. Some files do indeed exist and others have yet to be found. Former members of the Auxiliaries are very reluctant to talk about their wartime activities but are becoming more prepared to do so as the word gets around about the museum.

A breakthrough came when a Ministry of Defence official deemed some material on the Auxiliaries to be of "limited residual sensitivity" and with the paperwork to hand to this effect, the job of tracing the structure and work of the BRO could gain some impetus. Around 5000 people were trained to work in groups of six and it is believed that some 400 0Bs were created.

BRO Exhibit

The Museum is now the focal point nationally for Aux.Unit information and has benefited from the most willing and helpful co-operation from supporters throughout the United Kingdom. They have also been able to supply advice and information to the media whenever they have enquired, in an effort designed to produce accurate programmes rather than the over-dramatised and speculative work which had so often previously misrepresented the true role of the GHQ Auxiliary Units of W.W.II.