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WW2 Local Sabotage Groups

George Hampshire

In 1940 Auxiliary Units were established along the South Coast, and became known as Churchills secret army. Their purpose was to sabotage the expected Nazi Invasion, by all means, including dealing with collaborators. Each unit consisted of five or six men, ideally farmers, gamekeepers etc who knew the land intimately. All were sworn to secrecy.
I am in touch with a charity that researches these groups, one of which was located in Stokeinteignhead. The local leader was a man called William Donald Carlton Bird, well known in the Rugby world, playing for Torquay, Wales and other Clubs in the 1930s and described as a Farmer, Dairyman and Market Gardener, he died in 1987.
Each group had a secret Bunker, where they could plan their operations and avoid detection. The Stokeinteignhead group’s Bunker was in No Man’s Land Plantation and the Charity would like to get permission to search the Plantation for evidence of the Bunker.
The members of these groups were restricted in telling of their experiences as they were governed by the Official Secrets Act, but they were also reluctant as they had instructions to bump off local collaborators or spies.
Does anybody remember Carlton Bird (Torquay RFC are investigated for me) and does anybody know who currently owns No Man’s Land Plantation?
It’s all along time ago now, but a fascinating bit of local history.