Parham Airfield (Suffolk) : A walk through history - Sunday 11th January 2015

Rédigé par Alan dans la rubrique ÉvènementOpération spéciale

Rural Suffolk is a quiet idyllic county in the south east of England. However, at the outbreak of the Second World War, large parts of the county were transformed by the construction of substantial military defences in response to the threat of a German invasion. The Suffolk countryside became one of the most heavily fortified areas in England. 

On Sunday 11th January 2015 (not 2014 as on poster below !) the 8th in the East (Group dedicated to the memory of the 8th USAAF in the East of England) are organising a Walk Through History at the Airfield at Parham near Framlingham in Suffolk (map) It is sign posted from the A12, north of Woodbridge after passing through Little Glemham. The 8th USAAF Airfield at Parham is home to the 390th Bomb Group Memorial Air museum and the Museum of the B.R.O. the British Resistance Organisation (link). 

In the early months of summer 1940 Winston Churchill initiated the idea to set up specially trained units with the aim of resisting any attempt by the Germans to invade Britain. He appointed Colonel Colin Gubbins (future head of the S.O.E.) to organise and run these top secret units under the name of the B.R.O. often referred to as "Churchill's Secret Army" or "Stay-behinds".

Known as Auxiliary Units, they were made up of unpaid civilians trained in unarmed combat and sabotage and in the event of a German invasion they would have stayed behind "enemy lines" in camps set up in woods and resist by acts of sabotage and harassing the "invaders".
Their life expectancy would have been no more than a few weeks. Their Group leaders and Intelligence Officers were regular Army. 

The German invasion thankfully never happened but methods learnt were then used by the S.O.E. and members of the Auxiliary Units went on to fight in Europe, including alongside the Résistance in Operation Bulbasket in the South West of France. (link) 

Due to the restrictions of the Official Secrets Act little was known of the role of the Auxiliary Units until relatively recently and it was only in 2013 that the men and women who served in these units were included in the Remembrance Sunday commemorations at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

British Resistance archive (link)

Auxunit news - website dedicated to the Auxiliary Units (link)