This page is being used as a reference for Ebay sales of modern reproductions of the Countryman's Diary.
The editor and contributors of this site wish to make it clear that we are in no way associated with such sales.
David Waller (Editor)
Initial training-in all the preceding weapons and equipment was given, either at Coleshill House or locally, by the Regular Army support troops, and such knowledge was passed on, largely by word of mouth, and in the interests of security, no written training manuals were prepared.
However, in July 1942, membership of the Auxunits had grown to such an extent that some form of essential sabotage information was necessary as an aide-memoire for the volunteers. This was issued as a 42-page booklet, put together by a captain in the RE and which contained all the reminders that a well trained saboteur would need in practice.
As a doubtful concession to security, it was given a cover title which would not look out of place on any farmer's bookshelf, The Countryman's Diary- 1939. It was humourously issued 'With the Compliments of Highworth and Co' and stated that 'Highworth Fertilisers do their stuff unseen, until you see results!' This could well have become the operational motto of the three Auxunit Battalions!
As well as giving details on the packaging, characteristics and methods of use of the various explosives and equipment, the handbook contained many useful hints and tips, including the 'dos and don'ts' of handling explosives. A chapter was included on the best methods of attacking certain targets, and how to calculate the amount of explosives required, followed by the admonition that 'if in doubt, double the calculated charge!'
Sketched drawings indicated how to destroy railway lines, petrol dumps and stores, and where to place charges to do the most damage to parked aeroplanes or vehicles.
Advice was also given on how to make improvised mines. 'Aim at killing by splinters, not by blast!' The use of an old motorcycle cylinder was highly recommended - 'The fins fly well!'
Apart from the standard government caution relating to the disclosure of information to unauthorised persons printed on the fly-leaf, there was no indication for whom this publication was intended, although one give-away missed censorship, for, when warning that some gelignite could deteriorate under damp storage conditions, the author stated that 'Auxunit packing is OK'.
Return to Auxunit News