Stand Down

Taken from The Last Ditch by David Lampe, Cassell (1968), all copyrights acknowledged.


In April 1945, when the war in Europe was drawing to a close, the War Office announced to the Press that a Resistance organisation had existed in Britain since 1940, and Sir Harold Franklyn's message of thanks to the men and women who would have been the Auxiliary Units Special Duties Section's spies was published in The Times on Saturday, 14 April 1945:

I realise that every member of the organisation from the first invasion days beginning in 1940 voluntarily undertook a hazardous role which required both skill and courage well knowing that the very nature of their work would allow of no public recognition. This organisation, founded on the keenness and patriotism of selected civilians of all grades, has been in a position, through its constant and thorough training, to furnish accurate information of raids or invasion instantly to military headquarters throughout the country.

The Times pointed out that the organisation was so secret that most of the members did not know one another, that it came into being before France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark or Norway had Resistance organisations of their own-and that the whole thing was run by '300 specially picked officers of the Army Special Duties Branch'.

The popular Fleet Street newspapers also carried the story, and their reporters embellished it, among other things claiming that the Resistance was really a skeleton force that was intended to raise little private armies all over the country, and that its weapons even included 3.7-inch anti-aircraft guns.

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