Britain’s Secret Defences

Being there . . . . with “Dad’s Army”, Britain’s anti-invasion forces as they prepare to defend the
homeland, its skies, seas, cities, and country sides as Hitler promises immediate defeat of the
Royal Air Force, HMS Navy, followed by a torrential inundation of his elite SS Divisions in the
Spring of 1940 . . . .

. . . . and Churchill wasn’t promising granddads with brooms, rakes, and pitchforks. He was
gathering volunteers, top secret and superbly trained, to ruthlessly attack and slaughter the
Nazis wherever and whenever they could. Those civilians unwilling or unable to prepare hard in
pain and hardship, who were depressed because defeat was inevitable and living under the
Hitler jackboot acceptable were not wanted. On 4 June 1940, the Prime Minister broadcast the
reality of the situation for the British people, that only the bravest citizen volunteers were now
being sought to join those 300,000 plus resolute troops returning from Dunkirk to regroup to
fight to the bitter end . . .
“We shall go on to the end, we shall continue to fight in France, we shall fight on the seas
and oceans, we shall fight with the growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we
shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall
fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in
the hills, we shall never surrender.”
Reviewed and highly recommended by Don DeNevi

“BRITAIN’S SECRET DEFENCES – Civilian Saboteurs, Spies and Assassins During the Second
World War”, by Andrew Chatterton. CASEMATE Publishers: 2022, 205 pages, hc; $37.95. See:, or email,

This splendid, long awaited, book tells the hitherto untold story of highly secret networks of
British civilian volunteers created virtually overnight to thwart, then counterattack, possible
German invasion forces all along the English Channel coastline. From saboteurs emerging from
disguised underground bunkers the length of the country to vicars and doctors passing on
information about the invading army via wireless sets, the defence of Britain was not in the
hands of dad’s and granddads’ sticks and stones, but in the very capable hands of highly trained
saboteurs, guerrilla fighter, spies, and assassins. No question about it: Hitler’s Wehrmacht and
SS troopers were in for a surprise should they reach beyond the beaches of Great Britain.
Andrew Chatterton is a respected World War II historian and public relations professional in
England. Focusing on Churchill’s secret layers of civilian defences those harrowing months of
1940 when uncertainty was at its height. His 12 years of meticulous research and smooth, easy

to read narration, revolved around the documents of all Britain’s Auxiliary Units and Special
Duties Branches, as he fulfilled a voluntary role in the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team.
Author Chatterton points out that alongside these secret forces, the Home Guard were also
setting up their own “guerrilla groups”, and the SIS (M16) were creating post-occupation
groups of civilians, including teenagers, to act as sabotage cells, wireless operators, and
assassins. The civilians involved in these groups understood the need for absolute secrecy and
their commitment to keeping quiet meant that most went to their grave without ever telling
anyone of their role, not even their closest family members. There has been no official and little
public recognition of what these dedicated men and women were willing to do for their country
in its hour of need. Finally, after eighty years plus of silence, Chatterton has said silence need be
broken. The time has come to highlight their remarkable roles. Truly, this is a must read for
those seriously interested in all the heroic actions generally known but rarely mentioned in
detail we approach the 8th decade World War II ended. British Andrew Chatterton is to be
commended. Now, we can hope for his next venture into the untold stories of absolute
resoluteness for the growing Allied military literature.