Trevor Miners

One Of Britain's Last Remaining 'Secret Army' Veterans Dies

Trevor Miners
One of Winston Churchill's last remaining "secret army" veterans has died at the age of 89.
Trevor Miners became a member of the specially trained, highly secret Auxiliary Units when he was just 16, signing the Official Secrets Act in 1943.
The 3,500 strong units were created by the British government during the Second World War with the aim using guerrilla or asymmetric warfare as an underground line of defence if Nazi Germany invaded the country.
Mr Miners passed away in his sleep on Monday after a brief illness. The veteran told the BBC in 2013:
"We were trained to kill - how to use a knife to kill a man quietly."
"The plan was that when the invasion came our unit would hide in an underground bunker and let the Nazis roll over the top of us.
"Then after a month we were to come out at night and attack them, destroy their munitions dumps, railway lines, things like that."
The UK had the advantage of being the only country during World War Two to be able to create a multi-layered guerrilla and resistance movement in anticipation of an invasion, having witnessed the rapid fall of several continental nations.
But service in the Auxiliary Units was expected to be highly dangerous, with 12 days the projected life expectancy for its members.
Personnel, meanwhile, were ordered to kill themselves with explosives or shoot each other if there was a likely threat of capture.
Operational Patrols consisted of between four and eight men, usually recruited from the most able members of the Home Guard, who had strong local knowledge and could live off the land.
Each was a self-contained cell, expected to be operationally autonomous and self-sufficient in case of invasion, and would operate in a 15-mile radius with no knowledge of the identity or locations of other resistance groups.
Mr Miners in a family photograph. Picture: Miners Family
Their mission was to attack invading forces from behind their own lines while conventional forces fell back to the last-ditch GHQ Line.
Patrols were given the latest weapons, including a silenced pistol or Sten gun and Fairbairn-Sykes "commando" knives, as well as plastic explosive, incendiary devices, and two weeks worth of food.
They were trained, meanwhile, in the arts of guerrilla warfare including assassination, unarmed combat, demolition and sabotage.
The patrols were provided with a concealed underground Operational Base (OB) with a camouflaged entrance and emergency escape tunnel - see below.
The emergency exit of an Auxiliary Unit operational base in Wivelsfield. Picture: Gaius Cornelius
It's thought that between 400 and 500 were built, usually by Royal Engineers in a local woodland.
Mr Miners' seven seven-strong operational unit was based at Cligga Head, near his home in Perranporth, Cornwall..
For the last three years he took part in the Remembrance Day parade at the Cenotaph in London, and in September he fired a sniper rifle and a Sten gun when returning to Coleshill, 72 years after his training, to open a replica observation post.
Tom Sykes, founder of the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team, a non-profit making group of volunteer historians who focus on the British Resistance, said:
"Trevor was a solid man. He represented a world we are never likely to see again. He personified the Auxiliary Units in his attitude to everything."
"He was strong, brave, determined and full of spirit and most of all good fun and the type of man you want on your team."