The Secret Among the Secret

SPECIAL DUTIES BRANCE

Britain’s wartime network of civilian spies and ‘Secret Sweeties’ was shrouded in such obscurity that even the now-fabled Auxiliary Units had little idea of their existence, as Andrew Chatterton of CART reveals

ARTIST'S DEPICTION OF THE SD BRANCH BUNKER FOUND AT WAKEHURST PLACE. IT IS BELIEVED THAT NINE ATS MEMBERS WORKED THE STATION IN SHIFTS. WAKEHURST PLACE WAS OCCUPIED BY THE CANADIAN ARMY FROM 1940 AS A HEADQUARTERS – IT HAD NO CONNECTIONS TO, NOR OFFICIAL KNOWLEDGE OF, THE SECRET SD IN-STATION 
COURTESY OF CART/WILLIAM WEBB

During the invasions of France and the Low Countries, the speed and agility of German forces took the Allies by surprise. The confusion was exacerbated by the masses of civilians caught in the chaos, who took to the roads to escape the carnage. With Britain on the highest state of alert, those at the highest levels of the government, the military and security services hurriedly searched for ways to increase cohesion and to slow the enemy should a cross-Channel invasion take place and result in the Army and Home Guard being pushed back.

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