Malcolm Atkin  Military Research

©  Copyright  Malcolm Atkin 2017.    

Section D for Destruction: Forerunner of SOE

Section D, formed in April 1938, secretly went to war in March 1939 and, operating across over twenty countries,  providing the inspiration for the Auxiliary Units and SOE. The subject of frequent complaints by contemporaries who disliked this new form of warfare, its officers were described as men 'without morals or scruples'.  Political in-fighting and jealousies at the time has led to a considerable under-appreciation of their role and achievements. Also included is new documentary evidence on the relationship of the Home Defence Scheme of Section D to the Auxiliary Units.  This is the first major publication of the work of Section D.

Published in  December  2017 by Pen & Sword.


See also Section D of the Secret Intelligence Service

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Worcestershire Volunteer Training Corps and Volunteer Force

See also www.worcestershirevtc.com for an outline of the WW1 Home Guard in Worcestershire.  The inspiration for the Home Guard of WW2.

British Resistance in WW2

New research on the complex network of organisations designed to combat any Nazi invasion of Britain and to provide the basis of a long term resistance movement. This is set within the context of a battle between the Secret Intelligence Service and the War Office for the control of irregular warfare. The book contains the most detailed analysis published to date, based on original documentary sources,  of the organisation of the GHQ Auxiliary Units and their Special Duties Branch, together with the first in-depth publication of the SIS resistance organisation.


See  also  Fighting Nazi Occupation: Planning for British Resistance 1939 - 45.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without  written permission from this author  is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malcolm Atkin and this website, with appropriate  direction to the original content.

The Auxiliary Units

One of the modern myths of WW2 history is that the GHQ Auxiliary Units were the 'British Resistance Organisation' and the  'Last Ditch' of the nation's defence. In reality, it was a hastily-constructed scheme to provide a military commando force based around the Home Guard, and which accidentally aquired an intelligence-gathering wing from Section D of SIS. Pages on this website summarises the process by which this myth arose, in advance of wider publication in To The Last Man (see below). Also included is primary evidence from the original leaders of the Auxiliary Units. See also the Wireless Sets page for details on the TRD set.


See also Myth and Reality: The Second World War Auxiliary Units

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current and recent research projects

To the Last Man:  The Home Guard in War and Popular Culture.  Escaping the Myth of 'Dad's Army'

The Home Guard was a key, if suicidal, element of the defences of Britain in 1940-1 and thereafter took on  increasing responsibilities for air and coastal defence. During the war, the image of the Home Guard was carefully managed but was already creating its own myths. In the post-war period, the myth began to overtake reality and has had both a fundamental impact on the nature of research into the Home Guard and its specialist Auxiliary Units. This publication continues the re-examination of the roles of the Home Guard and Auxiliary Units, and dissects their image in popular culture. it also reassesses  the scheme for the  private donation of arms  from the USA. and the role of women in the Home Guard. Also included is a study of the  near-forgotten 1950s Home Guard.

Published in June 2019 by Pen & Sword

See also To The Last Man 

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Combat Photography

An on-going project  to illustrate documented types of cameras used by professional and amateur war photographers from the First World War onwards.  The project was inspired by an onlooker, carring a modern DSLR camera, who saw me taking photographs of a Spanish Civil War reenactment with a period Contax II and commented 'you can't get decent action photograhs with a camera like that.' The pages can be found on the Past Image Photography website.

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https://independent.academia.edu/MalcolmAtkin  for related  on-line articles.

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Secret Warriors: the Military Intelligence Research department

in the Second World War

A history of the innovative work in irregular warfare undertaken by Joe Holland and the secret Military Intelligence (Research) department of the War Office. Their work led to the creation of the commandos and SAS and predicted the use of heicopters for the next generation of Special Forces. Includes new  detail on the relationshiip of MI(R) to the Auxiliary Units and  Col. Gubbins.

for publication by Pen & Sword in October  2020

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