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 jealouies 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 www.worcestershirevtc.com for an outline of the WW1 Home Guard in Worcestershire. The inspiration for the Home Guard of 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.
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.
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 (see below). Also included is primary evidence from the original leaders of the Auxiliary Units.
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 disects 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.
for publication by Pen & Sword in Spring 2019
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.
https://independent.academia.edu/MalcolmAtkin for related on-line articles.
Secret Warriors: Military Intelligence (Research)
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.
for publication by Pen & Sword in Spring 2020