Researching the resistance

Living Memories supplement.  People leaving the underground air raid shelters in East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh after the all-clear sounds during World War II (May 1945).

Living Memories supplement. People leaving the underground air raid shelters in East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh after the all-clear sounds during World War II (May 1945).

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Research into the British resistance during the Second World War has led to an appeal for information on Angus men who were linked to the movement.

Alan Stewart - county information officer for Aberdeenshire for British Resistance Archive / Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team - is carrying out the research, and is hoping readers can help shed some light on the background of those involved.

The resistance was made up of local men, who were trained for guerilla warfare against the Germans.

Alan said: “Had the Germans ever invaded the UK, small groups of well-armed and well-trained men would go into hiding in secret bunkers (known as operational Bases), then come out and conduct guerrilla warfare against the Germans.

“These bases were normally in woodlands and off the beaten track, and so well hidden you would not be able to find them.”

Alan was able to source names of Angus men from the national archives in London, but is hoping readers may recall the names, or stories of those involved.

Three men hail from the Kirriemuir area - Sgt Alexander A Napier (Littleton of Airlie), Donald Mackintosh (East Lodge, Lindertis) and John Stewart (Blackhill, Airlie).

Four came from the Newtyle area - Sgt Alexander Vannett (Burnmouth); George Black (Henderston), John Easson (Church Street, Newtyle) and Thomas D Martin (Burnmouth).

Three other men, Sgt W.D Hogg, George Smart (Eassie) and George Harris (Casteton, Eassie) came from the Meigle area. The group commander was Major Sir Torquil Munro.

Alan added: “The names of people I have mostly appear to be farmers, but likely to be gamekeepers, estate workers or even retailers.”

He is also keen to find out information on operational bases: “These are best described as underground air raid shelters made with corrugated iron and had beds for sleeping in. Any information would be great.

‘‘My research has found people sometimes found these, years after the war, and recall bunk beds being in them. I can be emailed on cartaberdeenshire@gmail.com.”