The Anoraks who are part of Crewkerne & District U3A, are appealing for information on Churchill’s Secret Army. The secret army was set up in the wake of the evacuation of the Army from Dunkirk in 1940 and it is believed that some of those who were recruited came from South Somerset. In the event of a German invasion during World War Two, civilian volunteers who had enlisted would have been involved with blowing up ammunition and fuel dumps, transport links and possibly the assassination of high ranking German officers.
Very few people knew of the existence of Churchill’s Secret Army, as recruits had to sign the Official Secrets Act and even family members were generally not aware of their relatives secret mission. Paul Ebdon of Anoraks said: “All this secrecy makes it hard to dig out the stories. We have had one or two leads about people from South Somerset who were involved which we are following up. We would love to hear from anyone who can tell us more.”
The old bunker at Castle Neroche may have been a signals intelligence centre for the secret army and another bunker was the mile-long Combe Down Tunnel on the Bath extension of the Somerset and Dorset Railway. Although not part of the secret army project, there was a key defensive line that ran through Somerset with many pillboxes, such as the one still standing in Crewkerne, at the side of the A30 to Yeovil road. The Anoraks have received invaluable help from Chard Museum, who have an excellent collection of World War Two artefacts and uniforms and the film makers are also looking at the evacuation of children to South Somerset, in particular the areas covering Chard and Donyatt. Anyone who can help the Anoraks with information or memories of World War Two, please contact Alan Keene via email, email@example.com