©WWII UK British Resistance Organisation

North Essex Answer to a Nazi Invasion.
Published in the Essex County Standard Fri March 29 1968

One of the second world war's best kept secrets is uncovered this week in a book which reveals that scores of north Essex men, believed at the time to be Home Guards, were in fact secretly recruited into a nationwide British resistance organisation sworn to go underground if the Germans invaded
In "The Last Ditch," book by author, David Lampe gives a full account of the preparation on both sides for a Nazi occupation of Britain.
He makes it clear that for the men of 203 Battalion, the Home Guard uniform was merely a cover for cloak-and-dagger activity. It would have afforded them no protection if they had ever been caught by occupying Germans.

gordon drake Bures butcher Mr Gordon Drake, who would have been one of the leading resistance workers in the Colchester area, said, this week that he and his colleagues fully realised that they were "suicide boys."
"If this country had been invaded," he said, "the seven people and myself picked for resistance work in the Bures area, knew that we were just literally suicide boys"

"Our activities were a very closely-kept secret. My wife knew about them because meetings were held in my house, but nobody apart from ourselves knew that we had an underground hideout half a mile outside the village.
We dug this at night, with three of our number acting as guards. The hideout was five feet under the earth, and access was through a long tunnel from a concealed trapdoor. My colleagues and I were from all walks of life, and included a builder, a farmer and a slaughterman"

'Our brief was to carry out and to work at night. We would have destroyed vehicles by planting high explosives on them, and were instructed to avoid pitched battles."

The OB was then built in the wooded grounds of Little Bevills on the edge of the village. It was described as being five feet underground and was built by the patrol. The entrance was through a trapdoor and along a tunnel. The trapdoor had 12 inches of padding to prevent it sounding hollow if stepped on. The ventilation shaft ran up inside a hollow oak tree. It was equipped with bunks, oil lamps and a Primus stove. It is reported to have contained “a quarter ton of explosives and a couple of hundred hand grenades” -

Mr Drake added that he and his colleagues would have disappeared from Bures immediately an invasion occurred. Asked if they realised that this would almost certainly have led to-Gestapo action against their m families, he replied: "We knew full well that we would have become very unpopular with our fellow-villagers, for reprisals would have been taken"

"Our greatest test was when we stayed down in our underground base for 60 hours. It was furnished with bunks and other things, we has a quarter of a ton of high explosives and a couple of hundred hand grenades"
"For civilians", said Mr Drake, "we were a highly trained unit. We were trained in Wiltshire, but nobody was forced into the work. Everybody who was approached had to sign the Official Secrets Act, so that they would keep quiet about the whole business if they decided not to take part."
Mr Drake was the Bures Commanding Officer and held the rank of Lieut.

Information courtesy of Nigel and Evonne Drake (grandson)
updated 04/09/2014