The Last Ditch - Britain's Secret Resistance and the Nazi Invasion Plans, David Lampe

The Last Ditch - Britain's Secret Resistance and the Nazi Invasion Plans, David Lampe

This book covers two related topics. The first half of the book looks at the German plans for occupied Britain, and the second at the various British plans for a stay-behind resistance movement. There is also a short section on the more traditional military plans to repel an invasion to provide the context for the resistance.

The British Resistance has recently been the subject of several TV documentaries, each of which has tended to emphasise how secret it all was, and how information about it has only emerged recently. Much to my amusement I note that this book, which was originally published in 1968, includes most of the same material, including the recruitment and training of the potential resistance members and the construction of their hidden bases. The British Resistance was originally created during 1940, making it the first properly organised resistance organisation in Western Europe, although thankfully it was never put to the test. The scale of its activities is very impressive, with hidden bases build around most of the coast and later further inland.

The book was thus written at a time when many of the participants on both sides were still alive, but also at a period when many were unwilling to talk - the Germans because of a desire to distance themselves from their wartime records (twenty-five years on it must have been rather embarrassing to be reminded that you were once selected to head the Gestapo in Britain), the British because many still felt they were bound by their wartime vows of secrecy (an impression somewhat aided by the silent way in the which the organisation was closed down). The author has managed to get some interesting material from the more talkative survivors,

This is a fascinating look at one of the less well known corners of the Second World War, and is none the worse for covering two sets of plans that were never actually put into place.

Chapters
1 - The veil of the Unknown
2 - How to Behave in England
3 - Where to Go in Britain
4 - The Gestapo Handbook
5 - 'Bring a knife, fork, spoon, cup and plate'
6 - The men from MI(R)
7 - 'c/o GPO Highworth'
8 - The First Intelligence Officer
9 - The Hideouts
10 - Scotland
11 - Second Phase
12 - The Secret Sweeties
13 - Stand Down

Appendices
A - British Regional Commissioners, Regions and Headquarters
B - Auxiliary Units Intelligence Officers, 1941
C - Auxiliary Units Operational State, 1941
D - Auxiliary Units Group Leaders
E - The Gestapo Arrest List for Great Britain

Author: David Lampe
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 240
Publisher: Frontline
Year: 2013 edition of 1968 original


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