Name added to Donington Auxiliary Unit

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Albert Grooby knows the whereabouts of Donington Auxiliary patrol’s secret hideout.

Albert, of Town Dam Lane in the village is 87 now, but at one time he would have been able to lead people to the spot near Forty Foot Bank where local members of The British Resistance once met.

It was meant to be a World War 2 secret, as were the activities of the men who met there.

These secret patrols were established all over the country, made up of men who knew the locality well. Their task was, in the event of invasion, to emerge from their underground bunkers and destroy railway lines and other key infrastructure that could be of use to the enemy.

Albert says that it wasn’t until after the war that he and his friends discovered the secret bunker.

He said: “We were nosy. I went in. It wasn’t very big.”

Albert’s interest was piqued because he knew his older brother George William – known as Bill – was up to something, but like most people had no idea what.

In fact, Bill’s role in the Donington Auxiliary Unit was kept so quiet that it wasn’t even known to the organisation that is assembling information on the patrols that once existed in the country.

CART – Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team – has the names of most of the members, but is appealing for information about other men involved in these covert operations.

CART has the names of Sgt J Sumner, Cpl A Brice, Pte S Stanhope and Pte G Chapman.

It is most likely that Bill Grooby’s name has been omitted because he served from 1940 to 1943, and was then forced to leave the patrol because he had arthritis and rheumatics. In fact, the next year, in 1944, Bill’s condition had deteriorated so much he was forced to give up work, aged 28.

However, Albert wanted his brother’s role to be officially recognised too and his name included in CART’s records.

Albert was aged ten when his brother joined up and must have been fascinated by the weaponry he discovered in the family home.

Albert said: “I used to see his things and I would look at them. I know he had a Tommy gun, a revolver and such as that, a commando knife and magnets for clamping to railway lines.

“He talked a little bit, but not a lot and I can’t remember too much. We talked about when they went on manoeuvres down south

“He used to be good mates with the sergeant Jack Sumner, Sid Stanhope was our next door neighbour and Albert Brice didn’t live far from us. They were all mates. People knew they were up to something, but didn’t know what and at parties they were on their own.”