The fascinating history of an auxiliary unit based in Mabe during the final stages of World War II has been revealed.

Ken Welch, 94, was one of six members of the secret unit that was based in Mabe and would have been ready to sabotage the Nazi advance should Britain have ever been invaded.

Ken joined the patrol in May of 1943 as a 16-year-old and is believed to be one of, if not the only surviving serviceman to have been a part of the secret squads.

The patrol in Mabe had its operational base - a secret underground bunker - near a quarry just outside the town.

Falmouth Packet: Ken's father on the far right with Ken having his pistol inspected.Ken's father on the far right with Ken having his pistol inspected.

The units consisted of a group of highly secret, highly trained civilian volunteers, who would have, in the event of a German invasion, disappeared to secret bunkers across the country, and come out at night to disrupt the invasion.

These men would have been highly trained in Guerilla warfare and tactics such as mutilating the bodies of enemy sentries in order to scare their comrades as well as acts of sabotage.

They would have blown up fuel and ammunition dumps, railways, airfields, aircraft, vehicles, assassinate German officers and even British collaborators, anything to slow down the advance.

Members of these units had a shockingly short life expectancy once deployed, with most expected to survive no longer than two weeks.

Each Patrol had six to eight men in and all signed the Official Secrets Act, with most going to the grave without telling even their closest family and friends.

Ken only told his family about his involvement in the early 2000s and it is now very probable he is the last remaining Auxilier alive.

Falmouth Packet: Ken Welch, 94, is possibly the only surviving member of these secret unitsKen Welch, 94, is possibly the only surviving member of these secret units

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Andrew Chatterton, part of the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART) who have uncovered this fascinating piece history, explained: "These are a remarkable group of men.

"This was a suicide mission, they had enough rations in their operational base for two weeks.

"Ken's father was the patrol leader and we think he had a suspicion that his dad was up to something quite interesting and asked too many questions, and that meant basically that his dad had to bring him in to the patrol.

"We've got other examples where people have asked too many questions, or found the underground bunker and they would have been the first people the patrol would have had to assassinate as soon as the Germans entered their area.

"As they only had a short amount of time to be active, anyone who knew too much would have been a security risk, so they would have killed innocent British civilians first.

Falmouth Packet: A tactical manual disguised as a diary would often have instructions on how to prepare explosives.A tactical manual disguised as a diary would often have instructions on how to prepare explosives.

"Interestingly, Ken's patrol was one where there was a cottage near where their underground bunker was and an elderly couple lived in it.

"The first people the Mabe patrol would have had to assassinate would have been this elderly couple as they knew something was going on, which would have been crazy as Ken was 16.

"Another thing was that, if the patrol was making their way back at night, and one of the members was injured, the rest of the patrol were obligated to shoot that patrol member, because if they couldn't get them back to the bunker, they couldn't let hem fall into enemy hands alive as otherwise they could give away were the bunker was.

"So if you think about that from Ken's dad's point of view, if Ken was ever injured, he'd be under real pressure to make a horrendous decision.

"They were absolutely remarkable men who got zero recognition at the end of the war.

"They were stood down at the end of the war and essentially got a letter saying 'thanks for your hard work, you're not going to get any public recognition.'"

The only token of appreciation members of these units would get was a small lapel badge which is reportedly often the only thing relatives of these men would find that could clue them in to their involvement.

To find out more about 'Churchill's secret army' visit the CART website at: