A HIDDEN history of Second World War heroism in Dorset has been uncovered.

Seven servicemen from Purbeck, whose heroic story has lain hidden for over 50 years, have been commemorated with a special memorial stone in East Creech.

In the darkest hours of the war when an invasion from Nazi Germany seemed likely, Prime Minister Winston Churchill conceived the idea of units of ‘stay-behind’ guerrilla fighters who would wage war from behind enemy lines in the event of a German invasion.

These units were trained in guerrilla tactics and their mission was to harass the invaders’ lines of communication and supply for as long as possible.

They were trained to use explosives for demolition and sabotage purposes, and operated from remote secret bases.

There were 40 such units in Dorset, including two in Purbeck and several in the Wareham and Wool area.

The South coast was thought to be the most likely place for a full-scale invasion.

The ‘Creech Seven’ as they became known were Sergeant Fred Simpson, Corporal Doug Green and Privates Les Green, Eli Kitkatt, Wilf Stockley, Harold Hatchard and John Hatchard.

Ken Williams, the brother-in-law of Sgt Fred Simpson, uncovered the story of the men of East Creech.

A ceremony to unveil the Purbeck stone memorial was held at the site by the Blue Pool and was attended by relatives of the seven men and soldiers from Bovington Army Camp.

Retired doctor and RBL member Peter Tate said: “It was a fabulous day. We had about 200 people turn up for the unveiling.

“These men volunteered to stay behind should the German army invade. They didn’t have to do it in the end, but they deserved to be commemorated even so.

“You can still see the remains of Kilwood coppice where they hid and the site where their secret bunker was.”

The money for the event was raised by the Royal British Legion and from local donations. The priest in charge of Corfe Castle, the Rev Ian Jackson, gave a short ceremony to dedicate the stone.

Legion Purbeck Division chairman Mike Glover said: “It took about two years to organise it all and contact the relatives. People have come from all over the area. It went very well.”