Firstly lots of big thanks to everyone who helped make the 75th Anniversary of Aux Units Stand Down at the National Trust’s Coleshill Estate such a resounding success. This year also marks the 10th Anniversary of CART.
The day went extremely well, even the weather didn’t put off the crowds who attended.
The grounds of Coleshill House are littered with Aux history. There’s the Guard House, replica SD hide, the remains of the huts where some of the men lived and worked. Grenade and rifle ranges, where they practiced on old tanks and lorries – even a piece of one of those tanks has been found.
We will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Auxiliers being stood down from service. These brave men and women volunteered to act as an underground resistance to the threatened German invasion in 1940.
What else ? Military vehicles, re-enactors, music & dancing, food and drink. For the kids there will be a special activity challenge trail, and code-breaking.
Plus there are some special guests lined up too:
Malcolm Atkin: former archaeologist, military historian & professional author including these WW2 books –
Tony ‘Scallywag’ Salter: Living Historian and highly knowledgeable Aux Units enthusiast, Tony (and his lovely wife Julie) take their display all around the country educating as they go –
Auxiliary Unit talks from Chris Pratt (British Resistance Museum at Parham, Suffolk), and local historian Bill King who contributed to the book ‘With Britain in Mortal Danger’, as well as appearing in various television programmes.
Of course C.A.R.T. will be there too, packing The Granary to the gunwales with displays of weapons, explosives and other equipment issued to the Auxiliers, a fully equipped bunker and re-creations of the wartime offices. There will be lots of items on display for first time in 75 years in this location, including numerous original documents and photographs.
The planning, started months ago, is starting to bear fruits. Invites have been sent out and a floor-plan of how our display inside The Granary is going to be set up (we will fill it !)
So much going on, please see the flier. This will be a double celebration as this year also marks the 10th anniversary of CART. We will be displaying the largest collection of Auxiliary Unit equipment ever assembled.
Re-enactors, military vehicles, tours of an underground base (O.B.) live music, Auxiliary Unit talks & plenty of fun activities for the kids. A great family day out !
Coleshill, nr. Swindon, Wiltshire, SN6 7PT. The village is on the B4019 between Faringdon and Highworth.
CART’s Somerset researcher recently laid a wreath for Major Ian Fenwick on the War Memorial and at the church in Bruton, Somerset.
Major Fenwick, a former Somerset Intelligence Officer who organised and trained Somerset Auxiliers (part of 203 Reserve Battalion GHQ), went on to join 1st SAS.
On 16th / 17th June 1944, he was dropped into Normandy a hundred miles behind enemy lines and successfully led sabotage missions against German communications. He was killed in an ambush on 7th August 1944 trying to assist his team who had been attacked. You can read a full account on the Para-Data website here: https://www.paradata.org.uk/people/ian-fenwick
Before the war Ian Fenwick was a professional cartoonist for magazines such as Punch. He had family connections and lived for a while in Bruton, Somerset.
C.A.R.T. enjoyed another warm welcome and warm weather at the Steam & Vintage Show near Weymouth last weekend.
In between cups of tea and home made cake, we met plenty of great people with stories to share and some good leads for us to follow.
We met the land owner of a known Operational Patrol bunker in East Devon, and have been given permission to investigate the site further.
We chatted with one lady who, as a school girl was involved with a local history project. She was expecting a Home Guard interview from a Chickerell resident. He promptly told her that he wasn’t in the Home Guard and was an Auxilier in the local patrol, and what he was up to during the war ! He wife (who was apparently making tea in the kitchen) listened agog as it turned out she did not know, and in fact it was the first time the Auxilier had told anyone !
Local community radio station (https://keep106.com/) based in Dorchester invited us for a ‘Don’t tell them your name Pike’ interview about Auxiliary Units. The interview is scheduled to go out on the 17th of July.
We were delighted to be able to exhibit an item from Auxilier, the late ‘Bob Millard’ who did so much for C.A.R.T.
A couple of good leads also came up for possible bunkers, especially for an SD bunker that as far as we know, has not been previously recorded – watch this space…