Posts by CART HQ:
We had the great pleasure of talking to the Sid Vale Association yesterday afternoon, in one of the more glamorous venues we get to talk in!
Many thanks to the people of Sidmouth who turned out to listen. We picked up a few leads of patrols in and around the area, so we’ll make sure that we keep you updated on anything that comes from them.
Just as a reminder we have another talk for the Colyton History Society coming up in February. Wednesday 26th February 7.30pm at Colyford Village Hall. It would be great to see you there!
We were very sad to hear about the passing of Sheila Trevaskis (nee Harrington), very likely to be the final member of the Aux Units ATS and maybe the final member of the Special Duties group as a whole.
See obit here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/sheila-trevaskis-intrepid-wi…/
It appears that we have a remaining operational Aux Unit member still alive in Wales and possibly one in Dorset – if anyone knows of any other remaining veterans do let us know!
A date for your diaries in January.
Wednesday 15th January at 2.30pm we will be talking at the Sidmouth Manor Pavilion Theatre with the Sid Vale Association. Manor Road, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 8RP
All are welcome (£3 on the door), it would be great to see you there to learn more about the Auxiliary Units and the patrols in and around East Devon.
It has been a sad end to 2019 as we have had to say goodbye to two of the very few remaining Auxiliary Unit veterans.
Peter Potter (Fingringhoe Patrol, Essex) – https://www.coleshillhouse.com/fingringhoe-auxiliary-unit.p… – passed away in October. Not only was Peter a member of the Fingringhoe Patrol, he later joined the RAF as a Rear Gunner in Lancaster bombers.
And today we have heard of the sad passing of Claude Varley (Bewholme Patrol, Yorkshire) – https://www.coleshillhouse.com/bewholme-auxiliary-unit-patr… – who passed away this morning. Claude was a farmer who joined the patrol with his two brothers.
These two brave men represent some of the very last Auxiliers we knew to still be with us.
It is now more important than ever that we ensure that their memory and what they were willing to sacrifice for their country is never forgotten.
Jack was enrolled into Aux Units in 1942 at 16 years of age. Later he became a Bevin Boy in the South Wales coal mines.
CART was delighted to receive a visit from Jack when we attended the Broadmayne WW2 event in 2016. (Broadmayne was marshalling area D5 in south Dorset prior to D-Day).
The Child Okeford Operational Patrol was based in north Dorset near the military town of Blandford Forum. https://www.coleshillhouse.com/child-okeford-auxiliary-unit-patrol.php
His service will be at Poole Crematorium on Monday 25th November at 2pm. Rest in peace Jack.
This years Cenotaph memorial march in London was attended by Jim Gascoyne, John Hewett and Stewart Bates. Our thanks to them for Auxiliary Units representation.
Here’s what Jim had to say: “We were sandwiched between WRVS ladies (charming) and RSPCA officers (funny) with RAF Police alongside and Royal Military Police a few yards behind us. The Duke of York took the salute before we dispersed from Horseguards Parade. A personal Thank You from me for ensuring that the CART slot was maintained at the RBL Cenotaph Remembrance Parade. Best regards, Jim Gasgoyne.”
CART’s Roger Green and Bill Ashby attended the memorial service at Coleshill, remembering all those from the village that gave their lives. They also laid a wreath in memory of Aux Units.
In Somerset CART’s Chris Perry laid 2 wreaths at Somerton war memorial: One to all the men and women that served in the Aux Units in Somerset, and one to Major Ian Fenwick, the late John ‘Tiny’ Kidner of Somerton & all the men that served in the SAS.
We will remember them
Auxiliary Units were not only the Spirit of Resistance. Their contributions enabled regular soldiers to fight away from home soil, tested defences at home, and led to many joining the SAS. The secret radio network (Special Duties Branch) broadcast huge amounts of ‘radio noise’ in the coastal areas of the south east of England that helped build a misleading picture of a D-Day invasion coming from Kent to Calais. All this and not a word to anyone, and with little or no recognition.
We will remember them.
These excerpts from Auxilier Geoff Ratcliff of East Bergholt Patrol, Suffolk paint a vivid picture of what it was like to have been a Patrol member. Reading his full account will take 2 minutes: https://www.coleshillhouse.com/east-bergholt-auxiliary-unit-patrol.php
” In June 1940 I became a member of the Home Guard, L.D.V. (Local Defence Volunteer) as it was first called. Soon after I was selected for what was said to be a very special job… “
“… one was left with the impression that we were really rather special, I was seventeen and cynicism was not in my vocabulary.”
” The ground sloped away to a free flowing stream some fifty yards away. This would be our water provider, in 1940 this water could be safely drunk.”
” … if they went off when you were priming plastic explosive or a hand grenade or a sticky bomb then of course the whole lot went including you. ”
” All in all we were well equipped but no mention how stocks would be replenished if it ever happened. I suppose it was assumed one would not last longer than the supplies.”
Read Geoff’s full account here: https://www.coleshillhouse.com/east-bergholt-auxiliary-unit-patrol.php
We will remember them
If you’re interested in learning more about Coleshill House, the HQ and training centre for the Auxiliary Units, then we have the perfect booklet for you now available from our online shop !
Auxiliary Unit members from all over the country came to learn about building and living in the underground Operational Bases, explosives, sabotage and all the skills they would need to impact any German invasion. Secret radio’s were assembled in huts around the grounds.
This 22-page colour booklet takes you through the history of the Auxiliary Units at Coleshill House, the various buildings in use (and those you can still visit), contemporary photographs and much more. A perfect guide for a day out at the National Trust’s Coleshill Estate, home of Auxiliary Units.
At £4.95 these would make great Christmas presents. Go to our shop to order yours…
Find out more here: http://shop.coleshillhouse.com/index.php…
We are aware of unscrupulous people selling fake Auxiliary Unit Stand-Down badges.
Don’t be fooled. We’ve seen enough real badges to know the difference. Please contact us if you are unsure if a badge is genuine or not.
We sell memorial badges produced by CART in our online shop for £6.95. https://shop.coleshillhouse.com/
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.
Brilliant day – well done all !!