CART will be at Colchester Garrison, Essex as part of Armed Forces Day, hosted by the 16th Air Assault Brigade on Saturday 29th June. If you’re around. Drop by for a chat..
Researchers will be on hand complete with a display of equipment & information about localAuxiliary Units. Find out what they would have done if Hitler had invaded in 1940. Some members of the Auxiliary Units went on to join the SAS and were dropped into France for D-Day in 1944.
CART continued to excavate the O.B. at Ferndown, Dorset at the weekend. Locals were welcomed and very interested.
Finds included glazed ceramic ventilation pipes stamped with STOTAM, and the identification of the water-pipe (from the previously unearthed water-tank) coming into the bunker through the entrance-shaft wall.
CART Dorset (Dr. Will Ward) gave a talk about Aux Units and this Patrol bunker. ‘Bodge’ Wareham brought some of his ‘toys’ along, and we even had a visit from the Home Guard bomb disposal !
Verdon Besley was 16 when he joined the Sandford Auxiliary Unit Patrol in Somerset. At 18 he joined the Queen’s Royal Regiment and went all the way to Berlin where his Auxiliary training came in handy.
CART was at the D-Day Centre, Portland at the weekend. Although a bit chilly, the team were kept in high spirits with mugs of hot tea and cake, while the public and re-enactors were fascinated with everything AUX Units.
This July 1944 document comes from a recent, very generous donation to CART of documents from an East Anglian Group Commander. These are still being catalogued and photographed, as almost 200 pages!
We hope in due course to bring some of these things to public view, as part of our website redevelopment. In the meantime here is the document requesting numbers required from each Group Commander. Note that the men were required to pay 6d each for their badges! They were to be made available to men who had left Auxiliary Units, though in practice, few if any seem to have received one.
As can be seen, there were strict instructions that they could not be worn in wartime. The design was conceived specifically for these enamel badges and was intended for wear in “mufti” (in civies) not as part of uniform.
Our favourite example comes from a Pathe Newsreel (see picture) of the Prince of Wales presenting colours to the Royal Regiment of Wales in 1969. Legendary Welsh WW1 VC “Stokey” Lewis was an Auxilier in WW2. His medals are now in the Lord Ashcroft collection having been privately purchased. They are on display at the IWM, though we believe without the Aux Units badge
Thus the badges were produced in wartime, but with strict instructions not to be worn until the end of hostilities. Perhaps they didn’t see the ‘end’ of the war taking quite such a long time..