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.
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 !
Weeley OB in Essex has been found by brothers Gary and Mark Binden. They are both interested in WW1 & WW2 fortifications & regularly travel up & down the country tracking down & photographing them.
As Weeley is on their doorstep they were determined to find it, so after several trips to the woods & a lot of research they have tracked it down.
Only half remains but they have kindly shared their findings with us.
We know who would have used this base but can anyone help us learn more?
Sgt Roger Weeley, who lived in Edgewood House, Weeley Heath
Cpl Joseph J Webb
Cpl Basil G Deeks
Pte George F Wallace
Pte Reginald T Bruce
Pte Edward D Piper
Pte Frederick E Martin
Known as “Squire” Weeley, Roger shocked interviewer Ivan Cutting in 1986 when he revealed his wartime role.
Recruited directly by Andrew Croft, who had only just returned from Norway, he was telephoned on a Sunday to recruit 6 men to form the Patrol by Wednesday. They were soon issued with 2-3 hundred weight of explosives which were stored in small dumps, one in the Squire’s pigsty. In return for a couple of rabbits they “borrowed” a local digger to dig out for their OB and created an entrance through a old holly tree.
The patrol tested the local military defences many times and were always successful.
“We were taught to look after ourselves” said Squire Weeley.
CART researchers have been busy, even during the recent heatwave excavating Operational Bunker (O.B.) remains. CART was granted exclusive access to this private and secret site, not previously recorded.
Many interesting features were unearthed and documented. These included evidence in the soil colour change and fill, combined with a clear line and termination of vertical corrugation indicating a metal shaft entrance.
Also unearthed was the unusual find of a section of ‘blind’ escape tunnel sat directly above the actual escape tunnel (storage?), and a length of cable exiting the shaft area (possibly linking to an Observation Post or for lighting?)…
Coleshill House (SN6 7PT) was the hush-hush headquarters of Churchill’s Secret Army, or the Auxiliers. Discover the detailed history of their training and visit some of the remaining Second World War features around the village, including the Guard House and the original prototype underground training bunker or Operational Base (OB). Plus, check out the newly built and refurbished replica “funk hole” and see the new display of artifacts including a rare copy of a Stand-Down letter.