May 192015
 

Widworthy Special Duties Out Station 2

Thanks to research by Chris Perry and Nina Hannaford we have published a new report on the Widworthy Special Duties Branch OutStation, code named ‘Chirnside 2’ in Devon.

Widworthy appears to differ to most OUT Stations in the area which were often within the gardens or grounds of the “Key Man” who operated it.

“Chirnside 2” was located in a dugout in Widworthy Wood half way up the hillside overlooking Widworthy Church and Widworthy Barton. It may well have been placed here due to the lack of wireless reception at the “Key Man’s” home.
This has left it difficult to identify the operator.

Read their complete report here.

 

Mar 302015
 

Wivelscombe SDB - 6Today we have added information on the Special Duties OUT station known as Golding 4 in Somerset. The info and images have been supplied by CART’s Devon CIO, Nina Hannaford and Aux researcher Chris Perry.

The secret wireless was sited at Captain Wight Boycott’s home Oakhampton House (sometimes recorded as Oakhampton Manor) Wiveliscombe. The site has been recorded as being in the attic but it is known a dugout was present so it COULD have originally been placed in the attic whilst the dugout was being built.

“Runners” would then have brought messages to the dugout.

In Devon messages these were left in secret compartments (Quite often message bolts) hidden in gate posts (see above) and this would have been ideal at the location though we cannot prove this happened here.

Read the full report here

 

Feb 242015
 

Hawkchurch SDB 2

Aux researcher Chris Perry with assistance from Nina Hannaford has today published a report on a Special Duties Out Station.

The report is about the wireless site, recorded as “Hawkchurch” Out Station, on the Devon / Dorset border (in Devon from 1896) which is actually in the nearby hamlet of Fishponds Bottom which is in Dorset on the edge of the Vale of Marshwood.

The wireless was located in a “chicken shed” at the rear of a house locally known as “Briscoe’s Farm”.

Read their detailed report here

Jan 062015
 

Edgarley SD 2Edgarley ‘Chirnside Five’ – Special Duties Radio OUT Station has today been added to our Special Duties Branch microsite.

The Special Duties wireless set was recorded as operating out of a hut or box at Edgarley Manor Farm, Edgarley in Somerset. This was concealed as, or part of, a chicken house that was located between the farm house and Wick Lane.

There is some doubt over the actual operators of the station but the landowners (Captain) Kenneth and Dorothy Marsh have ideal credentials to be involved. Locally it is suggested a woman was the main operator.

Read Nina Hannaford’s full report here 

Dec 232014
 

Castle Neroche 3 - Chirnside ZeroWe have added three new reports on locations used by the Special Duties Branch.

These are the Zero INstation codenamed ‘Chirnside Zero’ at Buckland St, Mary. 

‘Chirnside 1 A’ located at Axminster and ‘Golding 2 A’ located at Bishop’s Clyst.

This research has largely been carried out by our Devon Researcher, Nina Hannaford and allows us to understand more about this still secret radio network.

Aug 132014
 

Chirnside SD Bewley Down 2Today we have added a basic report on the Special Duties Out-Station located at Bewley Down in Devon.

The secret underground bunker, code named Chirnside 1, is located beneath an old outside privy and has recently been restored over a nine year period.

A book is the result of that project, with contributions from a team of ex-military and civilian experts assembled by the current homeowner.

Through out the renovation unique discoveries have been made such as the arrangement of the ventilation pipes in a complex pattern, including junction boxes for multiple pipes, and the range of cabling used to connect wireless sets to the aerial trees. Probably the most fascinating finds are the wide range of hidden hooks, latches and catches that operate the various concealed bolts and secret doors to access the dugout and to get into the radio room.

There are a 100 illustrations and photos throughout the 120 page book, with the images carefully aligned to the relevant text.

There is also a talk being given about this renovation and more info on this can be seen here. 

Jun 232014
 

A new book called Chirnside 1: Auxiliary Units: Special Duties Branch Out-Station has recently been published by H.P. May, A.S.G. Blackmore, T.R.N. Walford, D. Hunt.photo 1

The blurb reads,

When an eleven year old schoolboy returned home to East Devon from boarding school in 1941, he found soldiers excavating an enormous hole in the garden next to the outside Privy. This was the beginning of an underground construction which became an integral part of a most secret WWII operation.

Named the Special Duties Branch of the Auxiliary Units, civilians were trained and exercised in gathering intelligence about enemy forces in the event of a German invasion of Britain. These civilians were supported by regular military personnel, namely ATS and Royal Signals, who assisted in operating a network of wireless stations through which intelligence details were passed to Army HQ.

This account of the restoration of a Special Duties Branch wireless station, and the outcome of five year’s research into the history of the site, has revealed previously unknown facts about a clandestine war time organisation who’s history largely remains under official secrecy.

The book can be bought in our shop here. 

Paperback: 138 pages
Publisher: Dudfield Publications (May 2014)
ISBN-10: 099291390X
ISBN-13: 978-0992913908

Jan 202014
 

Alderbury In Station 2Today we added a report by Aux researcher Darren Thompson to our Special Duties Microsite.

Darren found the location and with the help of CART’s DR Will Ward and the local history group has prepared this report.

The Special Duties Branch was a network of civilian observers and a secret wireless network, operating in the same areas as the Auxiliary Units operational patrols, but completely separate and unknown to them.

Dec 132013
 

Beatrice Temple SeatedToday we have published an important diary belonging to a senior member of the Special Duties Branch.

Senior Commander Beatrice Temple interviewed prospective ATS candidates for the secret signals work with the Special Duties Branch.

It was only after passing that test and signing the Official Secrets Act that they became clandestine radio operators to remain in enemy held territory if the Germans invaded.

As most of the candidates were well educated, spoke well and generally attractive, they eventually became known as the “Secret Sweeties” but they were to undertake a highly dangerous task – relay messages from our spy network.

During this period Beatrice kept a diary. This covered the period from her arrival at Highworth on 24 November 1941 until close down of the Special Duties Branch Auxiliary Units in summer 1944.

Our transcription of the diary was made by CART researcher Bill Ashby and Adrian Pye, Evelyn Simak and Brian Drury of the Auxiliary Units Signals group. The original is 63 pages long and has taken approximately 120 hours to transcribe.

The diary reads like a travel log with her constantly on the move all over the country from Scotland down to Devon. She not only checked the efficiency of her charges but also saw to their welfare, billeting, pay and liaised with local military commanders.

Read it here