Apr 182015

Joan Welborn 2 - Coleshill 2015On 11th April former ATS Cpl Joan Welborn returned to GHQ Coleshill for the first time in 72 years.

Joan was guided around the site by Bill Ashby, our Coleshill Researcher.

Joan arrived at Coleshill on May 22st 1943 and worked in the orderly room which was located on the first floor of the Stable Block above the stables.

Joan worked for Camp Commandant, Captain Benson who had an office nearby.  Although she had electricity her office was very cold and she used to type wearing woollen mitts.

We took her into the stable block to find her office.

Joan Welborn - Coleshill 2015

We wanted to take a photograph of Joan by the same gates she stood by in this picture with her colleagues.

Bill then showed Joan the replica Operational Base and she was brave enough to venture inside where she was met by National Trust Volunteer Roger Green.

Joan is one of only a few Coleshill staff members to return to the site after travelling down from Leeds.

Our thanks go to her and her family for a great day.

You can read more about Joan here. 

See a whole gallery of images of the trip here. 

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.

Dec 072012

Today we added a real insight into life at GHQ Coleshill.

Cpl Joan Welborn worked in the stable block as a Typist during the war.

Read the full report and see images of her and others taken at Coleshill here

Our thanks to Joan and CART CIO for Coleshill Bill Ashby for preparing this page.


Aug 052011

We have been given rare access to Hannington Hall in Wiltshire.

Hannington was used during WW2 as the HQ for the Special Duties Section.

Coleshill (CIO) County Information Officer, Bill Ashby, was joined by Paula and I and the owner of the house, Mr.Wallace, very kindly gave up 2 hours of his time to give us a  tour.

You can see a range of pictures below. (Full CART members can also view interior images if you email us for access)

Very little is still known about what went on at Hannington Hall so if anyone has any information then please contact us.