Last weekend CART did a ‘Time Team’ on an Operational Base (O.B.) in an undisclosed site in Dorset…
Turns out it wasn’t so secret. Every second visitor from nearby houses had played in it as a child!
The main point is that it is now recorded and will be added to the CART website.
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..
2019 marks 75 years since the official Stand Down of the Auxiliary Units, and the 10th anniversary of CART research
Here are some of the events we are hoping to attend (subject to confirmation):
April 13th & 14th: Castletown at War, D-Day Museum, Portland, Dorset www.castletownddaycentre.com
April 14th: Coleshill O.B. Open Day, Coleshill House, Oxfordshire www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-buscot-and-coleshill-estates/features/coleshills-second-world-war-secrets
May 25th & 26th: Nothe Fort, Weymouth 1940’s Weekend, Dorset https://nothefort.org.uk/news-events/1940s-home-front-family-weekend?occurrenc eID=311
May 12th: Coleshill O.B. Open Day, Coleshill House, Oxfordshire www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-buscot-and-coleshill-estates/features/coleshills-second-world-war-secrets
June 8th & 9th: Southwick, D-Day Revival (also 75 years), Hampshire www.southwickrevival.co.uk
June 9th: Coleshill O.B. Open Day, Coleshill House, Oxfordshire www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-buscot-and-coleshill-estates/features/coleshills-second-world-war-secrets
June 22nd & 23rd: The Axe Vale Show, Axminster, Devon www.axevaleshow.com/axevale-show-2019
June 30th: Hazelbury Mill, Military Vehicle event, Somerset http://www.haselburymill.co.uk/events-1
July 6th & 7th: Chickerell Steam & Vintage Show, Weymouth, Dorset www.chickerellsteamshow.uk
July 14th: Coleshill O.B. Open Day, Coleshill House, Oxfordshire www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-buscot-and-coleshill-estates/features/coleshills-second-world-war-secrets
Aug 18th: The Mid Somerset Show, Somerset www.midsomersetshow.org.uk/
Sept 8th: Coleshill O.B. Open Day, Coleshill House, Oxfordshire www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-buscot-and-coleshill-estates/features/coleshills-second-world-war-secrets
September: Coleshill WW2 weekend, Coleshill, Oxfordshire WATCH THIS SPACE – this is going to be a BIG event: Coleshill House is where the Aux Units underwent their specialist training 1940 – 1944
The whole of the Granary will be filled by CART, The Scallywags, BROM (British Resistance Organisation Museum) and The Bob Millard (Aux Patrol member) Collection, marking 75 years since the Auxiliary Units were officially stood down… more information to follow…
CART is sorry to have to report the death of Arthur Robert Wilson thought to be the last survivor of the Middleton (Norfolk) Patrol, on December 25th in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn, age 96.
In 2012 he kindly shared his memories with Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye so we could remember his patrol and the men involved.
Arthur, who lived at East Winch was joined in the patrol by :
Sgt Ralph Burman of Hall Farm, East Winch – he left in 1941 to join Royal Observer Corps and was replaced by Sgt Alfred Sykes of Old Hall, Middleton.
William Bedford of Station Farm, East Winch
Daniel Crawford of Lower Farm, East Winch
Johnny Narborough of Gloucester Road, Kings Lynn
“Fuzzy” Howes of New Cottages, Blackborough
Deryck Neville of East Anglis, West Winch Road
Arthur told us all about the Operational Base, which was built by the patrol members themselves, all building materials being ‘borrowed’ from local sources. Access was through a vertical shaft that was secured by a trapdoor covered with roofing felt. The key required to open it was hidden under pine needles at the base of a pine tree.
Arthur was trained and prepared to have tageted the King’s Lynn to Dereham railway line and the nearby aerodromes at West Raynham and Marham.
A Service of Thanksgiving will be held at All Saints Church, East Winch at 2.00pm on 22 January.
New Year Greetings from all at CART, we wish you a Healthy & Happy 2019.
This year we plan to bring you a new website experience which will include a huge amount of patrol updates through an easier and more accessible interface.
Research continues as we rediscover lost bunkers, record and photograph them (with proper permissions) and reveal the stories of their patrol members.
We are finding out more about the early radio operators of the Special Duties side of the organisation, and lights are also being thrown on Auxiliary Unit links with SOE and the SAS.
We are currently drawing up a short-list of the events we hope to attend during 2019. Watch out for updates, and come along and say hi.
Thank you for your continued support.
. . . Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born.
In the early summer of 1940 Churchill would instigate the formation of the secret ‘Auxiliary Units’ due to the threat of a German invasion. ‘Irregular warfare’ was already being researched and what existed was amalgamated into a civilian network of Operational Patrols (guerillas & saboteurs) and a Special Duties Branch consisting of spies, messengers & wireless radio-operators should invasion and occupation have taken place.
Born into a well-connected family in Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Churchill would go on to have a contentious political and military career. He escaped from a Boer War POW camp, lectured around the world, was an artist and published historian. As an MP he held many important ministerial positions. He served in WW1 before going back to politics.
On 10th May 1940, the same day that Hitler invaded the Low Countries, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister.
Churchill’s secret ‘Auxiliary Units’ were stood-down in 1944.
It’s been a busy few days for the CART team!
Our Press Officer Andrew Chatterton delivered a talk to the Newton Poppleford Local Historical Society. Also our Devon researcher, Nina Hannaford brought along a display with information on the local patrols and Special Duties Branch which went down really well.
We already have a couple of new leads for both the Aux Units and Special Duties Branch in East Devon as a result.
Thanks to all who attended and the generous donations !
Well done to all the marchers representing the Auxiliary Units at the Cenotaph on Sunday. So poignant to have so many relatives of Aux Unit members present.
A wreath was also laid at the replica Operational Base at Coleshill – many thanks to Bob Marchant to laying the wreath and the photos.
On Sunday 11 November, the National Service of Remembrance will be held at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, London.
Starting at 11am, the service will commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women involved in the two World Wars and later conflicts.
This year, Remembrance Sunday falls on the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Many of the Auxiliary Unit Patrol Leaders were First World War veterans.
At the moment there will be 14 marching (watch out for D25), a mixture of relatives and CART researchers: David Hancock, Roger Green, Charlie Hancock, Polly Hancock, Paul Jarvis, Alan Jarvis, James Miners, Michael Miners, Philip Merricks, Robert Macaulay, David Macaulay, Jim Gascoyne, Wallace John Hewett and Anita Griggs.
“We will remember them”