Nov 092019
 

Auxiliary Units were not only the Spirit of Resistance. Their contributions enabled regular soldiers to fight away from home soil, tested defences at home, and led to many joining the SAS. The secret radio network (Special Duties Branch) broadcast huge amounts of ‘radio noise’ in the coastal areas of the south east of England that helped build a misleading picture of a D-Day invasion coming from Kent to Calais. All this and not a word to anyone, and with little or no recognition.

We will remember them.

These excerpts from Auxilier Geoff Ratcliff of East Bergholt Patrol, Suffolk paint a vivid picture of what it was like to have been a Patrol member. Reading his full account will take 2 minutes: https://www.coleshillhouse.com/east-bergholt-auxiliary-unit-patrol.php

” In June 1940 I became a member of the Home Guard, L.D.V. (Local Defence Volunteer) as it was first called. Soon after I was selected for what was said to be a very special job… “

“… one was left with the impression that we were really rather special, I was seventeen and cynicism was not in my vocabulary.”

” The ground sloped away to a free flowing stream some fifty yards away. This would be our water provider, in 1940 this water could be safely drunk.”

” … if they went off when you were priming plastic explosive or a hand grenade or a sticky bomb then of course the whole lot went including you. ”

” All in all we were well equipped but no mention how stocks would be replenished if it ever happened. I suppose it was assumed one would not last longer than the supplies.”

Read Geoff’s full account here: https://www.coleshillhouse.com/east-bergholt-auxiliary-unit-patrol.php

We will remember them

Oct 302019
 

If you’re interested in learning more about Coleshill House, the HQ and training centre for the Auxiliary Units, then we have the perfect booklet for you now available from our online shop !

Auxiliary Unit members from all over the country came to learn about building and living in the underground Operational Bases, explosives, sabotage and all the skills they would need to impact any German invasion. Secret radio’s were assembled in huts around the grounds.

This 22-page colour booklet takes you through the history of the Auxiliary Units at Coleshill House, the various buildings in use (and those you can still visit), contemporary photographs and much more. A perfect guide for a day out at the National Trust’s Coleshill Estate, home of Auxiliary Units.

At £4.95 these would make great Christmas presents. Go to our shop to order yours…

Find out more here: http://shop.coleshillhouse.com/index.php…

Sep 132019
 

Final preparations are gathering pace for the largest display of Auxiliary Units equipment ever put together, with many items never having been displayed before.

This is a large part of the National Trusts event on Sunday 22nd September marking the 75th anniversary of Auxiliary Units being stood down. Near Swindon, Wiltshire, SN6 7PT.

So much going on. See the Programme of Events and flyer below:

Come and learn about saboteurs, spies and secret messages hidden in tennis balls, designed to help thwart a German invasion…

C.A.R.T. will be set up in The Granary, so come and say hi.

Lots to explore all over the estate:

Sep 062019
 

Sunday September 22nd, 10am to 4pm. SN6 7PT

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.

Replica bunker tours

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.

Bill King & Chris Pratt

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.

This is a huge event and not to be missed.

Aug 302019
 

75th Anniversary Stand-Down event at Coleshill House, Sunday 22nd September.

Some of the exiting things to see at the big event on 22nd Sept, apart from the largest collection of Aux Units equipment ever assembled…

Researcher Bill Ashby has been busy producing a booklet about ‘Coleshill Estate in WW2 – General HQ Auxiliary Units 1940 – 1945’ that will be available at the event:

Roger Green (CART and The National Trust) has been active with a recent find in the grounds of Coleshill House which appears to be an early OB. Investigation and restoration project ongoing:

.. and we’ll have the Camp Commandant’s door to display !

tps://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-buscot-and-coleshill-estates/features/coleshill-underground-second-world-war-event-is-back

Who is this ? Did you know he was an Aux Intelligence Officer during the War ?

Mar 102019
 

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…

Jun 012018
 

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.

Day Times Availability
7 June 2018 18:00 – 20:00 Available
12 July 2018 18:00 – 20:00 Available
16 September 2018 10:00 – 12:00 Available
6 October 2018 14:00 – 16:00 Available

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/4cc948c4-d1f6-4b91-b911-a0e1ea3677c6/pages/details

Prices:  Adult £5.00 / Child £2.50

Contact Rachel Coltman to book on: 01793 762-209

Suitability: Children welcome (12+) / Assistance dogs welcome.
Park & meet: at the Coleshill Estate Office car park.
What to bring & wear: Please wear appropriate clothing for weather conditions. Flat sturdy shoes/boots/wellingtons advisable.
Accessibility: A fairly long, flat walk through the village, woods & fields.

Free afternoons are also available to experience the replica OB:

Day Times Availability
10 June 2018 14:00 – 17:00 Available
8 July 2018 14:00 – 17:00 Available
12 August 2018 14:00 – 17:00 Available
9 September 2018 14:00 – 17:00 Available
14 October 2018 14:00 – 17:00 Available

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/74fa6412-18cc-40cd-b634-a3dcf13d9b6e/pages/details

 




Jul 122015
 


Ian Edwards & Bill Ashby

Today we welcomed Ian Edwards (left) to GHQ Coleshill.

Ian has been working on CAD drawings of Coleshill House and the important Stable Block for the last few years under the guidance of Bill Ashby (right) our Coleshill researcher.

The Stable Block was used by admin staff of the Auxiliary Units.

You can see more about Ian’s work and the Coleshill House Reborn Project here.

 




Jun 092013
 

Coleshill House From The AirWe recently updated the GHQ Coleshill pages on the site and simplified the navigation of the site tour.

New content has also been added on the replica Operational Base, the tunnels and mines under the house and why the site was selected and used for training.

Well worth a new look here.

Thanks to Bill Ashby, our CIO for Coleshill, for all the info.




Jan 022013
 

Auxiliary UnitsEric Grey was a Technical/Mechanical Transport Clerk at GHQ Coleshill with the Royal Army Service Corps.

The RASC contingent was responsible for driving the officers around and delivering stores all over the Country.

Eric provides a great background to what went on at Coleshill and his records have been able to verify many postings at the GHQ.

Read Bill Ashby’s full report on Eric here