It is with great sadness that we report the death of Keith Blaxhall. Keith was the Head Warden at Coleshill (National Trust) for over 30 years and was incredibly influential in the creation of CART and was a founding member. He died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday. Keith features on our Weapons DVD and was a real ambassador for keeping the memory of the Auxiliary Units alive.
Keith was qualified as a Building and Land Surveyor and worked for an architect, a national contractor and in local government. Keith retired in May 2011 but for more than 30 years Keith was the Head Warden for The National Trust in West Oxfordshire and managed country estates, archaeological sites and woodlands covering in all approx 10,500 acres including Coleshill. He was the secretary of The Ridgeway Military and Aviation Research Group with a museum at RAF Welford near Newbury. Keith was also a member of The Airfield Research Group and The Mosquito Aircraft Museum and contributed parts to The Assault Glider Project at RAF Shawbury.
“Keith was my first point of contact at Coleshill and he got me really fired up about the British Resistance. He then worked closely with me as CART was formed and attended all our meetings. His experience, gentle manner and wealth of knowledge will be sorely missed.” – Tom Sykes – CART Founder
“I was very sorry to here of Keith’s passing – I met Keith not long after CART was founded and was struck by his experience, knowledge and enthusiasm for local history, especially that of the Auxiliary Units. A really, really nice guy, I’m sure he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.” – Peter Antill – CART Researcher
“I’m so very sorry to read about Keith. He was a gentleman in a land where few still exist. He had qualities and standards that anyone would be proud to emulate. My thoughts are with his family. It’s they that have to bear the brunt of sorrow, loss, perhaps anger and a hole in life impossible to fill. I’m dreadfully sorry, I liked him greatly.” – Richard Ashley – CART Weapons Adviser
“Such sad news – a really great guy who went out of his way help everyone. He called me only a few days ago to tell me that he had a pile of Aux Coleshill related papers that he was going to hand over. He was in good form, his normal cheerful self and we arranged to meet up. So it is a real shock to hear of his passing. My thoughts are with his family” – Bill Ashby – CART CIO for Coleshill
” I feel privileged to have met with him and enjoyed his wonderful knowledge and humor.” Clive Bassett
“That is such a shame. Will be a sad loss to us all. Sympathy to his family.”– Sallie Mogford – CART CIO for Wales
“I was much saddened to hear the news about the passing on of Keith Blaxhall who’s kind hearted sharing spirit combined with his knowlege of Auxunits and Coleshill was a great help and support for me when I was doing my own researches. He was certainly an inspiration in the way he dealt with others and passed on his own infectious enthusiasm and interest.” – Matt Gibbs – Aux Researcher and Re-Enactor
“Keith’s knowledge and enthusiasm have, I am sure, inspired many people. He was always willing to put himself out to help others and it was always a delight to meet him. He was also a good friend to Subterranea Britannica, running a number of private tours at Coleshill and will be remembered by many.” – Martin Dixon – Subterranea Britannica
He leaves a wife and family and a huge void in the hearts of local historians.
In November 2010 CART CIO for Coleshill, Bill Ashby, a retired Halcrow Engineer teamed up with fellow CART member Ian Edwards. Bill and Ian were soon formulating a plan to digitise the little information that was then available of Coleshill House and the outbuildings.
Using historical photos and a few basic drawings they have produced a set of drawings of the house, Stable Block and Clockhouse. The intention is to create a full 3D video walk through of the exterior and interior.
Ian has also created some visualisations of the site and inside of the house using AutoCAD, Sketch-up and 3D StudioMax software.
See a video presentation of the plans and more here
The National Trust at Coleshill are planning another event next year. This event is happening mainly due to the overwhelming success of last years event on July 4th.
This info was taken from their website. It is uncertain at this time if CART will be involved. Bookmark this page on our site for more info.
Witness first hand life as a trainee Auxiliary Reserve at the grand opening of a replica WWII underground operational base at Coleshill, home of the British Resistance. Commemmorate the loss of Coleshill House on the 60th anniversary of the fire.
Step back in time at our nostalgic family weekend remembering the secret wartime volunteers, who trained up as Britain’s last line of defence in case of invasion. Check out the 70-year old Operational Base (OB), the Guard House and the Trust’s brand new underground Heritage-Lottery-funded replica OB. Get in the mood at our 1940’s street party with a Big Swing Band, drill practice with the Auxiliers, food, talks, art exhibition, re-enactments, entertainment, and a commemorative Church Service.