Jul 012015
 

Captain Ken WardCaptain Ken Ward was an integral part of the development of the Special Duties Branch (A secret radio network set up around the country to broadcast German movements post invasion).

Ken was a Royal Signals Adjutant who started work in the SDB with 16 other radio hams. Ken made the radio sets before installing them in the coast stations. He then taught the operators how to use them as well as maintaining them.

Once installed teams of 2 would go out from wherever they were based and visit the stations, change and charge the batteries.

Problems with the early radio sets resulted in Ken agreeing to make a new one. In about 3 weeks flat he had produced the TRD, which was an all in one box.

Our thanks to research by Bill Ashby & Ken’s daughter Kate for this bio.

Read more about Ken’s military career and Aux work here.

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.

 

Dec 222011
 

Stephen Lewins, our CIO for Northumberland has just sent us a report on the Longhorsley Special Duties Out Station in Northumberland.

The radio operators were Mr Charles Webb, a solicitor and the Reverant Father Wright (left) who was also the Air Raid Warden, a good choice for cover as this gave him access to many places in the village and round about at times when others were in doors, no questions asked.

Read the whole report here

 

Feb 082011
 

Today we have added a page all about the SDS Network (Special Duties Section) to the site.

The info was kindly donated by Aux Unit News and are words of the late Arthur Gabbitas.

The Special Duties Section was set up in 1942. Around 1000 civilians, men and women, unknown to each other and from all classes and occupations acted as coast watchers, observers or ‘Agents’. Messages would be relayed to civilian radio operators who would then transmit intelligence to the control or Zero stations.

They had been trained to identify vehicles, high-ranking officers and military units, and were to gather intelligence and leave reports in dead letter drops. The reports would be collected by runners and taken to one of over 200 secret radio transmitters.

They used radio telegraphy called TRD (transmit, receive, Dabbs) sets. They also used runners and dead letter drops. There were 43 ATS Subalterns and 69 Royal Corps of Signals personnel to back the ‘Agents’ up. They reported to Auxiliary Units Special Duties Section IO’s. Their HQ was based at Hannington Hall until it was relocated to Coleshill in 1942. These civilians were unpaid and sworn to everlasting secrecy. They had a motto – ‘Be like Dad – Keep Mum’. The SDS Auxiliers and their identities were rarely recorded on any WW2 records.

Read more here