Jul 232019

CART’s Somerset researcher recently laid a wreath for Major Ian Fenwick on the War Memorial and at the church in Bruton, Somerset.

Major Fenwick, a former Somerset Intelligence Officer who organised and trained Somerset Auxiliers (part of 203 Reserve Battalion GHQ), went on to join 1st SAS.

On 16th / 17th June 1944, he was dropped into Normandy a hundred miles behind enemy lines and successfully led sabotage missions against German communications. He was killed in an ambush on 7th August 1944 trying to assist his team who had been attacked. You can read a full account on the Para-Data website here: https://www.paradata.org.uk/people/ian-fenwick

Before the war Ian Fenwick was a professional cartoonist for magazines such as Punch. He had family connections and lived for a while in Bruton, Somerset.

Learn more about the Somerset Auxiliary Unit Patrols.

May 202018

France 1944 – Operation Bulbasket was largely an ex-Aux Units Operation, with some ex-desert SAS, and a few other new recruits.
Dorset, Norfolk and Scotland Aux Units provided the bulk of the men.

A small group from the local Royal British Legion  Poitou-Charentes branch in France are recreating the cycle ride undertaken by Lt Tomos Stephens as part of Op Bulbasket in 1944. Disguised as a Frenchman and riding a pre-war pushbike, he rode from Sazas near Montromillion to the railway marshalling yard at Chatellerault to gather information about fuel tankers stored there. It was a 120km (75 mile) round trip in a single day, an incredible feat. The intelligence was supplied to the RAF who bombed the fuel stored at the railway yard, significantly slowing the 2nd SS Das Reich Panzer Division who lacked enough fuel for their move north towards Normandy. Sadly Lt Stephens was shot after capture, having given himself up so a young maquisard could escape, hoping that his uniform would mean he would become a prisoner, whereas the Maquis were always executed. That young man witnessed Lt Stephens death from his hiding place (and recorded this a few years ago – the story differing from that given by the Bulbasket survivors who were told third hand he had been beaten to death). Lt Stephens was buried in a family vault in nearby Verriéres.

The ride is on Sunday June 10th 2018. You can help by sponsoring them through their JustGiving page. This branch funded the erection of memorials at the St Sauvant and Verriéres sites in recent years. They also provide the standard bearers for ceremonies at Rom and Verriéres each year.

See previous CART thread on Bulbasket: http://blog.coleshillhouse.com/remembering-the-auxiliers-lost-on-operation-bulbasket

Jul 072011

If we can pause for a moment today to remember the 33 members of B sqn 1 SAS who were captured and later executed by German forces while on Operation Bulbasket which ran from June-August 1944 in the Poitiers- Verriers region of France, on this job were a number of former Aux unit members, including men from various Scout Sections.

3 were never found; one was Joe Ogg who was a former member of a patrol in Morayshire Scotland. On this day at dawn the 30 captured men were executed.

Joe Ogg was one of the 3 missing and was taken to a hospital after the jump in, the 3 were taken from the hospital by the Germans and possibly (more than likely) given a lethal injection. Their bodies were never found. Joe’s sister never fully recovered from this.  I have met her on occassions and she always carried Joe’s photo with her.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush.
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Thank you,

David Blair CART CIO for Fife & Angus.


Will Ward, one of our researchers says the research into Bulbasket has moved on considerably, helped in part by contributions from some of those on this page. He is now working on a write up of Operation Bulbasket, which included a very large number of men who served with Auxiliary Units prior to joining the SAS. He hopes to include more about the individual troopers than previous accounts. Also to include some new information that has come to light since Paul McCue’s great book. We would be very keen to hear direct from any family members of the men involved to help with this project.

Will can be contacted at CARTDorset@gmail.com