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.

Dec 132013

Beatrice Temple SeatedToday we have published an important diary belonging to a senior member of the Special Duties Branch.

Senior Commander Beatrice Temple interviewed prospective ATS candidates for the secret signals work with the Special Duties Branch.

It was only after passing that test and signing the Official Secrets Act that they became clandestine radio operators to remain in enemy held territory if the Germans invaded.

As most of the candidates were well educated, spoke well and generally attractive, they eventually became known as the “Secret Sweeties” but they were to undertake a highly dangerous task – relay messages from our spy network.

During this period Beatrice kept a diary. This covered the period from her arrival at Highworth on 24 November 1941 until close down of the Special Duties Branch Auxiliary Units in summer 1944.

Our transcription of the diary was made by CART researcher Bill Ashby and Adrian Pye, Evelyn Simak and Brian Drury of the Auxiliary Units Signals group. The original is 63 pages long and has taken approximately 120 hours to transcribe.

The diary reads like a travel log with her constantly on the move all over the country from Scotland down to Devon. She not only checked the efficiency of her charges but also saw to their welfare, billeting, pay and liaised with local military commanders.

Read it here 

Sep 082013

Hemyock Special Duties Outstation 5

Today we added a very special location to our Special Duties Branch Micro-site.

The Hemyock SDB Outstation in Devon.

This EXCLUSIVE report by CART CIO’s Nina Hannaford and Dr Will Ward shows just how well preserved the bunker is and the remaining is fascinating.

You can read the full report and see a plan of the space here

Oct 242012

Today we have added info on the Ousden Special Duties Section Control Station located at Littly Wood in Suffolk. Stations on the Inner network did not have outstations of their own but rather served the purpose of gathering (and under certain circumstances relaying) information.  All these Inner network stations were in contact with one or more Control stations that were supplied with information by their own specific networks comprising a number of out and sub-outstations.

A fairly complicated set up which has been clearly explained by our researchers here

Oct 212012

Bachelor’s Hall in Hundon, Suffolk was the first headquarters of the Special Duties Section or SDS. The top secret communication network set up to allow SDS members to report on German troop movement if we had been invaded.

The report is based primarily on information supplied by Capt Ken Ward (Royal Corps of Signals), the leader of the original TRD design team (interview 10 August 1999) and it can be read here.

Sep 132012

Devon’s Golding 1 Able Sub Out Station used by members of the Special Duties Section (SDS) has been added to the site by CART CIO for Devon Nina Hannaford.

The radio was located in the large attic of the Public House near Ottery St.Mary.

You can see the full report here

Sep 082012

On Thursday we saw the start of a new series on BBC2 called Wartime Farm.

Steve Mason, our CIO for Hampshire was featured in the show and went to pains to advise the production company on the accurate history of both the Auxiliary Units and SDS.

Sadly, like many TV companies, they got it wrong so we have produced a the correct version below.

Mar 162012

Last week we added a report on the Aylsham Special Duties Out-Station in Norfolk.

The Out-Station used to be located in a large town house called ‘The Beeches’, in the historic market town of Aylsham (North Norfolk). The property was owned by Dr Alec George Holman and his wife Grace Kathleen. Their daughter, Jill (now Jill Monk, seen left), recalls that her father was one of the first civilians to be recruited by SDS to gather information because of his local knowledge. Jill was only 14 years old when she was enrolled.

You can see the full report here