The owner of Allerdean Mill Mr. John Holmes contacted CART asking if we were interested
in seeing the O.B. site and filling us in with the details about the Auxiliary Units in Northumberland as he knew
very little about them or what the shelter would have looked like.
The O.B. itself was blown up at the end of the war and little remains now. The O.B. was built
against a small rock face to the east of Allerdean Mill next to the stream of the same name. It was built by the
Special Tunnelling Co. 184th R.E. The O.B. looks like it was placed against the rock face then filled in to make it
look more like a mound in keeping with the surrounding landscape. Mr. Holmes pointed out the Heather and Broom
around the site saying it was not a natural feature of the land round about. This poses the question did the
builders use soil and plants from further a field, they were building the O.B. at Kyloe Crag at the same time and
may be used the spoil to cover the Allerdean site.
The C/o of the Northumberland Auxiliary Units J.W.L Carmichael (Lambert) lived and farmed the
next farm NE of the site of the O.B. at Scremerston Hill Farm. This farm is on higher ground overlooking the O.B.
site. It came to light during or discussion about the area that an old neighbour of Mr. Holmes recalled the area
around the O.B. as having an aerial rope way and pop up targets. There were often small groups of men in the area
doing training. These men changed and were not always local. This would lead to the area being used as a Close
Quarters Combat training site for other Auxiliers under Lambert Carmichael’s command. The neighbour remembered as a
boy trying to see what was going on near the O.B. he was spotted and told “to bugger off” by men in army uniforms.
You did not ask why you just ran away. He claims that Lambert told him there was one ton of tinned corned beef
buried near the site just in case. No one has found it as yet !
The neighbour could remember most of the patrol members but not all, most worked for Lambert Carmichael or
Patrol members (as far as known)
Lambert Carmichael was a well know farmer in the Berwickshire area, keen on all things
hunting, shooting, fishing and horsey. He recruited the Patrol members for the North Northumberland Auxiliary
Units. Many were farm hands or poachers with a good knowledge of the local countryside. Much training was done at
Shielow Castle to the north of Belford with the original Norwegian instructors and Anthony Quayle as their
The patrols under Carmichael did at least two tours of duty at Balmoral guarding the Royal
Family. They were also sent along with many of the Scottish Auxiliers, 201, by train to the south coast and on to
the Isle of Wight just before D-Day. The Auxilary Units were used as an underground army on the island as the rest
of the Regular Army headed for France. There was a fear the German Command might rumble the invasion plans and
launch a counter invasion attacking the Isle of Wight and using it as a stepping stone to the main land. It did not
happen and the Auxiliers returned home and were stood down in November 1944.
View of main site. The entrance was at the bottom left corner with the escape tunnel at the top
The O.B. looks like it followed the standard site and construction of most of the Northumberland O.B’s being
near a stream for emergency water supplies and on raised ground to help prevent flooding. The entrance would have
been at the east end in amongst some gorse bushes. The escape tunnel goes off to the north west toward the steam
from the west end of the O.B. There is little evidence of the building now just some scattered bricks and a piece
of corrugated iron sheet.
The site of the escape tunnel. Land owner in the distance near the stream
West end view of the end of what would have been the end of the escape tunnel.
OB Plan. Click here for a large version of
a) Ground: Dry and rocky
b) Vegetation: Bracken, Broom and Heather more of which later
c) Remains: some corrugated sheeting and a bit of brick work
d) Size: standard “Elephant” shelter approx. 22’ x 12’
e) Orientation: East/ West
f) Entrances: gone
g) Other physical remains. Escape tunnel route visible and if you jump up and down you can
feel the metal sheet moving.
The concrete base may still be under the bracken but other than that there is little left.
The patrol targets would have included the near by east coast main railway line and the Chain Home Low Radar
site near Scremerston.
It was good to see the site of the O.B. as we thought it to be lost. The previous visit to the area had
revealed nothing though the inaccurate map reference from the R.E. map did not help as we are sure
we walked around woods further west than the now confirmed site.
By Stephen Lewins.
A big thank you to Mr. John Holmes for getting in contact and without whom the site may never have been