Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Allerdean Auxiliary Unit and Operational Base

This page was last updated at 3:19pm on 27/1/14

Thank you for selecting information on the Allerdean Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Northumberland. The info and images below have been supplied by CART's Northumberland CIO Stephen Lewins.

Group C/O was in patrol JWL Carmichael I/C Group No 1
2I/C J C Scott (Halidon Hill Patrol)
 
JWL Carmichael known as Lambert also stood in as I/O during changes in personnel

Spring 1941

The neighbour could remember most of the patrol members but not all, most worked for Lambert Carmichael or farmed locally.

Patrol members (as far as known)

E. Armstrong
Sgt. W. L. Graham
J.W.L. Carmichael
J. Dixon
J. Dryburgh
Sgt. W. Dixon
A. Martin
W. Nesbit
N.W. Crow
W. Turnbull

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.

Allerdean Auxiliary Unit Operational Base

View of main site. The entrance was at the bottom left corner with the escape tunnel at the top right.

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.

Allerdean Auxiliary Unit Operational Base 2

The site of the escape tunnel. Land owner in the distance near the stream

Allerdean Auxiliary Unit Operational Base 3

West end view of the end of what would have been the end of the escape tunnel.

Map of the OB

OB Plan. Click here for a large version of this plan.

Observations

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 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 concrete base may still be under the bracken but other than that there is little left.

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.

A1 main England - Scotland road the east coast main line. The port of Berwick as at the time it was the major supplier of coal to London. Scremerston Chain Home Low Radar site.

Currently unknown.

Unknown, but it is assumed that they would have access to the “standard” Auxiliary weapons of a Browning Automatic Rifle, a Thompson Machine Gun and two Enfield rifles.

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 Intelligence Officer.

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.

A big thank you to Mr. John Holmes for getting in contact and without whom the site may never have been recorded.

If you can help with any info please contact us.