Dalby Hall - Auxiliary Unit Regional Headquarters in Lincolnshire.
Thank you for selecting information on Dalby Hall, Dalby, Spilsby in
Lincolnshire. The info below has been supplied by CART's Northumberland CIO Stephen Lewins.
This page was updated at 9:26am on 12/1/14
Dalby Hall is located approximately 12 miles in land from Skegness and to the north of Spilsby. It is fairly
secluded and without any main roads passing it.
Dalby Hall. © This image is copyright.
This land is PRIVATE property (rumoured to have been bought by Daniel Craig 007
The following information about the HQ set up comes from and interview with Corporal William George Livett ex
Royal Engineers recorded in 1992.
Background to AU HQ Lincolnshire
Corporal William “Bill” George Livett was regular Army Corporal serving with the R.E. He was an NCO Instructor
with the 3rd Training Battalion R.E. He was posted to the AU after several run ins with his Company C/O Captain
Fisher R.E. Bill got fed up with constant restrains put on him by Fisher and the “Red Tape” Fisher rigidly adhered
to. He was given a reprimand for a trivial offence by Fisher which led to Bill going over Captain Fisher’s head and
reporting directly to Major Clark R.E.
Major Clark was asked by Bill for a transfer or to be put back to the rank of Sapper to get away from Fisher.
Major Clark had another idea. Bill was told to collect all his kit and given a travel warrant for Swindon. Bill
asked Major Clark what it was all about. Major Clark said he did not really know but thought as an Instructor that
Bill’s knowledge of explosives etc was what the mystery group at Highworth were looking for.
Cpl Livett travelled by train to Swindon where he was met by another Corporal who took Bill to Highworth in a 2
ton truck. They passed through the high main gate at Coleshill
House and Bill was dropped there. He was billeted in one of two “Nissan” huts and told to go and get a
meal. This he did. He found his new surroundings a bit odd with officers and other ranks as well as civilians all
eating together; he still did not know what the new set up was. He spent a further two weeks wandering about the
place not being told anything much. Eventually he was taken in and told that it had taken the two weeks to do the
background checks and criminal record enquiries on Bill and his immediate family. Fortunately they were all good
citizens and Bill was in, an Instructor with the Auxiliary Units. A few weeks passed and he attended lectures and
demonstrations before being taken into the woods on the Coleshill estate where an officer he was with took Bill to
a map reference, stamped around a bit then with a knife scraped away some vegetation to reveal the entrance to the
Coleshill O.B. Bill entered the O.B. and was shown the explosives kit
and had the whole idea of the “stay behind units” explained to him. After the O.B. visit he was told to go to Dalby
Hall in Lincolnshire and train the A.U. members.
Lincolnshire A.U. HQ
Corporal Livett arrived at Dalby Hall near Spilsby and found the hall to be in a secluded spot with little or no
traffic or people ever passing the place. It was ideal for the purpose of training men with out any prying eyes. At
Dalby the Training staff and other ranks were all regular army.
The man in over all command was Captain Lamb, an infantry officer (possibly from the Lincolnshire Regiment,
though Bill does not specify this)
Captain Lamb had Sergeant Hughes as his right hand man, he was the Quartermaster and came from the R.A.S.C.
The rest of the group was made up of Corporal Frank Ariston (Lincolnshire Regiment) in charge of Field Craft
Instruction. There was a Lance Corporal Siller (Lincolnshire Regiment) who assisted Frank.
Corporal Howells and Private Ross both R.A.S.C. they dealt mainly with transport. They had two motorcycles and a
3 ton lorry.
Lance Corporal Swansford did camouflage demonstrations along with Pte. Ross.
There was also a L/Cpl Villers from the Lincolnshire Regiment and two orderlies both from the R.A.S.C. One was
George Freestone who was the main cook for the group and another old Private who did cleaning and odd jobs.
Corporal William Livett R.E. munitions and explosives training.
Cpl Livett’s Duties
Bill Livett’s duties were all to do with training and instruction of the patrol members of the Lincoln AU. He
was also responsible for inspecting the patrol O.B.s. His area covered from Barton-upon-Humber to King’s Lynn. The patrols
were based in Holbeach, Wisbech, Donnington, Swinesfield, Sleaford, Boston, Great Barton, Friskney, Brigg, King’s
Lynn and Caistor.
He had to inspect explosives stored in the O.B.s for stability and replenish the used materials. He travelled
about his new area on a motorbike and in bad weather he used a 2 ton utility truck.
Bill visited patrol members at their homes up until 21:00 to give them individual instruction. They met at
weekends at Dalby Hall for group training. Up to 40 men turned up for each weekend course. Bill said the men were
all very committed and dedicated to the task they had been given. All very dependable and nothing was too much
trouble to any of them.
Bill Grounds Group C/O Lincolnshire No.6 (Spalding) AU used to meet Bill Livett in the Flower Pot public house
in Boston, Grounds mother was the publican so if they wanted a group meeting it was no problem. They had access to
a side room for the instruction and were still able to get a few drinks in.
Bill remembers Captain Clark from the Boston AU who was a Fens Drainage Inspector and this was an important job
and the tidal information was extremely useful. By knowing the tides they could plan their exercises and patrolling
duties and also know when the Germans could not land on the salt marshes.
Another duty performed by Bill was the blowing up of an O.B. (possibly at Brigg) the suite had flooded during a
high tide and 4 feet of water remained inside making the hide out unserviceable. Bill travelled to the site and
linked 808 explosive in a chain around the inside of the O.B. and blew it up. The farmer covered the site.
About Dalby Hall
The existing house is a Grade II listed edifice (and ancillary office and coach
house) set privately amid mature park lands. It was designed by architect James Fowler and built in 1856 after the
earlier iteration of Dalby Hall was destroyed by fire in 1841. Later alterations and additions were executed by
another church architect, Gothic Revival specialist Temple Moore.
Click image for larger version.
Click image for larger
The courtyard is bordered by a coach house (above right) with garage space for
four cars, a walk-in freezer room, workshop, storage, and a second floor games room. At a right angle to the coach
house is the former stable block (above left), now fitted with generator, water filtration, and storage rooms and,
on the second floor a pair of offices with a small kitchenette in between.
Additional residential structures include the two storie Fordington Farmhouse, 13
rooms, four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms—and six additional two- and three-bedroom cottages and a three-bedroom Tudor
Gothic gatehouse lodge (above) also designed in the mid-1800s by James Fowler. A seventh cottage sits semi-derelict
with a "commanding position on the edge of the parkland."
The estate is a functioning farm with certified organic crop lands, unspoiled
woodlands, and vast undulating grasslands grazed by a herd of organic cattle and a flock of Hebredian sheep. It has
three separate farmyards. The manicured grounds that surround the house include extensive gardens and orchards,
broad sweeps of rolling lawns, a tennis court with nearby summer house with changing rooms. A bit farther afield
there's a multi-acre trout-stocked pond, an established shoot, an aviary, a free-range chicken run, and a private
All these features would have made it ideal as an Auxiliary Unit HQ.
Interview with William George Livett 19.3.92 from IWM, London. Realestalker Blog.
If you can help with any info please contact