Posts by CART HQ:
It’s with a sad note that I write this email.
After nearly nine years of running CART I have decided to step down as the groups Leader in the New Year. I will take a back seat and with an occasional video production role moving forward.
This decision has been reached for a few reasons for which I will explain below. The first thing I want to say is CART is not stopping and will continue under a new leadership team. Nina Hannaford has been appointed by the team as the new Chair and her email address is email@example.com. Please address any general or specific aux emails to her from now on. My email address will stay active for at least the next 3 months as the handover process is very complex. The CART team, albeit smaller than in previous years, is very strong and has attended more events this year than any other. The incredibly dedicated team have had to adjust to my news and have adapted accordingly to incorporate all the admin work for which I thank them for.
The main goal for them is to address the issue with our new website and plan for the future how they will handle this. I am sure the new administration will keep you informed of this over the next few months.
As you may know I set up a simple website in June 2009 to track what I was learning about this little known band of men and women. Little did I know then that years later the Auxiliary Units would be much better known across the UK and marching down Whitehall. My interest in Aux Units were born out of a fascination of World War Two and my love of all things clandestine. Two things I am still very much interested in. When CART was set up my work situation was very different meaning I had a vast amount of spare time and as a creative person I was very unsatisfied. CART gave me a platform to delve into this creativity through web design, video production and event organisation. I also had the time to conduct my own Aux research, mainly at GHQ Coleshill.
In the last 4 years, and as CART grew, the demands on my time as the sole administrator became greater and greater. All my “CART time” was being devoted to website updates, running the shop, membership etc etc and I didn’t have the time to research anymore. As the year’s past I felt more and more isolated from the main researching team because of this. This was not their fault it was just the way things were. I had created this large organisation so I felt it was my responsibility to keep it going. I had a few times invited members of our researching team to help take on some of my admin roles like membership secretary etc allowing me to have a more fulfilling time with CART but they decided they would rather stay focused on research which I respect. It was also decided by the team that a committee and charitable status was not the way forward for us at that time. I think this may now change.
In 2016 I become self employed running a video production company (www.solo16.co.uk) and this seems to drain all my spare time, as any sole trader will know. Around this time Nina very kindly took on the bulk of the general email enquiries and this has helped, but I still don’t have the time to give to CART sadly.
My priority was to ensure that CART has firm foundations moving forward and the team, under Will Ward’s guidance, have recently sent me a document that outlines their intention for CART’s future which I am very pleased with. I am sure they will make this public in due course. The transition is going to take approx 3 months to implement so please be patient.
I have had an amazing time meeting you all and helping you discover more about your families Aux involvement and I want to thank you for your support of our research over the years and also the people that do the real work, our researching team, if it wasn’t for them there would be no website..
I also want to mention two men who were very dear to me and always immensely helpful & kind. They fired up my imagination, drove me forward, and made this history real for me. National Trust Head Warden Keith Blaxhall and Auxilier Bob Millard. Sadly both men are no longer with us but it’s fair to say if it wasn’t for them my little website would have never flourished.
If you wish to make a note of my new email for the future it’s firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again and please continue to support CART’s amazing and tireless work.
For the last few years our team have been working on bringing Coleshill House (Part of the general Auxiliary Unit Training HQ on the Coleshill estate) back to life.
This is a draft version of where we are at so far with a great Christmas theme. Thanks to Ian Edwards and Bill Ashby for all their hard work.
We would like to wish all our supporters and followers a very Merry Christmas.
We have sadly learnt of the death of Auxilier Reginald ‘Reg’ John Shattock of North Petherton. Reg passed away on the 7th September 2017 aged 97yrs. We were informed of the news by the Shattock family via Tim Wray.
Reginald Shattock joined North Petherton Patrol (nr Bridgwater, Somerset) after leaving the local Home Guard unit that he was in. His local Home Guard Commander was unhappy with this so Reg had to leave the Operational Patrol and he was transferred to the Special Duties Branch were he was connected to Chirnside 3A at Spaxton nr Bridgwater. Lt Col John Ingram DSO was in charge of this SD Sub Out Station.
We suspect Reginald must have been about the only person that served in both branches of the Auxiliary Units. In 2016 he was interviewed on camera by the South West Heritage Trust. You can see this film here.
Our condolences to his family.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.
Peter Potter was an Auxilier with Fingringhoe Patrol in Essex. A new book has been written about his life by his friend and Aux Researcher Hugh Frostick.
Peter Louis Potter shares his eventful life from “clodhopper to cloud-topper and fire-stopper”. His revealing and sometimes risqué tales range from Essex farming and village life, wartime service on Lancaster bombers, working in a mental asylum, and as a fireman in Colchester.
Never short of an idea for a laugh or an adventure, and often bending the rules, Peter gives a wonderful feel for how he and his family lived and worked at Fobbing on the Essex marshes and the industrialised Thames, and farming near Colchester at Easthorpe, Fingringhoe and Mersea Island.
When war came, Peter ran away from home to volunteer for RAF Bomber Command, leading to many exciting episodes in Churchill’s Secret Army and as a Lancaster rear gunner.
Peter’s skill as a raconteur has been well captured by Hugh Frostick. This highly entertaining account gives a fascinating insight into life and war in the 20th Century.
Peter Potter now lives in Elmstead Market and is a regular attendee at Boxted Airfield Museum, where he was stationed just after the war, as part of RAF liaison to hand over the station from the USAAF.
Peter celebrated his 92nd birthday on 30th May 2017.
Last weekend our Somerset Researcher Chris Perry attended The Dig for Victory Show.
Chris reported a good turn out of vehicles and displays with a fair bit of interest in the stand.
Chris got talking to a lady who knew of a Operational Base site in Dorset and her information was very helpful. He also attracted new leads for our Devon Researcher.
CART welcomed new researcher for East Hampshire, Jon Radcliffe to the stand at the Southwick Revival event. His local knowledge was invaluable as we spoke to a number of local residents with information about Auxiliary Units sites. Two visitors had played in the Southwick Operational Base as children and were able to describe it in detail, mentioning a previously unknown escape tunnel. Others gave accounts of the patrol members they had remembered from their youth. There was also a location provided for an Operational Base near Clanfield, though this might also relate to the Lovedean Patrol.
We also had some excellent information regarding an Base in Dorset and an oral history account from Sussex previously unknown to us.
Displaying in the middle of Southwick, Coleshill expert Bill Ashby went knocking on doors using the wartime addresses of patrol members and found relatives at one of these. They are looking out some photos of the patrol members for us which we hope to be able to add to the site in due course. We also heard a great deal about the area during wartime, as many of the wooded areas hosted allied troops in the run up to D-Day and remains still exist in a number of these.
Particularly interesting was a series of Tommy gun bullets which had been extracted from a felled tree. Eye witness accounts confirm that Generals Monty and Eisenhower fired Tommy guns at the tree one evening after dinner. Nobody had believed the story at the time, but decades later, the bullets were found in the timber when the tree was being cut up and kept by a local forestry worker. It isn’t often you know who fired a particular bullet, and even less often they are so famous!
It was impressive to see how many people had made the effort to appear in wartime dress, with many impressive wartime hairstyles and at least two vintage prams for young children. Periodically the military vehicles drove through the streets in convoy, past houses with taped windows and bunting.
The Aux Units part of the village’s history came as a surprise to some, with the D-Day map room and HQ being perhaps more famous. We’ve been asked back again next year…
(Report by Dr Will Ward – CART Dorset) Images by the team.
Yesterday a memorial plaque was unveiled in Stratton, Dorset to remember the eight men of the Wrackleford Auxiliary Unit.
The event was opened with a welcome from Andrew Aylott, Chairman of Stratton Parish Council. Major General AS Jeapes CB OBE MC, former Commander of 22 SAS, then gave an introduction to the event and the role of Auxiliary Units. He then introduced Jack Northover, last surviving member of the Stratton Auxiliary Unit Patrol, who joined unofficially at 15 years of age.
During the war, Jack lost his brother George William Northover who was an original patrol member. George was shot down and killed by the Germans while flying in a Lancaster bomber with the RAF In 1943. His father George Henry Northover, the Stratton patrol commander also died later that year, and his mother died the following year.
The stone,draped in the Union flag, was then unveiled by Mr Angus Campbell, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dorset. It was then dedicated by the Rev Dr John Travell FRSA. Tributes were read by Devina Symes, consisting of a specially written poem in the Dorset Dialect favoured by some of the men. (Wrackleford is a small hamlet adjacent to Stratton where some of the men lived)
Baroness Rock of Stratton then recounted some of her childhood memories of the area.
Floral tributes were laid by family members of the men commemorated. The British Legion standard bearers were present under the command of Parade Marshall Mr Spencer Hare. The service concluded with the playing of the Last Post and Reveille by Mr Mark Downton, formally a bandsman with 13/18 Hussars and relative of patrol member Lewis Downton.
Attendees then viewed a large exhibition about the patrol, and Auxiliary Units in general, staged by our team in the adjacent village hall.
Background to the plaque
In 2015, Dorset man David Downton was writing a piece on the Dorset dialect, as spoken by his uncle Lewis. He discovered that his uncle had been part of the secretive Auxiliary Units and contacted us with a plan to erect a memorial to a group of men who role was hitherto unknown. With the help of various local residents and the families of the men, he raised the funds and arranged all the necessary permissions to erect a commemorative stone in the village of Stratton, near Dorchester in Dorset.
READ MORE ON THE PATROL AND WATCH THE EVENT VIDEOS HERE
Last August we had the pleasure of filming with the team from the hit BBC show ‘Escape to the Country’ and Presenter Jonnie Irwin.
We have filmed with many media organisations in the past seven years but these guys had really done their homework and came to the site fully prepped.
The small production team interviewed our Coleshill expert Bill Ashby (Above) and with the help of National Trust Volunteers Roger Green and Bob Marchant (Below) they explored inside the new replica Operational Base. You can see a short behind the scenes video of the filming here.
The episode aired on Tuesday 9th May 2017 on BBC One at 3pm. You can watch it here.
We have come back from displaying at the Helicopter Museum’s ‘World of War Weekend’ in Weston Super-mare.
We just attended on the Saturday and Tony’s Scallywags stand is there today.
The day went very well and you can see a short video below. We displayed more weapons and explosives than ever before and had some new info panels made up by Nina (CART Devon). The organisers were very impressed with our contribution and have invited us back next year.
Thanks to all who contributed.
THIS WEEKEND: Come and see us at the ‘World At War Weekend’ at the Helicopter Museum, Weston.
On Saturday 8th ONLY we will be displaying the largest ever assembled collection of Aux weaponry and you can meet our researchers and learn more about Aux Units.
On Saturday AND Sunday Tony Salter’s excellent Scallywags Aux stand will be displaying.
Find out more about the event here.