Jun 222015
 

Alan Open dayAlan Stewart, our Aberdeenshire CIO took part in a special open day at the Fraserburgh Heritage Centre yesterday.

Alan met a few Aux relatives including Alison Smith who provided us with the Grange Patrol diary.
Alan saw a steady stream of people over the day and a lot of people remember the names of Auxiliers from the local area.
Quite a few people thought the Auxiliary Units were the same as the Home Guard so Alan spent a bit of time explaining the difference.
Alan gave a powerpoint presentation and showed some of our research.

Jun 032015
 

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WIN: A family ticket (Two adults, three children) to The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival in Wiltshire worth £40 on Saturday 27th June.

You can come and see our stand as well.

All you have to do to enter is LIKE & SHARE our post on Facebook.

May 292015
 

British Resistance March Banner 2015This Remembrance Sunday we will have the chance for twelve people to march past the Cenotaph on Whitehall again.

If you know of a surviving member of the Operational Patrols or the Special Duties Branch who would like to march or if you are related to one and would like the chance to be involved please email hq@coleshillhouse.com as soon as possible. See more here.

Nov 102014
 

Yesterday an Auxilier and ten Aux relatives and researchers marched down Whitehall in London lead by Lucy Fleming, daughter of Kent Auxiliary Unit Intelligence Officer Captain Peter Fleming.

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This is only the second time that members of the British Resistance have taken part in the Remembrance day parade on London.

Auxilier Trevor Miners from Perranporth Patrol was the wreath bearer and marched for the second time with his two sons.

After the march a small reception took place at The Farmers Club thanks to help from one of their members Philip Merricks OBE who also marched (Far left in image below)

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An original Aux badge was donated to the group on the day by marcher Neil Bent. Neil’s father was the patrol leader of the Nerrols Farm Patrol in Somerset. The badge will now be sold to help raise funds for future outreach.

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See video and images of the day here or on our Facebook page.

Oct 172014
 

Trevor Miners-postcard

Next month we will be marching past the Cenotaph on Whitehall again on Remembrance Sunday. Auxilier Trevor Miners (seen above) will be carrying the wreath. Please do watch on TV and stand to remember the brave men and women of the British Resistance Movement.

Also keep an eye on this page for any press or information updates.

Sep 192014
 

Lupton MastheadWe are displaying at the Lupton House 1940’s event this weekend.

Lupton House is a lovely historical Grade 2 listed building situated close to Brixham in Devon.

This weekend the house and magnificent grounds will once again become host to a 1940’s themed weekend.

We will display some of our research and artefacts and provide the background to the various patrols around the UK with focus on Devon.

Lupton

CART County Information Officers (CIOs) from Devon and GHQ at Swindon will be on hand to answer any questions and help trace records of loved ones.

Do come along and support us at the event.

Read more here 

 

Aug 262014
 

Lucy Fleming, daughter of Peter Fleming who was one of the founding members of the Auxiliary Units, will lead the Remembrance Sunday march.

Lucy Fleming

(Pic by www.curtisbrown.co.uk)

We are delighted to announce that Lucy Fleming, daughter of Peter Fleming a key member of the British Resistance or Auxiliary Units, will lead the group of veterans and relatives, who are marching for just the second time past the Cenotaph in November. Lucy is also the niece of James Bond creator Ian Fleming.

Peter Fleming was brought in by Colonel Gubbins who was asked by Churchill to set up the first organised resistance force in Europe. Fleming helped to build some of the first OBs in the country, often in genius guises such as enlarged badger sets.

Tom Sykes, founder of the British Resistance Archive said. “To have a member of the Fleming family leading the veterans and relatives of the Auxiliary Units is something very special indeed as Peter was so integral in establishing the patrols throughout the country.

“Last year’s march was incredibly important for us as it was the first time that veterans and relatives of the Auxiliary Units had marched. Although they have never been officially recognised by the Government, it represented a chance for the public to finally recognise the bravery of these civilian volunteers. To be accepted for a second year is fantastic and to have Lucy leading will, I know, be a great honour for all those involved.”

Lucy Fleming is an actress and also helps to run Ian Fleming Publications. Her father was a renowned author and explorer who was head of D (Deception) Division later in the war. Lucy says: “It is a huge honour to be leading this group of remarkable veterans and relatives. Had the worst happened in the uncertain days of 1940 these men and women would have put everything at risk to protect their country, which is a commitment that should never be forgotten.”

To hear more about the Auxiliary Units or the Cenotaph march please see here.

If you are a former Auxiliary Unit member or relative who wishes to march please contact hq@coleshillhouse.com

Aug 192014
 

CART Dorset Bunker Bash. A report by Dorset CIO Will Ward. 

The 3rd August 2014 saw a memorable get together of three former Dorset Auxiliers and researchers at a rather special location in the south of Dorset. Dorset Home Guard researcher John Pidgeon was the organiser, having been contacted by the landowner via The Keep Museum in Dorchester. During a visit the owner had asked if the museum knew anything about the underground structures on his land. They contacted John, who recognised the site as one described to us previously by a member of the public, during a visit to another OB site as part of the South Dorset Ridgeway project.

CART was represented by CART CIO Will Ward and West Dorset assistant Martyn Allen. A remarkable turnout of three surviving Auxiliers joined the team, consisting of Wrackleford Patrol member George Northover with his son, Abbotsbury Patrol member Gerald Dunford and 94 year old Douglas Keegan from Came Down Patrol near Dorchester. Also present was Sybil Legg, the widow of Chickerell Patrol member Leslie Legg with her son. Lloyd Dare, son of Whitchurch Canicorum Patrol member William Fred Dare and Robin and Charlie Pitcher, grandson and great grandson respectively of Long Bredy Patrol member Charlie Pitcher, came along too. Finally we were joined by Gary Sterne, who runs the D Day Museum in Weymouth, as well as Maisy Battery in Normandy, so is well used to exploring bunkers, but normally German ones instead of British!

Surviving Dorset Auxiliers

Surviving Dorset Auxiliers (from left) George Northover, Gerald Dunford and Douglas Keegan, meeting for the first time (the Aux Units in West and South Dorset did not meet up as a group ever). Photo by Martyn Allen.

We had a fascinating chat to start, with some displays of Aux Units weaponry from John and some of the CART displays from the recent Broadmayne event. The veterans talked about some of their experiences. Though Fred Dare is still alive, he still refuses to talk about his Aux Units service. His son did mention that he had described guarding some of the vulnerable sites in the Purbecks around D Day, a role we know Dorset Auxiliers were allocated. He also recalled that June 6th had seen a brief snow flurry, sufficient to turn the ground white, which goes to show what a close call it must have been to say the weather was adequate for the invasion to go ahead. George Northover was one of the youngest Dorset Auxiliers, having replaced his brother when he left for the RAF. He recalled how his OB had a hatch in a hedgerow. The plants of the hedge would rise up when the hatch was opened! Douglas Keegan did not receive his Aux Units stand down enamel badge at the end of the war. He would quite like one, but at over £300, they are a bit pricey. CART has arranged the next best thing and has given him one of our enamel badges.

Together we then headed uphill to visit not one, but two OBs on the farm. The first was built into the bottom of a disused cottage and the Auxiliers were impressed by the quality of the construction, which was much sturdier than usual. It is still in good condition, even if flooded on a regular basis.

The inside of the cottage bunker prior to pumping the water out

The inside of the cottage bunker prior to pumping the water out

We then moved a relatively short distance to a second and largely collapsed site in a small wood. This had originally been thought by the owners to relate to an antiaircraft gun site known to have existed nearby (nose cones from the shells are sometimes ploughed up in the fields). However our visited revealed all the hallmarks of a typical OB, with entrance and exit designed for hatches, not steps, the remains of bunks and shelves inside and typical Elephant shelter construction. What isn’t clear is which patrol used this OB! The patrol that used the cottage OB are said to have moved to another in a copse within site of the cottage, suggesting another patrol used this site. With no surviving members from the likely candidate patrol, we can’t be sure.

A view looking along the collapsed chamber of the second OB.

A view looking along the collapsed chamber of the second OB.

In the foreground is a collapsed wall, with concrete showing the indentations of the corrugated iron elephant shelter, and with with a square cut out in the brickwork, most likely for a ventilation pipe. Between the overgrowth in the distance can be seen daylight coming through the doorway into either an entrance or exit chamber. Just beyond the brickwork is the curved roof of the collapsed chamber. Tape measure, notebook and pencil are poised to record the site. (Secateurs and gloves are to clear the undergrowth!)

Look out for full reports on this website soon. Many thanks to John Pidgeon for making the arrangements, and to the landowner and their family for a superb visit in the summer sunshine. We all learnt a lot from an enjoyable day out.

Please note that these OBs are on private land are not normally accessible. Both are in a dangerous condition and we made special arrangements for confined space access equipment, including gas detectors and rescue harnesses, with trained operators, to be available for this visit.

Aug 192014
 

Dorchester Military Festival. Report by Dorset CIO Will Ward

August 16th 2014

CART Dorset put on a display in Dorchester’s Borough Gardens, at this event held in aid of injured Dorset servicemen. After the intended plan to borrow a display tent fell through, local store Great Western Camping came to the rescue with a rush delivery in just 24 hours from their suppliers! It wasn’t the intention, but it was pointed out subsequently that the curved Coleman event shelter looks quite like the curved roof of an OB! We were able to set up directly opposite and less than 50 yards from the house that was home to the Dorchester Special Duties Out Station. When visitors asked, “Where is the nearest Aux Units site?” the answer was a simple “Over there”!

Dorchester SD Outstation

The site of the Dorchester SD Outstation just visible beyond the trees and behind the stand of local regiment The Rifles.

 

This was not a large event, but did feature the loud bangs of the Nothe Fort’s Victorian Volunteer Artillery firing their cannons at intervals. There was a steady stream of visitors, with one providing a useful lead on a local Special Duties observer and another gave details of a patrol member’s widow and recollections of that man’s reticence to discuss anything to do with Aux Units. It was very pleasing to hear the Tannoy announcer pick out the CART stand as being the most interesting at the show. Visitors were also complementary and a couple seem likely to join up as CART Friends through the website.

Coleman Event Tent

The CART Dorset display with “elephant shelter” pattern tent design! It was suggested we might like to fit bunk beds and add an escape tunnel!

Many thanks to Dorset Home Guard researcher John Pidgeon who provided some of the display items, including both a rubber truncheon and a First World War wooden trench truncheon with studded hobnails and a lead core, of the types known to have been used by Auxiliers in some parts of the country.

Aux Display

Display case featuring various items used by Aux Units, including truncheons, fighting knives and different patterns of booby trap.