Jul 082016
 

Barbara Marion CulletonWe are sad to announce the death of Barbara Marion Culleton who passed away peacefully on Sunday 19th June at Maise House, the Royal British Legion Nursing Home, Bexhill-on-Sea.

In 1933 aged 15 Barbara Culleton arrived in London on her own and found digs and secretarial work.

On the 9th September 1938 the Women’s Branch of the British Army the ‘Auxiliary Territorial Service’ was formed. Within two months Barbara had enlisted into Princess Louise’s Kensington Regiment as a volunteer (as ATS privates were then called).

The day before war was declared she was embodied into the Army and was posted to the War Station Railway Training Centre at Longmore and remembers having to help put rolling stock back on the tracks.

It was in July 1941 while she was at her next posting to 12 Field Training Regiment RA at Bordon that she was first Interviewed and told that she had been selected to become an officer. She was asked to consider being involved in training for ‘urgent, very secret and possibly dangerous’ work.

READ THE REST OF HER CAREER IN AUXILIARY UNITS HERE.

On the 3rd May 1955 Captain Barbara Culleton WRAC was awarded the Territorial Decoration for serving her Country. She continued to serve until 12 December 1968 when she reached the upper age limit and so reluctantly had to leave. Barbara Culleton had served her Country for 30 years.

We will remember them.

Jun 272016
 

Chirnside 1 Special Duties Branch Out Station 5

Today we have added an extensive update to the previous report on the Special Duties Branch hidden radio hide codenamed ‘Chirnside 1‘.

Thanks to the very kind new owners our team were allowed in to record this most rare of top secret WW2 locations.

Take a video tour inside the hide, hidden under an outside privy, and read the full report here. 

Our thanks to Dr Will Ward, Martyn Allen, Nina Hannaford and Chris Perry for their cracking work to get this online.

Jun 152016
 

Sydney AdlamWe are sad to report the death of Sydney George Adlam from Havant (West) Patrol in Hampshire.

Sydney was born on 18th Oct. 1923 and died on 27th May 2016.

Sydney was born in Portsmouth to Edmund and Elsie Adlam, the eldest of two sons.

They later moved to Cosham where Sydney attended Portsdown School.
After leaving school Sydney was apprenticed as a motor mechanic and it was at this time he was recruited into the Auxiliary Units. After the war he married his first wife Joyce, lived in Southsea and they had a son, Paul.

Sadly Joyce died at an early age and Sydney later remarried to his second wife, Iris and they had a daughter, Alison.

They moved to Baffins. Sydney and Iris remained married until Sydney died.

Aux researcher Steve Mason interviewed Sydney on camera in 2013. His report and the video can be seen here.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.

 

May 262016
 
On the 4th June we will be displaying at Saunton Beach in North Devon in the beautiful sunshine. We are getting North Devon information boards ready to tell you all about the Auxiliary Units and the men of North Devon. But…..
WE NEED YOUR HELP
Military
Come and find out who would have been part of a British Resistance in your area and help us find their underground bases.
Find out more about the event here.
Or on Facebook here.
Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 10.27.17 am

C/O http://www.assaulttrainingcenterfriends.co.uk/

Saunton Beach Event 2016 - 1
Saunton Beach Event 2016 - 2 Saunton Beach Event 2016 - 3

May 212016
 
image

Inside the WWII secret wireless station, or IN-Station in Norwich, which has just been protected as a scheduled monument. The entrance to the third chamber, which is where the escape tunnel begins from © Norfolk Historic Environment Service.A secret Second World War bunker built on the orders of Winston Churchill lay hidden under a Thorpe St Andrew estate for almost 70 years.

A secret Second World War bunker built on the orders of Winston Churchill lay hidden under a Thorpe St Andrew estate for almost 70 years.

Its entrance is behind a bookcase, its aerial was disguised in a tree with the feeder cable under the bark, and there was an escape tunnel in case its operatives were discovered.

Now the underground wireless station, on private land at Pinebanks, off Yarmouth Road, has been protected as a scheduled monument by the government on the advice of Historic England.

The rare IN-Station, also known as a Zero Station, was part of a mysterious secret wireless network operated mostly by civilian agents.

Wireless stations were set up in 1940 by Winston Churchill in response to the increasing threat of German invasion.

Pinebanks in Norwich picture by Adrian Judd for EN

Pinebanks in Norwich picture by Adrian Judd for EN

It is thought that just 32 of the bunkers were built in England during the Second World War, with just a dozen discovered so far and the Pinebanks bunker is one of the most intact examples.

The station, which received messages from OUT-Stations in enemy-occupied areas, was found by a retired groundsman in the gardens of Pinebanks in 2012.

It has now been awarded special protected status to preserve it and to celebrate its history.

Heritage minister David Evennett said: “This underground wireless station is a rare and unusual example of our Second World War heritage and deserves to be protected.

“It is a reminder too of the often forgotten role so many civilians played in the war effort often acting in secret and undercover.”

The recruits in Churchill’s Secret Army, also known as the British Resistance Organisation, had to verbally swear to secrecy, with one hand on a Bible. In some cases even their families knew nothing of the role that required them to leave their homes regularly at night.

Historic England’s Tony Calladine said: “This amazing place that has survived intact played a highly secret but vitally important role in preparing us for a feared invasion during the Second World War. Because so much information about the stations was either hidden or destroyed, this small but significant dugout has great potential to teach us about a relatively little-known area of our 20th century military history.”

A spokesman for Ocubis Ltd, development manager for site owner Berliet Ltd, said: “We have been liaising with BDC and Historic England and, as we have always stated, will ensure the setting of this historically important former Norwich WW2 IN-station in Thorpe St Andrew is preserved.”

It is thought that the bunker was built under the Jarrold family’s tennis court at Pinebanks in the 1940s.

Details only emerged after the family’s former gardener, who had to sign the Official Secrets Act, told a young groundsman about the construction work he had witnessed.

The gardener did not disclose this until after his retirement, and he did not reveal the location, with this emerging later.

Winston Churchill had set up a secret army unit called GHQ Auxillary Units with a particular branch known as Special Duties, and wireless stations were built as part of this.

Civilian volunteers living in the most threatened coastal areas of the country were trained to spy and report on German military activities from within occupied areas, with their messages received by IN-Stations like the one at Pinebanks.

Details about their locations and construction were kept secret and very little documentation of the stations exists.

Information was protected in case they should be needed again in the future.

Historic England is asking the public to come forward with information about family members who were trained to be civilian spies, or any clues as to where the remaining 20 IN-stations lay hidden.

Email communications@HistoricEngland.org.uk

Report by Sam Russell (Eastern Daily Press)

SEE THE FULL REPORT ON THIS LOCATION HERE. 

Apr 042016
 

Trevor Miners - Ready to serve when called

We are very sorry to report the passing of dear Trevor Miners from Perranporth Patrol.

Trevor, who was 89 in January this year, died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of 4th April 2016 after a short illness.

In 1943 Trevor was 16 and was asked to sign the Official Secrets Act and found himself one of 3,500 volunteers recruited to the Auxiliary Units.

“We were sent to the Headquarters in Oxfordshire. We were trained to kill, how to use a knife to kill a man quietly. The plan was that when the invasion came our unit would hide in an underground bunker and let the Nazis roll over the top of us. Then after a month we were to come out at night and attack them, destroy their munitions dumps, railway lines, things like that.” Trevor explained to the BBC in 2013.

Trevor’s Operational Base was at Cligga Head near Perranporth.

Trevor Miners ObitTrevor Miners was told to say he was in the Home Guard when he joined the unit.

“We would never talk about what we were trained to do. One of my unit was even sent a white feather by someone who thought he was a coward for not going out to fight, but we knew different.”

Trevor Miners has been hugely influential in informing people of the Auxiliary Units existence and keeping the memory alive both within the South West and Nationwide.

He has told his story on TV on BBC Spotlight, Tales from the Snug, and WW2 Experience.

In 2013, 2014 and 2015 Trevor marched in London past the Cenotaph. “I wish my friends could be there with me,” he said.

In 2015 Trevor was asked to open a replica Observation Post at GHQ Coleshill. He then had another tour of the site he trained at and fired a Sten gun and Sniper rifle. All captured on video….

See our full report on his patrol and countless videos of the great man here.

Rest in Peace dear man and thank you for all you did and were prepared to do for us.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.

Please do add your memories of Trevor below or on our social media platforms and we will share with his family. The Facebook comments are just amazing….

________________________________

Trevor was a solid man. He represented a world we are never likely to see again. He personified the Auxiliary Units in his attitude to everything. He was strong, brave, determined and full of spirit and most of all good fun and the type of man you want on your team. I had the great honour to march with him in 2013 and show him around GHQ Coleshill last year and will never forget those moments. It’s thanks to men like Trevor, the late Bob Millard and all the great Auxiliers who are no longer with us that the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART) has so many followers and such support. Thank you Trevor for giving us your time and being prepared to lay down your life when called. – Tom Sykes – CART Founder & Webmaster.

Such sad news – a really great guy he will be sorely missed. His presence on our marches at the Cenotaph made the day for all of us. He was one gutsy guy who would have given the Germans hell if they had invaded. We will remember him. – Bill Ashby – CART Coleshill.

Very sad to hear the news of Trevor’s passing. He was a great guy and it was a pleasure knowing him. I will always remember him crawling out the replica O.B. with a broad smile on his face. God bless him. – Roger Green – National Trust Coleshill Volunteer.

We’ll all miss his smile, sense of humour and cheerfulness on cold November mornings in London. But more than that, the nation has lost another brave and humble member who at a our country’s most testing hour stepped forward and was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Rest in peace Trevor. – Andy Chatterton – CART Press Officer.

A great loss to our heritage his story must live on, such sad news. Condolences to Trevor’s family x  Sam Dingley.

Unbelievable character so lucky to have met him his stories were something else especially hiding the weapons from his parents my thoughts go out to his family who also helped make the day. Ready to serve when called we will always be grateful for what you were willing to do.   Paul Jarvis.

It was a great pleasure to meet Trevor on two Cenotaph occasions; what a character! My condolences. – Hugh Frostick.

It was such a happy site Trevor firing the sten at Coleshill last year. I will remember that smile he had for years to come, made my weekend worthwhile. God rest you Trevor and condolences to his family – Ian Turton.

Such a lovely man. Always a funny story and a little laugh. I’ll always remember you telling me about the barrels of brandy washing up and how they ‘disappeared’ and how my dog stole your breakfast porridge still hot in the saucepan. Rest in peace. – Paul Wordley.

I’m so so sorry to read this. Such a lovely, humble man – it was a real privilege to meet him & hear his story. – Sarah Ransome (BBC TV South West).

A true gentleman and an honour to have known such a lovely man, rest in peace Trevor we all love you xx – Susanna Noonan.

Condolences to all at this sad time. Such a lovely man. – Patricia More Barnett.

What sad news, the word legend is bandied about too freely nowadays… Trevor was an absolute kind loving legend.. Will be sadly missed xx – John Mitchell.

Thank you Trevor. It was a amazing honour to have know you! Such a legend! – Jono Queen.

RIP Sir thank you for your service – Dave Wainwright.

RIP, brave Kernow warrior. –  Jon Bartlett.

A true gentleman, an inspiration to me. My condolences to His family. R.I.P Trevor. – Tony Salter.

Thank you for your service and sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy. Godspeed Mr. Miners. – Jesse Hauskins.

An unsung hero gone from us, may you rest peacefully now Trevor, deepest gratitude and respect sir I salute you. – Neil Cox.

So sorry to learn of the passing of Trevor Miners. What a great person. It was an honour to meet him at Coleshill and talk with him about his Auxiliary experiences. Another Great Briton who will be sadly missed. – Bill King.

When I first met Trevor he was doing surf patrols when I joined the surf life saving club he was a founding member of, in 1993, and he was 66 back then. A great bloke, friend, legend, fun person to be around and a shining example to us all. R.I.P Mr Miners – Gary Perry.

It was a great honour to meet such a great gent. Sad news. – Martyn Allen.

I knew Trevor through the Surf Life Saving Club at Perranporth. He always had a smile, a chuckle and a friendly word for all, young and old. A wonderful character, often present with his side-kick in the club, Eric, tinkering with salt water challenged ancient Land Rovers, he will be sadly missed. Sending love to the Miners family; Rest in Peace dear man. – Jemma McNeill.

The volunteers at the BRO Museum were very sad to hear of Trevor’s passing.  A number of us had met him at Parham and I had the opportunity to meet him again at Coleshill last September.  He was always interesting to talk to and enjoyed talking to visitors of his time in the Aux Units. It is sometimes an overused phrase but he was a gentleman and of a generation that was prepared to stand up and be counted when the time came. May he rest in peace. – Chris Pratt Curator BRO Museum”.

READ THE EULOGY READ AT HIS FUNERAL HERE

PRESS:

The Telegraph (Web)  The Telegraph (Print Version)

BBC Cornwall Article

BBC Devon Interview (Radio)

BBC Cornwall Interview (Radio)

Apr 042016
 

Article by Ray Duffill

secret-army-posterBy daytime in World War II, Charlie Mason was an aircraft engineer at Brough, but this just provided cover for his covert membership of Britain’s secret resistance organisation. Charlie’s role, in an invasion by foreign enemy troops, would be to fight the invaders from behind their own lines with a campaign of espionage, sabotage and disruption.

Charles Arthur Mason was a member of the South Cave Patrol of the secretive Auxiliary Units set up on the orders of Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1940. This secret army was established with two key roles during an invasion by forces of Nazi Germany; to collect intelligence on invading enemy forces and to organise a guerilla offensive behind enemy lines. Nominally part of the Home Guard, this was certainly no ‘Dad’s Army’.

An exhibition at Hedon Museum, which opened on Saturday, reveals much about the secret life of Charlie Mason who along with his comrades trained and prepared to resist the invaders. Because of the secret nature of its organisation, the story of this ‘underground’ resistance army remains largely untold, and for most of his life Charlie, bound by the Official Secrets Act, kept his wartime role secret.

Jo Mulhearn with display boards about her father Charles Mason.

Jo Mulhearn with display boards about her father Charles Mason.

“He didn’t tell us much at all about his secret activities,” said Charlie’s daughter Jo Mulhearn at the Hedon Museum on Saturday. “He’d told us that he worked for a section of the Home Guard, and during the war, he said to Mother ‘if the invasion starts, let the chickens out of the coop, then go to the church and make sure the bells are rung to warn people. I’ll then be going away… and may not be back for some time.’“

During an invasion, Charlie would have made his way to his operational base, a hide-out in the countryside stocked with knives, guns and explosives from which his unit would conduct operations against the enemy. Some of those items, safely decommissioned, are on display in the exhibition.

Maggie Sumner from the Hedon & District Local History Society was particularly interested in one commando knife in the exhibition which she believes was the one that Charlie brought with him when he gave a talk to a meeting of the Society, perhaps 20 years ago. “The presentation stands out, even after all this time because of the interesting subject matter, but also because of Charlie holding this big lethal looking dagger!” Apparently, in peacetime, the knife was used for nothing sinister but merely as a gardening trowel by Charlie!

Alan Williamson, author and researcher, and Jo Mulhearn.

Alan Williamson, author and researcher, and Jo Mulhearn.

 

Alan Williamson’s book

Alan Williamson’s book

Jo Mulhearn opened the exhibition on Saturday, but introducing her was Alan Williamson who has spent 22 years researching the local Auxilary Units – work which he says is ongoing. Alan has written a book, East Ridings Secret Resistance, which was published in 2003. Much of the research for that book was undertaken by both Alan and Charlie – “Charlie was always keen to re-discover the sites of the former Operational Bases,” said Alan “he would be the first one down into any forgotten underground bunker.”

There was a real threat of invasion in the early part of the war, and whilst that did not take place, the Auxilary Units were kept in active service until finally ‘stood down’ in November 1944.

The “Secret No More” exhibition currently showing at the Hedon Museum reveals much about the membership and wartime activities of this secret army and draws heavily upon the experiences of Charles Mason (1914 – 2008) and other veterans of this most secret army.

The story of East Riding’s secret resistance army 1940-44 at Hedon Museum is open every Wednesday and Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm until Wednesday 4th May 2016. Refreshments are available. Please seek out the signs and notices in Hedon town centre to find your way to the museum which is behind the town hall complex.

A ‘must-see’ exhibition!

Apr 032016
 

Baltonsborough Auxiliary Unit - 9We have added two detailed reports to our website by our Somerset researcher Chris Perry.

Chris had some assistance from our Devon researcher Nina Hannaford.

The Butleigh Patrol was already on the website but has been greatly enhanced and expanded on by Chris.

The Baltonsborough Patrol is new and the depth of research by Chris is just first rate.

See the reports under Group 11 here.

Mar 152016
 

Chalke-ValleyWe are very sorry to report that despite being told we could attend The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival again this year, we have now been informed they do not have room for us!!

Seems 100 plus vikings have taken over…

Thank you to all who volunteered for the event and sorry to those who planned to come along and see our stand.

We will now work on attending another event that has the space for us.

Mar 152016
 

WW2 PodcastRecently our Founder was asked to conduct an interview with the WW2 Podcast about the British Resistance and our research.

The WW2 Podcast was started in 2004 and to date has had millions of downloads.

They cover many varied topics on World War Two.

You can download and listen to this here

Thank you to them for considering us and helping us spread the word.