Jun 132017
 

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. 

Author: Hugh Gunter Frostick
ISBN: 9780995793804
Published: 16 May 2017
Price: £10 plus £2 postage to UK. Add £10 signed by Peter Potter and Author (limited availability)
Attributes: Paperback, 294 pages with 75 black and white illustrations and 6 maps. Laminated full colour cover. Dimensions approx 217mm x 150mm x 18mm, 470g

ORDER HERE

 

Jun 132017
 

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.

May 212017
 

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

 

Apr 092017
 

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.

Sep 292016
 

rest-in-peace

We are sorry to have to report the death of Auxilier Edward James Lapthorne who was always known as Jim and was formerly of Penquit. Jim was a member of the Ugborough Patrol in Devon. Jim sadly passed away on 14th September 2016 aged 93.

His funeral was held at St Peters and St Pauls in Ermington on Thursday 22nd September at 1.30.

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

Sep 212016
 

lupton-house-2016-1

Over the weekend of 3rd / 4th September, some of our team displayed at the 1940s Weekend at Lupton House near Brixham, Devon. This was the back garden of the Brixham Patrol who often did training raids on the American camp in the grounds.

We had a room in the beautiful period house all to ourselves which we pretty well managed to fill with weapons, explosives, equipment and kit all issued to the Auxiliary Units Patrols.

Information and pictures on the South Devon Patrols kept the locals entertained and we even heard the occasional “wow, that was Bert who lived up the road !”

Picture boards telling the story of Bewley Down Special Duties site amazed everyone and George was a great hit especially after his make over !

Saturday was wet but busy but Sunday was such a treat to talk to so many people and educate them on the existence of Auxiliary Units, the room was often full of people !

Lupton must have thought we did a good job as we won the Best Display Award!!

lupton-house-2016-2

Thanks to Rod Hart and all at the Lupton 1940s Weekend and hopefully see you there next year.

By Nina Hannaford

Aug 122016
 

Filming with Escape to the Country 2Today 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.

Filming with Escape to the Country 1The 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.

Filming with Escape to the Country 3

A short behind the scenes video can be seen below. It is thought the episode will air in about six months time.

Aug 012016
 

Coleshill Fire 1This morning our Coleshill researcher Bill Ashby visited the site and spoke to the fire crew and National Trust site management.Coleshill Fire 2
Luckily the fire was held back and did not spread into the end house. By entering the Commandants Offices and making a hole in the ceiling of the Typists room the Fire service were able to pour water on the fire without causing any other damage. This meant the fire was kept to the section we know as the “Accommodation Block”.

The cause of the fire is still being examined.

Jul 312016
 

_90573932_fire1
More than 50 firefighters and eight fire engines were called out to the blaze at GHQ Coleshill, at about 04:30 am this morning.

Crews were forced to work in “arduous conditions” but managed to stop the fire spreading to the rest of the building.

Group manager Kerry Blair said: “This severe fire has devastated a family-run business.”

He praised the “tireless” work of fire crews from Oxfordshire and Wiltshire and said they were working with police, paramedics, Southern Electric and the Environment Agency.

“Fire crews will be on scene all day damping down, and representatives from National Trust are already in attendance to manage the welfare of their tenants,” Mr Blair added.

[SOURCE]

CART Coleshill Office Corridor 2‘It is well known that the Admin offices which adjoin the building which burnt down are in a terrible state and largely full of junk (Left). It’s a credit to the fire service that they have managed to save these buildings which the National Trust hope to one day restore.’ says Tom Sykes, Founder and Webmaster of the British Resistance Archive.

 

 

stable yard from above-ts

The image above shows the main building that has been destroyed. The upstairs rooms were used by the Auxiliers to sleep in when they were training onsite. See a video of the inside the admin offices here. 

W-Coleshill_fire_Sot from ITV News Meridian on Vimeo.

Jul 282016
 

Taunton Auxiliary Unit Patrol 22

After months of detailed research by Chris Perry and Nina Hannaford we are pleased to be able to publish a report on the Taunton Auxiliary Unit.

This is the most accurate and detailed account of the patrol ever published. Our thanks go to many people who helped with this report including Neil Bent son and nephew of Group Commanders Lt. Bent.

Read the full report here.