May 202018
 
France 1944 – Operation Bulbasket was largely an ex-Aux Units Operation, with some ex-desert SAS, and a few other new recruits. Dorset, Norfolk and Scotland Aux Units provided the bulk of the men.
A small group from the local Royal British Legion  Poitou-Charentes branch in France are recreating the cycle ride undertaken by Lt Tomos Stephens as part of Op Bulbasket in 1944. Disguised as a Frenchman and riding a pre-war pushbike, he rode from Sazas near Montromillion to the railway marshalling yard at Chatellerault to gather information about fuel tankers stored there. It was a 120km (75 mile) round trip in a single day, an incredible feat. The intelligence was supplied to the RAF who bombed the fuel stored at the railway yard, significantly slowing the 2nd SS Das Reich Panzer Division who lacked enough fuel for their move north towards Normandy. Sadly Lt Stephens was shot after capture, having given himself up so a young maquisard could escape, hoping that his uniform would mean he would become a prisoner, whereas the Maquis were always executed. That young man witnessed Lt Stephens death from his hiding place (and recorded this a few years ago – the story differing from that given by the Bulbasket survivors who were told third hand he had been beaten to death). Lt Stephens was buried in a family vault in nearby Verriéres.
The ride is on Sunday June 10th this year. You can help by sponsoring them through their JustGiving page. This branch funded the erection of memorials at the St Sauvant and Verriéres sites in recent years. They also provide the standard bearers for ceremonies at Rom and Verriéres each year.
There is more information here:
Their JustGiving online donation page is here:
(It also covers other events he is doing).
Money raised goes to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Do support them if you can. Or even just send a message of support and tell your friends. This RBL branch are doing what they can to keep alive the memory of the men lost on Operation Bulbasket.

Mar 282018
 

CART will be at the Castletown D-Day Centre, Portland, Dorset (DT5 1DB), on Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th April, 2018. This is part of their Living History weekend, a very ‘hands on’ experience. Includes military vehicles, weapons displays and much more..   http://www.castletownddaycentre.com/

This is a new fixture and one that we hope will become a regular event. Pop by & say hi.

Mar 232018
 

CART have been busy this spring documenting O.B.s in West and North Dorset. The Whitchurch Canonicorum, Alton Pancras and Child Okeford Patrol O.B.’s have been located.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Please note where the O.B.’s are on private land, permission was obtained.

 

Mar 192018
 
CART will be at the West Somerset Steam Railway on Sunday 25th March, 2018 at Minehead Station (TA24 5BG). This is part of their Spring Gala, and new Military event (22nd – 25th March). This event also includes a genuine WW2 military steam train with military vehicles on WD flat and box wagons (a rare thing to see), as well as military vehicles at Minehead, and other displays / stands on the station platform. http://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/
Look out for more upcoming events throughout 2018

Mar 192018
 

Tom Sykes has been running the CART site for nearly 9 years. His vision and enthusiasm for Auxiliary Unit research has been outstanding. He has decided to step down from the daily running of CART. Tom’s inspiration has provided a platform for researchers and the general public alike, seeking out the stories of the brave men and women of the Auxiliary Units. CART has become a well known and respected organisation that continues to be invited to events all around the country educating people about this important aspect of our history. Thank you Tom.

Dec 042017
 

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.

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.