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.

May 092018
 
CART will be at Chard Museum on Sunday 20th May, with a small Auxiliary Unit display as part of the Museum’s ‘Military Day’. If you’re in the area why not drop in for a friendly chat with CART’s Somerset researcher, Chris Perry.
Chard Museum, High street, Chard TA20 1QB. Open from 10.00am.

May 072018
 

Tony Salter’s ‘Scallywags’ Auxiliary Units display was at Caldicot Castle over the scorching bank holiday weekend. A very well supported event in a unique location. As always, he put on a first class display and along with Tony’s wealth of information, plenty of CART fliers were also taken away.

 

May 052018
 

To mark International Conscientious Objectors Day we thought we’d offer some food for thought (and a gentle walk):

Stuart Edmonson was a Quaker. He was also the first Intelligence Officer for Devon and Cornwall:

http://www.coleshillhouse.com/devon-auxiliary-units-intelligence-officers.php

Back row: all unknown
Front row: L-R: Major John Dingley, Captain JW Stuart Edmundson, Unknown (can you help identify any of these men?)

Born in 1911, Edmundson had a Quaker upbringing before becoming a Cambridge University graduate and Royal Engineer.

He was ordered to report to 7 Whitehall Place, London on 13th July 1940 at 1100 hours where he was to become the first Intelligence Officer for Devon and Cornwall. While he was away a large delivery of explosives and fuses arrived at his house. His wife Iris directed the driver to hide the load in the grounds of a blind hospital behind their house in Yelverton. Edmundson formed the Operational Patrols of Cornwall and then Devon.

The Devon Auxiliary Units HQ was at Langstone Manor, Dartmoor, and is just a few miles from a road that was built by Quaker conscientious objectors at Princetown (known as The Conchies Road or The Road to Nowhere).

On the 15th May, 2018, a free guided walk (with local historian Simon Dell) is available along this route https://moorlandguides.co.uk/history/#1521218918009-65981e1b-c9b2

CART’s Devon & Cornwall researcher Nina, will be going along (don’t forget your cake Nina !).

Edmundson left the Auxiliary Units in November 1943 and joined S.O.E. working in the Scientific Research Section. We don’t know how he reconciled his Quaker beliefs and his Auxiliary Units work. If you have any ideas – let us know !

Apr 232018
 
Our Devon and Somerset researchers have met up with a couple connected to the fabulous Cobbaton Combat Collection (here).

“We investigated possible OB sites around Shirwell in North Devon. We still need some confirmation, so if there are any family members out there who can point us in the right direction or confirm what we have found please contact us (here).
After a great lunch (we are civilised researchers!) we moved onto Bideford.
Sadly we couldn’t find anyone to get permission to access one recorded possible OB site. That will have to wait for another day.
We went to a couple of sites where bomb stores were recorded. Perfect distance from the OB for different targets. One site has now been built on and the other is sadly a wood full of rubbish !
An Auxiliers daughter told us that explosives were also stored under the floor of the ‘Old Mission Chapel’. We found that in a bit of a sorry state but again perfect distance from the recorded OB.
A good wander around the area gave us a real feel for the Patrol movements and targets. A great day out !”

Apr 222018
 

Right you ‘orrible lot, just a reminder that CART has an online shop (expertly run by Nina) where you can purchase some rather interesting items…  These include books, Auxiliary Unit memorial badges, sew-on patches, Countryman’s Calendars / training manuals, baseball caps, DVD’s and more.

Upcoming birthday ?  Think about giving a CART gift.

Apr 192018
 

Check out Tony Salter’s excellent ‘Scallywags’ Auxiliary Units display around the country this year:

Caldicot Castle May 6 – 7
War in the Vale Evesham June 16 – 17
Violet Szabo Museum Hereford June 24 (SOE)
Black Country museum Dudley July 14 – 15
Bleanavon Ironworks Aug 4 – 5
Papplewick pumping station Nottingham Oct 20 – 21

Next event: Caldicot Castle, Church Road, Caldicot, NP26 4HU, Wales

Image result for tony salter Scallywags auxiliary unit display

Image result for tony salter Scallywags auxiliary unit display

 

Apr 082018
 

This was a well attended, highly enjoyable 2-day event. We supplied a joint display of Operational Patrols (including local Patrol info) and Special Duties Section items and video. We had plenty of visitors, interest and a few leads as well.  ‘Johnny’ Johnson (the last surviving Dambuster) was guest of honour. Thanks all.