Jun 192018
 

Thanks to all those who stopped by the CART display at the excellent Haselbury Mill WW2 event near Crewkerne on Father’s Day. It was a great day with lots of interest and lots of leads in the South West and also Worcestershire.

From our Devon researcher, Nina: “Though the weather could have been warmer it was a busy show and well attended. We talked to a lot of people about Auxiliary Units, many hearing about them for the first time. We were also given an amazing 10 leads on OB sites in Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Worcestershire. Going to be a busy rest of year hunting for those ! Many thanks gents. Chips were great too !”

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 232018
 

We are saddened to report the untimely death of Jack Northover before Christmas.

Jack was the last surviving member of the Wrackleford Patrol near Dorchester, Dorset. His father and brother were also involved in the Patrol. An Aux Memorial Plaque was unveiled in the village of Stratton in May 2017 attended by Jack in good health.

Jack said: “I am honoured that what we have done is being remembered in this way. I appreciate the number of people turned up. It means everything to us to be recognised like this.”

Follow this link to the Wrackleford Patrol including video interview and Memorial unveiling

According to Jack, the aerodrome at Woodsford, RAF Warmwell, was a target. During an exercise, he and other Auxiliers crawled across the airfield in the dark, past the guards. They attached tags to the planes, all fighters, to show they were “hit”. The CO was so mad, that he cancelled all passes for a week!

Our condolences to his family.

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

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

 

Sep 222015
 

Ron, who was a member of the Maiden Newton Patrol, Dorset, passed away on 25th August 2015. He was 92 years old and the last surviving member of his patrol. Ron recorded his memories for the Maiden Newton at war events and they were published in a special edition of the local paper as part of this.

His wife Dorothy predeceased him. His funeral service was on 8th September 2015 at Weymouth Crematorium.

Our thanks to John Pidgeon for passing on the information.

Ron Vallis, ready to serve when called. 

We will remember them….