Last August 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.
The 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. You can see a short behind the scenes video of the filming here.
The episode aired on Tuesday 9th May 2017 on BBC One at 3pm. You can watch it here.
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Keith Blaxhall. Keith was the Head Warden at Coleshill (National Trust) for over 30 years and was incredibly influential in the creation of CART and was a founding member. He died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday. Keith features on our Weapons DVD and was a real ambassador for keeping the memory of the Auxiliary Units alive.
Keith was qualified as a Building and Land Surveyor and worked for an architect, a national contractor and in local government. Keith retired in May 2011 but for more than 30 years Keith was the Head Warden for The National Trust in West Oxfordshire and managed country estates, archaeological sites and woodlands covering in all approx 10,500 acres including Coleshill. He was the secretary of The Ridgeway Military and Aviation Research Group with a museum at RAF Welford near Newbury. Keith was also a member of The Airfield Research Group and The Mosquito Aircraft Museum and contributed parts to The Assault Glider Project at RAF Shawbury.
“Keith was my first point of contact at Coleshill and he got me really fired up about the British Resistance. He then worked closely with me as CART was formed and attended all our meetings. His experience, gentle manner and wealth of knowledge will be sorely missed.” – Tom Sykes – CART Founder
“I was very sorry to here of Keith’s passing – I met Keith not long after CART was founded and was struck by his experience, knowledge and enthusiasm for local history, especially that of the Auxiliary Units. A really, really nice guy, I’m sure he will be sorely missed by all who knew him.” – Peter Antill – CART Researcher
“I’m so very sorry to read about Keith. He was a gentleman in a land where few still exist. He had qualities and standards that anyone would be proud to emulate. My thoughts are with his family. It’s they that have to bear the brunt of sorrow, loss, perhaps anger and a hole in life impossible to fill. I’m dreadfully sorry, I liked him greatly.” – Richard Ashley – CART Weapons Adviser
“Such sad news – a really great guy who went out of his way help everyone. He called me only a few days ago to tell me that he had a pile of Aux Coleshill related papers that he was going to hand over. He was in good form, his normal cheerful self and we arranged to meet up. So it is a real shock to hear of his passing. My thoughts are with his family” – Bill Ashby – CART CIO for Coleshill
” I feel privileged to have met with him and enjoyed his wonderful knowledge and humor.” Clive Bassett
“That is such a shame. Will be a sad loss to us all. Sympathy to his family.”– Sallie Mogford – CART CIO for Wales
“I was much saddened to hear the news about the passing on of Keith Blaxhall who’s kind hearted sharing spirit combined with his knowlege of Auxunits and Coleshill was a great help and support for me when I was doing my own researches. He was certainly an inspiration in the way he dealt with others and passed on his own infectious enthusiasm and interest.” – Matt Gibbs – Aux Researcher and Re-Enactor
“Keith’s knowledge and enthusiasm have, I am sure, inspired many people. He was always willing to put himself out to help others and it was always a delight to meet him. He was also a good friend to Subterranea Britannica, running a number of private tours at Coleshill and will be remembered by many.” – Martin Dixon – Subterranea Britannica
He leaves a wife and family and a huge void in the hearts of local historians.
The National Trust at Coleshill are planning another event next year. This event is happening mainly due to the overwhelming success of last years event on July 4th.
This info was taken from their website. It is uncertain at this time if CART will be involved. Bookmark this page on our site for more info.
Witness first hand life as a trainee Auxiliary Reserve at the grand opening of a replica WWII underground operational base at Coleshill, home of the British Resistance. Commemmorate the loss of Coleshill House on the 60th anniversary of the fire.
Step back in time at our nostalgic family weekend remembering the secret wartime volunteers, who trained up as Britain’s last line of defence in case of invasion. Check out the 70-year old Operational Base (OB), the Guard House and the Trust’s brand new underground Heritage-Lottery-funded replica OB. Get in the mood at our 1940’s street party with a Big Swing Band, drill practice with the Auxiliers, food, talks, art exhibition, re-enactments, entertainment, and a commemorative Church Service.
This week has seen the continuation of CART’s Coleshill Uncovered project on the Coleshill estate in Oxfordshire.
More than 20 people each day are working on site to uncover and learn more about the training of the Auxiliary Units.
The project is being lead by Anna Gow and John Winterburn with help from other archaeologists.
So far we have uncovered the suspected entrance to another operational base. See below.
You can see there are two holes in either side of entrance. These are where part of the counter weighted system would have been housed. The drawing below was drawn at Coleshill and given out to Auxiliers as part of their course notes. It clearly shows the same system and notice the pulleys? Below the drawing you can see the pulleys that we have found.
We have also discovered so far what we believe to be part of a radio dial. In part of the woods that we are working they used to make TRD radio sets. About 250 in number. You can see below the dial and also an image of a modern mock up of the Auxiliary radio which can be seen at the Museum of the British Resistance Organisation.
Yesterday teams from CART and Subterranea Britannica explored the water tunnels and the cellars next to the remains of Coleshill House.
Work started at 9 am and ran till 4pm and 8 people in total took part. The purpose of the work was two fold. Firstly CART wanted to see if the cellars were used for anything during the war and they also needed to measure the complete area for their Reborn project.
Secondly Sub Brit wanted to explore the water mines and also make an assessment on their condition for the landowners, the National Trust.
Both organisations had a great day. Images and video from the day can be seen here