Aug 082018
 
CART Devon and Somerset researchers have recently managed to get a copy of a photo showing some of the Auxiliers in the Nether Stowey (nr Bridgwater, Somerset) Patrol. This is quite a rare thing to find, as very few photos were taken of Auxiliers…
A patrol report for the Nether Stowey Patrol will be added to the CART website when the new website is up and running…

Jun 202018
 
We would like to pass on our best wishes to Don Brown who has recently been taken ill. Don contributed to our Aux research for the Somerset Scout Section which can be found here:
He is the author of Somerset v Hitler (Secret Operations in the Mendips 1939-1945).
Don also organised a meeting of ex-Auxiliers at Charterhouse near Cheddar in 1995, where they were finally given their Defence medals.
Best wishes Don, from all at CART.

Jun 012018
 

Coleshill House (SN6 7PT) was the hush-hush headquarters of Churchill’s Secret Army, or the Auxiliers. Discover the detailed history of their training and visit some of the remaining Second World War features around the village, including the Guard House and the original prototype underground training bunker or Operational Base (OB). Plus, check out the newly built and refurbished replica “funk hole” and see the new display of artifacts including a rare copy of a Stand-Down letter.

Day Times Availability
7 June 2018 18:00 – 20:00 Available
12 July 2018 18:00 – 20:00 Available
16 September 2018 10:00 – 12:00 Available
6 October 2018 14:00 – 16:00 Available

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/4cc948c4-d1f6-4b91-b911-a0e1ea3677c6/pages/details

Prices:  Adult £5.00 / Child £2.50

Contact Rachel Coltman to book on: 01793 762-209

Suitability: Children welcome (12+) / Assistance dogs welcome.
Park & meet: at the Coleshill Estate Office car park.
What to bring & wear: Please wear appropriate clothing for weather conditions. Flat sturdy shoes/boots/wellingtons advisable.
Accessibility: A fairly long, flat walk through the village, woods & fields.

Free afternoons are also available to experience the replica OB:

Day Times Availability
10 June 2018 14:00 – 17:00 Available
8 July 2018 14:00 – 17:00 Available
12 August 2018 14:00 – 17:00 Available
9 September 2018 14:00 – 17:00 Available
14 October 2018 14:00 – 17:00 Available

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/74fa6412-18cc-40cd-b634-a3dcf13d9b6e/pages/details

 

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

 

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.

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.

Mar 152016
 

WW2 PodcastRecently our Founder was asked to conduct an interview with the WW2 Podcast about the British Resistance and our research.

The WW2 Podcast was started in 2004 and to date has had millions of downloads.

They cover many varied topics on World War Two.

You can download and listen to this here

Thank you to them for considering us and helping us spread the word.

Aug 262015
 

The Sunderland Miner Who Became Churchill’s ‘Secret Weapon’.

A Wearside woman’s family tree research has uncovered the top secret role her father played during World War Two.

Jim Jarvis 1Miner Jim Jarvis officially served in the Home Guard during the conflict, but behind the scenes he was actually part of a British Resistance organisation known as Auxiliary Units – or ‘Churchill’s secret weapon’.

“These were highly secret groups and officially didn’t exist. Their aim was to resist occupation of the UK by Nazi Germany at all costs,” said his daughter, Ruth Raine.

“The men were trained to live underground and fight to the death if captured. Each signed the Official Secrets Act and we only found out about dad’s involvement by chance.”

Jim, son of pitman and World War One veteran James Jarvis and his wife Elizabeth, was born in 1919 and lived at 92 Front Street, High Moorsley. After finishing school he joined a gas company.

As the storm clouds of war gathered over Europe, however, James forced his son – who was still under 21 – to take a job at the local pit, in the hope a reserved occupation would keep him safe.

Jim and Phyllis on June 16, 1979 at their son Alan's wedding

Jim and Phyllis on June 16, 1979 at their son Alan’s wedding

“My grandfather had a terrible time in WWI and, although he would never talk about it, he still suffered from nightmares. He was injured in France, but we don’t know how,” said Ruth. “That made him determined to keep my father safe, which is why he made him go down the pit. It wasn’t the job he’d have normally picked for Jim, but he wanted to keep his son out of harm’s way.”

Jim was, however, determined to play his part and on July 8, 1940, signed up for the Home Guard. Three years later, in May 1943, the corporal was recruited into the Hetton-Le-Hole Auxiliary Unit.

The role demanded “more skill, coolness and hard work” than any other voluntary organisation, according to official documents. Recruits also had to be prepared to face “greater dangers” too.

“We used to ask dad what he’d done in the war, but he couldn’t tell us because of the Official Secrets Act. He just used to say he’d been in the Home Guard,” said Ruth.

“But he did say he’d tell us a bit more when he got word from the Ministry of Defence to claim his defence medal at around the age of 65. Unfortunately he died shortly before that letter arrived.

“It was complete chance we found out anything at all. We stumbled across his name while looking for my grandfather’s WWI records, and found dad had been in something called an Auxiliary Unit.”

Little has been written about life in Auxiliary Units, although the general idea was that soldiers based in secret tunnels would form a resistance force in the face of enemy invasion.

Recruits were expected to turn “night into day” while underground; sleeping in daylight and patrolling at night. Many tunnels can still be seen today – including at Houghton.

“The men were told that if there was any chance of being captured they either had to shoot themselves, get someone to shoot them,” said Ruth.

“It is difficult to associate my dad with something like that, as he was such a family man. It is also sadly ironic that instead of keeping his son safe, my grandad put him right in the firing line.”

Jim successfully combined a pit job with his secret life in the Auxiliary Unit; even finding time to marry his sweetheart Phyllis on July 31, 1943 – although he never told her what he did.

“We will never know exactly what dad went through. The secrecy still surrounding the units is such a shame – many people probably have no idea just how brave their relatives were,” said Ruth.

“My dad always said it was the only secret he ever kept from mam. He wanted to tell her, but couldn’t until the Official Secrets Act ran out – but he passed away before that happened.”

The Auxiliary men were finally stood down in late 1944, but Jim remained in the Home Guard until December 1945. He stayed in the mines after the war, working as a shot-firer at Sherburn Hill and Dawdon.

“All the family are very proud of what he did in the war; I can’t tell you how proud we are that dad was one of Churchill’s secret weapons.

“One day, hopefully, we will find out more,” said Ruth.

l More information on the secret units, including ones at Haswell, Hetton and Wheatley Hill, can be found at the website www.coleshillhouse.com

[SOURCE: Sunderland Echo.]