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.

Mar 232018
 

It is with sadness we report the passing of Auxilier, Victor Stemp.

Victor was part of the Great Bealings Patrol.

Their training was carried out by regular army soldiers based at Framlingham, including Capt Hoberton, Sgt Barry and four privates. They learnt about setting booby traps and how to move about without being seen. Victor also remembered training with grenades at GHQ Coleshill.

Our condolences to his family.

We understand that his funeral is on Tuesday at Great Bealings and his daughter has kindly arranged for any donations to be made to the BRO (British Resistance Org) Museum

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

 

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.

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.

Jun 132017
 

CART welcomed new researcher for East Hampshire, Jon Radcliffe to the stand at the Southwick Revival event. His local knowledge was invaluable as we spoke to a number of local residents with information about Auxiliary Units sites. Two visitors had played in the Southwick Operational Base as children and were able to describe it in detail, mentioning a previously unknown escape tunnel. Others gave accounts of the patrol members they had remembered from their youth. There was also a location provided for an Operational Base near Clanfield, though this might also relate to the Lovedean Patrol.

We also had some excellent information regarding an Base in Dorset and an oral history account from Sussex previously unknown to us.

Displaying in the middle of Southwick, Coleshill expert Bill Ashby went knocking on doors using the wartime addresses of patrol members and found relatives at one of these. They are looking out some photos of the patrol members for us which we hope to be able to add to the site in due course. We also heard a great deal about the area during wartime, as many of the wooded areas hosted allied troops in the run up to D-Day and remains still exist in a number of these.

Particularly interesting was a series of Tommy gun bullets which had been extracted from a felled tree. Eye witness accounts confirm that Generals Monty and Eisenhower fired Tommy guns at the tree one evening after dinner. Nobody had believed the story at the time, but decades later, the bullets were found in the timber when the tree was being cut up and kept by a local forestry worker. It isn’t often you know who fired a particular bullet, and even less often they are so famous!

It was impressive to see how many people had made the effort to appear in wartime dress, with many impressive wartime hairstyles and at least two vintage prams for young children. Periodically the military vehicles drove through the streets in convoy, past houses with taped windows and bunting.

The Aux Units part of the village’s history came as a surprise to some, with the D-Day map room and HQ being perhaps more famous. We’ve been asked back again next year…

(Report by Dr Will Ward – CART Dorset) Images by the team. 

 

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