Churchill's British Resistance - The Special Duties Branch

 

Captain Ken Ward - Special Duties Branch Royal Signals Adjutant

See ‘Episodes in a life’ his full career as written by his daughter Kate Ward.

Born: 12/6/1915 Grantham

Parents:

 

Father: Major Harold Ward k.i.a. 21 March 1918 Lincolnshire Regiment.
Mother: Louise Marion Jaques

Educated:

 

 

King’s School Grantham
King’s School Canterbury 1928-33
Pembroke College Cambridge 1933-36
Mechanical Services Tripos 1933-36 BA 3rd Hons 1936
Died: 31 August 2011
Commissioned: 5 Aug 1936 Royal Signals

Career:

5 Aug 1936 Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Royal Signals [P.68684] R.A.R.O. S.R.

December 1940 SDB

 

 

AUXILIARY UNITS
Approached by Major John Mills to join a new organisation being set up the Special Duties Branch (Signals) of Auxiliary Units. To be Captain, Adjutant and the Work Shop Officer, (also his wife as female operators needed).

Promoted Acting Captain Aux. Pt II 12 24/5/41No

15 Mar 1941 Posted to GHQ Auxiliary Units (Signals)
15 Mar 1941 Promoted Temp. Captain W.O. Order 26 26/6/41

15 Jun 1941

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reported to Major John Hills at the Bull at Long Melford. John was living in the Bull with his wife and 2 kids. Freddie Childe, who was the IO, was living there as well. The unit consisted of John Hills, Corporal Chalk and Crawley, both RASC, both were wood working personnel who had been doing the installations.

That was the unit. 'We had 1 x 15cwt GS wagon and a red American Essex saloon car. Upstairs in a bedroom, which had been converted into an office, Freddie Childe read the riot act and the Official Secrets Act was signed.'

'Somewhere in East Anglia was needed because that was the next area to be dealt with and it was fairly central to the whole of the coast. Eventually Bachelor's Hall was found and was empty. It hadn’t got electricity, but it was a big house with hot and cold water, oil lamps, Tilley lanterns you know and a range of outbuildings, which provided stores. At the back was a large farmhouse kitchen which was capable of feeding the troops and plumbing, 2 septic tanks and that sort of thing with main drainage. There was a large barn, which was ideal for working.'

'About 16 chaps originally recruited from known radio hams. Employed making sets to go in civilian locations with civilians who would stay behind. We started at Hundon to repair the Savage sets which were built by Brian Savage Limited. I found that there were an awful lot of repairs. The other piece about Hundon, which is very relevant, is we were responsible right down to the coast stations. We made the sets, we installed them in the coast stations, we taught the operators how to use them and we maintained them. We could not have cars, so we got 24 old motorbikes with open side cars on them as our transport.'

'Teams of 2 would go out from wherever they were based and visit the stations, change the batteries, charge the batteries, they were responsible for battery charging at the MET huts. Normally they worked from a MET hut out to the area, but they had to be very careful not to be seen when they went near station and that sort of thing. In some areas we actually sent them in civilian vehicles.'

'Problems with the Savage sets resulted in a meeting with Ron Dabbs and Bill Bartholomew and Ken agreeing to their request to make a new one. In about 3 weeks flat they produced the TRD, which was an all in one box, whereas the other was power-pack.'

480 stations were built in the year.

16 Jan 1942 Transferred from AUX to ISRB (SOE record started)
  16 January 1942 – November 1945, Seconded to INTERSERVICES RESEARCH BUREAU (ISRB), RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS DIVISION (RCD).
   

See ‘Episodes in a life’ his full career as written by his daughter Kate Ward.

 

Other Info: 1944 A.M.I.E.E.

(Information compiled by CART Researcher Bill Ashby)