Churchill's British Resistance - The Special Duties Branch

 

Blorenge Zero Station

This page was last updated at 4:23pm on 19/12/11

See info about the Welsh Auxiliary Units here

The info and images below have been supplied by CART's Dorset CIO, Dr. Will Ward. If you can provide any more info on this location please email us.

The Blorenege Zero station is located right at the top of the Blorenge, a flat topped mountain just outside Abergavenny. The suitability of the site for long range communication is shown by the modern transmitter mast a couple of hundred meters away. The remains of the OB can be easily found by walking past the “Foxhunter” memorial and towards a nearby bench. This overlooks the remains of the OB. There is a convenient parking area next to the memorial. NGR SO264108

The OB has the classic Zero station layout of three Chambers. It is built from hollow blocks, similar to those used at Rudry. The entrance was down a rectangular shaft which would have been camouflaged during the war.

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The view down the entrance shaft towards the first chamber

The OB is now half full of rubble, apparently deliberately put into the OB to render is less accessible and dangerous. The corrugated iron roof has collapsed in a couple of places which allows access to the larger chambers.

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The view into the entrance chamber.
 
Notice how there is an outline of unpainted blockwork around the doorway through to the second chamber. It is known that there was often a disguise over the first doorway, such as a set of shelves, which would have been released by a hidden catch. The aim was to confuse those fiding the OB long enough to allow the escape tunnel to be used.
 
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View from the middle chamber back towards the entrance chamber.
 
Notice the impression in the paint above the wooden lintel. This may have been where a blackout curtain was fixed to the wall with a wooden batten.
 
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The entrance to the escape tunnel in the end wall of the OB.
 
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The escape tunnel is short and built of blocks with a flat roof of concrete slabs. It lies barely below ground level. The tunnel leads into a long destroyed prefabricated concrete hut.
 
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The remains the the prefabricated hut.
 
A few bricks, a front step and sections of the supports for the wall panels are all almost that remains. In a couple of places the very bottom of prefabricated concrete wall panels remain in situ, there upper portions broken off when the hut was destroyed.
 
The is no definitive evidence, but it is quite likely that this was also part of the wartime Zero Station – being the above ground “Met Hut” used day to day for Signals duties. The OB would only be used for specific exercises or in the event of invasion. It is not known how the aerials were sited in this treeless location. Another Welsh Zero station on moorland used a specially constructed fire watchers tower, with the aerial built into the uppermost handrail. It would be interesting to see a wartime aerial photo of the site.
 
Linked sites (including local HQs and accommodation): It is likely that ATS operators were billeted in a nearby village, though it is uncertain which one. It would have been a tough cycle ride to the Zero station and it is a steep climb even in a modern car!
 
The Harcourt wireless network would have included a number of other locations, though full details are not available. These probably included the outstation at Rudry as well as the one at Llantillo Church, mentioned by George Vater in the Mercian Maquis. There are reports that there was another outstation in a locker at Newport Golf Club.
 
If you can provide any more info on this location please email us.