Churchill's British Resistance - The Special Duties Branch

 

Braxted - SD Out Station

This page was last updated at 2:33pm on 18/8/14

Report provided by Dr Will Ward. CART CIO for Dorset.

Type: Outstation
Call sign: unknown
Date of Construction: unknown
Area; unknown

Captain Childe, from the Intelligence Corps, was the Intelligence Officer for the Special Duties side of Auxiliary Units in Essex and Suffolk, at least between Jan 1941 to October 1943.

Operator/s

The exact location of the transmitter is unknown, although we know a good deal about the operator. Ronald Godfrey Potts was interviewed by David Lampe for "The Last Ditch". He was born in 1909 as the fourth son of a Birmingham psychiatrist and became a manager at a factory in Witham before the war.

He reported that they had been told that their transmissions could not have been located by the Germans, though this was untrue.

Unusually, he was member of an operational patrol as well as an SD operator. He was asked to suggest people to be his spies and cut-outs, which was not always the case elsewhere. The surviving diaries of Group Commander Keith Seabrook, show that Potts was his assistant by 1944, though previously he had commanded the Wickham Bishops patrol. These carry detailed stores records, including that he was 5'10", and had size 11 shoes. He had joined the Home Guard on the 14th May 1940 having previously been in the OTC as a student. He went to Coleshill for his training course on 6th September 1940. His ID card was M101982, carrying a military code common to Home Guard officers rather than the more normal geographical one. Many members of the central Essex Auxiliary Units patrols were, like Ronald Potts, involved in the local fruit growing industry one way or another.

Ronald Potts appears to have been a very busy man. He captained the local Witham Hockey club and played cricket in the summer. He was Master of Ceremonies at the annual socials for both firm and hockey club during the war and appeared in various pantomimes, normally raising money for Prisoner of War funds or other such good causes. He also had a car, a 1938 Standard 12HP (EDE391), run on a C licence, so may have been able to visit some of his contacts.

In April 1944, he left Auxiliary Units to join the Royal Marines. Three years later he was engaged to the daughter of a naval Commander and subsequently married. He died in 1972.

Wireless site/s

Ronald Potts was the manager at Fruit Packers (Essex) and lived at Oaks Cottage, Wickham Bishops, suggesting the transmitter was nearby. Chantry Wood would be the nearest likely location for a dugout, sitting on higher ground, though of course the set may have been concealed in or near the house.

Report provided by Dr Will Ward. CART CIO for Dorset.

The Last Ditch, David Lampe, 1969
Seabrook diaries (courtesy Peter Robins, but copies also held by Essex Record Office)
www.nature.com/nature/journal/v144/n3641/abs/144275b0.html
Essex Newsman Essex, England 12 Mar 1938
Essex Newsman Essex, England 27 Apr 1940
Chelmsford Chronicle Essex, England 10 Jan 1941
Chelmsford Chronicle Essex, England 6 Oct 1939
Chelmsford Chronicle Essex, England 20 Sep 1940
Chelmsford Chronicle Essex, England 24 Jun 1938
Chelmsford Chronicle Essex, England 12 Jan 1940
Essex Newsman Essex, England 22 Feb 1944
Chelmsford Chronicle Essex, England 10 Jan 1941
Chelmsford Chronicle Essex, England 25 Feb 1944
Chelmsford Chronicle Essex, England 21 Apr 1944
(Newspapers accessed via the British Newspaper Archive)