Brent Knoll Chirnside 3B - Special Duties Radio Sub Out Station
This page was last updated at 9:00am on 11/8/14
Thank you for selecting information on the Special Duties Zero station known as Brent Knoll Chirnside 3B in Somerset. The info and images below have
been supplied by Jason Grey.
This was the home of farmer and former WWI soldier John Leonardt. Leonardt was originally from 100 Charlotte
Street in Birmingham, where the family were pen manufacturers. Leonardt suffered severe shell shock during WWI and
on his return home decided to put himself through agricultural college.
Also involved in the Brent Knoll wireless net was Dr Harold Whewell Hogarth Holmes BA, MB, B Ch. Cantab. MRCS
Eng. LRCP London. Dr Holmes was one of the consultant surgeons at Burnham's War Memorial Hospital, Love Lane. From
Jeffrey Wilson's book on the Somerset Home Guard Dr Holmes was also a Major in the Berrow and Brean HG.
John was selected and put in charge of the Sub Out Station, although his son “Pete” was the technician and
Neville (actually known as Pete) Charles Leonardt was diagnosed with brain tumours aged 11, and was therefore
not fit enough to fight in the war. He was however quite technically adept and used to construct his own crystal
radio sets in a shed in the back garden from a very early age.
The radio was located in Tumbledown Cottage under the stairs.
The photograph above shows a semi detached property (numbered 2 &3) and were able to learn that John L later
removed half of the property because it was partially falling down and rebuilt a single property (#2) which was
then called Tumbledown (see map below, also numbered 2)!
From the front door of the property you entered and if you walked straight ahead you would walk under the stairs
to the upper floor.
While there was no hidden alcove as such, the underside of the stairs were panelled, and the radio was located
behind one of the steps and a panel could be removed to access it.
There were 2 beech trees located behind the Laurels, some 50-70 meters away, and the radio aerial was actually
made to look like a standard overhead power cable, but which actually ran off to one of these beech trees.
Monica remembers a fellow in an army uniform walking past her with a ladder, as a young girl and as she stood
talking to a friend. He had erected the ladder in a ditch behind the pig sty partially obscured from site, and was
up the tree repairing the aerial. His cap fell to the ground close to where she and her friend were standing, which
made her realise he was up to something up in the tree!
The OIC or recruiter/organiser of the radio cells in this region was a Captain Coxwell Rodgers, although he was
no longer a serving officer in the army at that time!
The photo above is of “The Cottage” at Battleborough Lane, which is built on the site of the original Tumbledown
CART CIO's Dr Will Ward, Nina Hannaford and Aux researchers Evelyn Simack and Tim
If you can help with any please contact us.