Dorchester - SD Out
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Report provided by
Dr Will Ward. CART CIO for Dorset.
Call sign: Osterley 4
Date of Construction: unknown
It is thought that the operator of this outstation was Dr
Russell Stevens, a family doctor and also surgeon at Dorset County Hospital, then in the centre of Dorchester. He
lived in West Walks House adjacent the hospital and overlooking the park, with the main road from the south passing
on the other side. This would have meant good views of any Germans moving out from an invasion in the Weymouth
area. Dr Stevens was a keen photographer and in 1936 founded Dorchester Camera Club. He was also a radio "ham"
before the war and was an early member of South Dorset Radio Group after the war, becoming its first President. His
call sign (appropriately for ‘Doc’ Stevens) was G3DUQ.
Photo courtesy South Dorset Radio Society.
Local resident Keith Hooper recalls him describing fitting
aerials into the roofs of various long thatched Barns around Dorset, these being perfect for concealing the large
dipole aerials without causing suspicion. The Portesham outstation is likely one such site. Another was said to be
in the stable block behind his house. It is unusual for an outstation operator to be involved in installing
aerials, but given that many of the Royal Signals personnel were recruited from the radio ham community, he may
have known some of them and been capable of helping out. The aerials were apparently fitted at night and usually
without the permission of the owners!
Alf Ellis' wartime diary records both an attic and a dugout
site in Dorchester. It is not clear where such a dugout would have been, though there was a small tree covered area
at the end of the hospital grounds, now serving as a car park. A close inspection shows no evidence of concealed
aerials on any of the surviving trees, so this remains speculation.
Wrackleford Patrol member George Northover remembers Dr
Russell Stevens well. He was the surgeon who had helped manage his mother’s medical problems for many years. He
recalls being taken into to his house to be shown the radio equipment and told how he had contacted people from all
around the world with this. He never knew that he was part of Auxiliary Units until 2014.
Dr Russell Stevens former house in West Walks, Dorchester.
The stable block behind the house which possibly contained the aerials has since been demolished. It is not
clear if the attic referred to was in the stables, or the main house.
Report provided by Dr Will Ward. CART CIO for