Churchill's British Resistance - The Special Duties Branch

 

Halstead 'Buttercup' - Special Duties In Station - Essex

This page was last updated at 1:35pm on 26/1/14

Thank you for selecting information on the Halstead Special Duties In station, code name Buttercup, located at Halstead in Essex. The info below has come from various sources.

Most Special Duties stations were over-ground.  In many cases these were disguised as a Meteorological Unit. From 1942 onwards underground bunkers were built not far from these huts. These contained supplies for approx 21 days and battery charging facilities. This meant that the crews could 'go to ground' and still operate for up to three weeks without surfacing.

Currently not known.


The Halstead In Station was manned by ATS officers throughout its lifetime. It was operational between 1941 until summer 44.

The site is on PRIVATE LANDNO ACCESS WOULD BE ALLOWED WITHOUT PERMISSION.

The bunker was built into an over grown bank located on the edge of a wood.

 Halstead Special Duties In Station 1

The entrance is located near to the wood's edge and the emergency exit comes out onto the edge of a bank that joins open fields, ideal for a quick exit. 

The bunker was entered by going down a breeze block built shaft.

It is thought that the opening mechanism would have been similar to the drawing below.

 

The exterior of the hatch would have been well camouflaged as above.

There is no evidence of steel rungs so a ladder must have been used to gain entry.

Halstead Special Duties In Station 3

At the bottom of the shaft you can see the original hatch counterweight (above) with wire still attached.

The bottom of the hatch leads into a small lobby which we suspect would have contained a water tank and chemical (Elsan) toilet.

This small lobby was a crucial part of the bunkers disguise. Anyone entering it would have thought they were in a small storage room which contained shelves stacked with tins etc.

This shelving was cleverly designed to conceal a small door which lead into the main operations room.

See design below which was part of the Norwich Zero Station.

 


Operations Room

Halstead Special Duties In Station 2

This is the main operations room. The end walls painted white to help reflect the light.

Two large ventilation pipes can be seen on the left hand wall. This wall separated the operations and generator room.

Halstead Special Duties In Station 8

The image above is looking back through the operations room to the entrance shaft.

Halstead Special Duties In Station 4

Fresh air entered the bunker through the bottom pipe. As it warms and rises it then leaves the bunker through the top pipe and travels outside.

We suspect there were at least five out-Stations connected to Halstead. It is also documented that there was a wireless link between Halstead and the Auxiliary Unit Signals HQ at Bachelor's Hall in Suffolk.

POWER

Two 240 Volt mains power cables came into the Operations Room through the wall.

In the Generator room the wooden mounting block is still in situ.

Ventilation

Halstead Special Duties In Station 5

Two large ventilation pipes made from concrete pass into one end of the generator room.

Like the wall of the main operations room, the pipes are painted white.

Halstead Special Duties In Station 7

Halstead Special Duties In Station 10

Emergency Exit

Halstead Special Duties In Station 11

You access the escape tunnel by passing through a square opening in the end wall of the generator room. The escape tunnel is only about ten feet long. Nothing remains of the exit cover. Under all the soil the passage has a concrete floor.

Thanks to Outkast (Dave) for the images, The records of Arthur Gabbitas held by B.R.A and BRA files.

If you can help with any info please contact us.