Heiferlaw - Alnwick Auxiliary Zero Station
by CART CIO for Northumberland, Stephen
This is not an Auxiliary Unit OB but is built along the same lines as most of the Northumberland
OB`s. It is a larger “elephant” type shelter with a couple of extra walls sectioning up the interior. The main
entrance is within a pile of stones surrounding the square shaft.
The interior has been white washed inside and there are several shelves for the radio
equipment. There are two smaller rooms at either end of the Zero station and one larger central room. Inside there
are still some pipes with holes cut in them, these were used to collect messages from.
The bolt hole tunnel is a long concrete pipe that heads away to the north of the site. At the
end of the tunnel there is what, looks more like the normal Auxiliary OB pipe entrance. It has a piece of broken
drain cover over it.
One of the trees close to the Zero station has a groove in the bark where the coax cable was
run and hidden for the aerial.
The site is north of Alnwick in Northumberland not far from the old A1 main road close to the
medieval tower at Heiferlaw. It is west of the tower inside the remains of a stone/iron age earth work, surrounded
by large trees. The Zero station is almost at the end of the Wooler to Alnwick pillbox stopline.
Manned by ATS girls originally billeted in private houses in Alnwick
though they later moved to Doxford Hall (the Runcie family home). Some officers from the SDS lived in Alnmouth
for some time before moving to Doxford.
Cpl Frank Hewitt was the man who looked after the radio sets and the batteries/generators for
the Zero and Out Stations.He was regular army Royal Signals and travelled around on a motorbike.
An Auxiliary OB is located a couple of miles SW of the site towards Shipley at the rear of
Hulne Park in Alnwick so maybe they had access. The network of Zero stations in North East England seem to have
been linked with the Aux.Units. The Heiferlaw site was linked to RAF Ouston and then on to Coniscliffe in the North
Riding of Yorkshire.
Map ref : NU182 177
Tim Wray adds, "Heiferlaw Bank OB in Northumberland - this was seen in use during the
Wartime by members of the Doxford Patrol, including Mr G Hedley Dixon (who I believe is still alive.)
Apparently the men seen going below ground wore insignia bearing the numbers '490'"
(Images and content provided by Stephen Lewins.)