Churchill's British Resistance - The Special Duties Branch

 

Lyme Regis Special Duties Sub Out Station (Osterley 1A)

This page was last updated at 11:18am on 4/1/15

Report provided by Nina Hannaford CIO for Devon.

Type: Sub-Out Station
Call sign: “Osterley 1A”
Date of construction: Currently unknown.
Area: 16

The Special Duties Intelligence Officer of Dorset and Hampshire for most of the war was Captain Owen Byron Hall-Hall based at Milborne near Puddletown.

Networks

A 1944 map of the Special Duties wireless network shows the central “Zero” (IN) Station for the “Osterley” network was at Blandford, Dorset.

This had links to the other Out Stations of the “Osterley” network but, due to a communication problem, not to “Osterley” 1 at Hawchurch (and Sub Out Station 1A at Lyme Regis) or “Osterley 2 at Bridport.

Due to the communication problem, messages from “Osterley 1” at Hawchurch (and sub Out Station“1A” at Lyme Regis) and “Osterley 2” at Bridport went through “Chirnside Zero” and were forwarded to “Osterley Zero”.

Sergeant Alfred Ellis of the Royal Signals was the Sergeant covering the Blandford (“Osterley”), Buckland St Mary (“Chirnside”) networks along with Cheddon Fitzpaine (“Golding”) and Winchester (“Omagh”) networks.

Original 1944 SD map with locations added.

This map was produced by Major RMA Jones (Officer Commanding AU Signals) in 1944. In an interview in August 1997, Lt/Cpl Arthur Gabbitas (AU Signals) states he believes it to have some inaccuracies.

The Sub OUT Station at Lyme Regis would have communicated with “Osterley 1” at Hawchurch around 6 miles away and so on to “Chirnside Zero” at Buckland St Mary, Somerset. From here an operator would have noted down the message and re-sent it on the “Osterley” network to “Osterley Zero” at Blandford.

Operator/s

This station would have been operated by a civilian(s). People who had occupations which allowed them to travel around the area and interact with people without attracting suspicion were regularly recruited. Other sub OUT Stations were manned by Doctors, Clergymen etc.

Wireless site/s

The exact site is currently unknown. The only information to date is that the Special Duties wireless was concealed in an attic in Lyme Regis on the A35 (present day A3052 - Sidmoth Road) at the top of the hill on the bend near the junction with Clappentail Lane.

This could have been in a private house or business.

OS sheet 177 New Popular Edition 1946. Area location added.

In an interview of 1997, Lt/Cpl Arthur Gabbitas recalls the difficulty the AU Signals had when maintaining stations in a more urban setting. Delivering and changing heavy batteries regularly without arousing suspicions of watchful neighbours must have been a challenge.

Please contact us if you can help locate where this wireless station would have been.

Arthur Gabbitas
British Resistance Archive.
Chris Perry
David Hunt.