Churchill's British Resistance - The Special Duties Branch

 

Golding 1 - West Hill, Special Duties Radio OutStation.

This page was last updated at 12:53pm on 17/1/12

Thank you for selecting information on the West Hill Special Duties out station known as Golding 1 in Devon. The info and images below have been supplied by CART's Devon CIO, Nina Hannaford.

1940

The Intelligence Officer (IO) for the Special Duties Branch of Auxiliary Units covered the South West, including Somerset and Devon.

The initial Intelligence Officer for the whole area was Captain Coxwell-Rogers M.C (his name was Cecil Mein Probyn Dighton and he assumed the name Coxwell-Rogers during World War 1) and for a time was based at 13, Mount Street, Taunton. He was in the Gloucestershire Regiment and was given the honorary rank of Captain when he relinquished his commission in January 1944 due to ill health.

Coxwell-Rogers illness meant that in 1942 he was succeeded by Captain Edward (Ned) Fingland, who took over temporarily while his predecessor was hospitalised. By late 1943 the IO was Captain Arthur Douglas Ingrams from the Axminster area who was operating “Chirnside 1” and was replaced by Captain E C Grover in 1944 after Ingrams was sent to Norfolk then the Middle East.

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



Civilians involved included Dr Francis Sidebotham who manned the radio every evening at 6pm. He owned, lived in and ran his practice in Bendarroch House.

His brother-in-law and practice partner Dr Ralph Traill would have carried intelligence information to the radio transmitter.

There were five others collecting intelligence that are unknown. One is thought to have been the gardener at Bendarroch.

Daughters Ann Sidebotham and Gerty Hall (nee Traill) helped with radio transmissions.

OUT STATION BUNKER

West Hill , Special Duties Section, Out Station code named “ GOLDING 1 “ War Office Reference T 497156

Dugout was concealed below a hen house (others report a hay stack and a Dutch Barn) in fields behind Bendarroch House, West Hill.

West Hill SDS Out Station Drawing

Diagram explaining lay out of dugout and aerial in 1954 drawn by Mr Moger.

West Hill SDS Out Station 1

Looking towards Windmill Lane, Wellingtonia tree in centre.

(Above) This field has now been built on and is now Windmill Lane. The aerial cable ran underground from the dugout to a large Wellingtonia tree that remains on the boundary of two gardens. No evidence remains of the cable.

Ann (Nee Sidebotham, daughter of Francis) remembers the location was camouflaged by its situation beneath a hen house in a field behind Bendarroch and occupied a small underground room. About 6 foot square, it was reached by a ladder from gound level. The room had a radio transmitter that was used to communicate with Coxwell-Rogers in Taunton. 

West Hill SDS Out Station 3

West Hill SDS Out Station 2

The aerial went up this Wellingtonia tree.

Dr Jimmy Sidebotham (son of Francis) remembers the army fixing an aerial to the tallest tree in the area and excavating a deep bunker under a hay stack. They installed what was quite a sophisticated wireless system for its time.

The Wellingtonia tree that housed the aerial from the dugout still stands.

A 1944 map of the Special Duties wireless network shows links from Golding Zero at Cheddon Fitzpaine to Chirnside Zero near Buckland St Mary (Castle Neroche) along with links to Golding 1 (West Hill), 2 (Pinhoe) 3 (Hemyock) and 4 (Wiveliscombe).

In 1997, after a Radio 4 article on the British Resistance, Mr Moger from Exemouth wrote a letter about the dugout at Bendarroch.

His family bought the house in 1954 and as they started to level the ground near the “Dutch Barn” the digger hit “really tough steel sheeting”.They made enquires and found out what it was even though they were told by the gardener that they “were not meant to know about that as it is secret ”.

He drew a map of its location (see top of page)


Robert Neal from Ottery St Mary Heritage Society. The Golden Jubilee Book of Ottery St Mary, by Hazel Abley. 1939 Kelly's Directory. Letter from Mr Moger and list of Golding Stations originally supplied by Tom Sykes March 2011.

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