Wool - SD Out
This page was last updated at 12:32pm on
Report provided by
Dr Will Ward. CART CIO for Dorset.
Call sign: Osterley 6
Date of Construction: unknown
The operator here
was Albert James Speed, known as both Bert and James to different people, who was the local ironmonger. In this
rural area this meant that he had a mobile shop visiting various properties as far as Lulworth in addition to
a shop at Bovington camp and later another at Wool. He had been called up in World War One and having previously
trained as a mechanic was due to serve as a despatch rider, but developed influenza during the 1918 pandemic and
never reached the front.
Between the wars he was friendly with T E
Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, who lived at Bovington in Clouds Hill cottage. They shared a mutual
interest in motorbikes. He also experimented with crystal wireless sets with his brother.
He was issued with a set of binoculars, 7x50,
made by the New York based Optical, Film & Supply Co, but marked with British naval markings. Auxiliary Units were equipped with a good deal of US sourced equipment bought in 1940 using
Britain’s gold reserves. This may have been part of such a purchase. Bert had no other naval
He was particularly friendly with John Nichols
the publican of Ship Inn, who may have been one of the network of runners or spies linked to each outstation. Both
men would obviously have been well placed to be in contact with a large number of people in the course of their
business, even after an invasion, without attracting suspicion. He is also remembered to have frequently whistled a
short refrain in the years shortly after the war. "Dar did did e dar dar did did e daar daar". It has been
speculated that this might have been a recognition sign with his contacts. Not whistling it might indicate
something was wrong and to ignore him.
Bert Speed’s binocular case (Photos
courtesy Diana Parry)
Bert Speed’s binoculars marked with War Department Broad Arrow.
The binoculars were US made (as was much Auxiliary Units equipment), but in the this
case they appear to have been manufactured for a Naval contract.
After the war, he showed his daughter the underground hideout after the war. This was in a small wood on high
ground just south of his Burton Cross home. She did not go inside s was unable to describe the interior. Alf Ellis
in his diary gives a map reference which is for the junction of the access road with the road from Wool to
Owermoigne. This road is quite quiet as it does not directly lead anywhere, except to access the fields between the
convergences of two main roads. The site of the OB is now occupied by a post war underground reservoir, which also
needed to be built on high ground like the outstation. It is likely on an underground site like this that the
aerial would have been concealed on the top of horizontal tree branches, with the feeder cable buried beneath a
section of bark cut out for the purpose, then glued back in place.
The outstation was located in a dugout on top of a small hill, within the woodland just the right of
the telegraph pole.
A reservoir now occupies the likeliest location for the dugout, at the top of the hill, concealed by
mature conifer woodland.
Report provided by Dr Will Ward. CART CIO for
Correspondence with Diana Parry and Yoland Brown
Additional information from Roy Martin, Alan Watson and Alan Brown
Alf Ellis information via Arthur Gabbitas
Site visit May 2014