Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Coleshill Replica Operational Base

Click here to view all the Coleshill pages
Please Note: The Coleshill House site and grounds are owned by the National Trust. The woods and grounds of the house are all strictly private and access is limited to set days a year. See our events page for their official open days. Attempting to access the site outside of these times is not only trespassing but could damage the future of our work and relationship with the Trust and villagers. Please respect this.

This page was last updated at 5:04pm on 30/5/14

National Trust Replica OB Project by Bill Ashby


Built through a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It's a replica of the existing wartime Operational Base elsewhere on the Estate, that needs protecting. You can track the progress of the build here.

Take a video tour of the Base with our Coleshill researcher Bill Ashby below.

Filmed in May 2014.

Approaching the OB

May 2013

Coleshill Replica OB July 2013 1

July 2013 - Because the public need access, a path has been laid which will lead to the entrance.


The Entrance Area

May 2013 - The entrance with temporary cover on the right of the photo.


May 2013 - Looking Back at the Access Path. All the top soiled areas will be encouraged to return to the wild.

Coleshill Replica OB July 2013 2

Coleshill Replica OB July 2013 14

July 2013 - Some planting of grass and scrub has been done. When closed the entrance hatch is only just viewable.


Ventilation Pipes

May 2013 -One of two vent pipes. This one will be hidden within a hollow tree trunk.

Coleshill Replica OB July 2013 9

July 2013 - A hollow tree now set in place over the OB galley vent pipe

May 2013 - This vent will be designed to look like a rabbit hole.


Main Entrance and Access Ladder 

May 2013


Inside the Operational Base

May 2013 - Upper Vent pipe leading to hollow tree.




May 2013 - The Bakelite terminal will be used to connect to a field telephone. A line will link to a nearby proposed OP (Observation Post).

The terminal will also have the facility to carry an aerial feed from a radio transmitter out to a nearby Yew tree (see below). Although normal OB’s were not equipped with wireless sets this replica will allow the working of the Special Duty Branch to be demonstrated.

May 2013 - The Yew Tree


May 2013 - The Elsan toilet.

Coleshill Replica OB July 2013 5

July 2013 - They have boxed this in for health and safety reasons. CART has never heard of this happening in real OB's.


May 2013 - Inside the Main Chamber looking towards the entrance blast wall. The large opening will be reduced to enable a standard timber door to be fitted.

Coleshill Replica OB July 2013 6

July 2013 - A door has now been added and the oversized doorway has been filled in.

May 2013 - Inside looking towards escape tunnel. Store Space to the right near exit.
Second Vent low down left of the opening leads to ‘rabbit hole’.

Coleshill Replica OB July 2013 7

July 2013 - A table has been added.

May 2013 - Storage space near exit tunnel.

Coleshill Replica OB July 2013 4

July 2013 - A shelf has been added for the kit bags.

May 2013 - The escape tunnel from Inside

May 2013 - The escape roor viewed from outside. May 2013 - In position being removed

May 2013 - Looking into the escape tunnel

Coleshill Replica OB July 2013 11

July 2013 - The wall with panel inserted.

December 2012 - A look around the outside. Things were not looking good at this stage.

Official Opening

Bob Millard


The new replica Operational Base was opened by Coleshill trained Auxilier Bob Millard and after a brilliant speech he cut the ribbon with his Fairbairn Sykes dagger before taking the time to talk to young and old about his training and service.

Crowds then queued for hours to have a sneak peak inside the unfinished building.



April 2012 - Ground clearing work starts.  

May 2010 - National Trust wins Heritage Lottery Fund grant of nearly £28,000.

'The funding will pay for the repair of the guard house and information displays for the public, as well a replica underground operational base which will be constructed to ease visitor pressure on the original. This will be tied in with an enhanced education programme for schools.' [National Trust Press Release]