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Report - O.B. 9, Wales,Jan 2015

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by huey, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Explored and researched solo over many months,the role of the Homeguard,Special Operations Executives and Auxiliary Units etc during WW2 has always fascinated me.The very nature of the role,the quiet resilience of the people involved,not to mention the Official Secrets Act means that very little has ever been recorded.

    THE SOE

    Set up in the event England was invaded,their job was to slow the enemy advance and create as much damage and havoc as possible.The SOE can more or less be split into two units- Auxiliary Units and Special Duties Branch. Auxiliary Units were a highly trained and well chosen guerrilla force taught how to fight dirty.Their role was to assassinate officers,ambush,hit and run.Chosen from poachers and farmers and locals,an intricate knowledge of the land was vital.Weapons,bunkers and hides were hidden randomly.They had state-of-the-art equipment and training in silent killing,stalking,map reading,living off the land,explosives etc and when the threat of invasion faded,many went on to serve with distinction in the SAS.However,power is nothing without knowledge,they needed reliable information...
    The Special Duties Branch gave them that.Normal people who spent all night observing and helping then who went to work the next day.Their own families never knew what they did,secrecy was paramount.Their job was recruiting and vetting,passing messages,monitoring phone calls,observation,explosive and ammo storage etc,in the event of invasion they would form a resistance chain and cause 'discreet' havoc-signposts going missing or being turned the wrong way round,fuel dumps being set alight etc. Observation bunkers like OB9 were their lifeline.


    All SOE were trained at Coleshill House,now sadly completely destroyed by fire.
    [​IMG]

    Typical layout of bunker,not shown is the hidden wall behind which the radio set,explosives and ammo were kept.There was also a false floor just below the trap door entrance,dead pheasents or similar were kept here so it would look like a poachers stash place if discovered.
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    The grass covered hatch slid to one side,like a car sunroof.This smaller observation bunker (Rudry,Wales) is really rare.
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    Looking down into main chamber-hollow breeze block end contained two glazed earthenware pipes,one higher than the other.The cool air came in from the bottom,the warm air vented from the top,naturally forming a draught keeping the air inside fresh.The bunkbed was to the right,radio set at far end.
    [​IMG]

    After 70 years the trees movements reveal the aerial track
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    One of the most interesting things I found out,was that three welsh vicars were involved heavily.This is Rev.Richard Sluman of St Teilo's Church-a Special Duties radio station.He would pass messages on to western command or the huge underground station at Blorenge (which still exists.)
    [​IMG]

    The beautiful alter hid the radio set.
    [​IMG]

    The lightning conductor hid and supported the aerial.
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    Many meassages came from nearby St Davids church,the messages were put behind a loose stone from the churchyard wall,somewhere by the gateposts.
    [​IMG]

    There were as many methods of delivering messages as there were people involved.My favourite is the tree stump that swivelled sideways revealing a drainpipe,the message was put inside a split tennis ball and dropped into the pipe.Gravity took it to the local farmer-who lifted his outside toilet up and retrieved it.And yes,the 'Allo 'Allo Tv series idea of lifting the bed to get to the radio is apparently based on fact,although im not sure the appalling old bat shouting for 'Edith' every two minutes is true.
    Another apparently innocent pillar of the community did her part too-Mable Stranks was the postmistress responsible for passing secret messages on and for checking recruits out.They would arrive,give a password and be told to wait.She would then make them wait,sometimes for hours,whilst she rang base-if she liked them a car would collect them and take them to Coleshill House,if she didn't like them a different car altogether would collect them...Over four years she vetted and helped around 3000 people.

    Bravery defined-Mabel Stranks
    [​IMG]

    Highworth Postoffice back in the day
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    Today its a charity shop. A plaque remembers her.
    [​IMG]

    My favourite parts of the SOE training book include some of the tricks they would use.
    [​IMG]

    'No night can be missed.There MUST be a target every night.'
    'Rum rations must be scrupulously fair in its distribution.Best issued after return from patrol.'
    'You do not break a secret,you die.'

    The Special Duties group were equally hard,practising breaking into local manors where they knew the German officers would take over,planning to poison the water or put explosive under the toilet seats.Some old school boys carried their own shotguns with homemade solid-shot cartridges capable of putting a hole in a piece of steel 100 yards away.
    One old boy documented how to use the commando knife properly -'Always up or down,never in and out.'

    A local holding house,looks unused since about the 90's
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Another holding and training house
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    All you need to know,The Times,April 14,1948
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    A very rare photograph of A.U. members
    [​IMG]

    A noob urbex'er yesterday
    [​IMG]

    How well equipped were the A.U.? Reg Sennet was C.O. for Dengie Group patrols,after the war he tried for 20 years to get the army to collect the unused supplies from his units hideout.He eventually told police,who eventually called the army (who presumably uttered the immortal words ' we're going to need a bigger truck.' From his milking shed they retrieved-

    14,738 rounds ammunition
    1205 lbs high explosive
    3742 feet delayed action fuse
    930 feet safety fuse
    144 time pencils
    1207 L-delay switches
    719 booby trap switches
    314 paraffin bombs
    131 fog signals
    121 smoke bombs
    36 slabs gun cotton
    33 ready made explosive charges
    1271 detonators


    That's my sort of bloke.
    Thanks for looking.
     

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  2. monk

    monk mature
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    Not the easiest things to find them aux units.
     
  3. canute

    canute 货车司机和国王
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    Interesting report Huey - any more pictures of the underground bunker?
     
  4. Bighed

    Bighed 28DL Full Member
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    very interesting read. I love me WW2 stuff but never heard of these. Top work
     
  5. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks guys,bunker pics are all the same and hard to access,if you ever see it you will know what I mean!
     
  6. captainwow

    captainwow 28DL Full Member
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    Really well researched, properly interesting! Thanks mate.
     
  7. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    A very interesting thread and well put together, like canute said, any more pics of the bunker ?
     
  8. monk

    monk mature
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  9. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks Ojay,pics were difficult to take,inside access was impossible just pics looking down both entrance and exit hatches. Got couple more of collapsing roof if anyone's interested.
    Monk- hi mate,no escape tunnel on this one,just the second hatch. Cheers H
     
  10. Dragon's Lair

    Dragon's Lair 28DL Full Member
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    Fabulous research and a great read. Good job mate.

    Dragon's lair
     
  11. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Pic showing damage as wanted..
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. TheTimeChamber

    TheTimeChamber The other one
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    That is fantastic
     
  13. Fatsimon mk2

    Fatsimon mk2 28DL Member
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    Nice not many of them around now or at least not to many that have been found yet!! Reminds me of a story told to me by a council worker a few years ago whilst a young man in the early 70's he and couple of workmates were tasked with painting a rural bridge on the 2nd day they clambered down to paint the underside of the bridge now this guy had been in the army(royal engineers)before joining the council and he spotted something a bit strange and climbed along to have a look when he got close he saw that the bridge was wired with explosives the bomb squad were called and the bridge was made safe the funniest thing was that the explosives and wires had been painted over several time since the war when the bridge had been rigged in case the Germans invaded
     
  14. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    That's the best story ever!
     
  15. Lavino

    Lavino 28ÐŁ ƦEGUŁλƦ U$EƦ
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    Well done on your report there you put a lot of effort and research into that .. Top marks for you sir..
     
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