Special Duties WT station 'Chirnside 1, Somerset.

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by Capt.Sensible, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. Capt.Sensible

    Capt.Sensible Well-Known Member


    I've just heard about this:

    'The secret British wartime spy network in East Devon and South Somerset

    Lecture by Hugh May and David Hunt at Dillington House on Monday 1st September at 7 pm.

    In July 1940, under the threat of a German invasion, the Army set up a secret resistance organisation called Auxiliary Units to train civilians as spies and saboteurs in threatened coastal areas of Britain. Some 120 spy networks were set up, each with about 30 specially vetted civilians, trained to observe the invader and to pass intelligence reports via runners using hidden dead letter drops to concealed wireless stations. There the reports would be transmitted out of the Nazi occupied area to the Army.

    A unique underground spy wireless station survives in remarkably good condition at Bewley Down in East Devon just over the Somerset border. It is cleverly concealed in a chamber excavated by soldiers under a privy with an access shaft beneath the seat. The construction of the station and the elaborate layers of access security, together with the ventilation systems and wireless aerials concealed in trees, have been painstakingly researched and largely restored by a multi-skilled team of professionals and published in detail in this new book.

    Learn about the history of this lonely site, the clandestine ‘Special Duties’ organisation it was part of, and Douglas Ingrams who lived there. Ingrams operated the wireless station, CHIRNSIDE 1, which communicated to a control station which is still buried within the ramparts of Castle Neroche. He was also the mystery ‘key man’, with links to MI6, who recruited and ran a spy network covering Axminster, Chard and Stockland, while still managing his small holding. The extraordinary lengths that the Army took to covertly build and protect this wireless station from discovery, clearly indicates the importance of these spy networks to British resistance.

    Dillington are charging £5 per person (including a free glass of wine) but tickets are only available from mail@dudfieldpublishing.co.uk and must be pre-purchased. Copies of the book will be available at Dillington at £16.50 or at the Somerset Heritage Centre.

    Dillington House and grounds are normally not open to the public but there will be an opportunity for ticket holders to walk round the grounds before the event and see some of the house afterwards. http://www.dillington.com/''

  2. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    Interesting stuff! Special radios developed for these radio nets were designated "TRD". As far as is known, no examples survived the war and may have been deliberately destroyed rather than dumped down mine shafts or sold on the post-war surplus market. If any part of a TRD installation remains it would be a sort of Holy Grail for military wireless collectors.

    Capt.Sensible likes this.
  3. Capt.Sensible

    Capt.Sensible Well-Known Member

  4. BC610E

    BC610E Junior Member

    Hi CS,

    Yes, I had been following that discussion and have recently received a present of "Churchill's Secret Auxiliary Units", the edition for Norfolk & Suffolk. The book sheds no more light on the TRD, although it does show official confirmation that the sets were sent to Whaddon Hall after disbandment.

    It may be that the sets were considered top secret and, once their use was over, they were destroyed to prevent others getting hold of the techniques. Alternatively, (and more likely IMO) as the system of speech they used wasn't audible on a conventional set they might have been considered useless for further use. I must drop in and look at the replica TRD at Parham sometime!


    Capt.Sensible likes this.

Share This Page