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Thread: Bedfordshires hidden WWII past...

  1. #1
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    Default Lost SOE and other secret sites in the UK.

    Over the last few years I have been extensively looking at the history and operation of our villages lost airfield (Barton in the clay) but I have become seduced by the fascinating tale of the secret ops of WWII within this area.

    Bletchley Park is world renown for its work with Enigma however Station 'X' was just a small part of very much bigger clandestine operation that took place in the stately homes, country houses, farms, airfields and even town centres of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

    Concentrating within the surrounding villages of Barton I have started to build up a picture of how the units interacted (or in some cases not so interacted!).... and tracked down the physical locations to see if any part of the operation still exists some 60+ years on. The AiX site has been really helpful in pinning down the locations and so I have decided to put the list on the forum too.

    Please be aware this an ongoing list as new buildings and lost sites get rediscovered every week, some still need the detail adding (simply not enough hours in the day). If any of the sites are known to you and you can add more information or especially have photographs then please get in touch with me.

    abbreviations.
    SCU, Special Communications Unit
    PWE, Political Warfare Executive
    PID, Political Intelligence Department
    SOE, Special Operations Executive
    RSS, Radio Security Service
    CFO, Central Forecast Office
    MD1, Ministry of Defence unit 1
    ISRB, Inter-Services Research Bureau
    NID Q, Navel Intelligence Q section
    RSGB, Radio Society of Great Britain


    my current list;

    SCU Windy Ridge Radio Station, Whaddon
    SCU Whaddon Hall
    SCU Paraset factory, Little Horwood
    SCU Oaklands (Arkley View complex)
    Royal Signals Unit Little Horwood
    Tattenhoe Camp Bletchley
    Bletchley Park codename 'Station X'
    PWE Woburn Abbey
    PWE Froxfield House codename 'Foxgrove'
    PWE Wavendon Towers codename 'simpsons'
    PWE Milton Bryan Radio Station
    PWE Milton Bryan Rectory
    PID Paris House
    PID Potsgrove Radio Station codename 'Poppy'
    PID Potsgrove Radio Station codename 'Pansy'
    PID Marylands
    PID Gawcot antenna
    PID Sun Engraving Works Watford.
    SOE Daltons Home
    SOE Tempsford
    SOE Addington House
    SOE Gaynes Hall
    SOE Howbury Hall
    SOE Grendon Hall
    SOE Poundon House
    SOE Poundon Hill
    SOE Chichley Hall
    SOE Hazells Hall
    SOE Hockliffe Radio Station
    SOE Harrington Airfield#
    SOE Desborough#
    SOE Cheddington#
    SOE Luton News printers
    SOE Chicksands Priory
    SOE workshop Bedford
    SOE School of Cryptography, Ardor House
    SOE School of Cryptography, De Pary's Avenue
    SOE School of Cryptography, Albany Rd
    SOE School of Cryptography, St Andrews Rd
    SOE Brickendonbury Manor
    SOE Aston House
    SOE MD1 Workshop Bedford
    SOE MD1 Limpet Mine test site
    SOE MD1 Limpet Mine Factor
    SOE MD1 The Firs, Whitchurch
    SOE/PID Home of John Gibbs, Tingrith
    SOE/PID Factory of Leagrave Press (Gibbs and Bamforth)
    SOE Luton News Alma St print works
    SOE The Rectory Toddington
    SOE Bride Hall, Ayot St Lawrence
    SOE Briggens Park. Roydon
    SOE Frogmore Farm, Aston#
    SOE The Thatched Barn
    SOE ISRB Watford.#
    SOE Station VIIc Watford.#
    SOE Gorhambury house
    SOE Roughwood Park
    SOE Brockhall Hall
    SOE Gardener's End, Ardeley#
    SOE Queen Mary reservoir, Station IX A
    SOE British Tabulating Machine Company, Letchworth
    RSS Hanslope Park
    RSS Sandridge
    PWE The Holt
    PWE The Rookery
    PWE Dawn Edge House
    PWE The Mount
    PWE Wednesden House
    PWE Nether Hill House
    PWE Aspley Hill House
    CFO/IDA Dunstable
    RAF Stanbridge
    Sharnbrook Ordnance Dept#
    ISRB Wel-freighter, Letchworth. secret manufacturing plant
    ISRB Vickers Test Tank, St Albans
    ISRB SE.Opperman, Borehamwood. prototype Wel-freighter construction

    the ones marked '#' the exact building on the site is not yet 100% confirmed all others are as much as I possibility can!



    As I said, all these are mapped with known locations which can be found here on the villages Community Website Google page;
    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msa...74f9785e3c9a40
    Last edited by Jenna; 07-05-2012 at 10:55.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bedfordshires hidden WWII past...

    updated the information with additional sites.

    SOE Brickendonbury Manor
    SOE Aston House

    SOE MD1 Workshop Bedford
    SOE MD1 Limpet Mine test site
    SOE MD1 Limpet Mine Factor
    SOE MD1 The Firs Whitchurch
    Last edited by Jenna; 15-06-2011 at 12:30.

  3. #3
    OTBC Paul Francis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedfordshires hidden WWII past...

    Abbreviations? You could extend it to cover all WWII military sites and a similar list of military sites in WWI?

  4. #4
    SuperMod Carnaby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedfordshires hidden WWII past...

    An excellent start, Jenna. We'll probably amend / move this into the Audit section in the near future.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bedfordshires hidden WWII past...

    Sorry, I have got into the habit with all the abbreviations.

    SCU, Special Communications Unit
    PWE, Political Warfare Executive
    PID, Political Intelligence Department
    SOE, Special Operations Executive
    RSS, Radio Security Service
    CFO, Central Forecast Office
    MD1, Ministry of Defence unit 1 (aka 'Churchill's toy shop')

    RSGB, Radio Society of Great Britain


    The project was set up to map the sites locally however as more and more become located and can be verified on the ground it would make sense to build a map database of the whole UK. The current 'google map' system works well with good public access however it has on a few occasions dropped up while editing!.. a better platform is a must if were to be expanded.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bedfordshires hidden WWII past...

    ummm It looks like I have found the exact location of the Luton News presses, apparently my mum worked there

    Although working there some 20 years after the WWII use she can locate the presses as they were never moved until after her time at the company (early 60's), my mum also remembers the Gibbs family that owned the company and lived on the edge of the SOE/PID strong hold at Woburn (which cannot be a coincidence!)

    Added

    SOE/PID Home of John Gibbs, Tingrith
    SOE/PID Factory of Leagrave Press (Gibbs and Bamforth)
    Last edited by Jenna; 15-06-2011 at 21:48.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bedfordshires hidden WWII past...

    Wow Jenna, I live in the Bedford area and never realised there was quite so much activity in these parts, beyond Tempsford, the Americans at Milton Ernest etc.

    One minor correction to both your list and the website, the SOE site in Bedford would be on De Pary's Avenue, not De Pray's.

    Well done though, a fascinating list.

    Peter

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bedfordshires hidden WWII past...

    Hello Peter,

    Its amazing what goes on around us in history and we just never know,

    Researching the work of 'Nobby' Clack and his assistant Munroe in Bedford has been good fun, this guy must have been the man that Ian Flemmings 'Q' was based on. As an engineer reading the tales of prototyping and testing of the early limpet mines has had me in stitches.

    Thanks for the correction on De Pary's Avenue, spelling was never my strong point.

    So after cornering my this afternoon I can confirm the location of the print room of the Luton News in Luton exactly, sadly like so many sites its no longer there but at least I can record it and let people know. When showing my mum the information on the print-works she had no idea of what had happened in the building below her office, she was also not aware of the role of a manger she worked with who was part of the printing crew which printed an estimated 6,000,000,000 during WWII.

    Another twist I was not aware of was my family on my dads side lived and worked in Tingrith and Eversholt (both SOE/PID based villages)during WWII.

    Over the next week I will start to research the units to the east with Stevenage, Hertford, and north London.

    Jenna

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bedfordshires hidden WWII past...

    this morning made a few corrections to the map and added:

    SOE Luton News Alma St print works
    SOE The Rectory Toddington

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bedfordshires hidden WWII past...

    map has been updated again with the following:

    SOE Bride Hall, Ayot St Lawrence
    SOE Briggens Park. Roydon
    SOE Frogmore Farm, Aston#
    SOE The Thatched Barn
    PID Sun Engraving Works Watford.
    SOE ISRB Watford.#
    SOE Station VIIc Watford.#
    SOE Gorhambury house
    SOE Roughwood Park
    SOE Brockhall Hall
    SOE Gardener's End, Ardeley#

    I will add these and all updates to the first post list asap.

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