View Full Version : Archived: A tour of North Lincolnshires AU Bases - 2009/10

30-12-2010, 11:22 PM
Auxiliary Units were one the secret services of WW2, they were subject to the strictest conditions of secrecy during and after the war, more so than other combat units and well outside the normal remit of the Official Secrets Acts; the information on them in Whitehall was intended to stay secret permanently. The AUs were hurridly recruited, trained and equipped from summer 1940 although the origins of the AUs go back to the Special Operations Executive in 1939.

By summer 1940 Adolf and his boys were busy converting 1700 barges into landing craft and assembling his ships, tugs and planes for Operation Sealion, our lads were frantic with no idea where they were planning on parking their troops and the whole east coast had become subject to a 20 mile exclusion order. In this zone steel & concrete defences were being thrown up, fields & commons suitable for landing were being either furrowed of covered in posts and wire to prevent Adolfs boys being dropped off.

Inland stoplines were being created to keep Adolf at bay which would be manned by mobile reserves, Churchill sussed that the coastal defences wouldn't give the mobile lads enough time to man the stoplines so he needed some way of slowing the invaders between landing and the stopline - hence the Auxiliary Units. The man given the job was Colonel Gubbins who had a bit of previous with guerilla warfare - he had been sent to Poland in 1939 to organise a resistance movement.

Part of Gubbins secret report of July 1940 states that:
"These units must operate mainly at night and therefore are consitituated entirely from local men who know their countryside intimately ie. farmers, gamekeepers, hunt servants etc under a selected local leader. In certain areas where woodlands or heath are of considerable extent, particular units have the special role of occupying prepared hideouts as a base for operations. These hideouts are being prepared and provided with reserve stocks of food, water, munitions of various kinds etc, so as to extend the period during which operations can be carried on"

Lincolnshire's not all flat fenland; that's a myth put about by daft Yorkshire lads, the hill or edge that Lincoln's built on splits into a ridge and an area of chalk wolds that reach the lofty height of 550ft as they run northwards to the Humber. These wolds and the surrounding area were the home to the bases of Lincolnshires Auxiliary Units; a line of them ran from the Humber down into the flatlands at Deeping St James. This chalk wold's not far from our place so I started looking for them using the co-ords from the Defence of Britian database. I started looking for the 2 sites listed at Saxby-All-Saints, after shitloads of nettle stings and hours of tramping round muddy woods I decided to have a gander at Elsham - Result!

Elsham AU Operational Base:


The roof collapse had given it away, Elsham has a concrete chamber linked to the earlier Mk1 corrogated version by a link tunnel. Mk1 had collapased:


Later concrete chamber:


Born in 1941:


All these North Lincolnshire OBs were built in 1941 by Sheffields construction co (in reality his brickies from Normanby Estate)

A report on here opened the door to the others - linky thing: http://www.urbexforums.co.uk/showthread.php/6971-Auxilary-Unit-Operational-Base-Elsham-Lincolnshire-Feb-2010?

Old John got in touch to tell me about his dad who was the unit commander at Barton OB. He told me that the base was built on their farm without their knowledge - they were told it was to be an AA emplacement and then that "the ministry had changed their mind" They knew from the amount of chalk left laying around that it had not all been infilled, he confirmed it by driving a tractor over the entrance and collapsing it!

Barton OB:


Sliding entrance hatch:


Chelsea fans?

Johns mate knew the location of the upper OB at Saxby-All-Saints (I had been feet away last summer!)


The ladder just about reached - looks like some heavy duty raving down there:


We searched for the lower OB for an hour - bingo again except it was flooded:


2 OBs inside 1/4 mile - did the original one flood and a 2nd was built uphill or was it due to the fact that Lt Harry Marshall (local group AU commander) lived just down the hill from here?

Not an OB this time, more like a observation post, this is a couple of miles down the road at Worlaby



Looking back:


Main chamber:


Corridor to OP:


If you stuck with this geekery so far - cheers for looking :thumb

Probably some more to follow!