Could this be Sidbury's secret wartime bunker?

PUBLISHED: 16:31 06 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:39 07 January 2019

A model of what an operational base might have looked like. CREDIT: STAYBEHINDS.COM

A model of what an operational base might have looked like. CREDIT: STAYBEHINDS.COM

Archant

A research team believes it may have finally located a secret wartime base in Sidbury.

Images of the structure CART have found on in the White Cross/East Hill strip/Bald Hill area. Picture: CARTImages of the structure CART have found on in the White Cross/East Hill strip/Bald Hill area. Picture: CART

The Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team (CART) is looking for local knowledge to help it confirm whether it has located an operational bunker after coming across a structure in woodland north of the White Cross car park, between Sidbury and Ottery.

Operational bunkers were the home of patrol groups known as ‘auxiliary units’, made up of local people trained up to act as a resistance in the wake of a German invasion in World War Two.

All the men signed the Official Secrets Act and in the event of invasion would have disappeared to their underground operational bases (OBs), without telling even their closest family and friends.

There, they would use their training to sabotage the invaders by destroying infrastructure and taking out senior German officers.

Images of the structure CART have found on in the White Cross/East Hill strip/Bald Hill area. Picture: CARTImages of the structure CART have found on in the White Cross/East Hill strip/Bald Hill area. Picture: CART

Andrew Chatterton, from CART, said: “With most of the men going to the grave without revealing much if anything we now rely on relatives and local knowledge to help increase our knowledge.

“It (the structure) has many of the elements we look for when searching for jobs - water tank, lots of corrugated iron, well situated with plenty of escape options, near but not too near roads and potential targets and a great view of the surrounding area. However, it’s not underground and seems to be making use of a flint walled structure. This would not be the first time units have used an existing structure, but as it’s not underground it’s a strange one – if it is indeed is related. It might just be an old cottage that has a considerable amount of corrugated iron and for some reason had a substantial water tank in it. Either way it would be great to find out more.”

Those believed to have been involved in the Sidbury patrol include Corporal Fred Cordey of Cotford Road, Sid King of Vine Cottage, Ernest Hull of Oak Bridge, Walter Hutchings of Burscombe and Sergeant Frank and Richard Luxton of Sidbury Manor. Three other members –Derrick Hall, George Cole and Horace Coles – are believed to have been involved with the group before joining transferred to the royal navy and home guard respectively.

If you have information about the men or the location email cartpress@gmail.com to speak to a member of the CART team.

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