Coleshill House, GHQ

Coleshill House was the HQ for the Auxiliary Units. Initially intended as just a training HQ, administration was also moved out to the country after 'blitz' damage in Whitehall. Coleshill House, on an secluded estate near the town of Highworth and less than ten miles from the railway station at Swindon, was in most respects an ideal location, remote from the point of likely enemy invasion and with plenty of space for operational training. Please see our dedicated Coleshill Section.

The training rationale was described by Nigel Oxenden:

"COURSES. With the idea of standardising the teaching, and at the same time building up everywhere a personal contact with headquarters, it was decided to hold four weekend courses. Coleshill House was considered suitable; the servants' hall and kitchen were taken over as a mess, and lofts over the stables as billets for (visiting) officers and men. The HQ staff came down on Fridays from Whitehall Place, laid on the programme and catering, and returned to London on Sunday evening. The first course was held on August 22nd 1940; the series of four stretched to one hundred, with surprisingly little deviation from the original programme."

The plan was to develop the estate as a training area for Auxiliers. Dummy tanks and aircraft, damaged beyond repair, and enemy transport - some real, others simulated - were dispersed in the grounds and a massive collection of firearms assembled, as well as booby traps and explosives. Demonstration OBs were dug. Classes were prepared in close combat, map reading, stealth, night cross-country movement, the use of firearms and grenades, and camouflage. At first, officers responsible for training had to commute from London for the weekend - the only time their students, the Auxiliers, could conveniently absent themselves from work. Auxiliers, with emphasis on Patrol Leaders first, were selected to attend a Coleshill course as soon as administratively possible. 

In the Winter of 1941-42 a competition was launched to find the best national Patrol. Each area sent their local County Champion who met in the semi-finals, five or six at a time, at Coleshill, on four successive weekends. The four winning teams returning a month later for the finals.

The 1941 group photograph shows, left to right; Back Row: Major Lord Ashley; Captain Ian Fenwick; Captain Bond
Third Row: Captain K.W. Johnson; Captain John Todd; Captain Gwynne;  Captain Darwell-Smith(?); Captain E.B. Clive; Captain Field.
Second Row: Captain J.W. Edmundson; Captain G.C.L. Atkinson; Captain Hamleton-Hill; Major Beddington-Behrens; Captain E. Maxwell;  Captain W.E. Clark
Front Row:  Captain Torrence; Captain N.V. Oxenden MC; Lt. Colonel  G.H.B. ‘Billy’ Beyts MC; Colonel C.R. Major; Major The Hon. M.T. Henderson; Captain W.W. Harston; Captain Crosthwaite-Eyre; Lieutenant Anderson.  

Property Purpose
Auxiliary Units GHQ
Address
GHQ Auxiliary Units
C/o GPO,
Highworth,
Wiltshire
Personnel
Role Name Posted from Until
Major Edward Beddington-Behrens Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Lieutenant Crew 1940 03 Dec 1944
Major Charles Randell Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Commanding Officer Special Duties Major Maurice Petherick Unknown 14 Mar 1942
Batman Trooper Jones Unknown Unknown
Coleshill Staff Captain Edward Robert Ramage Fingland 1942 1943
Coleshill Staff Major Michael Thomas Henderson 1940 1942
Coleshill Staff Captain Holland-Martin 1940 Unknown
Coleshill Staff Major Nigel Vernon Oxenden Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Civilian secretary Miss G.E. Clayton 1940 Unknown
Civilian secretary Miss P. Crosse 1940 Unknown
Civilian secretary Miss Duncan 1940 Unknown
Civilian secretary Miss Margaret Wallace Jackson 1940 11 Dec 1940
ATS Staff Private Marion Unknown 03 Dec 1944
ATS Staff Private Barbara Unknown 03 Dec 1944
ATS Staff Private Nessie Unknown 03 Dec 1944
ATS Staff Private Nora Bennett Unknown 03 Dec 1944
ATS Staff Second Subaltern Muriel Helen Hackwood (Miss) 1944 1944
ATS Staff Private Joan Hayman Unknown 03 Dec 1944
ATS Staff Sergeant Pony Unknown 03 Dec 1944
ATS Staff Private Elizabeth Rose Unknown 03 Dec 1944
ATS Staff Second Subaltern Mary Frances Shaw (Miss) 15 May 1943 20 Jul 1944
ATS Staff Private Margaret Smith Unknown 03 Dec 1944
ATS Staff Private Joan Welborn 22 May 1943 1944
ATS Staff Private Sadie Wheeler Unknown 03 Dec 1944
ATS Staff Sergeant Edith Mary Wilmott 01 Dec 1940 16 Aug 1941
Camp Commandant Captain Arthur Reginald Colenso Anderson 20 Feb 1941 13 Apr 1942
Camp Commandant Colonel Walter Horace Samuel The Lord Bearsted 1940 03 Dec 1944
Camp Commandant Captain Ian James Wishaw Benson 16 Aug 1943 01 Jan 1945
Camp Commandant Captain The Lord Delamere 1943 1943
Camp Commandant Captain Marcus William Wickham-Boyton Unknown 1942
Commanding Officer Auxiliary Units Colonel Frank Douglas 1943 16 Jan 1945
Commanding Officer Auxiliary Units Colonel The Lord Glanusk 1942 13 Oct 1943
Commanding Officer Auxiliary Units Major Sir Colin McVean Gubbins 02 Jul 1940 Late 1940
Commanding Officer Auxiliary Units Colonel Cyril Ralph Major 1940 1942
Commanding Officer Auxiliary Units Major The Honourable Lord Montagu 1940 03 Dec 1944
Commanding Officer Royal Signals Major Hugh Martin Green 17 May 1944 01 Oct 1944
Commanding Officer Royal Signals Major Rupert Mackworth Arthur Jones 1942 28 Jun 1944
Commanding Officer Royal Signals Captain Alex Louis Kaplowitch 04 Oct 1940 14 Jan 1941
Commanding Officer Royal Signals Major Thomas Hugh Winterborn 1941 23 Mar 1942
DAQMG Major Malcolm Ernest Hancock 23 Nov 1943 1944
DAQMG Lieutenant Horace William Hewitt 20 Jan 1944 03 Dec 1944
DAQMG Captain Leslie Franklyn Patterson 1942 Oct 1943
Deputy Commander Auxiliary Units Major Geoffrey Herbert Bruno Beyts 1940 1942
Deputy Commander Auxiliary Units Major Norman Bruce Ramsay 19 May 1943 1944
Deputy Commander Auxiliary Units Captain Peter Wilkinson 1940 1942
Intelligence Officer Captain Edward Robert Ramage Fingland 27 Sep 1943 01 Nov 1943
Intelligence Officer Captain Algeron Montague Neville Rodulfo 1940 1940
Operator Mr Edward George Jefferies Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Patrol Leader Sergeant Grainger Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Scout Section Member Eric Anthony Sykes Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Location

51.6405025, -1.663007

Pictures
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Caption & credit
Coleshill steps photo 29 Jan 1942 - taken by A.P. Holmes of Camera Craft, Hannington
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IO training course schedule at Coleshill 1942
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Coleshill weekend training course timetable
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Coleshill steps Jan 1942 group photo IDs
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Coleshill steps photo 5 Feb 1941 - taken by A.P. Holmes of Camera Craft, Hannington
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Royal Signals group photo at Coleshill
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1943 Patrol Competition Results
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1943 Patrol Competition target map
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1943 Patrol Competition target map rear
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1943 Patrol Competition
Image
Caption & credit
IWM Tankard 1942 winner Icklesham Patrol, Sussex
References

Auxiliary Units History and Achievement by Major N V Oxenden MC