Widworthy (Sidbury) Outstation

Location
Widworthy (Sidbury), Devon
Type
Outstation
Call sign
Chirnside 2
Special Duties Personnel
Role Name Posted from until
Observer Stanley Harry Lawrence Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Operator Frederick Elford Copleston Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Station description

Chirnside 2 was located in a dugout in Widworthy Wood half way up the hillside overlooking Widworthy Church and Widworthy Barton. It may well have been placed here due to the lack of wireless reception at the Key Man's home.

The location certainly has a good clear line of sight north towards Buckland St Mary, which is around 11 miles away, and good wireless communications should have been possible.

The site was in the wood, to the left of the gate, between the first and second fence posts. This part of the wood is surrounded by a tree lined bank with a small ditch on the inner side. The bank and ditch would also allow a degree of privacy of movement for the operator and runners who could access the site from many different directions.

It appears that little remains on the site but an area of scattered and broken ventilation pipes covering an area of 4.5m by 7.5m. Though broken and none being in situ they are contained within a distinct area and not scattered around the wood suggesting the debris has not travelled far.

The largest collection of debris was found around a tree approximately 7m in from the edge of the wood. Some fragments were found intertwined with the roots of the tree suggesting it had grown around them.

The ditch and tree lined bank surrounding the area of wood are just to the left.
The tree also had a scar running down the length but it was impossible to say for sure if this was where an aerial cable had been concealed in the past.

In an interview of 1997, L/Cpl Arthur Gabbitas (AU Signals) recalled the difficulty the AU Signals had when maintaining stations in a more visible setting. Delivering and changing heavy batteries regularly,without arousing suspicions of watchful neighbours, must have been a challenge. There is (today) easy vehicle access to the site from a small country lane where maintenance could be carried out almost unseen. This would also allow for relatively easy access for the initial construction, the trees providing a cover from aerial observation.

Map Location

Widworthy (Sidbury) Outstation

References

Arthur Gabbitas
Arthur Gabbitas
David Hunt
The kindness of the landowners allowing access
Valerie Watkins (nee Lawrence)
Paul Copleston at www.copleston.net