Bedfordshire Auxiliary Units And Operational Bases
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This is the overview page for the Bedfordshire Auxiliary Units.
We have been contacted by Derek Manning has contacted us with the following info;
I can confirm that there were indeed 'Resistance Units' in Bedfordshire during WWII. My father Second
Lieutenant George W Manning was the officer commanding one such unit based in an underground bunker on the southern
outskirts of Bedford. My father worked for Igranic Electric in Bedford and was not allowed to enlist. My father was
the officer commanding, I believe it was No.2 Platoon Bedford Home Guard, during the war and I still have a
testimonial signed by the whole platoon given to him when the Home Guard was disbanded. From conversations with him
I am aware that other units existed to the north of Bedford but I do not know their locations and he said that he
didn't either but had learnt of them from other members of the Home Guard after the Germans were on the run in
Europe. Also as a teenager, myself and some friends discovered a similar bunker in woods about one mile south-west
of RAF Cardington and reported it to the RAF police at the base who came back with us for us to show them the
location and they removed considerable quantities of weapons and explosives.
During the early 1950's my father would take myself and my younger brother for Sunday morning walks 'to get us out
of the way' while my mother prepared lunch. On one such occasion we were walking in open country to the south of
Mile Road Bedford and along a stream bank on the edge of Elstow Moor when my father told us to wait for a moment
and he would show us something. He picked up a solid stick from a hedgerow and began scraping the earth behind some
bushes near to the stream. He had to try the same near to other bushes before finding a metal ring covered by
bushes. With some effort and much clearing of earth he eventually raised a trapdoor and descended down a steel
ladder into an underground chamber. I well remember his words when he got to the bottom of the ladder ' Good God -
everything is still here - I must get onto the army and have all this stuff removed straight away ' . He would not
let us go down in case some of the explosives were dangerous. He told us that during the war if the Germans had
invaded then he and some of his men were going to hide in this bunker and that they would come out at night and
kill as many Germans and blow up as many vehicles etc as they could. There was also an underground escape tunnel
from the Home Guard building to the north of Mile Road that ran out towards the old Bedford to Hitchin Branch
railway line embankment.
I also remember going with him to Home Guard HQ in Ashburnham Road in Bedford and watching him practising on the
range with a 303, he usually won the sweep stake. Another memory was seeing the whole Bedford Home Guard
marching down the Embankment in Bedford with the King of the Belgiums taking the salute at the memorial. I was
grabbed by a policeman for trying to march alongside and handed back to my mother who as trying to catch me.
Several houses along this same road were the home of the BBC during the war.
I hope this helps to fill in some gaps for you and to give some recognition to those brave men involved.
If you can help further please email firstname.lastname@example.org BEDFORDSHIRE