This page is part of a site tour of the Coleshill estate during WW2. Click here to start the tour.
|Please Note: The Coleshill House site and grounds are owned by the
National Trust. The woods and grounds of the house are all strictly private and access is limited
to set days a year. See our events page for their official open days.
Attempting to access the site outside of these times is not only trespassing but could damage the
future of our work and relationship with the Trust and villagers. Please respect
MT (Motor Transport) Park
This page was last updated at 4:25pm on 13/2/12
Concealed in the woods close to the North lodge was the MT (Motor Transport) Park.
An area that hid the vehicles used by AUX GHQ. Manned by a small detachment of men from the RASC (Royal Army
Service Corps) they operated and maintained the vehicles.
Routine servicing was done on site and if major repair work was required Simpsons the local garage in Highworth
Pictures of the service ramp located in the woods. Pictures taken by CART Jan 2011.
One of the Staff Officers (GSO3) was the MT Officer. He Commanded the RASC personnel which a 1940 record of the
War Office Establishment gave it as:
Clerks RASC (a)4 plus 1 WO Class 1 and 1
This Establishment level varied as the war progressed. The vehicles available for use included:
Car M/Cycle 15cwt
& 3 ton Bedford
The following information is an EXTRACT from an archaeological report produced in January 2012
following CART's Coleshill Uncovered project. A range of people
contributed, including CART. The report was edited by John Winterburn and Anna Gow.
We have extracted the key info for this area but would suggest you read the full report here
STRUCTURE 1 - MOTOR SERVICE RAMP
Consisting of two large concrete plinths that run at approximately 35°, it has always been thought that this
structure was a motor vehicle ramp. The two plinths are 4.40m long, by 0.43m wide, by 1.3m high, and they sit 0.44m
apart. The area between the two plinths has, over time, become full of loose soil and vegetative matter. The key
task for this structure therefore was to clear the area between the two plinths. The initial accumulation layer of
soil and vegetative matter was fairly loose and easily removed.
The accumulation layer was approximately 0.19m at the southern end of the concrete plinths, deepening to
approximately 0.80m at the northern end. Once cleared a hard concrete surface was revealed, believed to be the
floor of the vehicle inspection pit. In-between the two concrete plinths, about half way along, several large
pieces of broken concrete were uncovered as the accumulation layer was cleared away. These ranged in size from 0.31
x 0.16 x 0.23m to 0.50 x 0.45 x 0.22m. Due to the size and weight of these it was impossible to remove them and the
clearance activity continued around them. Another large piece of concrete was discovered at the northern end of the
structure, this along with the looseness of the vegetative matter made it impossible to clear right to the end of
the concrete plinths. Clearance therefore stopped 0.12 - 0.27m before the northern end of the concrete plinths.
The plinths were constructed from concrete containing small rounded aggregate (less than 20mm)
and horizontal 'pour' lines were visible on the vertical surface. These may be evidence of shuttering that was
used as a form for the concrete. A 0.015m layer of ridged concrete (see photo to left) has then been laid on
the top of the plinths. At the southern end of the concrete plinths, several steel reinforcing rods
(0.03-0.04m long) protruded from the top face of the plinths.
A variety of finds were discovered at Structure 1 including good evidence for motor vehicle maintenance (see
no's 117 - 140 in full report) and a possible oddity (Find no 138 - Image in report). An exterior 'Treble'
knob (Find No. 120) was also found in amongst the build-up of matter in between the concrete plinths.
• No. 117 - Engine cylinder head gasket fragment.
• No. 118 - Automotive electrical junction box.
• No. 140 - Ceramic vent for a lead-acid vehicle battery, manufactured by Lucas.
• No. 138 - Part of a clear glass lens, possibly from an airfield runway light (maybe attributable to the
The large pieces of concrete that were found between the plinths are thought to be part of a ramp used to drive
vehicles up onto the plinths. The ramp would have been attached to the plinths at their northern end. Further
evidence to support the idea that vehicles were driven in from the north is the steel reinforcing rods located at
the southern end of both plinths. Now bent over, but originally sitting upright in the top of the plinths, these
rods possibly supported a concrete stop plate to ensure vehicles did not drive too far. The ridges in the concrete
on the top of both plinths would have provided traction for any vehicle that was driven onto the structure. The
vehicle parts that were collected also suggest this structure was related to vehicle centred activity. This may
have been vehicle maintenance or could have been as a teaching aid for instruction in acts of vehicle sabotage.
COMMENTS & OBSERVATIONS ON STAGE 2 REPORT By Bill
Ashby (CART CIO for Coleshill)
As described in the report the inspection pit has reinforcing bars
protruding on top of the walls at the South end which would have supported some form of ‘Stop’ to prevent a
vehicle running off the end. No side guides are evident so that careful directional guidance would have been
necessary. This means that a vehicle would have been reversed into place from the North.
The concrete walls have vertical ends. There does not appear
to be any provision at the North end to support concrete ramps. As this photograph shows there is a
difference in ground level. The size of the trees growing in the high ground may indicate that this is not
post war fill but original ground level thereby reducing the size of any ramp needed.
Just East of the Inspection Ramp there is a
low level brick pier and a vertical length of angle iron (1 ½” ?) which does not appear to be associated with the
house stone rubble dumped nearby.
Access to the Inspection Ramp required space to manoeuvre therefore the Servicing Area would not have been used
for parking vehicles.
The trees in this area have grown post war.
NORTH LODGE GATE
Opening on the right leads to open area – mature trees gave overhead cover.
Read more about the house pre war here and during the war here.