Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Duns Auxiliary Unit Patrol

Auxiliary Unit - Duns (Borders area)

This page last updated at 8:54 am on 20/10/2013

Report and images by David Blair - CART CIO for Fife & Angus. If you can help with any info please contact David by emailing cartscotland@gmail.com

Bill Watson, a member of this patrol, wrote a novel about Duns patrol which can be purchased here

Research into this patrol and its training is ongoing. The information below is published from various sources and is by no means conclusive. If information is not listed below it does not necessarily mean the information is not out there but normally means CART researchers have not found it yet.

If you have any information on this patrol or can help with research in this area please do contact us.



The following are the entries found in the Nominal Roll.

Exact addresses have been removed by CART.

Major Balfour-Kinnear (in overall command of patrols in this area)

 Name

Sgt G. Burt
Cpl W. Watson (Bill Watson and author of 'Gone to Ground')
Pte Peter Aitcheson
Pte Andrew Fortune
Pte W. Forrest
Pte R. Simm (Simon)
Pte Ralph Buglass
Pte Patterson

The site is on a wildlife reserve and warrants further investigation, luckily for me, I work for the organisation who manage the site, although it still belongs to the current Feudal Laird Alexander Hay. My guide on the day was Frank Richardson who knew all the patrol members and is a native of Duns. He first visited the site in 1948 and at this time was visible without the tree cover and vegetation that now encroaches the entrance hatch. What I could not find was any other entrance/escape hatch or the air vent/pipe that Frank found when showing the Laird it back in 2009. The site visit was carried out on 20th August 2011.

Duns Auxiliary Unit 1

The Duns OB sits just to the left of the tree with the V (right of picture) Not visible from view as the vegetation and scrub is thick, as well as the understory, below the main canopy is well established.

Duns Auxiliary Unit 2

The entrance hatch (above); which is 700 mm x 620 mm wide and looks like there may have been a fixture to secure lid/trough type of cover. Just visible on the right of the image inside the shaft are the rungs leading down into the OB. Space between rungs is 500 mm.

Also visible on the facing wall is a section that looks like it leads off into the OB, from the top of the shaft to this ‘entrance’ is 800 mm. I could not excavate this as I require permission from land owner, although I did an exploratory scrape around the edges and found that the section you are looking at does not go anywhere and you can access it from the other side. What was not found was a pipe sticking out the ground a little distance from the entrance shaft that was visible a few years ago (according to Frank Richardson my guide) which I assume was a ventilation pipe. (Further investigation is required)

Duns Auxiliary Unit 3

Another view looking inside the entrance shaft with rung visible.

Duns Auxiliary Unit 4 

Duns Auxiliary Unit 5

In these shots the entrance is just visible.The ground cover and under story ‘below taller established main trees’ provides some cover from any one looking for its position (in the modern sense of the word) Just behind the camera is a long drop down into the former quarry.

Even on a relatively sunny day; at times I needed the flash to take pictures as the thick vegetation prevents much natural light getting in….Its a poignant thought, but Bill Watson as a young Corporal climbed into and out of this very shaft as a member of the Duns patrol. Setting the scene some years later for his book ‘Gone to Ground’

Oxendean Quarry close to the town of Duns Berwickshire Scottish Borders (Grid NT779544)

Observation Post/s: Currently unknown.

All main road and rail routes North & South Westerly, including Lintmill sidings which served
RAF Charterhall.

Initial training took place in the grounds of a large house on the Earlston to St Boswells road
Occasional training (less covert,) in Polworth village hall and explosives training at Oxendean
Quarry this site was also used for small arms training.
 

Maps: Duns, Dunbar & Eyemouth: sheet 67 Landranger

Frank Richardson, my great guide at Duns, Correspondence with Major Peter Forbes regarding bases in the Scottish Borders area, he supplied a list of OB’s which came under his command prior to him leaving for Coleshill in 1943. Will Ward, supplied information similar to Peter Forbes.

If you can help with any info please contact David Blair the CART CIO for Scotland by emailing cartscotland@gmail.com

 Gone to Ground about Duns Patrol