Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Selkirk Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated on 12/8/16

Thank you for selecting information on the Selkirk Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Scotland. The info below have been supplied by CART's Fife & Angus CIO David Blair and Northumberland CIO Stephen Lewins.

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.

Number 4 Area (Borders) Group 3B
Area Group Commander: Captain J.S. Wight [Gps 1, 2,3A & 3B]   
Assistant Group Commander: Lt J. Baird

The Group C/O was originally Lieut. Jock Hay then later Lieut. J. Baird of the Galashiels Patrol.
 
The Group consisted of: Selkirk Patrol, Lauder Patrol and Galashiels/Bowland Patrol.

Early 1941.



Sgt. J. Allen (A Bank Manager & the patrol's leader)
Cpl.  J. Walker
Pte. W. Reid
Pte. A. Dryden
Pte. J. McKnight
Pte. A. Hunter

The OB has been sited within a high plateau with commanding views to open countryside, thinly wooded and has signs of felling in its past, suggesting there was a more thicker woodland there once. Looking west the town of Selkirk can just be glimpsed, but this is no guarantee it was visible during the OB’s use and occupation. The OP would have been sited to the south of the OB as I found cables from the OB heading south, but could not locate the actual OP; this is the higher ground and gives an excellent field of view out over the reservoir and beyond to the A699 some distance away. The patrol base is situated near to the other Borders patrols of Newton St Boswells to the east and Galashiels to the north.

Overall the OB is in a very good state of preservation, graffiti of mixed genre adorns the inner main chamber (some images edited by us to avoid offence), some evidence of a small fire at one time, as some timbers in the entrance tunnel charred, which is minimal, along with some deterioration of the main ventilation pipes which are very large and heavy and some of them have been broken through time possibly by tree root movement or by human interaction.

Bunk beds are still in situ, less the wooden frames, all that remain is the metal frame/springs, but complete. Fresh water tank is still inside and has some debris inside, door hinges, cable, and some timber possibly from a door or bunk bed frame supports. The entrance tunnel is very narrow and makes access daunting as you are going into ink blackness, but once passed the initial thought of shimmying down the shaft its actually okay, some leaf litter at the main entrance and within the main chamber. The construction and use of material is impressive and the layout and design of this OB utilised a few thousand bricks used during its construction, as well as the corrugated sheeting and other materials used, which would have needed a good cover story for any nosey locals? The farmer Angus Oliver must have known about the work being done on his land.

A massive thank you to Fell Wanderer for sharing this excellent video with us.

Entrance tunnel, curves to the right, very narrow gap, and air ventilation pipes to the left of image.


 
Midway inside entrance tunnel, above is a large ventilation pipe supported by the timber beams, thick cable hanging down just visible to right of shot.

 
Closer view of cable, as we near the main chamber, ventilation pipe above has deteriorated at this section.

It was very tight access down the brick built tunnel, which then opens up once inside the main chamber to standing height, doorway into main chamber has original blue painted door frames, with cables for internal lighting still in situ.

Inside the Main chamber. Looking towards the escape tunnel, with water tank to the left.

Looking towards the main entrance, tunnel tracks to the left, cable also visible at left of image, with lower door hinge to the right still attached to the door frame.

A further site visit is planned for more investigation of this sensitive location.

Rail transport being the obvious choice, the Selkirk Branch was close by at Boleside later named Abbotsford ferry, the intermediate station at Lindean being used, as the Selkirk branch serviced the other Border stations including Galashiels and Newton St Boswells. Although the stations were earmarked to close in 1930’s they were still being utilised during the war, especially by Military transport, therefore both road and rail supply routes being the main favoured targets.

Major Peter Forbes IO for the Scottish Borders was tasked with setting up patrols, either side of these main arteries, be it road or rail,  with combined efforts from patrol bases in the vicinity should they be required to regroup/restructure due to post invasion losses. With no RAF Bases nearby, the nearest one being 27 miles away at Charterhall, other patrols at Duns and Greenlaw were tasked with ‘looking after’ this airfield.

Monksford Stables which was Major Forbes’s HQ, some 9 miles away at Newton St Boswells, including the extensive grounds being one area used for training, other areas nearby, used for demolition training such as remote disused quarries and a rifle range close-by; also on occasion venturing into Northumberland and training on the Otterburn ranges some 45 miles away, although this was not a regular occurrence.

6 x Sten-Gun
6 x .38 Service Revolvers
6 x FS Fighting Knives
1 x Thompson smg
Usual Aux stores

Nothing Currently.


Roy Brown, Fell Wanderer,
Landowner name withheld
Major Peter Forbes IO for the Scottish Borders.
Scotland’s People web site
Ancestry.co.uk
Major Hancock files
WO/199/3388 Nominal role

If you can help with any info please contact us.