Military

A General in Peacetime

Bletchley war memorialThe Bletchley war memorial (not to be confused with the Old Bletchley war memorial) is on what’s now The Queensway, Bletchley, in front of the Knowles School.

By Guest writer John Taylor.

This is part two of three. I posted part one three weeks ago; A Naval Man in Buckinghamshire, and Part two, A Retired General in World War 2 just last week.

It was June 1946; World War 2 had ended just ten months earlier. Lieutenant General Harold Blount of the Royal Marines had fought in WW1 with honours and retired aged 57, a few months before WW2 broke out.

Blount used his military experience and commanded A Company of Bletchley’s Home Guard throughout the war, but now there was peace.

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A Retired General in WW2

Bletchley's old police station and courthouseThe nearest part of this range, with the three upstairs windows, was the old Bletchley Police Station. Here were the headquarters of A Company, Bletchley Home Guard.

By Guest writer John Taylor (Not John O'Hara as previously stated; sorry John Taylor)

This is part two of three. Part one was two weeks ago; A Naval Man in Buckinghamshire.

It was 1939. In September, six months after General Harold Blount had retired, war with Germany had been declared. Harold Blount was then sharing Woughton House in Woughton on the Green with his brother Oswald.

Their domestic staff comprised of a cook, two housemaids, a parlour maid, and a kitchen maid. The house also accommodated, for Bletchley Park or one of the other secret organisations now in North Bucks, two secretaries, ‘Civilian Admiralty NI’. That is, Naval Intelligence.

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Delivery Day

WW2 Chevrolet CMP 15cwt truck

The Monday Photo

Often forgotten in tales of war are the supply lines. Without food, ammunition and fuel an army will soon grind to a halt; unable to fight or move.

This is where the truck and lorry drivers come in. Canadian built trucks like this 15 cwt Chevrolet were used to supply troops during Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of occupied Europe that began on 6th June 1944, 78 years ago today. That is, D-Day.

This is a Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) truck, built in huge numbers and in numerous versions for the armies of Britain and the empire in World War 2.

This example was built in 1941, and during restoration yellow paint was found, strongly suggesting that it saw service in North Africa before going to Sicily and Italy, then on into Europe.


The film A Bridge Too Far is based on Cornelius Ryan's book of the same name. Meanwhile I've just read James Holland's Brothers in Arms; it's very good.

After the war the truck was sold off and used on a farm as a general purpose 4 X 4 vehicle.

It’s now marked up as a 30 Corps medical supply truck. 30 Corps landed on Gold Beach on D-Day and that September were involved in operation Market Garden, later filmed as A Bridge Too Far.

The truck still carries scars from its wartime service, and they have been left unrepaired as a mark of respect for the men who drove it.

I saw this Chevrolet at the Newport Pagnell Vintage Event last Saturday. You probably can’t quite read it here, but the Lance Corporal wears the shoulder tags of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.

D-Day was a long time ago now, but what does it mean to you now?

Today's photo was taken with a Pentax camera and lens.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

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War Graves Week

RSC grave  Whaddon

The Monday Photo

This is the grave of Geoffrey Daintree Pearson, who died on active service at Whaddon. He was 42.

A signalman in the Royal Corps of Signals, he fell when doing maintenance work on a tall radio mast at their station on Church Hill, known to the men as Windy Ridge.

It was September 1943. About eight months later this radio station would play an important part in D-Day and the invasion of occupied Europe; Operation Overlord.

Geoffrey is buried in the graveyard of St Mary’s church in Whaddon, and the men of the Royal Signals had to walk through that graveyard to reach their posts.  Although he was not killed through enemy action, this signalman still died in the service of his country.

I‘m showing you this photo today because this is War Graves Week. This commemorative week runs until next Saturday, the 28th May. There are a few events for the week in North Bucks, though the next one is on Tuesday 24th, perhaps to late to get to now.

But here’s a group photo of the Royal Signals personnel at Windy Ridge, in 1945. There are far more of them than I imagined; I counted about 160 men in the photo.

I wrote about what’s left of windy Ridge and its part in Operation Overlord last year, and the post gives you directions to the station’s remains.

Now I’ve seen the photo at the link above, I wonder if there may be some evidence of radio bases out in the field, far away from where the buildings had been. I’ll have to visit Church hill again for another look…

This photo was taken with a Pentax camera and lens.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

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Toys and Lights and Bikes

Here are just a few Second World War buildings you might not know about, in North Bucks.

Sticky Bombs

The Firs  Whitchurch  BucksIn 1940 this house in Whitchurch was requisitioned by a new department knows as MD1, Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.

It was ideal for their purposes. Tucked away in the country, it had plenty of outbuildings and a nice secluded garden they thought would be handy for “experimental demolition work” Lathes, workbenches and equipment were installed, and work began.

Here they invented and manufactured devices for both conventional and irregular warfare. The limpet mine, the PIAT (Projectile Infantry Anti Tank) and the sticky bomb, designed to be used against German tanks in the event of invasion were just some of them.

These devices for defeating German tanks might have something to do with stories I’ve heard about tanks being seen in the fields just down the hill from The Firs, by the big bend on the Aylesbury road.

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D-Day Radio Station

Windy Ridge wireless station  Whaddon

The Monday Photo

Why am I showing you some old concrete slabs in a field? Aren’t they just the remains of old farm buildings?

They weren’t farm buildings at all, but the site of an important WW2 military radio station.

The hill top station was called Windy Ridge by the soldiers that manned it, but the field is known as Church Hill and it’s in Whaddon. The station played an important part in Operation Overlord, the invasion of German-held Western Europe that began with D-Day.

There were two huts at the station and the radio hut’s foundation is in the foreground. From there, morse code messages were sent to radio lorries on the battlefield, that kept close to commanders like General Montgomery and the US Army’s General Patton.

The radio lorries were known as SLUs, or Special Liason Units, and were manned by members of the Royal Corps of Signals.

In England, RCS radio operators at Windy Ridge had to cover each day from morning to late evening, working a two shift system. The first shift was 08:00 to 16:00, the second 16:00 to 22:00. Windy ridge also sent messages to agents in occupied Europe.

The second hut held teleprinters that received intelligence from Bletchley Park, which they’d gained from decrypting German military communications. The teleprinter hut’s foundation slab is just in front of those nettles in the middle distance, on the right of the photo.

Just to the left of that slab is another slab, set at a different level. I found iron studs in two of the corners, so I think this might have been an aerial base.

The huts were simply built, with low brick walls and corrugated iron roofs. Some time after the war they were given to the farmer, but some genius set fire to them and now only the bases remain.

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