Middleton on the Wolds Auxiliary HQ
- Created: 11 March 2015
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Auxiliary Unit County Headquarters 202 Battalion
THIS STRUCTURE IS ON PRIVATE LAND. THERE IS NO PUBLIC ACCESS TO THE STRUCTURE WHATSOVER AND THE TEAM WHERE GIVEN UNPRECEDENTED ACCESS BY THE LANDOWNER
The County Headquarters of the East and North Riding of Yorkshire before it split into two areas started its life at Benningholme Hall just outside Skirlaugh. Captain Peter Hollis, The Intelligence Officer (I/O) of the East and North Riding of Yorkshire built a very crude affair consisting of just a dugout in a field. This wasn’t sufficient for a HQ and he had a Custom Built Operations Base (OB) built in the grounds of Rise Hall which we have reported on here. At this time Rise Hall was used as a HQ for the Anti-Aircraft Batteries so I think that Training would have been severely restricted if not impossible in the grounds. It is around this time that Captain Hollis had visited Coleshill and seen for himself what could be attained if a properly functioning training area was found and if we look at Middleton Hall we can so many similarities that this must be the case.
Captain Peter Hollis I/O Yorkshire
The fact the local Post Office was used as the Official Address for the HQ, ’’C/O Middleton GPO’’ on their correspondence is exactly what Coleshill had. A train Station that you could reach from anywhere in the East and North Ridings where the men would be collected and driven to the Training Area for weekends. A large House in its own grounds complete with stable block, exactly the same as Coleshill in every respect. The Auxiliers even used the Stable Block in the same manner.
The Old Village Post Office. Official address of HQ Auxiliary Units Middleton on the Wolds. In some research books the existing Post Office in the Village is listed but this was not open until well after the war
Middleton on the Wolds Railway Station in the early 1950's. You would have been able to get to Middleton from just about anywhere in the East & North Riding making it ideal for Auxiliers to get to Training Weekends. (Photo courtesy of Mr Alan Brown)
Middleton Railway Station now just overgrown platforms and completely gone
Middleton Hall Stable Block
On the Estate we have a firing range, a totally secluded valley away from prying eyes where the men could train on their weapons without being seen and an Operations Underground Base where the men of the Scout Sections and the Intelligence Officer himself would retreat to in the event of an Invasion.
The Escape Shaft with the remains of a Grab Handle at the very top of the shaft
The OB is in remarkable condition and very strong. Two shafts at either end which strange for East Yorkshire had wooden steps leading down. The entrance shaft is rebated for a shaft cover and upon entering through a short narrow corridor you come out into a small room of 10x10. Concrete walls, roof and floor make up the room and this is where we feel the ablutions area would of been complete with chemical Elsan toilet.
Through a very narrow doorway into the main chamber you find yourself in the main chamber which measure 26.5 feet long x ( feet wide and a touch over 7 feet high. In the floor are 3 rectangle depressions that other researchers have said was for a long table that could be put up and down. In the middle of the chamber of the chamber within the roof are three vent pipes all going off in the same easterly direction. From the main chamber up 2 steps is another concrete lined room where we feel the Ammunition and explosives would have been kept. From here a 2.5 foot ledge and you are into the escape shaft area where a 640 gallon tank sits, still solid as a rock.
So all in all a carbon copy of what Captain Hollis had seen at Coleshill, he came back up to the East Riding and replicated it to the smallest detail and this lasted for at least two years until the stand down in 1944. It wasn’t to be found until the 1960’s when large mature beech trees were being felled and it stayed relatively untouched until the present day. There is a lot of graffiti in the OB but largely the OB is strong and intact and will be for another 70 years plus.
With very special thanks to both the Land Owners we contacted to report on such an important site with regard to the Auxiliary Units of 1940-1944. Mr Alan Brown for his Station Photograph