Special Duties Organisation

From Historical Hastings

The Special Duties Organisation, were an offshoot of the resistance groups that were set up to stay behind in the event of a German invasion. Their role was communications and spying. People chosen to join this organisation were those who had a high freedom of movement, such as doctors, postmen, priests etc. The individuals were trained how to make reports on enemy movements.[1]

Once a report was completed, the spy would utilise a secret 'letter box' such as a hole in a tree/under a rock to place the report. It was then collected either by a radio operator or in some cases, a further intermediary to be transmitted to the Headquarters in Wiltshire. The usage of such methods ensured that the identities of spies/radio operators could be kept secret.[1]

Radio sets

The radio sets were designed to be robust and simple to operate transmitting on frequencies around 60-65 MHz and powered by a 6V car battery. Due to the frequency of the transmission, an aerial about 40 feet long was required. This was quite often concealed in a tree trunk and led to a partially buried outstation.[1]

Local Operation

Known operators in the Hastings area were Henry Thomsett, a gamekeeper from Telham and Mr Calder, a farmer from the same village. The hideout itself was concealed within Ring Wood, just west of Beauport Park golf course. This hideout has now partially collapsed, but was made up of two small parallel brick walls below ground level and a timber and corrugated iron roof. A concrete pit in the centre of the base was to give space for a table that the radio stood on and permit comfortable usage. There were two emergency exit tunnels, the longest being 40 feet long, both terminated with an earth covered wooden trap-door.[1]

References & Notes

  1. a b c d The Secret Sussex Resistance (Stewart Angell) pg. 73-77 ISBN: 1873793820