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ASTON HERTS Local history

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SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE (SOE) STATION XII ASTON HOUSE WWII

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LATEST NEWS
 
Sutton Publishing released a hardback version of my book:
ASTON HOUSE STATION 12 - SOE's SECRET CENTRE on 2nd February 2006.
You can purchase a copy from www.amazonbooks or from any bookshop.
Special thanks to all those who attended my talk and book signing at David's Bookshop in Letchworth, Herts on January 24th.
 
I would like to hear from anyone who worked at Aston House during the War or indeed from anyone who worked at any of the SOE establishments, be it the FRYTHE at Welwyn, BRIGGENS at Roydon, FROGMORE FARM, Aston, GARDNERS END near Ardeley, THE THATCHED BARN Barnet, BRICKENDONBURY or any other site in the UK. I am photographing and researching all SOE stations.
 
My interviews with Col Leslie Wood, Commanding Officer of Station XII reveal that a lot more went on at Aston House than is suggested in the official documents written after the war. Research, development and testing of explosives and special weapons was carried out at Aston.

He said, "We invented, made supplied and trained personnel in the use of 'toys' not only for the Resistance but for all the Special forces. Commandos, Small Boat Section, Airborne Division and Long Range Desert Patrol. We had about 40 specialized army officers and civilians, guards, and several hundred soldiers, FANY's and ATS and a few civilian technicians. We had magazines for explosives and sheds in which to handle them and large store houses for incendiaries and all the rest of our 'toys' and workshops wherein to experiment and manufacture.
We designed and made up special explosive charges tailored for the job in hand and simple to place and fire by any Commando or Resistance worker. Many tons of explosives as well as the devices we supplied were dropped by parachute to the resistance to blow bridges on D Day. The whole essence of helping the Special Forces was speed in both invention and supply. Some of this may sound a little grim but I can truthfully say that we regarded the whole thing completely impersonally and as tremendously funny, the more hideous the devices we invented and made to confound the enemy- the funnier we thought it. The same gaiety of spirit imbued the Commandos. I met nearly all the leaders and many of their officers and men when they came to Aston for last minute briefing and training in demolitions just before a raid. Most of what we did was bloody hard work but I will also tell you about the fun we had" 

CAN YOU HELP PLEASE?

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ATS AT ASTON HOUSE
The above photographs were kindly loaned to me by 'Scottie', Pte. Cecily Hales.(Second from left, back row)
Part of a larger picture of the girls, photographed on the lawn at Aston House. Circa 1945.
The lower portrait is of 'Scottie' when she was at Aston House. Have you any pictures of Aston to share with me please?

Picture below is of Johnny Richards. He was in the workshops at Aston House during the war. Sadly Johnny died in 2005.

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Were you at Aston House during WWII? If so are you willing to share your memories with me? The station was also identified by the code ES6 (WD). (Experimental Station 6).

I need memories and photographs of military and civilian personnel stationed here during that time. If you can help in any way. Please e mail me at desturner@aol.com

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Pte. Lucy Holdaway (Nee Redrup) was a driver at Aston House with her two sisters one a twin. There must be more of you out there with memories of Aston ES6(WD)? Please get in touch with me. The book  shown above left was published as a local history. It is now superseded by the Sutton Publication (2006), see above.

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The group above is of the late Colin Meek's team at Aston House. Colin is centre of the middle row. He was a Scientific Officer. I need to know the names of the others. Can you help please in anyway? I need information about SOE at Aston.
I thank Colin's widow Margaret and Dr. John Vernon for their kind permission to use this picture.
I am indebted to Dr. John H C Vernon for the further identification of others in the photograph: The pipe smoker on extreme left is CHARLES ERWOOD, next to him is FRED STALTON, and then WALLY LINSEL, person in white not known but next is GEORGE DOE. On the extreme right is J P OWENS (Jack).