Richard tells me has has sent you photos of the bunker at Rudry and
confirmed it is in fact, an ammunition dump not an OB. I believe Peter
Rennie (a local historian from Usk) has spent some considerable time
looking for the OB but from what I can remember it no longer exists.
Apparenly a cow fell down it and the farmer filled it in. This unit
would've been outside of the Monmouthshire units which I have researched.
There is also the control Zero SDS station on the Blorenge mountain. There
is very little left of that unfortunately but what's left is scheduled.. I
have a digitised photo somewhere. I will look for it and forward it on to
First question I have is whether Sallie (or any other South Wales AU enthusiast) knows if a Patrol was operating in the Rudry area or not.
Reason I ask is because just about all the Operational Bases I've seen in Somerset, tend to be the wider Elephant Shelter design that in cross-section are more of truncated circular design, rather than the slimmer 180 degree semi-circular shelter with almost straight sides. I hope that this description makes sense...if not what I mean is exactly the shape of the Jonah Patrol pictures on the BROM website. The OBs at Hunstrete near Pensford, at the Lyatt near Dinder, and at Southstoke near Bath, are all just like the Jonah OB.
Second point I'd like to make - there appears to be no blast wall at the bottom of the vertical entrance shaft...something I'd have expected if this was a fighting Patrol's OB. I can't think a Patrol or Scout Section would have gone to the effort of producing a Bomb Store with this much masonry, but I could be wrong. The Dinder OB is extremely basic compared to Rudry pics - just an Elephant Shelter dropped into a hole in the ground, with no masonry whatsover, with just a couple of substantial ledges dug into the earth as steps! And chaps intended spending time below ground in this one.
Third Point - From my limited experience the metal shelter at Rudry looks very like the famous SDS Signal Station hidden below the outdoor privy at Bewley Down. It appears to be a narrower shelter than the OBs I've seen down here in Somerset (although I am aware some of the Lincolnshire Patrols OBs were like Rudry from pictures in Mark Sansom's book on Lincolnshire Secret Army.) There even looks to be a similar number of 'rooms' (Map Room, Radio Room?) and the way the corrugated metalwork extends upwards from a low wall is just the same as Bewley Down Can't help thinking if it might be SDS rather than Operational side of Auxiliary Units, especially as there's no blast wall. I'd recommend a chat with Hugh May who owns the Bewley Down OB - he might have some good photos that you could study and compare..
Is the SDS idea a possibility? How close is it to habitation?
My money is on a signals hide for this one. Certainly looks Aux Unit like, but too small for patrol OB. Elsewhere I have seen signals hides to this spec and that would fit with location, and definitely a network in this area (Zero station on the Blorenge nr Abergavenny).
I would be interested in a trip to see – about a couple of hours for me, with a drop for my gran on the way back!
From the look of these pictures the site appears to resemble a radio out station. I have seen one example in Sussex and another similar site in Cloughton, Teesside (as seen on the Auxunit website).
The key features to look out for internally are a pipe or pipes set into the walls with coaxial aerial wire inside. Externally look for wires going up an adjacent tree or a groove where the wire would have run up to the aerial. I have never found the actual aerial within the tree but I have seen evidence of coaxial and staples in the upper branches to hold everything in place!
Ultimately the overall size will dictate the use of this site and it looks to be too small to be an OB.
I look forward to seeing some more information relating to this site as it could be a standard design.
I will be visiting the bunker this Friday and will be meeting the FC staff at 9.30, however I can't stay that long and I will return at a later date with metal detector to have a good roam around the area if any one is interested contact me.
I live close to this bunker, and I have had a conversation with an elderly friend in Rudry village who met someone who was part of the patrol (if that is the right term) associated with this base. He's trying to find out some more information, and I'll let you know what he comes up with. He said that there were rumours many years ago that a couple of local farmers were also involved, but that was never confirmed. My friend has said that he has spent many years trying to find out who was involved and in what capacity!!
We can put an item in the local newsletter (The Rudry Recorder) requesting information - it goes out to about 400 households. Too late for the next issue, but we can put something in the Autumn/ Winter edition in November There is also a fledgling local history society in the very early days of starting up in Rudry - I'm sure that this would be of interest. We have a Country Fair in September - if anyone wants to put up a display to request information, they would be more than welcome
Sorry for being too late with this observation (given Friday site visit), but I think there is writing on the top right wall (beneath curve of metal) in 5th pic on website. Can’t quite make out top letters – bottom might be P A O 7. Worth a look at this if anyone gets inside. I could come over second week in June if want a second on site opinion.
Features suggestive of Aux Unit origin
1) construction materials – use of hollow bricks (lighter to carry into location from road)
2) multiple chambers – with small “entrance” chamber which would probably have held concealed door to main chamber
3) lip around top of shaft to hold “lid”
4) side on hollow bricks suggest in at bottom, out at top ventilation system (worth looking for where these come out - ? glazed pipework?)
5) lack of escape tunnel suggests not a patrol hide – but SDS hides (known) in area don’t have escape tunnels (though one on Blorenge does). However, sometimes shelters this size were used as ammo stores – and in this area seem to have been separate from the main OBs and lack escape tunnels too. So this could be a possibility. Anywhere else would definitely be a SDS hide.
The wood looks to have been felled and replanted post war (from few trees visible) so unlikely to find aerial wire in a tree – but may find in vents running out of bunker or in surrounding soil (with metal detector). Obviously if locals who know who was involved then this will answer the question – hopefully!
I grew up very near to the bunker i used to go into it all the time and know the woods well and in fact at the moment im at my fathers house a few hundred metres away from it.
I dont know if you can really tell from the pictures but it is really small so i have never been convinced that it was a secret army base. (In fact the Draethaen Lead Mines nearby would of been perfect for this theres hundreds of metres of passageway there.)
Its not actually very remote and without the newer tree cover it has a very good southly view down over Cardiff which makes me think it might be some kind of aircraft observation post. Notriously an over flying Bomber missed Cardiff and dropped it loads on a field in Rhydri and killed ten sheep. We had an elderly neighbour who knew every inch of the wood and never said anything to us about the bunker being any kind of base it but he was a Chindit and didnt get back till 1947.
Incidentally there was for many years an elderly man who drank in the village pub the Monte (short for the Monte Carlo as it was a well known miners gambling den) known as Fritz i only knew him as one of the group of elderly men who sat in the pub who we younger ones would respectfully nod to and occasionally send over a drink and assumed that Fritz was a bizarre nickname which arent uncommon here. When he died i found out he had actually been a German paratrooper who as a prisoner worked the farms and stayed on after the war. The entire parish turned out for his funeral and he is sorely missed.
I was brought up in the "Monte Carlo" and spent my childhood wandering the woods around Rudry. We kids were entirely familiar with the bunker until it was filled in I think by the forestry authority. I can confirm that there was no escape hatch but there was an air vent that opened slightly down the slope.
I haven't been back in sixty years so have no idea of its present state.