Wednesday, 29 April 2009
OpJB stands for Operation James Bond.
Reigate was in fact used as a secret location and also as an official HQ for South Eastern Command. There were lots of mansions taken over by the War Office for stationing personnel, as offices and meeting rooms.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
I was given this information last week about Martin Bormann living in Reigate after the war! What do you think? There are various pointers scattered on the internet too, involving Prime Minister Winston Churchill and even Ian Fleming, writer of the James Bond 007 spy novels.
Sunday, 5 April 2009
I gather that the Canadian Army troops stationed in Reigate as part of the GHQ Reserve were
(1) the “Hasty Pees”: the 1st Batallion of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, Ontario. Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex is their Colonel in Chief. He visited them in 2005 and there are some wonderful photos at http://www.theregiment.ca/hpjornal.html.
(2) the Royal Canadian Regiment. The Duke of Edinburgh is their Colonel In Chief. They were in Reigate in October-Nov 1940, then January-March 1941.
There is also a reference online to a Canadian liaison officer, Captain J G Stewart of the Canadian Grenadier Guards.
Now that I have given my first public illustrated talk about 'Reigate - SECRETS of the war years', I have put together a brand new A3 hardbound presentation photograph book that tells the story and shows what the town looks like today. If anyone is interested in viewing it or obtaining a copy, do get in contact. The number is +44 (0)1737 217013.
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Here's the view north from the top of Reigate Priory Park - just where Winston Churchill would have sat in contemplation a century before.
You can almost see it all mapped out! Over to the east -
Little Gatton where Eisenhower was stationed,
the Reigate Hill chalk quarry and lime kilns where the secret bunker would go plus anti-aircraft guns,
Underbeeches where Monty was stationed,
the area for Monty's pigeon loft,
Beeches Wood with tree cover for the motorbike dispatch riders to camp,
and Broadleas where Churchill stayed occasionally to write his speeches.
Then there's Colley Pit which was still being mined throughout the war until the 1960s.
No wonder he stopped writing about Reigate in his diaries -his plans for the town were all TOO SECRET.
What you can't see are the sandstone caves - right in the middle of town. Very handy for wartime.