Walk on Saturday 15th November 2014

There was a walk to Madron Auxiliary Operations Base (OB), on Saturday 15th November at 2 pm.

Our first organized walk, talk and drive...yes that’s right, drive, quite the off road experience it turned out to be too! The location was Lanyon Moor and the subject of this walk was to visit the Madron Patrol OB of World War Two (for those readers that know nothing of this site I suggest you have a look at our website). This was a new feature of the group and I have to say we were unsure of the interest but I am pleased to say we had a good enough turn out to warrant further walks. The day started at 1.30pm, as usual after the sunshine had gone and the clouds were building, just in time really to start contemplating driving onto the moor with passengers loaded. This was a special one off trip in order to get members of Dennis Matthews family, son of Dick, one of the patrol members, up to the site of their fathers secret activities.

Neither Dennis or his sister Jen ever thought they would be able to get there due to the instability of their legs but we decided to give it the best we could. The trip out to the site was uneventful, though a little bouncy and so by 2pm I was back on foot to meet the walking party. Thankfully the clouds held back from dishing out the drenching they were threatening as we walked and talked our way through the layout of the OB and the duties of the men, unfortunately I wasn’t able to disappear quietly and reappear out of the shaft on account of the entrance being flooded but I am sure everyone enjoyed the talk and went away with an understanding of these men and the task assigned to them.

For myself it was great to see everyone smiling, but more than ever it was to see Dennis and family with the biggest grin, even though we still had to extract them from the moor. Here’s where the fun began as the track was now chewed up and elevated upwards...the Land Rover did what it is designed to do and trundled along ok, stopping once to pull the pick up out. Unfortunately the second time the truck got stuck between a rock and a hard place even the Landie could not help as he was unable to get back to me because of the chewed up ground. I suspected this would happen and was prepared, so we switched my passenger to the Land Rover to get them off the moor before the rains and Ken Wood and I persevered with bags of gravel and planks. After 10 minutes of fiddling we finally broke free, kept the throttle down and drove off the moor intact. No applause or flags, instead a wry comment by Gareth about not being surprised at my pimpmobiles antics which I have to say was a perfectly timed comment, producing a fit of giggles.

This trip was all about the challenge of these lads during those dark years and the challenge of getting family members up to the site and of course being able to relate their story to others who knew so little of this very secret group and I am pleased that we were successful. A special big thank you to Gareth Wearne for his passenger service Landie and the team for all their help and work, hope to see you all on our next trip.  Stuart Emmett