During WW2, nicknamed ‘Songthrust’ and in case of invasion of the Germans, The East Bergholt resistance operated from their underground base situated in woodland known as ‘The Commons’, about 15 metres off Dead Lane, originally a cart track but now a well used footbath to the west of the village bordering the A12.
The OB (Operational Base) was a flattop construction measuring 10x12ft with a corrugated iron resting on sections of disused Ipswich tram lines. It was built on a lightly wooded slope which at the time would have been populated by chestnut trees and was located 50 metres downhill from the track. An old gate and some weathered fence posts with very corroded barbed wire fencing indicate that this section would have once been fenced off at one time, but only a slight rectangular depression remains. No corrugated sheeting but a length of glazed ceramic field pipe lying at its perimeter.
Geoff Raclliffe was a founder member of the unit along with 3 farmers and a factory worker, who occupations kept them out of the forces. All were members of the local Home Guard and that would remain their cover:
Patrol members included
Corporal Raymond Percy Abbott | a painter and decorator from Raydon
Private Charles Reginald Ambrose | a factory worker from Holton St Mary
Private Charles Goodchild | small holder
Private William W Miller | a farmer from Holton St Mary
Sargeant Noel Reginald Devonshire | factory worker
Private William Merton Smith | film casting and photographer
Private Geoffrey Ratcliff
With thanks to the British Resistance Archive.
Geoff Ratcliffe, founding member of 'Songthrush' published an article in 1998 and can be read in full HERE