Colonel Gubbins decided that a centrally situated base was needed to provide the specialist training for his forces and to act as his national HQ. He chose Coleshill House, a large remotely situated country house situated near Highworth, Wilts, for this purpose.
Patrols and individual Auxiliaries were sent to Coleshill for training in the use of explosives, sabotage, booby-traps and unarmed combat. Instruction in the latter was based on a book by W.E. Fairburn, designer of the Fairburn dagger (Field Service Fighting Knife.) Having been a policeman in the seamier areas of Shanghai, Fairburn could write with authority on all the dirty tricks that could be employed in close combat, as well as on the art of silent killing.
Secrecy was such that trainees did not report to Coleshill direct. They were instructed to call at the tiny post office in Highworth, where, on proof of their identity, the post-mistress would leave them, make a short phone call, and then advise them that transport was being sent to collect them.
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