War time resistance heroine honoured
1:40pm Wednesday 21st August 2013 in Latest News
Buy this photo » MP Justin Tomlinson unveils a plaque at the Old Post Office in Highworth with Bill Ashby, county information officer for CART
THE Highworth postmistress who played an integral part in the organisation of the British Resistance from her quiet post office was commemorated yesterday with the unveiling of a plaque in her honour.
Mabel Stranks, who died aged 88 in 1971, acted as a vetting officer for potential recruits for the nearby training camp, which was set up less than three miles away at Coleshill House.
To maintain secrecy and to ensure those who had failed the selection process could not find the camp, applicants were expected to report first to Mrs Stranks.
After the screening process, a car would arrive and take successful recruits to the training camp by the most indirect route. Those deemed unsuitable would be taken elsewhere.
The panel honouring the work of Mrs Stranks was created by the Coleshill Auxiliary Research Team, who are responsible for the British Resistance archive.
Tom Sykes, the founder of CART, said: “This is a remarkable story of an incredible woman and the part she played in one of the most secretive organisations of the war. The bravery of Mrs Stranks cannot be underestimated.
“The life expectancy of an Auxiliary Unit member was just 14 days, and she was all too aware of the reprisals that had been meted out by the Germans to anyone found to be resisting or helping those that were.
“She never accepted recognition for her part in this secret operation and like many of those she screened, never talked to anyone about her role until her very last days.”
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