Wartime secrets of Audley End House and Gardens

PUBLISHED: 13:48 28 August 2009 | UPDATED: 21:53 31 May 2010

THE wartime secrets of Audley End House and Gardens - which was code named Station 43 - will be revealed this August Bank Holiday weekend. During the Second World War the Jacobean mansion near Saffron Walden was a secret training station for Polish soldie

THE wartime secrets of Audley End House and Gardens - which was code named Station 43 - will be revealed this August Bank Holiday weekend.

During the Second World War the Jacobean mansion near Saffron Walden was a secret training station for Polish soldiers.

English Heritage events manager, Lucy Hutchings, said: "Station 43, Spies, Soldiers and Secrets is a great opportunity for families and World War Two enthusiasts to learn about the important role Audley End played in our history."

Polish agents stationed at Audley End undertook a series of arduous training courses in all aspects of guerrilla warfare before being parachuted into occupied Europe.

In 1943, Audley End, or Secret Training Station 43, was placed exclusively under Polish control, a situation unique to the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

The training was tough and the pass-rate low, but a total of 527 agents passed through Audley End between 1941 and 1945.

Local author Ian Valentine, also an estate gardener and event supervisor at Audley End House, will be on site on Sunday August 29 signing copies of his book entitled Station 43: Audley End House and SOE's Polish Section.

The book provides a definitive account of Audley End and the vital but secret role it played in the war. Set against the background of Polish wartime history, Valentine examines the comprehensive training of agents at Audley End and describes the work undertaken by Station 43's agents in Europe.

Audley End will be open to visitors for a fun-filled day out where they can experience living history, authentic military vehicles and captivating talks from English Sentries.

In addition to meeting the soldiers, children will have the opportunity to discover if they have what it takes to become a secret spy in a fun drill and obstacle course.

Station 43, Spies, Soldiers and Secrets will take place between 11am and 5pm on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

Tickets are £10.70 for adults, £9 for concessions, £5.40 for children and £26.80 for a family. English Heritage Members get in free.

For more information visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/audleyend

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