On Wednesday the 6th and Thursday 7th March at 7pm, tune in to BBC One’s flagship TV show ‘The One Show’ to see a two part film telling the story of the 30 Assault Unit, a secret intelligence unit based out of Littlehampton during World War Two.
Early in 2013 a BBC crew came down to Littlehampton to shoot the first part of the two part film in and around Littlehampton’s historic beach town, to capture the training ground and living quarters of this famous intelligence task force based in the Sussex coast town. Littlehampton Town Council was happy to offer every assistance in researching this story, and the Littlehampton Museum Curator features in the first part of the two part film, being interviewed by the Presenter, Justin Rowlatt.
Justin had recently discovered that his Grandfather had been a Member of the 30 AU, and was fascinated by their dangerous exploits, moving ahead of the allied forces to capture vital intelligence deep into enemy territory. The moving story of Justin’s Grandfather, Lt. Ionides, is told through his time in Littlehampton and his operations in Normandy, working as a Naval Intelligence Officer recruited to the Unit in 1943.
In the first of the films, the story of the 30 AU and their Commanding Officer, Ian Fleming the famous author of the Bond books, unfolds in Littlehampton, where the Unit massed its forces, billeted the men and carried out tough Marine training throughout the spring of 1944.
Littlehampton Museum was in a position to help with the making of the film, having personal photographs, letters and official documentation on the Unit in their archives.
Littlehampton Museum has a small permanent display about the 30 AU, and the Museum is free to enter and open Monday – Saturday 9-4:30 (10:30-4:30 on Saturdays). If anybody would like to view the archive held on the 30 AU, then please contact the Museum at 01903 738100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It is truly humbling what the men of the 30 AU did for our country”, says Cllr Alan Gammon, Chair of the Community Resources Committee, “and the townspeople of Littlehampton are rightly proud of the support they gave these heroes in helping us to win the War.”
You can read the full article on this story, written by the Presenter Justin Rowlatt, on the BBC website.
For further information on the Unit's history, please visit the Ian Fleming and the 30 AU history page on the Museum section of this website.