1940: with the prospect of a German invasion, Usk, like other places in Monmouthshire, had a (highly secret) Auxiliary Unit. This Unit was made up of specially trained local men whose task was to sabotage and cause mayhem and disruption behind enemy lines.
Each Unit had a concealed Operational Base (OB) to hide in and from which to carry out their raids “if the balloon went up”. Usk’s OB has been lovingly restored by Henry Humphreys, owner of Usk Castle.
Each of the Monmouthshire Units had a biblical name. Usk’s was “Esau”.
The Auxiliers’ existence was not made known until years after the war ended. Many of the original members died before their roles were officially recognised.
(The only war casualty in Usk was a horse, killed by a stray German bomb at Dairy Barn, Chepstow Road.)