Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Admiralty 2, Langridge Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 8:46am on 3/6/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Admiralty 2, Langridge Auxiliary Unit Patrol near Bath in Somerset. The info and images below have been supplied by our Devon CIO, Nina Hannaford.

Research into this patrol and its training is ongoing. The information below is published from various sources and is by no means conclusive. If information is not listed below it does not necessarily mean the information is not out there but normally means CART researchers have not found it yet.

If you have any information on this patrol or can help with research in this area please do contact us.

Thought to be formed by at least September 1940

Alan Crick was one of the original Intelligence officers that were sent out on reconnaissance. He surveyed Somerset and Dorset.

Captain Ian Fenwick (KRRC) was the first Intelligence Officer covering the county of Somerset along with the City of Bath. During his command he was billeted near Taunton with a HQ in Bridgewater. He went on to join the SAS and was killed in action in France in August 1944.

By August 1942 Captain L Strangman (RAOC) was Somerset's IO based at Sherwood House, Goathurst near Bridgewater. A move of HQ to The Lodge at Bishops Lydeard preceded a change of IO to Captain J W Holberton who was, in turn, succeeded by Captain J M Martin in February 1944.

At a meeting held in July 1944 it was decided to group all the counties into 4 regions. The Admiralty Patrols became part of “Region 4” under the command of Major W W Harston based in Ashburton, Devon. As the final Intelligence Officer, Harston's command would cover the whole of the South West and South Wales.
 
The IOs were being withdrawn from around August 1944 onwards leaving the Area and Group Commanders.

After 1941 a “grouping” system was developed where various  patrols within a demographic area  would regularly train together under more local command.

Admiralty Officers - Bath

Admiralty Officers.
Left to right; Lt. Jeffrey G. Spearman,   Capt. Leonard A. Aves,   2ndLt Ivor M. Phillips,   2ndLt. George R.M. Hutchings.

In command of the Admiralty patrols were initially Captain Leonard Aves and Sergeant  (later Lieutenant) Frank Bradbury. They were subsequently re-deployed by the Admiralty and were replaced by Lt Jeffrey George Spearman and 2nd Lieutenants George Richard Hutchings and Ivor MacGregor Phillips as the other officers.

Ivor Phillips, before joining the Admiralty, was a cameraman at a film studio. It is known that he filmed  some training sessions but it is unknown if they survive .He was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in December 1944 for “ Meritorious Service in the Home Guard”

Admiralty 2 Langridge Patrol 1

Copyright J Wilson ( Spearman Collection)

This picture shows Aves, Spearman and Hutchings on a return trip from Taunton, presumably from meeting with IO Captain Fenwick. The journey in the Morris 8 was broken by a refreshment stop at The Rose and Crown at East Lyng.

When war was declared a section of the Admiralty headquarters were moved to Bath. Initially scattered around the city making use of requisitioned hotels, they eventually moved into more suitable locations such as at Fox Hill and purpose built military hutments at Ensleigh, Landsdown Road.
Most of those working with the Admiralty were billeted locally, either with families or in hostels.

There were five Admiralty patrols, Number 1 at  Kelston Park,  2 at Langridge,  3 at Warminster Road,  4 at  Prior Park and 5 at Newton Park, Newton St. Loe.

All five Admiralty Patrols were recruited from those working for the Admiralty so there was a high turnover of patrol members as men were posted elsewhere through work.

Pre 1943 Patrol Members                                                                                                       

Sergeant Cecil A. Trowell was replaced in October 1942 by Douglas Owen who had been promoted and transferred from Admiralty 1.

Sergeant  Douglas L. Owen was posted to Rosyth in February1943.
2nd Lieutenant George Richard M. Hatchard discharged to HM Forces April 1943.
Patrick John Barrett transferred to 5th Somerset Home Guard.
Kenneth P Cleary discharged to Royal Marines December 1943.
Pierce Bracegirdle discharged to HM Forces September 1942

Patrol Members Who Signed The Declaration on Termination of Engagement January 1945 

Sergeant Edwin Steane was awarded the Defence Medal and may have also been in Admiralty 5 patrol at an earlier date.

Lance Corporal Robert N Reeds (originally in Admiralty 3 until 1941)

Sydney R G  Saunter

Also Signed And Recorded At The Pistol Competition In February 1944                 

William Francis Emmerson

Cyril J Gates may have also been in Admiralty 5 patrol at an earlier date.

Frank N Jermy

Peter F Carter discharged June 1944 due to change of employment

Other possible members are  D. Avery and  Willie Watkins.

Due to the high turnover of personnel, without further information, it is impossible to record all the members in their correct Patrols. A list of patrol members, recorded for a reunion in 1950, lists many men that cannot be allocated a certain Patrol.

They are listed here.

The men were only brought together in Bath due to their work for the Admiralty. Post war, therefore, they have scattered around the country and even around the world.

 Admiralty 1 Patrol 1943 to 44

Photo. W.R.Bennett.Admiralty 4

Stand down picture : left to right:
Rear row:   E. Dwane,  A.P.James,  N.J.James,  W.W.Curry,  J.Blair,  S.R.G.Sauter,  L.M.Pussey,  H.D.Rees  (BEM), W.F.E.Emmerson.

Third row:  H. Masters,  C.J.Gates,  L/Cpl .R.A.Partridge,  S.L.Baldery,  F.N.Jermy,  H.Banham,  R.A.D.Heward,  A.P.Morgan, P.F.Carter,  T.F.Pope,  L/Cpl. R.N.Reeds.

Second row.  R.M.B.Judson,  L/Cpl. S.F.Phillips,  E.White,  Sgt. E.A.Steene,  Sgt. N.W.S.Baker BEM,
Sgt.N.E.Shepherd,  L/Cpl .E.Roscorla,  N.Armstrong,  J.O.B.Canavan.

Front row:  Sgt. D.F.Stevenson,  2nd Lt. G.R.M.Hutchings,  Captain L.Aves,  Lt. J.G.Spearman,
2nd Lt.  I.M.Phillips BEM,  Sgt. R.W.Bennett.

Members of Admiralty 2 in red.

Langridge is a parish 4 miles north west of Bath railway station.

2nd Lt George Hatchard recalled the early OB as being in Bamfields Wood between Lansdown Road and the village of Langridge

Douglas Owen recalls this patrol creating a new OB near the Ensleigh hutments at Lansdown Road. His patrol started to dig a hole in the corner of a field, by a hedgerow, which was completed by the Royal Engineers in early 1943  A type of “Elephant  shelter” was buried and camouflaged to serve as an OB. He was transferred away before the OB was completely finished.

Admiralty 2 Langridge Patrol 3

View from around the area of the OB looking towards Bath

Other physical remains nearby:  The Admiralty patrols had a central explosives / arms store in an out building at The Royal School, Lansdown Road and Harry Banham (4 Patrol) recalls another one built into the bank of the car park of the Ensleigh Estate. As this is so close to Admiralty 2's OB it is assumed that they would have used this as well.

Admiralty 2 Langridge Patrol 2

Car park and bank at the Ensleigh Estate used by the Admiralty. Shows one of the huts where the Patrol members worked.



All the Admiralty Patrols took part in a night raid on RAF Colerne. Number 1 Patrol broke through the perimeter barbed wire nearest the offices. Despite crawling on all fours Douglas Owen managed to get captured. Taken to the office of the RAF commander he was interrogated by officers before producing a pistol hidden in his trousers. He proceeded to hold the officers hostage at gun point. 

W R Bennett of 4 Patrol remembers this raid as being “a complete fiasco. The sentries were posted at all the most obvious approaches and it was easy to elude them. All of us detailed to do so got in and plastered aircraft with “destroyed” notices and two adventurous youngsters actually held the station commander at gun point in his own office which was certainly not in their remit. There was a big row about it and as a result all the poor airmen had their leave jammed for a fortnight.”

Locally, along with the other Admiralty and City of Bath Patrols, targets could have included the nearby railway line and bridges over the river Avon.

Douglas Owen remembers sometimes training at Coleshill during his time with Admiralty 1. He recalls the whole patrol being taken straight there in an Admiralty transport van and returning to Bath the same way.

They took part in night exercises locally and had shooting competitions between them and other patrols. Target practice with revolvers and rifles on moving targets took place, sometimes at night.
They often trained with all the other Admiralty Patrols and the City of Bath Patrols.

Records of a revolver shooting competition on 20th February 1944 at Monkton Combe shows Admiralty 2 came third,behind Admiralty 4 and 1 in both 10 and 20 yard shots.

Exercise “Lamb” was due to take place on 25th March 1944. Patrol leaders were advised ; “ Ample opportunity should be taken of reconnoitring the district of Box.” Meeting at the Fernley Hotel at 21.30 hours, the exercise would finish at 02.00 hours the following morning.

Douglas Owen recalls the units were supplied with revolvers, a Browning sub machine gun, plastic explosives,fuse wire and pencil detonators as well as food rations.

Everything was stored at the OB as the Auxiliers were not living or working in their home environment. Douglas does not remember being issued with sticky bombs or any kind of hand knife.
It is assumed they would have had the usual equipment..

The Admiralty Auxiliary Units were recruited at the time of the Baedeker Air raids on Bath in April 1942 to search bombed buildings for survivors.

Douglas Owen was was in the Royal Naval Reserves before the war and joined the Admiralty in the accounts department. He moved with the Admiralty from London to Bath but was originally from a farming family in Newport. Learning to shoot from an early age he was well accustomed to weapons. After being transferred from Bath to Roysth , Douglas was then posted to Malta where he spent the rest of the war. Working all his life for the Admiralty he returned to Bath many times.

Kenneth Cleary joined the Patrol as a 17 year old clerk, waiting to go into the Marines. After the war he left the Marines and served overseas with the civil service before changing careers to work for a multinational drinks company.

In an interview in 1996, Cleary recalls how the local children knew something was not quite right. They would shout at him in the street “Hey Mister, you're not proper Home Guard”. The fiction did not fool the young lads of Bath, who knew the Home Guard did not carry around Thompson sub-machine guns !
Cleary recalls that there was one per Patrol and they were to take it in turns to take it home for a week to practice handling it. He was never comfortable “wandering through the streets with this gangster gun” Rumour has it, he said, that Colonel Gubbins had a friend in the Bureau of Alcohol,Tobacho and Firearms and the Tommy Guns,at least, had been seized from Prohibition gangsters.

At Stand Down: Somerset is Area 18 and all the Admiralty Patrols within the Bath area are in Group 1. In command are (now) Captain J Spearman along with Lt Hutchings and 2nd Lt Phillips.  Aves having been transferred to 2nd Essex Battalion with the rank of Lieutenant in April 1944.
Captain Spearman is  Area Commander of both the Admiralty Patrols and Bath City Patrols


The kindness and patience of Douglas Owen.

TNA ref WO199/3391. WO199/3390
CART CIO for Northumberland Stephen Lewins
Bob Millard
List of Admiralty Auxiliers from 1950 reunion held at B.R.A
Hancock's data held at B.R.A
http://www.bathintime.co.uk/category/6768/people-portraits-events/wartime-bath shows images of wartime Bath.

Donald Brown's book 'Somerset v Hitler'.

Mail on Sunday 9/11/1996

Kenneth Cleary.

If you can help with any info please contact us.