Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Admiralty 3, Warminster Road, Bath Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 3:52pm on 6/9/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Admiralty 3, Warminster Road, Bath Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base 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.

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.

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.

Patrol members who signed the Declaration on Termination of Engagement January 1945

Sergeant Norman W S Baker awarded the BEM (see below) also awarded the Defence Medal.
Lance Corporal Eric Roscola
Pte Wilfred W Curry
Pte Sidney Lewis Baldrey
Pte Leslie Rawlings
Pte Raymond A.D.Heward
Pte E A White

Other known Patrol Members

Walter John “Jack” Dennis transferred to 3rd Middlesex Battalion Home Guard October1943
Robert Reeds until moving to Admiralty 2 sometime in 1941.

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

Admiralty Patrols 1-5

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 3 in red.

The Operational Base was located in general open access land around Bathampton Downs. Many informal pathways criss-cross the woods. The OB was located near to the small stream descending from Hampton Rocks.

Water was supplied to the OB from the nearby stream by a beer pump purchased from Bowlers of Bath.

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, Lansdown Road.

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 “Bob” 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.”

About two miles to the west of the OB was Claverton Manor. Now the American Museum, then, it was the headquarters for an anti-aircraft unit. As this is recorded as a target by the Bathampton Patrol it is assumed that this would also have been in the sights of Admiralty 3 as they were based so close together.

Another nearby target,in the valley below the OB, was the railway line that came up from the south coast and a couple of miles to the west it joined the main London-Bristol line.  Damage here would have caused rail disruption to or from the whole of the South West.

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 3 came last 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.

Everything was stored at the OB or separate stores as the Auxiliers were not living or working in their home environment.

It is assumed they had the regular weapons and 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.

Private Norman William Stuart Baker of the “Home Guard” was awarded the British Empire Medal. The citation states:

“At the Regina Hotel, Bath, on the night of the 26th/27th April 1942, in company with Company Sergeant-Major Leslie and Private Martell. Private Baker made a number of rescues after having worked on the fire at the Assembly Rooms. He spent 4 ½ hours in a small hole releasing trapped persons. Later, hearing sounds from the upper rooms, he searched them, although they were in danger of collapse, and found and rescued two persons.”
 
Bob Millard of the City of Bath, Bathampton Patrol recalls the activity of Admiralty 3 Patrol. Bob's OB was only a short distance further up hill.

“This was quite an interesting exercise because on one of our tours around we came across one of the places where an Admiralty Auxilliary patrol was. The Admiralty had moved to Bath, they had their own Home Guard unit and within the Admiralty they also had five Auxiliary Units. Anyway we found where one of these had started digging its OB and we amused ourselves by climbing up on the woods occasionally and watching them at work. We were pleased to know that they were there and they didn't know where we were, but we were the local boys so we felt quite secure on our own patch. At the 1994 reunion I sat down next to a chap and got talking and found out that he was a member of the Admiralty patrol whose OB we watched being constructed. He was most surprised to find out that we knew exactly where it was, and could tell him what was happening.”

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


TNA ref WO199/3391. WO199/3390
CART CIO for Northumberland Stephen Lewins for Nominal Rolls
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 “ Somerset V Hitler”

If you can help with any info please contact us.