Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Alby / Calthorpe Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base.

This page was last updated at 12:18pm on 23/12/12

Thank you for selecting information on the Alby / Calthorpe Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Norfolk. The info and images below have been supplied by Aux researchers Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye.

The patrol is sometimes referred to as Alby patrol or Thorpe Market Patrol. It formed part of Norfolk Group 3 which included

Matlaske Patrol, Stody Patrol, Baconsthorpe Patrol, North Walsham Patrol, Aylsham/Oulton Patrol
and possibly Ingham Patrol

CO Lt P N Neave
2nd Lt A G Abel
Capt Duncan took over from Lt Neave as CO

It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.

TRJO 31/1 Sgt Alec Scott, Common Farm, Thwaite (Erpingham)
TRJO 43/34 Cpl John Everett (Thwaite Hall)
TRJO 26/1 GH (“John”?) Wostenholme, Church Farm, Alby
TRJO 98/2 David Mackie/MacKay c/o S Everett, Goose Lane, Alby
Leonard Daniels
TRJQ 71/1 Raymond Buller (Timmy) – joined later
Max Cremer (from Calthorpe) – joined later

See our obituary to Cpl John Everett here

The OB is near a disused track through Old John’s Wood, about 120 metres south from Top Hill Road. Old John’s wood is a private woodland forming part of the Gunton Estate.

Calthorpe Auxiliary Unit 1

The OB was described to us as having had a flat roof, with the inside lined with corrugated sheets and supported by heavy timbers. It had Calor gas lighting, a medical kit and iron rations.

The entrance was a drop-down shaft lined with corrugated sheets. The escape tunnel was about 10 metres long and had a trapdoor.

Calthorpe Auxiliary Unit 2

Following directions given to us by former patrol member Cpl JP Everett, we found a clearly defined rectangular depression at about 1.50 to 2 metres below the upper edge of a disused sandpit located within the woodland.

Scattered about at the site are numerous shards from ceramic field pipes. We found no trace of corrugated iron sheets or wooden posts.

The evidence on the ground suggests that the flat roof of the structure has collapsed some time ago and that the remains are now lying at the bottom of the main chamber, covered with layers of sand.  We were unable to determine if the structure was perhaps deliberately covered with sand/filled in, in order to block access.  

Observation Post/s:  Currently unknown

There was also a dead ‘letterbox’ at the foot of the telegraph pole by Hagon Beck bridge.

John Everett, the patrol's corporal, was not aware of any specific targets but Gunton Hall might have been one if taken over by the enemy in the event of an invasion.

Trained 2-3 times a week in the use of explosives by various specialists in the Army.

Sten or Thompson submachine guns, Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knives and .38 revolvers plus a variety of explosives, detonators and fuses would have been standard issue.

The following items were found in John P Everett’s (Corporal of Alby Patrol, Norfolk Group 3) Auxiliary Units ‘tool kit’.  Our thanks go to Shirley, John’s widow, for her kind permission to photograph and publish these with John’s own descriptions, taken from his memoirs.

Pressure Swtich

Release switch for booby trap use. A percussion cap was fitted into the hole, when fired it ignited an instantaneous fuse.

Case for Bickford fuses

Tin of copper tube ignitors - used to put onto Bickford Fuse, ignition of the ignitor being by striking it like a match.

Box of rounds

A selection of .45 and long and short .22 rounds.

pull switch

Pull (above) and pressure switches.  Pull switch for trip wires – when sprung it fired off a percussion cap which in turn ignited a fuse which was attached to it. 

Pressure switch, when the button (on the opposite side of the splint seen at bottom right corner) was depressed by the weight of a man or vehicle, it would sever a holding wire and start off a chain of events: fire percussion cap, ignite fuse, detonate charge.

Magnet and Switch

Pull and pressure switch and a magnet used to tie explosive onto or mould RDX explosive around, then attach to a metal surface.

Wire Adjuster

The adjuster/anchor end of a trip wire or long garrotte.  The wire was wrapped around a tree, threading the anchor/adjuster through the loop in the end of the wire.  The wire was ten run across the road again, wrapping it around a post or tree.  The adjustor was then used to pull the wire tight and then wrapped over the wire to secure it.  [This item was also found in John’s tool kit but he did not mention it in his memoirs.  The above information relating to its use comes from Stephen Lewins]

Mr Everett mentioned an ammunition and explosives store nearby. He believes that it still contains a number of phosphorous bombs in bottles that were originally kept in a wooden crate. We failed to find the location which was described to us as a depression in the ground.
 
Calthorpe Auxiliary Unit 3

We did, however, find a small round depression in the ground about 45 metres to the north-west of the OB site.

The top of a 40-gallon drum is only just visible amongst the leaves gathered there. We removed some of the leaves in order to get a better view. The drum is much corroded. We preferred to not try and find out if this might have been the explosives store.

 

 

 


A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler”(2002); Patrol member Cpl John Everett, formerly of Thwaite Hall, now Blakeney (personal interview); Stephen Lewins CART CIO Northumberland, Jeremy Norman; John George Seaman (leader of Baconsthorpe Patrol, died June 2011)

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