Hampshire Auxiliary Unit Group
West Hampshire Area
This text was last updated at 9:23am on 23/3/14
The 5 groups in West Hampshire were commanded by Area Commander Capt A J Campion. He took on this role when the
regular manpower of Auxiliary Units was reduced later in the war, in order to send more regular troops for front
line service. The Hampshire Intelligence Officer, Major E B Clive, was transferred out at this point. Capt.
Champion would have reported to the supervising officer, who covered an area from Essex to Dorset.
Each Group had its own commanders and usually an assistant group commander, as listed below.
||Capt Arthur James Champion
||Lt Leslie Donald Cranston Ayles
||Lt Gerald Beaumont Ash
||2/Lt Gerald Forward
||Lt A White
||Lt George Stokes
||Lt William “Reg” Bignell
||Lt Arthur George Dallow
||Lt Victor Ludwig Petersen
This covered the Ringwood area.
Captain Arthur James Champion had served in the First World War. He had
joined the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars and went to France in October 1914, the regiment being the first
Territorial one to serve in France. He apparently won the Military Medal, this being listed on his Second World War
Ringwood Home Guard records. He was then commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery in March 1917, serving until
December 1919. He was an Estate agent, taking over the partnership of his firm in 1925 and continuing in business
through and after the war. His son Flight Lieutenant John Ghrimes Champion was tragically killed serving in the RAF
as a Typhoon pilot in France in July 1944. He is recorded as being promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in June 1940 prior to
the formation of Auxiliary Units, so this was probably while serving with the ordinary Home Guard in Ringwood. He
became a full Lieutenant in February 1941 and was promoted Captain in August 1944, probably when he took over
command of the Area.
Lt Leslie Donald Cranston Ayles was too young to have served in the Army
during the First World War, but did serve with the Volunteer Training Corps, the equivalent of the Second World War
Home Guard. In 1921 he joined the Territorial Army, though just for 84 days as a change of address meant he was
discharged from his unit.
He owned the sawmill on the Bickerley in Ringwood during the war. He was
promoted to 2nd Lt in June 1942, being promoted to full Lieutenant in August 1944. After the war he emigrated to
South Africa where he died.
This covered the New Forest
Lt Gerald Beaumont Ash was a dentist in Brockenhurst. He may have served
in World War One, but the London Gazette records for his name could possibly apply to someone else with an
identical name. However it seems likely as both his sons became officers, though one, Roger, died in September 1943
in Palestine while serving with the Royal Artillery. His other son served in the Indian Army being awarded an MBE
at the end of the war as well as being Mentioned in Despatches. His grandson won the Military Cross in Northern
2nd Lt Gerald Forward was the patrol sergeant for Fritham patrol, being
promoted in April 1944, a few months before the Auxiliary units were stood down. He was an Agister in the New
Forest, responsible for the welfare of animals across the whole Forest. He doesn’t even mention his promotion in
his autobiography, though he does mention his time with the patrol.
This covered the northwest Hampshire border with Wiltshire, between Hale
Lt A White was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in November 1942 and to full
Lieutentant in June 1944.
This covered the area between Eastleigh and Baddlesey
Lt George Stokes was promoted Lieutenant in November
Lt William “Reg” Bignall was promoted 2nd Lieutenant in December
This covered Soberton, Droxford and Bishop’s Waltham
Lt Arthur George Dallow had joined the Royal Marine Artillery in 1917. Within Aux Units, he was promoted
Lieutenant in February 1941.
Lt Victor Ludwig Petersen is recorded as a “QMS” or quartermaster (sergeant) in the Southwick patrol diary.
He was promoted 2nd Lieutenant in November 1942. He lived in the Droxford area his whole life.
National Archives file: WO199/3391