Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Halesworth Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 5:22pm on 1/1/16

Thank you for selecting information on the Halesworth Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base at Holton, Suffolk. The info and images below have been supplied by Aux researchers Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye as well as our internal archive.

It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.

Sergeant H R Sutherland
Private R C Norman
Private Cecil T Mawby
Private Rex Summerfield
Private R V Nolloth
Private AJ Harrison

In the grounds of Mill House, Holton. The location was mentioned to us by Mr Edwards, Brampton, Suffolk. The OB is situated on the edge of a disused gravel pit in the extensive gardens of a private property (Mill House, Holton) and was accessed by permission of the owner.

The only remains are a slight depression in the ground and an intact emergency exit tunnel. See images below. The Ob is orientation: N/S

NOTES:

The OB had collapsed at sometime during the 1980s and was consequently filled in. Only a slight depression in the ground remains. The ground is covered by short-cropped grass and moss. A short length (30 cm approx.) of twisted iron stanchion marks the location. The emergency access tunnel is still in place and accessible for most of its length. One end is blocked by backfill originating from the collapse and consequent infill of the OB. The south-facing rectangular opening is framed by red bricks. The shaft was built into the slope of a disused gravel pit, running north/south. It is level and approximately 6 metres long and about one metre high. The walls are lined with corrugated iron. Breezeblocks, one on top of each other and bonded with cement support a roof of concrete slabs. A layer of soil conceals the tunnel roof on the outside.

Haslesworth Auxiliary Unit Patrol 3

Haslesworth Auxiliary Unit Patrol 1

Haslesworth Auxiliary Unit Patrol 2

The images above were taken before the OB was filled in (in the 1990s) and are copyrighted to John Nichols, the owner of the property the OB site is located on. In the third picture a handprint can be seen on the wall behind the boy with the torch (at right) - presumably left by an Auxilier when they painted the interior roof of the chamber. You can see that it used to be painted off-white, many in Norfolk and Suffolk were.

Halesworth Operational Base 1

Site of collapsed and in-filled OB in 2011

Halesworth Operational Base 2

Emergency exit opening

Halesworth Operational Base 3

Emergency exit tunnel interior

Halesworth Operational Base 4

Emergency exit view towards opening

 

Observation Post/s: The patrol’s OP was located about half way between the Mill House and The Cherry Tree Pub

Currently unknown

Currently unknown

Sten guns, .38 revolvers, Thompson machine guns and rifles.

“Standing Up to Hitler”, Adrian Hoare (1997/2002) page 243:


“I became a member of a group in 202 Battalion in 1942 based at Halesworth. There were six of us and I served until I was called up in 1944. I still have my copy of the ‘1938 Calendar’, which was our instruction manual on the use of various booby traps, time delay pencils, explosive charges and their fuses, anti personnel devices, etc. Our concrete underground bunker was near the windmill at Holton. We had a variety of weapons including Sten guns, .38 revolvers, Thompson machine guns and rifles. I remember doing exercises, and on one occasion we were taken to somewhere near Woodbridge, where we had to practise blowing up trees in the grounds of a country house. We had gelignite but also were given some of the new plastic explosive. We were trained in a variety of skills such as shooting, sabotage, unarmed combat, etc. I had signed the Official Secrets Act and my family knew nothing of my activities.” Mr A. J. Harrison, Rollesby, Great Yarmouth


“Standing Up to Hitler”, Adrian Hoare (1997/2002) page 243.

“Suffolk’s Secret Army (1940-1944)” by Geoff Dewing (1996), page 17, where Holton is marked on the map as one of the locations.

The info below is provided by the University of York and the Archaeology Data Service.

A sunken nissen hut approached by means of a brick chimney some 12ft deep x 3ft x 3ft. It had a crawl-way escape tunnel and 4ins glazed pipe [air pipe?]. The chamber ran roughly N-S, with the brick chimney at the S end and the escape tunnel at the N end. The chamber was sunk into the top of a small cliff some 30ft high. The escape tunnel emerged some 12ft below the top of the cliff. The nissen hut is of poorly galvanised iron on a concrete plinth with brick ends. Chimney is of brick with iron pipes across one corner to form a ladder. Escape tunnel is roofed with paving slabs, the sides concrete blocks, and the floor concrete. with sketch drawing on form. The hut was corroded and collapsed 1980-1990. The hurricane of 1987 brought down 115 trees in Mill House grounds, the worst damage being done on the bank where the nissen hut was. As the roof had largely caved in, the recorder (landowner) had the site of the nissen hut filled in and the top four courses of the chimney broken down. Only the escape tunnel now survives. Photographs were taken and sent to Halesworth Museum [not acknowledged].


(Source: Field Visit 1987) 

Type of site 

AUXILIARY UNIT OPERATIONAL BASE 

Location 

In the grounds of Mill House, Southwold Road, Holton. 

Area 

Holton, Suffolk, England 

Grid reference 

TM 4031 7741 (Scale: 1:25000 )  

Period 

WW2 

Condition 

Very Bad 

Materials 

Clay Brick, Clay Pipe, Concrete, Concrete Block, Corrugated Iron  

Recorder 

Nichols, John 

Adjacent sites 

Holton Post Windmill - used as Royal Observer Corps post: Auxiliary Unit Observation Post [UORN 6461]. 

DOB site reference: 

S0006460 

Event 

Construction, In the period 1940 1941
Field Visit, During 1987
Demolition, partial, During 1987/11
  



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