Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Iden Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base.

This page was last updated at 6:07am on 20/5/14

Thank you for selecting information on this Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base.

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.

Currently unknown.

Currently unknown.

The Patrol had six members when it was first formed. However, after a year, one of its members (Frank Reeve, a farmer at Lea Farm, Iden) was called up into the army and was not replaced. The Patrol Leader was John Winter, a farmer at Saltbarn Farm, Playden. The other members of the Patrol were Jack Matthews, a farmer at Leasam Farm, Iden, Jack Goodwin, the owner of an agricultural engineering firm in Rye, Walter Dawes, a farm worker, and Bill Bailey, a commercial artist who worked for newspapers and also undertook Royal commissions. He lived nearby in Beckley.

Also suspected in this patrol were;

John Watson and G H Cooke

Though they could have been in a nearby patrol.

Iden Auxiliary Unit

The Iden Patrol was the most easterly Patrol in East Sussex.

Iden Plan

Plan of the Iden hideout
Redrawn from an original drawing by Stewart Angell

The patrol's hideout was sited in Norland Wood, 500 yards east of Peasmarsh Church. It was built by the Royal Engineers. Construction would have been difficult as it was positioned near the bottom of a steep slope, next to a stream. The problem of transporting materials to the site must have been formidable, let alone the actual building work. The hideout had a similar design to the Ditchling and Staplefield Patrol's OBs and was basically an underground Nissen hut.

Entrance was gained by pulling a concealed cable release. This let an earth-covered wooden hatch lift up slightly, so someone could get their fingers underneath it. The hatch had about four inches of soil on top of it, and a counterbalance weight was required to assist in lifting it. Once opened a brick built shaft with a ladder led down into the hideout.

At the other end of the hideout was an emergency exit in the form of a two foot eight inch concrete tunnel. It was thirty feet in length and terminated in the bank of the stream. This too had an earth-covered wooden hatch but had no cable release. If used it would have been pushed open from the inside.

Iden OB

Photo:The emergency escape tunnel terminates in the bank of a stream. It would have had a flush, earth covered, wooden door that could only be opened from inside.
Photo by
Nick Catford

The hideout contained bunk beds, ammunition, explosives, food, water, a cooking stove and an Elsan chemical toilet.

After the war the earth cover and corrugated metal roof was removed but the brick end walls, main entrance shaft and the concrete emergency escape tunnel can still be seen set into the steep bank in Norland Wood. The chamber is now partially filled with soil.

The patrol visited the hideout every weekend but, unlike other patrols, they never stayed overnight as part of their training. Former patrol member, Jack Matthews, recalled some of the targets the patrol would have attempted to sabotage in the event of an invasion.  

These included the railway line at Rye and the two main roads running out of Rye to Ashford and Folkestone. He also remembered their patrol, along with several adjacent patrols, going to a meeting at Catsfield. There a high ranking officer explained how volunteers were needed to be parachuted into France as part of a pre-invasion plan for the Normandy Landings. All the men put their names forward.

Localised training took place three or four times a week and mainly involved the patrol practicing with various explosives on tree stumps and disused rabbit warrens.

  It is assumed they had access to the regular weapons and equipment listed here

For a detailed history of the Auxiliary Units in Sussex see Stewart Angell's book 'The Secret Sussex Resistance', available to buy in our shop.

Thanks to Stewart Angell and Sub Brit for the info.