Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Leominster “Abednigo” Auxiliary Unit Patrol

Thank you for selecting information on the Leominster “Abednigo” Auxiliary Unit and Operational Base. The info and images below have been supplied by our internal archive and other sources.

This page was last updated on 6/12/16

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.

Leominster is a large market town in Herefordshire.

Herefordshire formed part of area 19 which also included Worcestershire ( Groups 1a and 1b), Monmouthshire (Group 3) and latterly from 1943 part of Glamorganshire (Groups 4a and 4b).

The first intelligence officer was Captain John Ellerman Todd who had been a London stockbroker before the war. Known to be a character but dressed as the country gent it is believed he lived at Llanfihangel Crucorny in Monmouthshire. Recruited to SOE, Todd was replaced by Captain Christopher Sandford and the area headquarters became Eye Manor near Leominster.

A later Intelligence Officer included Captain Lloyd Bucknell RA.

Leominster “Abednigo” Patrol was part of Herefordshire Group 2 which consisted of six Patrols: Letton (“Adam”), Leominster  (“Abednigo”), Bromyard (“Jacob”), Walls Hill (“Mechach”), Dinedor (“Caleb”) and Symonds Yat (“Shadrach”) patrols.

Area Group Commander was Captain Geoffrey S E Lacon of Bircher near Leominster.

Group commander of these Patrols was Captain J.H.“Hughie” Hall  and Assistant C.Q.M.S. Albert Thomas Pettifer.

Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Monmouthshire Patrols were given Biblical code names. It is assumed this was an initiative of Todd to prevent the use of patrols locations names.    

Currently unknown though thought to be the latter part of 1940.

Lieutenant Geoffrey Somerset Lycon, The Highwood, Bircher
Sergeant Richard E Holford, 15.5.1907, Hill House, Newton, Leominster
Corporal Geoffrey H Chambers, 1.2.1907, 96 The Bargates, Leominster
Private Frank James Hancon, Eyton Court, Leominster
Private Robert Thomas Harold Brooks, 2.2.1912, 2 Barrons Close, Leominster
Private Geoffrey P Thomas, 16.3.1900, Rose Croft, Newton Lanes, Leominster
Private Neston Dena Ord Capper, 13.8.1911, The Hope, Ullingswick, Hereford
Private W. Rogers, Broadwood Hall, Leominster
Private John Richardson, 26.5.1916, 50 Cemetery Road.    

Sgt. Holford was a poultry farmer.

Cpl. Geoffrey Chambers was a livestock auctioneer at Leominster and during the war was the local representative of the Wool Marketing Board.

John Richardson was a railway worker.

Neston Capper was first recruited to “Mechach” Patrol but according to Fred Mayo of Walls Hill left to join “Abednigo”. He was a farmer and in 1939 was a ARP Warden.

Robert Brooks was a motor mechanic.

Frank Hancorn went to sea as a young man but a broken leg left him with a limp so he became a seed salesman before buying some land to farm. His daughter recalls explosives being found in the cellars and cider mills of the farm post war.

Geoffrey Probert Thomas was the fifth child of a farmer from Knighton Powys and moved to Tenbury Wells then Kimbolton to work for "Duggans" as a waggoner. He progressed to working on the local estates, owning the first combine harvesters and JCBs in the area. He developed the family building firm which still exists, being managed over the years by his son, grandson, and great grandson.

During the cold war in the 60’s he had some form of civil defence communication box situated in his hallway which was connected to his phone line. His grandchildren were sternly told not to touch this box or heaven forbid – a warning that they knew to heed.

His hobby in later years was restoring grandfather clocks, at the time of his death in 1974 he had 36 of them in his house and workshop.

Hereford Auxiliers

Back Row - J F RYAN, J RHYS-THOMAS, J B SAINSBURY, W R ROBINSON, N D O CAPPER, G O SAINSBURY, J E POTTER, G MORGAN-JONES, V BEACH-THOMAS

Next Row - J F HARTWRIGHT, E LEWIS, E F BARNETT, L J HODELL, G GRIFFITHS, J TURNER, H E SAINSBURY, E C TISDALE, G P THOMAS, F J HANCORN, G H CHAMBERS

Next Row - D HOWARD-SMITH, A T PETTIFER, M G HOOTON, G S E LACON, J H HALL, F W GREEN, R E HOLFORD, A BECK

Front Row - D T WENT, J CLELAND, W F PUDGE, J THORNTON, E R PRICE, L EVANS, R G H BROOKS, F MAYO

Photograph by VIVIANS

Photo Copy - Brian JONES Collection Album 2 BJ59

[Source: http://www.old-ledbury.co.uk/Military.htm#mil2]

Geoff Thomas on the left of the picture with Nora his wife and his elder brother Frank. 1963. Copyright the Thomas Family.

Currently unknown but thought to be on the flank of Dinmore Hill.

Assumed to be the railway line running through Dinmore Tunnel and the main A49 over Dinmore Hill.

Dinmore Railway Tunnel

© Copyright Peter Whatley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Hereford Patrols trained at Holmer Grange, the home of Captain“Hughie” Hall. Auxiliers had memories of a large lake with a pontoon bridge over. An exercise was to run over the pontoon with all their equipment, missing the part of the bridge that was primed to collapse. If they didn't fall in, the instructors pushed them in anyway.

A stuffed dummy mounted in a doorway was used for silent killing practice.

A competition between all six patrols took place at a farm at Holmer. Each Patrol had to place a magnet with the Patrols name attached on some farm equipment stored in a yard. Getting in and out without being spotted the victor was”Jacob” Patrol.

Unknown, but it is assumed that they had the standard weapons and explosives issued to all patrols.

Geoffrey Thomas' son recalls a cache of Sticky Bombs being found on his land after the war which the Royal Engineers were called in to deal with.

Along with other patrols from around the country some from “Abednigo” Patrol were recruited to defend the Isle of Wight in June 1944 during the time of D-Day. Here is a story of others experience of D-Day on the Isle of Wight.

Herefordshire patrols had their first reunion dinner on 26th January1945 at Booth Hall in Hereford.

TNA WO199/3389 & transcripts from Stephen Lewins. Hancock data held at B.R.A. The Mercian Maquis by Bernard Lowry & Mick Wilks, David Thomas, Auxilier Geoff Thomas' Grandson, David Thomas, 1939 Register.

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