Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Leweston Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 3:54pm on 17/11/12

Thank you for selecting information on the Leweston Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base. This patrol report was provided by CART CIO for Dorset Dr. Will Ward.

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.

The patrol was part of the Blandford area group, commanded by Capt (later Major) RGH Wilson DSO,MC.

The patrol was probably formed in late 1940 or early 1941.

Name Date of Birth Occupation  . Died
Sgt Edward Spackman (Ted)     16/5/1911 Under cowman . 1985
Pte Colin Anthony Goodchild (Tony) 18/2/1914 . . 1988
Pte Robert Mills (Bob) 5/8/1906 Under cowman Left Spring 1944 1981
Pte William Edward Foot 22/1/1908 . . 1983
Pte Philip Hylton Brunt 17/4/1923 . . 2009
Pte John Frederick Lawes (Jack) 27/2/1916  .  . 2002
Albert J Hole 30/4/1913   .  .  .
Philip Brunt Leweston Patrol   

 

 

Philip Brunt pictured while still a member of Holnest Home Guard platoon, before he joined Aux Units. Courtesy of Mrs Brunt

Bill Foot Leweston Patrol

 

Bill Foot pictured while still a member of Holnest Home Guard platoon, before joining Aux Units. Courtesy of Mrs Brunt

Bob Mills Leweston Patrol

 

 

Bob Mills pictured after the war Courtesy of Rob Mills

Young Bob Mills Leweston Patrol


 

A young Bob Mills pictured at the entrance to his pigeon loft. Courtesy of  Rob Mills

Ted Spackman and Bob Mills were good friends and both were under cowmen to Ted’s father on the Leweston estate. During the war this was owned by the Rose family, famous for their lime cordial and marmalade. Both joined the Home Guard on the same day and obviously when Aux Units were formed they joined this together. Tony Goodchild also worked on the estate. It is possible that they knew the others through the Home Guard as they all lived rather further from the Operational Base. Bob Mills was the youngest of seven brothers, two of whom had died in the First World War.

Of note, the Rose family used an advert during the war in the form of an “airgraph” to the owner serving overseas from the estate butler, as a Sergeant of the Home Guard named Albert Hawkins, commenting on the difficulty in obtaining Lime Cordial.

Albert Hole doesn’t appear in the May 1942 list of patrol members, and is not recorded as joining the Home Guard until September. It is possible that he joined even later, perhaps when Rob Mills moved to a farm near Redhill, Surrey to work in the Spring of 1944.

 Lewston Patrol ID Card

 

 

Philip Brunt’s wartime identity card. Unusually this is marked with the 203 Battalion number, with the words Battalion, Home Guard embossed onto the card. There are official records that give the instruction to do this, allowing Auxiliers to prove their identity if required, but dos not appear to have been done very frequently. 

The OB was in woods behind Leweston House, now a private girls school. It was in woodland well within the grounds of the estate. The site has not been positively identified but is unlikely to have survived intact.

Many years after the war, the Army were contacted about the OB with concerns that there might still be explosives within. They asked the Police to investigate and they made contact with Philip Brunt and visited the estate. He was unable to locate the OB, which supports it having being subsequently destroyed.

Bob Mills complained in later life that his severe arthritis was the result of a bad throw during unarmed combat practice during the war. He ended up needing to walk with a stick or two in later life as a result. He also trained at Charborough Park, famous for tits “5 legged stag” (the statue of a stag raised on a plinth high above the road is support by an iron post that makes it look as if there are five legs!). There were three other Auxiliary Units patrols based on this estate.

Bob Mills also recalled practising abseiling on Swanage cliffs. These same cliffs were where the US 2nd Rangers trained with British Commandos for their assault on the Pointe du Hoc Gun Battery in Normandy on D Day. In the run up to D Day, the roads near the estate were packed with US troops, their trucks and ammunition, all kept under trees at the roadside to avoid observation. The patrol ensured that those guarding these stores were “kept on their toes”!

Philip Brunt recalled that he had attended Coleshill for training.

It is likely that Leweston Manor was a target as it would likely have been occupied had the Germans invaded. The patrol is also known to have practised attacking Yeovilton airfield, where the guards were armed with live ammunition.

The patrol was issued with Fairbairn Sykes commando daggers. Bob Mills kept his.

At the end of the war, the patrol all received the normal Stand Down letter, though none survives intact.

Bob Mills sang all his life and even had two cassettes recorded and released in his name – “Songs of a Hampshire Man” on the Peoples Stage Tapes Label No PST 05 and “Let this Room be Cheerful” on the Forest Tracks Label No FTC 6025. So it is still possible to listen to his voice.

Bob’s wife Myrtle received posthumously his Defence Medal in around 1992 after his daughter Joan applied for it.

Medal and training guide

Rob Mills brought his father’s Defence Medal to Coleshill for the September 2012 Open Days. It is seen here picture on a replica 1938 Calendar Auxiliary Units manual.

National Archives WO 199/3390, 199/3391
Information from Rob Mills, son of Bob Mills, born in 1944 whilst his father was serving with the patrol.
Information from Mrs Philip Brunt, widow of Philip, who provided the photo of Holnest Home Guard.
Additional research by John Pidgeon from the 1911 census
http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/homefront/ta_training.php