Long Bredy Auxiliary Unit Patrol
This page was last updated at 3:09pm on 17/11/12
Thank you for selecting information on the Long Bredy 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
Not currently known.
The patrol was probably formed in late 1940 or early
||Date of Birth
|Sgt. Robert James Foot
||Known as Bob
|Cpl Leslie Frank Sorrell
|Pte. William Salisbury
|Pte. Charles Henry Burt Pitcher
||Worked for Bob Foot
|Pte. Benjamin Nathaniel Snoydon
Robert Foot was a farmer whose extended family owned a number of farms in the area.
Les Sorrell seen in his Home Guard uniform shortly before the patrol was formed.
||Bill Salisbury seen at the back of a photo of the Home Guard, prior to joining Aux
Charlie Pitcher lived in the area his entire life. It appears that he joined the unit in April 1942, possibly
when the OB moved closer to his home in Litton Cheney (see below). He worked on Robert Foot’s farm and was also
well known for his ferreting skills.
Access to the OB was arranged by Mr Robin Pitcher through the landowner, Mr Robert Maltby. A field visit was
made on 10/11/12. The OB is on private land.
Condition of OB: mostly collapsed
Size of OB and entrance/exit etc: minimum 18ft 2in x 7ft 2in
Other physical remains nearby: Some debris from collapse of the OB can be found further down
The patrol had two OBs. The first was built by the patrol itself in woods north of Little Bredy. Bill Salisbury
recalls that Roly Fry and Dick Legg helped with this work, which may mean that they were patrol members at the
time, though they do not appear in the nominal rolls. Bill recalls they carried away the chalk in coal sacks and
dumped it in a ditch several miles away. When they got home they were covered in white chalk dust, but their
families never asked why. This OB had to be abandoned when the Americans moved into the area and set up a large
camp in the woods.
The second OB was built by regular troops brought in by their Group Commander. It was built in a sand quarry
just north of Long Bredy. This quarry had supplied greensand to the Lott and Walne foundry in Dorchester, where it
was used for making the moulds for their castings. The OB was built high in the side of the quarry and was a
different design from that usually seen. While it was constructed using hollow concrete blocks, as commonly seen in
OBs, it had a lean to style of corrugated iron roof, rather than a full curved Nissen hut shape. This allowed it to
be a narrower OB than normal and presumably fit onto the face of the quarry. The greensand would have ensured
excellent drainage preventing the OB from getting damp. Bill Salisbury recalls that this bunker was produced in a
bit of a hurry. The Army dug it out and when it was finished blew greensand down over it by using explosives. Bill
does not ever recall visiting this bunker. “Bob Foot, our Sgt never took us there”.
The OB was sealed at the end of the war, but sometime after, the quarry was worked by machine and one of the
diggers knocked a hole through the side of the OB. Albert Pitcher, son of patrol member Charlie, remembers the
bunker in this state as a schoolboy. This has caused the OB to subsequently collapse to its current state.
During the war, the immediate area was much more heavily wooded than is the case now, This would have provided
cover for accessing the OB, most probably from one of the footpaths that cross the hill into which the quarry had
Charlie Pitcher, great grandson of the patrol member also named Charlie Pitcher, stands in an entrance to the
second Long Bredy bunker. This is just over 2 feet wide and possibly represents the emergency escape exit. If so it
would likely connected to a short tunnel and disguised flap door, or false cliff face. He is standing on what is
estimated to be 3 to 4 feet of soil filling the remains of the OB. The area where the entrance shaft is thought
likely to be, out of shot to the left of this picture, has been covered by a subsequent landslip. In the bottom
right of the photo is part of a joining piece for pipes that may have formed part of the ventilation system.
Up against the back wall are the remains of what may be a wooden bunk. There is a vertical wooden post still in
place and longer wooden timber with corroded fragments of chicken wire and finer wire mesh. Similar materials are
seen forming bunks in other OBs.
A close up of the corner of the OB. Bricks have been used edge on to support the corrugated iron on the back
wall of the OB, with more bricks used normally to create a gentle curve for the roof down to the front wall. The
hollow concrete block laid on its side is seen in other OBs to provide
access through the wall to ventilation pipes. None could be identified, though there is soft sand at the end of
these, suggesting they may have been moved by erosion.
The patrol received the usual training in explosives. Charlie Pitcher recounted to his family how he had learnt
to fell trees across the road to block them. He never mentioned going to Coleshill or Duntish Court.
The patrols in this area are spread along the sides of the A35, the main East-West route through Dorset,
suggesting that this was a major target. It is also likely that large houses taken over by the Germans would also
have formed targets. There were fewer obviously military targets in this rural part of Dorset.
In common with a good number of Auxiliers in other parts of the country, the Long Bredy patrol were approached
to see if they would be willing to be dropped behind enemy lines in France and carry out their sabotage activities
there. They were later told that they were too valuable in their reserved occupations for this to have been
progressed. It may be that there was confusion around the approach by the SAS to Auxiliary Units to recruit men for
its expanding regiment.
Charlie Pitcher also appeared in a couple of television
pieces about his long life in the area. He never mentioned his Auxiliary Units service in these though!
National Archives WO 199/3390, 199/3391, 1911 Census, Interviews by John Pidgeon with patrol members Les Sorrell
and Bill Salisbury, Additional information from Albert Pitcher, son of patrol member Charlie, and Albert’s son