Matlaske Auxiliary Unit
This page was last updated at 10:57am on 21/2/12
Thank you for selecting information on the Matlaske Auxiliary Unit Patrol
and their Operational Base in Norfolk. The info and images below have been supplied by Aux researchers Evelyn Simak
and Adrian Pye.
The patrol was sometimes also referred to as Wolterton Patrol. It formed part of Norfolk Group 3 which also
Aylsham Patrol, Stody Patrol, Baconsthorpe
Patrol, North Walsham and Calthorpe (Alby) Patrol.
CO Capt Duncan
2nd Lt PN Neave (Miller and farmer in Felmingham)
3rd Lt AG Abel (at a later date *)
George Abel worked as secretary of a local insurance company in Aylsham for many years
Sgt Henry West
L Daniels (transferred)
The patrol’s operational base was situated in close proximity of a sand and gravel extraction site, in a small
private woodland that is adjoined by fields on two sides. The woodland is skirted by a quiet country lane, and a
farm track leads past a short distance away. The structure appears to have been removed at quite some time ago but
the site still is clearly marked by a deep depression. (See Below)
Orientation of OB: roughly NW/SE – 147ft ASL
It is believed that the OB was been built by the patrol members themselves. The main chamber is described as
having been a Nissen hut-type structure with corrugated sheeting, held in place by a timber frame, lining the
earthen end walls. Judging from the large and pronounced depression left in the ground it would in all likelihood
have been a standard sized elephant shelter.
Some 85 metres further to the south-east the remains of the patrol’s ammunition store (seen above) can still be
found. It was a rectangular dugout measuring approximately one by two metres. Its depth can no longer be
established due to soil and leaf mould having gradually filled the hole over the decades. Some of the corrugated
sheeting lining the walls is still in situ, as are several corrugated sheets that would once have formed the roof.
(see below) The overgrown spoil heap can be seen a short distance away.
Matlaske and Oulton airfields; Wolterton Hall, Mannington Hall and Barningham Hall (if used as enemy Military HQ
Sten or Thompson submachine guns, Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knives and .38 revolvers plus a variety of
explosives, detonators and fuses would have been standard issue.
An excerpt taken from Sgt Henry West’s diary allows a glimpse of the patrol’s activities during the summer
June 2nd Hand grenade practice
June 6th/7th Coleshill Competition
June 9th Weekly Meeting at OB
June 16th Tommy gun practice for relay race
June 21st Practice for second round of competition
June 28th Group meeting at Cawston
June 30th Hand grenade practice
The following snippets were taken from pencilled notes jotted down in his diary by Sgt Henry West in 1942 on
occasion of a trip to the Isle of Wight, where men from several patrols in Group 3 - Baconsthorpe, Alby, Matlaske
and North Walsham – attended a training course:
The men travelled in a spacious 3rd class carriage and were collected at Liverpool Street station by an army
truck that took them across London to Waterloo station, where they had to wait for the connecting train to
Portsmouth. Whilst they were waiting the air raid warning siren went off and then they heard a loud bang. GCO Lt
Neave informed them that it had been caused by a robot plane having crashed. After their arrival in Portsmouth they
went straight down to the harbour and saw invasion barges and also HMS Warspite, which looked quite battered. In
the evening of the same day they got on board of a big launch that took them to the Isle of Wight. They were taken
to Newport in army trucks and reported to headquarters at Billingham Manor, where the food was good and the beds
decent. The following day they went to Sandown on duty. They were inspected by the Colonel and had a long lecture
on the shortage of troops on the island. They were put up at the Sandringham Hotel, three in a room. The men
visited Shanklin, a famous holiday resort in peacetime, they took walks along the cliff paths, and they also went
to the pictures to see “Northern Pursuit”, “Angels Sing” and “Nancy Drew Detective”. Sgt West notes that although
the soil seems poor there are roses everywhere, that the island is full of children and that one can’t help seeing
how clean and healthy they look.
Jeremy Norman; A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler ; Mr Young; Stephen Lewins CART CIO Northumberland