Monkton 'Gherkin' Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational
This page was last updated at 8:28am on 9/5/13
Thank you for selecting information on the Monkton Auxiliary Unit Patrol and
their Operational Base in Thanet, Kent. The info and images below have been supplied by CART CIO for Kent Phil
The codename for this patrol was Gherkin
The first I.O for Kent was Grenadier Guards Captain Peter Fleming. He was the man responsible for setting up the Units in Kent under the
name of the XII corps Observation Unit. In late 1940 he left and a Royal Fusilier Captain Norman Field then took over as I.O. At some point in Normans command he
split Kent in two. West Kent came under the command of Captain George MacNicholl and Norman commanded East Kent.
In late 1941 Norman was taken away from the Units and George MacNicholl took over as I.O. for the whole of Kent
for the rest of the war.
Sgt Reg Linington (Patrol leader)
G. M. Fuller
R. D. Rose
B. H. S. Stephens
T. E. Spanton (Discharged SLLR medically unfit 01/06/43) 01/06/43)
Patrol member T E Spanton can be seen above.
There were three patrols based on the Isle of Thanet, all eventually under the command of W. G. ‘Bill’ Gardner,
a farmer, corn merchant and renowned orchid grower who lived in Birchington. However, Bill Gardner did not take
command until July 1941. The three patrols in Thanet all had the same target which was Manston Aerodrome. It is not
known if the Herne Bay patrol had any targets.
The patrol's O.B. was built by the army at Monkton chalk pit, now a nature reserve. No signs are left of
this O.B. It could well have been destroyed when material from the quarry was excavated to build a new runway
at Manston Aerodrome in 1944. The chalk pit was owned by the Willet family. Tom Willet was also involved in the
Resistance although not in the sabotage side. He had a hide on his farm at Gore Court farm where he had a radio set
hidden. Along with him Jim Lamont, another local farmer from Nash Court farm, was also involved in this secret
radio side of the movement.
The main target for this patrol was Manston Aerodrome.
Shooting practice was done at Quex Park as well as The Garth. Also Gherkin
trained alongside Savoy patrol. Norman Steed, the Leader of the Savoy Patrol, remembered meeting up
with Reg Linington and his men at the Gherkin Patrol's site in Monkton Chalk Pit. Exercises were also carried
out in and around Thanet, with local Army units 'acting' the part of the enemy. It is not known if anyone
from this patrol attended training at Coleshill.
Patrol members personel equipment
Rod cl. Pistol
Chevrons. 3 bar
Arm bands. HG
Thompson Sub Machine Gun 1
Rifles .300 2
Rifles .22 1
Sten Guns 4
.46 Thompson Sub Machine Gun 1200
.300 Rifle 100
.22 Rifle 200
9mm Sten 1200
Aux Unit mk2 15
Grenades .36 48
A.W. Bombs 24
Pull Switches 50
Pressure Switches 50
Release Switches 50
L Delays. 1Hr 300
L Delays. 3Hr 750
L Delays. 1 ½ Hr
L Delays. 4Hr
A.P. Mines 50
Smoke Gen 4
Pouches basic 2
Slings Rifle/Thompson 3
Gauze wire 2
Bottles oil 2
Rods. cl. Rifle .22
Adaptors brush .22
Magazines Thompson Sub Machine Gun 5
Oil m. 80
Field Telephones 2
Telephone cable ½ mile
Cells Dry (Telephone) 4
Compass, pocket 1
Goggles, N.P. 3
Truncheons. R. 3
Knobkerries (spelling unclear) 3
Knives circular 1
First aid set 1
Cream camm 9
Dummy Grenades 6
Lamps, Hurricane 2
Lamps Tilley 1
Stoves heating 1
Stove oil wickless 1
Primus repair 0
Bill Gardner: “We had every explosive you could think of. I had a pass that allowed me to do anything. I would
drive to the airfield in full evening dress with my car loaded with explosives. If the Jerries took over the
airfield we were to blow the bloody lot up. Jerry was no fool, however. It would be bloody lucky if we did survive.
They would have found us. It was no joke. It was bloody serious. It was bloody frightening.”
After the war Bill Gardner kept some explosives on his farm at Upstreet and was known to use them to blow up
trees. He once set a booby trap to stop a thief stealing his broccoli but injured himself in the arms and groin
when the trap went off.
In 1984, Bill Gardner's house, Garfield, in Green Road, Birchington, was sold to a Mr. Eric Griffiths. Mr.
Gardner was aged 77 at the time and had just moved into Turret Court nursing home at Westgate. The contents of his
old house were put up for auction. An arsenal of detonators, explosives, cordite fuse and phosphorus grenades were
found in the garage and garden shed.
Two hundred people were evacuated from neighbouring streets while bomb disposal experts made the area safe. The
munitions were moved to Grenham Bay, Birchington, where they were destroyed by controlled explosion.
A document has come to light recently that was made by Group Leader Bill Gardner during the war. It lists all
the patrols under his command, men involved, patrol code names and stores. This has been a great help in finding
out more about the patrols in his group.
Nothing at this time.
Kind Thanks go to Adrain Westwood for letting us use information from his website. Also to Norman Bonney and Ron Stilwell for helping me
put the patrol report together and providing Information.
Other information is from Phil Evans own research into the patrol.
If you can help with any info please contact us.