Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

North Walsham Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base.

This page was last updated at 12:13pm on 23/12/12

Thank you for selecting information on the North Walsham 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 formed part of Norwich Group 3 which also includes

Matlaske Patrol, Stody Patrol, Baconsthorpe Patrol, Thorpe Market Patrol (aka as Calthorpe patrol or Alby patrol), Aylsham (aka Oulton) Patrol and possibly Ingham Patrol

CO Lt P N Neave
2nd Lt A G Abel
Capt Duncan took over from Lt Neave as CO

It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.

Sgt Fredrick Kidman [TQHC 17/1]
Cpl Frank Nicholas Tofts [TRIB 35/1] Heath Farm, Norwich Road, North Walsham
Thomas John Bell [WZRC 4/3]
Wallace Charles Hannant [TQHC 303/5] The Bungalow, Station Road, North Walsham
William Alma Hicks [TQHA 200/1] 14, Barton Road, North Walsham
Alfred Barrett

According to information given to us by Mr JN Tofts, son of patrol member Cpl Frank Nicholas Tofts, the OB was located by the northern edge of a woodland on the Westwick Estate. We identified the location as an area marked on OS maps as Postle’s Corner. The OB was located about 20 metres from the northern edge of the woodland adjoined by fields.
 
Mrs BE Kidman confirms that the OB was situated in ‘Westwick Woods’.

Mr JN Tofts visited and accessed the OB on several occasions and describes the entrance as having been a drop-down shaft, with a small room (annex) preceding the main chamber.

The main chamber was an Anderson Shelter. The shelter was constructed by patrol members themselves in the farmyard at Heath Farm and then carted across the field to the OB site.

The emergency escape tunnel led off the annex and emerged about 18 metres away, running in a zigzag course.

The emergency escape passage was constructed from a number of 40-gallon drums with tops and bottoms removed and arranged so that they would form a tunnel.

Heath Farmhouse

The structure was pulled out of the ground and all that remains is a shallow depression. Considering that in all likelihood there is nothing left to see on the ground, and also because access to the Westwick Estate is usually not permitted, we decided not to ask for permission to see the OB site but rather to illustrate our text with a photograph depicting Heath Farmhouse (above) (which housed the patrol’s ammunition and explosives store in its cellar), and two photographs of typewritten letters - kindly shown to us by Mrs Kidman.

Sgt F Kidman N Walsham patrol 1

The letter above is dated 30 November 1944 and signed by Colonel F.W.R. Douglas, with ‘To Sgt F Kidman’ added by hand in ink.

Sgt F Kidman N Walsham patrol 2

This is a typewritten copy of a letter addressed to ‘The Commander, GHQ Auxiliary Units’ - written by General H.E. Franklyn (Commander in Chief) and dated 18 November 1944.

Observation Post/s:  Currently unknown

RAF Coltishall. The airfield, located about 5 kilometres distant from the patrol's OB, was completed as a fighter base in May 1940.  First operating with Hawker Hurricanes, Coltishall later became home to night fighters and in early 1945 it was the base for No 124 Squadron RAF, flying Supermarine Spitfire IX.HF.  Another target might have been Westwick House if taken over by the enemy in the event of an invasion.

Currently unknown

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.

According to Mr JN Tofts, the patrol’s ammunition and explosives were stored in the cellar of Heath Farmhouse. Mr Tofts also mentioned an ammo dump in the woodland near the OB site but he could not recall its exact location.


Mrs BE Kidman, North Walsham (personal interview); JN Tofts, son of patrol member, North Walsham (personal interview); A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler (2002); Stephen Lewins CART CIO Northumberland, Jeremy Norman; John George Seaman (leader of Baconsthorpe Patrol, died June 2011) 

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