Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Operational Base near Hasketon Hall - Patrol Currently Unknown

This page was last updated at 9:13am on 10/2/12

Thank you for selecting information on the unknown Auxiliary Unit Operational Base in Suffolk. The info and images below have been supplied by Aux researchers Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye.

We visited this location in order to establish the exact grid reference of an as yet unassigned operational base which geographically would most likely have been in the Woodbridge Group.

Unless the OB was at some time used by one of the patrols known to have operated in the area we do not have names for this patrol and its members. We suspect that it might have been the 1st OB of Woodbridge Patrol but have as yet to find information which would confirm this.

Geographically, the OB is situated within the area that was covered by patrols belonging to the Woodbridge Group:

Debach Patrol (aka Clopton or Otley Patrol), Woodbridge (aka Melton Park) Patrol, Nacton Patrol
Eyke Patrol, Great Bealings Patrol and Dallinghoo (aka Pettistree/Bredfield) Patrol.

CO Capt David Walter Beeton, Woodbridge
Started work at Churchman’s in Ipswich and later as a travelling salesman for the Danish Bacon Company. The latter gave him an excuse to run a small car. 

2nd Lt M Roy Taylor, Hasketon Hall, Woodbridge
He farmed at Hasketon Hall

We were unable to find a record for a Hasketon Patrol and its patrol members. The patrol is not mentioned on the list of Suffolk patrols that was found amongst papers belonging to Capt David W Beeton, CO of Woodbridge Group.

Considering that there is no record of a Hasketon Patrol and no record of members of this patrol, two scenarios spring to mind:

i) Hasketon Patrol is synonymous with Woodbridge/Melton Park Patrol. The now lost OB in the grounds of the former Melton Grange was the patrol’s 2nd OB, constructed after it had turned out that the OB built near Hasketon Hall was unusable. Although a Hasketon Patrol is not mentioned on Capt DW Beeton’s list of altogether 34 Suffolk patrols, his 2nd in command, Lt Roy Taylor, in his notes wrote: “we had patrols at Clopton, Hasketon, Gt Bealings, Bredfield, Pettistree and Eyke”.
 
Some of these patrols were known under different names: Clopton Patrol was aka Debach and Otley Patrol and Pettistree Patrol was also referred to as Bredfield and Dallinghoo Patrol. It is for this reason quite possible that Hasketon Patrol was just another name for Woodbridge (aka Melton Park) Patrol.

ii) Hasketon Patrol did exist but was disbanded before stand-down, ie before names were being recorded.

The patrols operating in the vicinity were Debach (aka Clopton/Otley) Patrol (north-west), Great Bealings (aka Little Bealings) Patrol (south-west) and Woodbridge (aka Melton Park) Patrol (south-east).

Capt Noel Andrew Cotton Croft arrived in Suffolk some time before August, after having set up the first Auxunit Patrols in Essex. The first operational bases constructed were frequently nothing more than rectangular dug-outs hidden in woodland, with roofs of corrugated sheeting, supported by railway tracks, sleepers or timbers. Many of these structures had barely room to house the five patrol members it was intended for, and when the number of patrol members was increased from 5 to 7 in spring 1941, many OBs had to be abandoned for this reason alone. Some patrols had three or even four different bases during the first few months of their existence, one after the other soon to be abandoned because they were unsuitable for even short-term use until replacement bases were constructed from a standard drawing. Occasionally this first standard base had to also be abandoned, because it was discovered by school children, courting couples or poachers.

Hasketon Unknown OB 1

The OB was situated near the southern edge of a private woodland that is adjoined by farmland owned by Hasketon Hall Farm. We accessed the woodland in the company of Richard Taylor, the owner of the surrounding farmland, by kind permission of the woodland’s owner.

Hasketon Unknown OB 2

Mr Taylor was shown the location by his father, Lt Roy Taylor, but he has never actually seen the OB and only knows its approximate location. The grid reference given for the location by BROM and by DOB can hence only be approximate. It coincides with the grid reference established on occasion of our visit, taken on the site shown to us by Mr Taylor.

Apparently the OB was either filled in or removed at an early stage, certainly before it was shown to Richard Taylor.

Sweeping the area with a metal detector did not show up anything of significance.
According to Lt Taylor’s notes, the OB was a 16 ft long by 9 ft wide underground Nissen hut built by the Royal Engineers. * (See Notes).

According to information lodged at BROM Parham, the OB was not used due to waterlogged ground conditions. In 1996, BROM recorders described the site as a large hollow in the ground.
There are several smaller and one large depression in the ground along the south-western edge of the unnamed woodland which is surrounded by a drainage ditch, traversed by another, and bisected by a third ditch that can be crossed by using a small brick-built bridge. There are also a number of dilapidated wooden footbridges still in place albeit unsafe to use.

On 8th November 1940, the 250th Field Company RE under C/O Major ET King (M.M.R.E), arrived at a camp in Woodbridge.

Number 3 section supervised the defence works in Ipswich. They also built gun emplacements and pillboxes, and erected scaffolding defences on the beach and around the harbour at Felixtowe. The company had built the "Elephant" style shelters in Northumberland and Durham before heading south and could well have been involved in the construction of the OB at Hasketon, and others in the area. (Info: Stephen Lewins)

Roy Taylor’s notes; Richard Taylor; Michael Beeton; Dr Will Ward (DOB); BROM Parham; Stephen Lewins CART CIO Northumberland; John Warwicker, Churchill’s Underground Army (2008); Major NV Oxenden MC, Auxiliary Units – History and Achievement 1940-1944 (Oct 1944)


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