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
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.
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.
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
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
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
If you can help with any info please