Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Peterhead Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 8:15am on 4/1/15

Thank you for selecting information on the Peterhead Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Scotland. The info below has been supplied by CART's Aberdeenshire CIO, Alan Stewart.

Research into this patrol and its training is ongoing. The information below is published from various sources and is by no means conclusive. If information is not listed below it does not necessarily mean the information is not out there but normally means CART researchers have not found it yet.

If you have any information on this patrol or can help with research in this area please do contact us.

Part of Group 6 Number 2 Area taking in Mintlaw and Old Deer.

1940



Sgt Tom Catto, Draper Shop owner (Peterhead)
Cpl Norman Tait, Storeman at Cross and Blackwell factory (Peterhead) – across road from the original OB
Private Tom Alexander – Doorman of Regal Cinema, suffered from TB
Private Charles Clay – Assistant Grocer, Duncan’s of Peterhead
Private David Gordon – Apprentice Butcher, Booths of Peterhead
Private Norman Watson
Private David Wilson

Group Commander is Lieut. J.L Low, Headmaster from Old Deer, and 2nd Lieut,. A. Forbes, Fraserburgh.

(Images below) The patrol's original OB was located in the cellar of the tower in St Peters Cemetery, South Road, Peterhead. The tower was built in the early 1800’s as a lookout for grave robbers. William (Tom’s son), as a boy wondered why his father had a key to the cemetery.

The main OB when built was located in a field at Inverugie on land at Mount Pleasant, Inverugie. (See image below) Located in a field of sloping ground in a “mini valley” close to Inverugie Railway Station. No trace of the OB is visible in both current and 1973 aerial photographs.  The locations was given by Tom Catto to his son by pointing to the area on a map and stating “that’s where we were based”.

The OB was built by “men from Huntly”, which would most likely be a company owned by Len Bullock (John Leonard Bullock – Huntly). Mr Bullock operated out of Blairmore as a building contractor. 

Further ground research will be conducted into the OB in 2015.

Close proximity to RAF Peterhead (Longside), road bridges over the River Ugie, main railway to Maud junction, then onto Aberdeen / Fraserbugh. Coastal port of Peterhead nearby, with likely invasion beaches to North of Peterhead.

The patrol met at Tom’s house midweek at 38 Grange Gardens, Peterhead. Capt Gordon-Lennox was a regular visitor to the house. As the patrol members had shops, the meetings often had sausages and chocolate biscuits where were limited due to wartime rationing.

Tom Catto went away from training for a week, possibly Blairmore or Coleshill.

Unknown, William Catto, recalls as a 9/10 year old, his father having a locked drawer with a revolver in it. We suspect they were issued with the standard kit.

 

The patrol were basically young men, around 17/18 years old. Tom Catto was turned down due to health reasons and joined the Home Guard in Peterhead. He was in the Home Guard from the start of the war, but somehow got invited to join the Auxiliary Units. Tom and the others only wore a uniform at weekends. 

William, also recalls Rora and Auchmacoy being mentioned by his father a lot. Auchmacoy is an estate near Ellon, and the area Lt Alexander Fraser stayed, He was the group commander of Group 7 and involved in Ellon Auxiliary Unit. It is believed that there may be an OB at Auchmacoy as the number of people in the patrol would indicate two patrols.

In August 1944, Tom Catto went to Balmoral Castle to protect the Royal family for a week. During this week, Tom attended a staff dance at Balmoral. Being at a dance in the presence of the Royal family (although not meeting them), was something Tom was very proud of.

(Above) Tom Catto.

 

William, does recall his father having a lapel badge, and still has it somewhere. He believes his late brother had manuals on explosives but unsure where they are or came from.


William Catto, son of Tom Catto (Patrol Sgt)
TNA – WO199/3388 201 Bn rolls.
Hancock Files held by the BRA

If you have any info please contact us.