Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Scremerston Auxiliary Unit and Operational Base

This page was last updated at 11:19 am on 27/5/14

Thank you for selecting information on the Scremerston Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Northumberland. The info and images below have been supplied by CART's Northumberland CIO Stephen Lewins.

The patrol may have been one of the earliest ones set up as L W L Carmichael who lived at the nearby Scremerston Hill farm was one of the original organisers of the recruiting and setting up the AU in the north along with Peter Robinson (later Group C/O).

The patrol was formed early in 1941 probably before Captain John Anthony Quayle was I/O. It should also be noted that the patrol OB is not listed as one built by the 184th Special Tunnelling Company of the R.E. who built the Northumberland OB’s during 1942.

The Patrol was based south of Berwick upon Tweed in North Northumberland and close to the small mining community of Scremertson.

Known Patrol members:

Matt J R Aitchison, Scremerston (later Sgt)
M S Blackett, Homelea, Scremerston
J H Edminson, Spittal
W Gibson, Scremerston
J Nisbett, Scremerston
J Ross 
Sgt G T Tait, Scremerston
I Ross, Scremerston

The patrol OB was supposed to be at the Inland Pastures Farm, Scremerston and the entrance hidden in a cold frame. This has not been confirmed, it has not been possible to gain any access. Due to the omission from the R.E. list and the early set up of the patrol the shelter is most probably a DIY job.

The Inland Pastures farm is on the high ground overlooking the beach at Scremerston and would have had an excellent view of anything landing on the beach. It is the closest OB site to the sea in Northumberland.

The area along the coast to the east of the patrol O.B. was one of the main NE invasion beaches covering the area from Scremerston to Goswick.

The road bridge over the river Tweed from Berwick to Tweedmouth, at the time this was the main England/Scotland road and a vital bridge. The Royal Border railway viaduct was also a vital England/Scotland connection.
  
Elsewhere the port of Berwick on both sides of the river were important as London got a large amount of it’s coal from the north via the staiths at Tweedmouth and Spittal.

Training was undertaken locally, on the farm and the beach at Scremerston. The site is not far from the Allerdean patrol’s OB. Here there was a small arms training area set up by Carmichael and the northern patrols went to it to practice on pop up targets. The Allerdean patrol obviously had to stay away while the others were there.

Much training seems to have been carried out at The Cat Inn on the A1 near Scremerston, known as the “Guerrilla Arms” by the three northern patrols.

Training also took place at Melville House in Scotland and Otterburn Ranges. Some members went to Coleshill for weekend courses but this stopped as with the Scots Auxiliers as it was seen as too far to travel. This change in training practice lead to written instructions being sent out from Coleshill. The patrols were left to practice whatever they were told to do.

Usual supplied Sten gun, .22 Sniper rifle, grenades, plastic explosives with time pencils detonators as supplied in the Aux Kit issued to the I/O’s.

Most of the members were miners at Scremerston colliery and would have had a working knowledge of explosives before the war so training would be minimal. The colliery may have played its part in storing the patrol’s explosives, along with their own.

The National Archives at Kew, Some verbal evidence from old AU members. An article from the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

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