Snettisham Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base.
This page was last updated at 2:51pm on 22/12/11
Thank you for selecting information on the Snettisham 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.
Code name “Marble”
The patrol formed part of Norfolk Group 7 which also includes
Dersingham and Ringstead and possibly an as yet unidentified patrol operating in
the Bircham area.
Lt RR Stanton with J Young as his 2nd Lt and W Newstead as his Lt.
It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.
Sgt George Rex Carter, Snettisham
John B Betts
Walter E Claxton
A ‘Harry’ HC Hazle
David W Jarvis
Gordon R Winner
Derek V Smith
Sgt WA Whitby, Kenhill Cottage, Snettisham (discharged)
George Carter worked for Etna Stone & Shingle Company, Snettisham, who produced many items used in the
construction of RAF camps during the war. He also worked on the Kenhill Estate for a short time, and was later a
John B Betts was Farm Manager on the estate.
He was succeeded as farm manager by A 'Harry' C. Hazle.
David Jarvis was a farm worker at Red Barn Farm.
Gordon Winner was an estate worker, as was Derek Smith. All have since died.
The OB is located in a private woodland. Accessed by kind permission of
the Estate Manager.
According to the DOB report the OB has been destroyed. It is described as having consisted of a Nissen hut type
chamber which had a wooden floor. It was accessed through a ladder down a drop-down shaft that was covered by a
concealed trap door. The building materials used are described as having been corrugated iron and wood. This
information cannot be verified.
The OB site is located about 50 yards distant from a track traversing Ken Hill Wood, roughly from north to
south. The ground currently is overgrown with brambles. We found a roughly rectangular depression (about 1m deep at
the deepest spot), with a rhododendron bush growing at its north-west end, where a short trench-like depression
leads away from it, slightly uphill.
An intact ceramic vent pipe emerges from the ground from above where we believe the main chamber would have
been, near the northern edge of the structure. The pipe is stuck solidly in the ground and it appears to have
sunken lower together with the surrounding soil as a consequence of the roof of the main chamber underneath it
having collapsed. For safety reasons the remains of the structure (including contents) were bulldozed and covered
with earth by the landowner in the late 1960s. The orientation of OB is NW-SE.
Mr George Kite, a forestry worker whom we met near the site, by a lucky coincidence, informed us that he was
shown the OB by Robert Claxton (brother of patrol member Walter E Claxton) when he was a teenager (in the early
1960s). The OB was reached by walking down a short incline leading to the entrance, and accessed through a not very
deep drop-down shaft. At this time the structure was intact and still accessible. It had four wooden bunks,
arranged along its sides, as well as soot-blackened candleholders made from tin (possibly army issue), all still in
Besides the RAF Combined Gunnery Range at Snettisham, replaced in 1943 by the 8AF Provisional Gunnery School,
there were several RAF airfields in the vicinity.
RAF Bircham Newton operated throughout the War as part of No. 16 Group RAF as part of Coastal Command. Two
satellite airfields - RAF Docking and RAF Langham - were opened to accommodate units.
The disused WWI airfield in Sedgeford was reused as a 'Q-type' and 'K-type' bombing decoy in order to prevent
other nearby, functional airfields from being bombed by enemy bombers.
LNER (King’s Lynn to Hunstanton railway line)
S Marsh (DOB 1996); A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler (2002); Stephen Lewins CART CIO Northumberland; George Kite,
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