Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Abbot's Wood Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 7:09pm on 7/2/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Abbot's Wood Auxiliary Unit Patrol located in Sussex. The info & images below has been compiled by Stewart Angell.

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.

Patrol included in Group No.2, Sussex being Area 13. County Parish of Folkington, Jevington, Lullington and Berwick.

Formed around July/August 1940

The Auxiliary Units Nominal Roll gives the following names for this patrol / locality:

Patrol Leader: Lt.Tom Dinnis
Patrol Members: Sidney Dumbrell, John Raymond, Percy Robinson, Bill Longhurst, Bob Wright, John Talbot. (Desmond Dinnis, Tom’s cousin, for a short time until joining the RAF).

Initially the Abbot’s Wood Patrol were to have their OB sited within Abbot’s Wood near Hailsham however, following a failed attempt at building the OB due to flooding issues the IO suggested building it in Folkington Wood close to Folkington House, the family home of the IO Capt. John Gwynne. The wood is oval in shape, positioned just below the escarpment of the South Downs with commanding views across the Weald. Two disused chalk pits remain within the wood and the more centrally positioned one was chosen to site the OB adjacent to it. A small footpath ran past this chalk pit which allowed a passage either way to the main paths running up the edge of the wood one being on high ground looking North and the other on a level with grassland used for grazing. Most foot traffic followed the main paths avoiding going anywhere near the OB.

Abbot's Wood Patrol Collapsed OB

Abbot's Wood Patrol Collapsed OB

Field boundary’s, ditches and additional wooded areas gave cover to allow movement to their main targets.

Orientation of OB: In line with North/South axis

Condition of OB: Totally collapsed in the mid 1970’s

Size of OB and entrance/exit etc: Approx 15 x 10 feet, entrance via trapdoor hatch (Southern end), emergency exit tunnel (Northern end). Built by the Royal Engineers out of wood and corrugated iron. This had a flat roof construction with an additional lining of wood around the inside walls.

Any other info about the patrol or OB etc: Food rations, hurricane lamps and water stored in milk churns contained within OB. OB very uncomfortable and cramped being visited only as part of their training sessions, where included.

Observation Post: Located over 300 yards to West of OB. Constructed from wood and corrugated iron sheeting, measuring approximately 6 feet x 4 feet. Only ever expected to have one person inside at any one time. The OP was connected to the OB via a telephone line.

Abbot's Wood Patrol OP Remains

Abbot's Wood Patrol OP Remains

Main targets were Sherman Bridge which crosses the Cuckmere River (nearly two miles North West from OB) and Polegate to Lewes railway line (nearly a mile North from OB).

Localised training undertaken with East Sussex Scout Patrol included night manoeuvers over the Downs and many trips to Tottington Manor, regional HQ in West Sussex. All patrol members went to Coleshill for initial training.

Explosives training undertaken in a chalk pit near Firle Patrol’s OB, along with the Firle patrol members. Also a wood in

Robertsbridge was visited at one point near the East Sussex/Kent border to practice with various explosive charges.

Known to have plastic explosives, weapons and ammunition and would generally have the weapons shown here

Currently unknown

Stewart Angell; Personal interview with former patrol member Sidney Dumbrell, Bill Webber’s diary., 'The Secret Sussex Resistance'