Acklington Auxiliary Unit Patrol
was last updated at 3:19pm on 27/1/14
Thank you for selecting information on the Acklington Auxiliary Unit Patrol
and their Operational Base in Northumberland. The info and images below have been supplied by CART's
Northumberland CIO Stephen Lewins.
Part of Group No.5 under R C Hall Sgt Henner Moscorp
Cpl John Tomas "Jack" Dalby died in 2008.
Known as "The Secret Seven".
Members of the Acklington Cell (as correct as possible, others may have existed)
Pte Dick Besford of Cheviington drift
Len Cracketts was recruited by Mr. Robert Charlton Hall who was a bank manager by day and a
home guard major at night who lived at east riggs, Bedlington. He was in charge of the five south east
Northumberland patrols. Mr. Hall recruited all the men personally for his "marquis" work as he called
The other patrols in the area had a few members that Mr. Crackett may Peigh Hills, G.W.D.
Wylie a butcher from Shank House who was the motor transport man able to move freely and drop off messages etc
without raising any suspicion.
Scottish Aux Units were mainly used but near neighbours from Northumberland also got the
call, the Hartford patrol definitely went as did the "bedlington miners" Mr. Hall`s Choppington patrol.
The references to the Royal family came from the Hartford cell/patrol member Tommy "Tot" Barrass who one of those that guarded the Royals. He recalled being
given a new suit and a Glengarry Beret for the occasion and attended the church at Crathy with the King and Queen
along with their children. The Hartford patrol went to Balmoral. The Northumberland Auxiliers were often sent to
Coupar in Scotland for training. This may have been the reason for using them but I dont know for sure.
Tot Barrass died in 1999 and as far as I know all the others have passed away now. The south
Northumberland leader of the aux. units Mr. Robert Charlton Hall was also there, so I assume were his patrol "the
Bedlington Miners" aka the Choppington patrol.
This is what Ken Crackett has to say about the CART Website.
Your web site has filled in some gaps and explained a little more the reasons why my
father Len Crackett & his close friends spent time underground in Chevington Woods. Our mother looked after
three of us lads whenever he was away and he never told her where he was or what he had been doing till
the war ended .He then told us he was involved with an Auxiliary Unit with his pals Jimmy Jobson, Henry Moscrop Mr
Simpson, Mr. Dalby & Bart Smith but I forgot Mr Scott was there till I read your pages. I remember during the
war he kept a .22 silenced rifle fitted with a telscopic sight, a knuckle duster & a No 76 grenade in the
wardrobe at home. I was also told that he & others went to Balmoral & lived rough in the grounds when the
Royal Family were there.
Enjoyed your web site.
All the members lived less than 200 yards from each other.
After taking sometime to find the Acklington O.B it proved to be only a hole in the
The whole site has collapsed. The main area of the "Elephant" shelter is now a hollow in the
ground. The bolt hole leading from the O.B. towards the nearby stream is visible from above but this has also
collapsed. It looks like it was built out of cut down wooden railway sleepers, a common technique for the bolt
holes. These have also rotted and now form a mulch trench.
The site is on high ground not far from a stream within Chevington Woods. Most of
Northumberland's O.B.'s follow this pattern. It meant there was a water supply nearby in case of having to lie low
for longer periods of time. The O.B. is not far from former RAF Acklington (this is now a prison). The only other
piece of the O.B. left is the top of one of the ventilation pipes; these are formed from clay type field drain
The O.B. was built by the 184 (s) Tunnelling Company R.E.
Acklington Aux patrol had the airfield at RAF Acklington to protect and the east coast main
railway line with the railway viaduct at morwick a demolition target after all possible engines and stock had been
moved south to Newcastle. There is a square type 23 variant pillbox on the south side of the viaduct, this would
have been where Len would have made his final stand hoping to destroy the bridge as the Germans
The Home Guard were deemed as expendable in the event of a German invasion of Northumberland.
All regular troops were to be moved to south of the Tyne leaving the Home Guard as the last line of defence along
with the Auxiliers who were to operate as a guerrilla force harassing the occupying forces for as long as
Ken Crackett said his father had a Smith and Wesson pistol also a .22 sniper rifle that he kept in his wardrobe
Tot Barrass interview, David Lampe’s book The Last Ditch.
If you can help with any info please contact