Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Admiralty 1, Bath Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 7:35 am on 15/9/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Admiralty 1, Bath Auxiliary Unit Patrol based at Kelston Park near Bath in Somerset. The info and some images below have been supplied by our Devon CIO, Nina Hannaford.

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.

Thought to be late summer 1940. Recruited by Lt Col D Morrison, Commander of 6th (Admiralty) Battalion Somerset Home Guard, Douglas Owen remembers being called to his office in the Admiralty and being challenged to make it across office without being heard.

Captain Ian Fenwick was the first Intelligence Officer covering the county of Somerset along with the City of Bath. Based in Taunton during his command, he went on to join the SAS and was killed in action in France in August 1944.

After 1941 a “grouping” system was developed where various patrols within a demographic area would regularly train together under more local command.

For a time during the war, those in command of the Admiralty and City of Bath patrols were Captain Leonard Arthur Aves with Lieutenant Jeffery George Spearman and 2nd Lieutenants George Richard Hutchings and Ivor MacGregor Phillips (BEM) as the other officers.

Ivor Phillips was awarded the BEM for his rescue work in the Beadaker Raids of April 1942. Before joining the Admiralty he was a cameraman at a film studio. It is known that he filmed some training sessions but it is unknown if they survive.

Admiralty Officers - Bath

Left to right; Lt. Jeffery G. Spearman, Capt. Leonard Arthur Aves, 2nd.Lt. Ivor M. Phillips, 2nd.Lt. George Richard M. Hutchings.

At a meeting held in July 1944 it was decided to group all the counties into 4 regions. The Admiralty Patrols became part of “Region 4” under the command of Major W W Harston based in Ashburton, Devon. As the final Intelligence Officer, Harston's command would cover the whole of the South West and South Wales.
The IO's were being withdrawn from around August 1944 leaving the Area and Group Commanders.

When war was declared a section of the Admiralty headquarters were moved to Bath. Initially scattered around the city making use of requestioned hotels, they eventually moved into more suitable locations such as at Fox Hill and purpose built military hutments at Ensleigh, Landsdown Road.

Most of those working with the Admiralty were billeted locally, either with families or in hostels.
There were five Admiralty patrols, Number 1 at Kelston Park, 2 at Langridge, 3 at Warminster Road, 4 at Prior Park and 5 at Newton Park, Newton St. Loe.

All five Admiralty Patrols were recruited from those working for the Admiralty so there was a high turn over of patrol members as men were posted elsewhere through work.

Patrol Members 1940 - 1 

Sergeant J G Cutler who was succeeded in 1941 by
Corporal Frank Bradbury who was posted to London Dec 1943
Douglas Owen was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to Admiralty 2 at Lansdown Road in Oct 1942 shortly before being posted to Roysth in Feb 43.
(William) Bill Leigh posted to Gibraltar in Dec 1942..
(William) Bill Hailstone
Frank Mawer
Walter Snelling moved away by 1942
C C Clarke moved away by 1942.

 Admiralty 1 Patrol 1940 to 41

Back row: Bill Hailstone, Douglas Owen, Frank Mawer, ? C C Clark.
Front row left to right: Bill Leigh, Sargent J G Cutler, Frank Bradbury, ? Walter Snelling.

Picture taken c.1940/1.

Patrol Members 1941 - 2 

Sergeant (then 2nd Lt ) Frank Bradbury who was posted to London Dec 1943.

Douglas Owen was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to Admiralty 2 at Lansdown Road in Oct 1942 shortly before being posted to Roysth in Feb 43.

Lance Corporal (William) Bill Hailstone
(William) Bill Leigh posted to Gibraltar in Dec 1942..
Frank Mawer
Philip M McAlory and (Edward) Ted Bamsey

Admiralty 1 Patrol 1941 to 42

Back row: P M  McAlroy, Ted Bamsey and Bill Leigh.
Front row:  Frank Mawer, Bill Hailsone, Sergeant Frank Bradbury, Douglas Owen.
Picture taken c.1942

Patrol Members 1943 - 44 

Sergeant Douglas F Stevenson who was in command at stand down.
Lance Corporal R A Partridge
A. R. Morgan
C.A. Morgan
Thomas F Pope
A. P. James
Norman J. James

 Admiralty 1 Patrol 1943 to 44

Photo. W.R.Bennett.Admiralty 4

Stand down picture : left to right:
Rear row:   E. Dwane,  A.P.James,  N.J.James,  W.W.Curry,  J.Blair,  S.R.G.Sauter,  L.M.Pussey,  H.D.Rees  (BEM), W.F.E.Emmerson.
Third row:  H. Masters,  C.J.Gates,  L/Cpl .R.A.Partridge,  S.L.Baldery,  F.N.Jermy,  H.Banham,  R.A.D.Heward,  A.P.Morgan, P.F.Carter,  T.F.Pope,  L/Cpl. R.N.Reeds.
Second row.  R.M.B.Judson,  L/Cpl. S.F.Phillips,  E.White,  Sgt. E.A.Steene,  Sgt. N.W.S.Baker BEM,
Sgt.N.E.Shepherd,  L/Cpl .E.Roscorla,  N.Armstrong,  J.O.B.Canavan.
Front row:  Sgt. D.F.Stevenson,  2nd Lt. G.R.M.Hutchings,  Captain L.Aves,  Lt. J.G.Spearman,
2nd Lt.  I.M.Phillips BEM,  Sgt. R.W.Bennett.

Members of Admiralty 1 in red.

The Operational Base is located in the Kelston Park Ice House, Kelston, near Bath.

The ice house is at the top of some stone steps leading down into woodland where the land slopes steeply away to the River Avon in the valley below.

The house is used as business offices and the grounds are PRIVATE.

The images below have been very kindly supplied by the landowner.

 Kelston Park Ice House Operational Base 1 
 Entrance into the ice house.
 Kelston Park Ice House Operational Base 2  Kelston Park Ice House Operational Base 3
 Steps leading down inside.  The main hole through into the chamber.
 Kelston Park Ice House Operational Base 4  Kelston Park Ice House Operational Base 5
 Looking down into the bottom.  The walls with possible sign of white wash.

Kelston Park

View around the Park.

A wooden cover, flush with the ground concealed the entrance under thick bushes. No escape tunnel was present or was built by the patrol. The original structure was not altered.

Orientation of OB: Unknown

Observation Post: Not known but this is the view south east towards Bath from by the OB. The bridge in the centre is over the River Avon with a nearby railway line.

Other physical remains nearby: Not yet discovered, the Admiralty patrols had a central explosives / arms store in an out building at The Royal School, Lansdown Road and Harry Banham (4 patrol) recalls another one built into the bank of the car park of the Ensleigh Estate.

Kelston House

Kelston House and Estate seen from the A4 in the valley below.

All the Admiralty Patrols took part in a night raid on RAF Colerne. Number 1 Patrol broke through the perimeter barbed wire nearest the offices. Despite crawling on all fours Douglas Owen managed to get captured. Taken to the office of the RAF commander he was interrogated by officers before producing a pistol hidden in his trousers. He proceeded  to hold the officers hostage at gun point. 

W R Bennet of 4 Patrol remembers this raid as being “a complete fiasco. The sentries were posted at all the most  obvious approaches and it was easy to elude them. All of us detailed to do so got in and plastered aircraft with “destroyed”  notices and two adventurous youngsters actually held the station commander at gun point in his own office which was certainly not in their remit.. There was a big row about it and as a result all the poor airmen had their leave jammed for a fortnight.”

In the valley directly below Kelston Park there are two railway lines and New Bridge carrying the main A4 which could have been targets.

Douglas Owen remembers sometimes training at Coleshill. He recalls the whole patrol being taken straight there in an Admiralty transport van and returning to Bath the same way.

They took part in night exercises locally and had shooting competitions between them and other patrols. Target practice with revolvers and rifles on moving targets took place, sometimes at night.
They often trained with the other Admiralty Patrols and the City of Bath Patrols.

Records of a revolver shooting competition on 20th February 1944 at Monkton Combe shows Admiralty 1 came second ,behind Admiralty 4 in both 10 and 20 yard shots.

Exercise “Lamb” was due to take place on 25th March 1944. Patrol leaders were advised ; “ Ample opportunity should be taken of reconnoitring the district of Box.” Meeting at the the Fernley Hotel at 21.30 hours, the exercise would finish at 02.00 hours the following morning.

Douglas Owen recalls having plastic detonators, fuses, a Browning sub machine gun, grenades along with some of the expected weapons.

Everything was stored at the OB as the Auxiliers were not living or working in their home environment. Douglas does not remember being issued with sticky bombs or any kind of hand knife.

Other equipment issued to the Patrols includes torches, lamps, candles, compass, water sterilization sets, picks, ration packs along with eating utensils and a gallon jar of Rum .

Douglas Owen was was in the Royal Naval Reserves before the war and joined the Admiralty in the accounts department. He moved with the Admiralty from London to Bath but was originally from a farming family in Newport. Learning to shoot from an early age he was well accustomed to weapons. After being transferred from Bath to Roysth , Douglas was then posted to Malta where he spent the rest of the war. Working all his life for the Admiralty he returned to Bath many times.

At Stand Down: Somerset is Area 18 and all the Admiralty Patrols within the Bath area are in Group 1. In command are (now) Captain J Spearman along with Lt Hutchings and 2nd Lt Phillips.  Aves having been transferred to 2nd Essex Battalion with the rank of Lieutenant.
Captain Spearman is  Area Commander of both the Admiralty Patrols and Bath City Patrols

Douglas Owen

Douglas Owen in 2013 wearing his lapel badge.

The kindness and patience of Douglas Owen.

TNA ref WO199/3391. WO199/3390
CART CIO for Northumberland Stephen Lewins
Bob Millard
List of Admiralty Auxiliers from 1950 reunion held at B.R.A
Hancock's data held at B.R.A shows images of wartime Bath.

If you can help with any info please contact us.