Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Ashburnham Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 6:10am on 20/5/14

Thank you for selecting information on the Ashburnham Auxiliary Unit Patrol located in Sussex. The info below has been compiled from our internal archive.

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.

Ashburnham is a parish in East Sussex in the heart of the Sussex Weald.

Military Liaison: Intelligence officers in charge of Sussex have included Captain John Gwynne, Major C F C Bond, Captain Ian Benson and Captain L Roy Bradford.

At stand down Sussex was area 13. Ashburnham was part of group 1 under the Area Group Command of Captain A Bailey along with Mountfield, Hellingly, Beckeley (Broad Oak), Bodiam, Herstmonceux, Icklesham, Crowhurst and Iden Patrols. 

Currently unknown

Lieutenant W Eric “Bunny” Wilcox, a farm manager at Hooe.
Sergeant Joe Norris a farmer at Kitchenham Farm.
Eric T “Johnny” Johnson, a farmer.
W Joe Parsons, a farmer.
Victor H Dibben, a farmer.
Harold P E Pitcher, a farmer.

It is thought that Pitcher was replaced by Ronald Hart though he is not on the Nominal Roll and Pitcher is, therefore it could have been Pitcher replacing Hart.

Aiming to place all Auxiliers in their Patrols, CART has used the home addresses recorded on the nominal roll to include:

Frederick Denyer

Though this may not be totally accurate and he could have been in a nearby Patrol.

The first OB is thought to have been blown up after it was initially abandoned. Built in Pannelridge Wood off Lakehurst Lane. This was abandoned due to damp and having been discovered by locals.

The second OB is partly collapsed, though the main Nissan structure of the OB is mostly intact. The main body was constructed as an underground Nissan structure. There was a 50 foot long concrete emergency escape tunnel that came out by the bank of a stream.

Ashburnham Auxiliary Unit 1

Photo of main chamber. All OB photos courtesy of Mike Ridley.

Ashburnham Auxiliary Unit 2

Within main OB chamber

Ashburnham Auxiliary Unit 3

Overview of OB site showing emerging escape tunnel

Ashburnham Auxiliary Unit 4

Escape tunnel

Ashburnham Auxiliary Unit 5

On top of OB looking down

Other physical remains nearby: Currently unknown, though it is thought there were two small underground stores nearby to contain extra food and ammunition.

Currently unknown.

The Ashburnham and Crowhurst Patrols were responsible for a mock attack on the Canadian Army stationed at Battle Abbey. The sentries were overpowered and the Commanding Officer taken prisoner as well as dummy charges being attached to vehicles and fuel supplies.

The Canadians were not best pleased at being made to look inept and so in revenge beat up the local Home Guard at the Chequers Inn having thought them responsible !

Currently unknown though it is assumed they trained at the regional HQ at Tottington Manor.

Currently unknown but it is assumed they had access to to standard arms and explosives.

After the 50th Anniversary of Stand Down a scheme was proposed to recognise the Auxiliary Units by adopting a Ordnance survey trig point. As a result there is a memorial plaque on trig point near Ninfield Reservoir

The plaque reads “Trig Pillar Ninfield Reservoir, adopted by Peter and Yevette Wilcox and family, April 1995. Dedicated in appreciation of SX 203 Ashburnham Patrol of the British Resistance Movement 1940-1944, known as Auxiliary Units”

Hidden inside the pillar is a sealed time capsule bearing the names of the Ashburnham Patrol.

Ashburnham Auxiliary Unit 6

Picture by Cipollini

For a detailed history of the Auxiliary Units in Sussex see Stewart Angell's book 'The Secret Sussex Resistance', available to buy in our shop

TNA reference WO199/3391
Hancock data held at B.R.A
CART researchers Stewart Angell, Bill Ashby and Will Ward.
The kind help of Mike Ridley and his web site Ashburnham

If you can help with any info please contact us.