Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Aylsham Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base

This page was last updated at 12:15 am on 23/12/12

Thank you for selecting information on the Aylsham 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.

Aylsham Patrol is sometimes also referred to as Oulton Patrol. It formed part of Norfolk Group 3 which also included
Matlaske Patrol, Stody Patrol, Baconsthorpe Patrol, North Walsham Patrol and Calthorpe (Alby) Patrol

CO Capt Duncan
2nd Lt PN Neave (Miller and farmer in Felmingham)
3rd Lt AG Abel (at a later date *)

It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.

* Sgt A George Abel (he was later promoted to Lt)
YTRV 900978 Jack Hamilton Dye (The Street, Oulton) – head gamekeeper at Blickling
TRUP 58/1 Thomas George Bailey (Heydon)
TRUP 52/1 Arthur John Clarke (Heydon)
TRUO 14/1 Donald Jack Lee (Oulton)
TRUQ 164/1 HJ Stickells (Aylsham)
TRVQ 86/3 Victor Wells (The Street, Oulton)
Published in A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler, is an account by “AN Other”, saying about himself that he was a special constable before the war. He continues to say: “I was in charge of a patrol consisting of 6 men, mainly gamekeepers, poachers and farm workers.”  We think that “AN Other” was the patrol’s leader, Lt AG Abel (deceased).

Neave and Abel - Aylsham Aux Patrol

(Above) Aylsham Patrol's leader, Lt A George Able (right) and Assistant CO of the Group, Lt Peter N Neave (at left). Abel started out as Aylsham Patrol's leader but was later promoted to Lt and 3rd Group CO. (Photo Source: Norfolk Record Office)

The land belongs to the National Trust and was accessed by their kind permission.

The OB is situated near the south-west corner of Hercules Wood not far from a junction of tracks by Oulton Belt. These tracks are marked on an old OS map dating from 1946 and hence not new.

Aylsham Auxiliary Unit Patrol 1

An aerial view taken in 1946 by the RAF (provided by Norfolk County Council’s E-Map Explorer) shows that this area was wooded at the time and presumably still contains at least some of the original trees. An extensive cleared area adjoining in the north and north-east (also seen on the photograph) has since been replanted.

The site presents itself as a pronounced ovel-shaped depression in the ground, indicating that the roof of the structure has caved in, perhaps due to damage caused by heavy machinery having driven over it during forestry work.

(Below) A short section of the edge of a curved corrugated roof (entrance or exit) on the western perimeter of the depression has been exposed by burrowing animals.

Aylsham Auxiliary Unit Patrol 3

It measures 9m long approx and is orientated E/W.

The ground appears to be quite uneven at the opposite end where the entrance (or exit) would have been – perhaps a collapsed drop-down shaft.

Aylsham Auxiliary Unit Patrol 2

(Above) Stacks of logs serving as wildlife shelters have been arranged on and around the site, presumably in order to mark it.

National Trust are aware of the site, and of it having been an underground structure to do with WWII. They intend to clear it of vegetation and then to call in their archaeologist to have a closer look, and perhaps conduct a partial excavation.

CART has been invited to join the excavation as advisors and also to record any future activities, which are scheduled to commence sometime next spring. Eventually the OB site is planned to form one of a number of features along a military history trail with information boards etc.

Observation Post/s: Currently unknown.

Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway line, running from Melton Constable to North Walsham between Corpusty and Aylsham North. The line closed in 1916 for passengers and for goods in 1959.

According to “AN Other” (published in: A Hoare), they trained once in the Midlands, and frequently locally, always at night. One of the skills taught was to move silently.

Sten or Thompson submachine guns, Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knives and .38 revolvers plus a variety of explosives, detonators and fuses would have been standard issue.

Our thanks go to Dave Brady, National Trust Head Forester, for taking us to the OB site.

A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler; JP Everett, Blakeney; Jill Monk, Aylsham; Stephen Lewins CART CIO Northumberland; Jeremy Norman; John George Seaman (leader of Baconsthorpe Patrol, died June 2011)

If you can help with any info please contact us.