Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Birtley Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 1:33pm on 1/2/14

Thank you for selecting information on the Birtley Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Durham. The info and images below have been supplied by CART's Durham CIO Stephen Lewins.

Part of North Yorkshire and County Durham 202 Bn GHQ Reserve Auxiliary Units Group No. 3.

Spring 1941

Sgt. D.V. Wilson Birtley

Cpl. A.R. Bowley Low Fell, Gateshead.
Pte. J.D. Stead Washington
Pte. B. Hughes Gateshead
Pte. R. Coleman Gosforth
Pte. T.O. Brown Newcastle
Pte. B. Allan Chester-le-Street


Date of visit to the OB: 18/2/11

Area/Location: Ouston, County Durham

Map: O.S. Tyneside

National Grid Ref: NZ257 549

Birtley Auxiliary Unit Operational Base remains

The O.B. was located in woodland to the north of Ouston.

The ground was soft and muddy and the OB is located in mature woodland.

The OB is sadly no longer there. There only remains a large depression in the ground. (see above)

 Birtley Patrol Operational Map

You do not need the landowners permission to view the site as it is in a wood with public access. You can see an OS map of the area here


From the centre of Ouston look for a foot path that heads west toward the council houses and in the general direction of Urpeth. Follow the path through the council houses and over a grassed area that leads to Walter Wood. Enter through the gateway provided. Follow the path to the north of Ouston. The path cuts over a stream via a wood foot bridge. Stop here and head up the hill to the north east and the remains of the site of the O.B. is located on the high ground over looking the stream and lower farm land between Ouston and Birtley/Kibblesworth. The Angel of the North can be seen through the hedge to the NE.

The patrol would have found it hard to all arrive at the O.B. at the same time due to the scattered nature of their home addresses. Two of the patrol lived north of the River Tyne in Newcastle and Gosforth respectively and with another in Chester-le-Street and one in Washington making a speedy journey to the O.B. impossible.

There may have been two OBs for the patrol, the one listed and another some distance away in the same woods but I can not confirm this as yet.

The targets for the patrol must have been the East Coast Main Railway line which is not far to the east of the O.B. and also Usworth airfield to the NE.

RHLColeman - 202 Auxiliary Unit Birtley - Guisborough (1943)128

 RHLColeman - Durham Light Infantry & RASC

The photos above are of a summer training camp held at Guisborough in North Yorkshire in 1943. They both feature members of the Birtley patrol. Thanks to Mr Coleman for permission to use.

The larger group is the patrol with the RASC regular who was their lorry driver to the camp, he is in the peaked cap. The patrol leader is D V Wilson he is in the 1937 patten denims. He is quite muddy in the photo, I think he must have left the group to scout the site as the others set up their camp. Any patrol leader worth his salt would have done this, It would give them an advantage over the others.

The Durham Light Infantry cap badges are being worn along with the sleeve patches of DHM 202. Some variation in the pistol wearing also noted with RHL Coleman wearing his as directed by the army, where you draw across the body, Wilson has his fastened to the clip under the small ammo pouch.

Unknown, but it is assumed that they would have access to the “standard” Auxiliary weapons of a Browning Automatic Rifle, a Thompson Machine Gun and two Enfield rifles.

Nothing currently.

Mr Coleman.

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