Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Claines Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 8:17am on 12/7/15

Thank you for selecting information on the Claines Auxiliary Unit Patrol in Worcestershire. The info below have been supplied by our internal archive.

The patrol was based at Porter's Mill, near Fernhill Heath.

Research into this patrol and its training is ongoing. The information above is published from various sources and is by no means conclusive. If information is not listed above 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.

Worcestershire (Groups 1a and 1b) formed part of area 19 which also included Herefordshire, Monmouthshire (Group 3) and latterly from 1943 part of Glamorganshire (Groups 4a and 4b).

The first intelligence officer was Captain John Ellerman Todd who had been a London stockbroker before the war. Known to be a character but dressed as the country gent it is believed he lived at Llanfihangel Crucorny in Monmouthshire. Recruited to SOE, Todd was replaced by Captain Christopher Sandford and the area headquarters became Eye Manor near Leominster. A later Intelligence Officer included Captain Lloyd Bucknell RA.

Worcestershire Group 1a consisted of three Patrols: Bishampton (“David”) Patrol, Overbury Patrol and Alfrick (“Jehu”) Patrol.

Area Commander for both groups in Worcestershire was Captain Lewis E Van Moppes.
Group commander of 1a Patrols was his brother Lt Edmund M van Moppes.

It is thought that stores were held at Wolverton Hall, the home of Company Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas Dawe.

Many Auxiliers recall Sergeant Thurston Holland-Martin of Overbury Patrol as having a roll in recruiting and training.

Worcestershire,  Herefordshire and Monmouthshire Patrols were given Biblical code names. It is assumed this was an initiative of Todd to prevent the use of patrols locations names. 

Captain Todd appears not to have been involved in the set up of this patrol. 

Sergeant Richard Hugh “Dick” Philips - Patrol Leader (farmers son)
F. Gerald Rowe (from Blanquettes Ave, Worcs – he first approached Dick to join patrol)
Alan Dorrell (also attended Kings School and was friends with the van Moppes – he approached Gerald).
George Graham - Farmers son
Andrew Green - Farmers son
Hubert Jackson - Farmers son
Corporal Vincent Poland - A Scotsman employed as handyman/gardener by Lewis van Moppes (bodyguard?)
Horace Roberts - Ran Dunhampton Garage. He provided transport for the patrol.

Dick and Gerald had been at Worcester King’s School together and were close friends. Alan was in RAF but was sadly killed very early into the war. Remaining patrol members were recruited by Dick and Gerald and all came from the Ombersely area.

The OB was built by the Army and was located on land that belonged to Dick Philips father. Dick explained that the idea behind having these OB's in woodland was because there was no grass there, only leaves, summer and winter. If there had been grass then the patrol members using the hide would have left a trail. The leaves covered their trail and they were used also to disguise their hide and the entrance.

The OB had two accesses one of which they did not use normally but was to be used only in an emergency. This was constructed with drain pipes with an opening 10 or 15 feet from the hide. The other entrance was apparently rather like that to an air raid shelter, with a wooden top which held 2 or 3 inches of soil. This could be moved up and down and you got underneath it, down some steps into the hide. There was room for five people to sit down and they had bunk beds as well.

The OB was filled in by Dick Philips approx. 20 years ago after one of his calves was found in its collapsed remains. 

To sabotage German installations (exact target has been forgotten).  Other possible targets could have been Perdiswell airfield, which was approx. 2 miles south of their OB and large houses in the area which would have been used as billets for any occupying forces.  For example Hindlip Hall, Ombersely Court, Bevery House and Bevere Manor (the last 2 properties had already been selected by the British government as a location for accommodation should London have been invaded).

Hindlip Hall

Hindlip Hall © Copyright Stephen Richards

Dick Philips remembers that their role would have been sabotage and that while they were trained to kill, they were to avoid confrontation and the risks of being killed themselves.

Initial training was conducted at Coleshill, but practice with explosives was carried out locally and involved the blowing up of tree stumps! This was carried out with TNT but Dick Philips felt that plastic explosives were by far the safer option.

P17 rifles + Browning Automatic Rifle.  Explosive’s and ammo were initially kept in a unused building at Linacres Farm but were later moved to Church Farm, Claines. Before they were supplied with these weapons, they would
have used their own shotguns.

Members were criticised locally for their lack of War effort, which annoyed them greatly.

Dick was unable to remember the biblical name of his patrol.

The members of the Claines Patrol did not go to the Isle of Wight.

The Mercian Maquis by Bernard Lowry & Mick Wilks, Steven Lewins, TNA WO199/3389, Hancock data held at B.R.A, An interview with Dick Philips in 1999 by Mick Wilks, Dr Will Ward.