Eaton Auxiliary Unit Patrol
This page was last updated 20/11/13
Thank you for selecting information on the Eaton Auxiliary Unit Patrol and
their Operational Base in Norfolk. The info and images below have been supplied by Aux researchers Evelyn Simak and
Eaton patrol was one of three in Norfolk Group 1 (Norwich)
CO Capt RW Eades
2nd Lt CH Buxton
2nd Sgt J Page
It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.
Sgt. F.G. Matthews * see notes below
Cpl. H.F. Lambert
Pte. T.R. Foulger
Pte. D. Cozens
Pte. R.V. Creed
Former chalk workings, now woodland (local nature reserve). It is adjoined by Eaton golf course in the west. The
entrance to the disused mine is located in the corner of a deep pit at the far end.
The mine’s entrance is being kept sealed by Norwich City Council.
The grid reference given for the location on the DOB website is more than one kilometre off the mark.
Norwich was mined for chalk and flints from the Middle Ages until the beginning of WWII and the last mine to close
was at Harford Hills, to the south of Norwich. At least some of the disused underground tunnels were used by Eaton
A corrugated iron pipe lines the first few metres of the entrance leading into the main tunnel.
Although not used very often, this type of pipe is documented as having been used in damp locations such as at
West Fallodon OB, Northumberland. (Info and photos:
Stephen Lewins, CART CIO Northumberland)
The main tunnel runs roughly from S/W to N/E before terminating at a dead end about 50 metres distant from the
The walls still bear the soot marks of candles (see above) - whether placed here by mine workers or by Aux unit
members we do not know.
We also found evidence of a shelf carved into the chalk wall and a few old pots and pans on the floor. Due to
our observations and gut feeling, in combination with the artefacts found at the main tunnel’s dead end, we believe
that this would have been the most plausible site for the patrol’s OB.
Crawl-spaces and larger passages turn off the main tunnel in various directions along the way, their walls also
bearing soot marks made by candles. We found no such marks further along any of these tunnels, most of which are
inter-linked. It is believed that the tunnel system is about 1.5 kilometres long. The tunnels are in very good
condition. There is no problem with ventilation, although the air can be somewhat thin in some of the passages,
depending on the weather.
(Above) Other physical remains nearby are possibly a couple of discarded pots, soot marks, candle wax, shelf cut
into chalk wall. Old dented bucket with number written on its side and the top of a gas or kerosene heater found
lying in the nettles by the entrance.
Observation Post/s: Currently unknown.
Re Sgt. F.G. Matthews
In his book “Churchill’s Underground
Army” (2008), chapter 20/page 221 – Causes for Concern – and chapter 21/page 229 – A Disastrous Raid on Sark
- John Warwicker writes that a “Sergeant Fred Matthews, in a Norfolk Patrol, lost a hand some time in 1941 or
1942. He disappeared mysteriously from his patrol afterwards. His colleagues were led to believe that he had
been on a private outing, fishing with explosives…and that the injury was carelessly self-inflicted. He was
quietly replaced in his patrol…”
On the night of 3rd October 1942 a uniformed force of 10 or 12 officers and men of the SSRF (Small Scale Raiding
Force, ie No 62 Commando), led by Major Geoffrey Appleyard, was involved in ‘Operation Basalt’, a raid on the
island of Sark. A sentry was knifed and killed and five prisoners were taken, their hands bound behind their backs.
Following a disturbance caused by the prisoners trying to loosen their bounds and escape, one of the British
officers ordered that they be shot if they’d attempt to flee. This resulted in four of the five prisoners being
shot and left dead on the beach. The British officers and men escaped unharmed except for one who was wounded and
had to be helped back to the boat.
Although nothing has ever been confirmed and all evidence is circumstantial, it has been suggested that Major Nigel Oxenden was involved, not least because his local knowledge as a
pre-war resident would have been invaluable.
Interestingly, some of the members involved in setting up the BROM at Parham in the mid-1990s are said to have had access to post-war
correspondence which seems to have since been lost. This correspondence - between Norfolk Auxilier Fred Matthews
and his first Intelligence Officer, Major Nigel Oxenden - concerned a small number of Auxiliers who were involved
in a raid conducted by boat.
Interesting also that Fred Matthews appears to have been the leading light in the collecting
of funds from some former Norfolk Auxiliers after Oxenden’s premature death in November 1948, and the erection of
his memorial at Portelet Bay on Jersey.
Stephen Lewins, CART CIO Northumberland, A Hoare, “Standing up to Hitler”
(2002), J Warwicker, Churchill’s Underground
DOB: Auxiliary Unit operational base. Underground 'hide' in disused mine
pit. The pit has been filled in and the structure may be buried. [Positional reference from Mr. J. Fielding, former
Norfolk auxiliary]. (Source: Oral Account)
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