Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Godshill Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated on 11/5/17

Thank you for selecting information on the Godshill Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base on the Isle of Wight, Hampshire. The info and images below have been supplied by our Northumberland CIO Stephen Lewins, the help of the public and our Founder & Webmaster Tom Sykes.

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.

Godshill is a village and civil parish on the Isle of Wight with a population of 1,465 according to the 2001 census. It is located between Newport and Ventnor in the southeast of the Island.

The Isle of Wight Auxiliary Units were part of Hampshire and in 1942/43 all the Auxiliary Units were organised into three Battalions – 201 Scotland, 202 The Midlands and the Southern Counties became Aux 203 Bn. GHQ Reserve.
After the reorganisation the patrols became part of No.14 Area (Hampshire and the Isle of Wight). Those on the Island were formed into two Groups 9 & 10. The Island Area Commander was Captain H.C.A. Blishen
He was also Commander of Group No. 9 [East] which included the RYDE Patrol, and was assisted by 2Lt. S. G. Taylor

Group No. 9

Group C/O Captain H C A Blishen
Assist. Group C/O 2Lt. S G Taylor


EQCE 90/1  Ernest Sprack   Godshill Park, Godshill  A Farm Carter
EQCF 80/3   Leslie Foss  Godshill Park Farm, Godshill  Son of Sgt John Foss
EQCF 80/1  Sgt  John H W Foss   Godshill Park Farm, Godshill  A Farmer
EQDC 46/1 Harry George F Russell “Jubilee” Ninton Road, Rookley Possible Mechanic
EQDC 12/3 Cecil Rayner “Louisvile”, Rookley Labourer
EQDF 20/1  Sgt  T A Cowley  Stenbury, Whitwell  (Defence Medal) 
EQAB 106/1 Herbert R Hunt Champion Farm, Rookley A dairy Farmer
  C Jones   Stenbury Lodge, Whitwell   
EEPH 258/1  Douglas Bernard Oatley  Roud Farm, Stenbury Manor or Holden Cottage, Godshill.  

(Some of the above could be in the Whitwell patrol as Godshill, Ventnor, Whitwell and Rookley are fairly close.




The three men listed on the overview for the Isle of Wight Aux are all from Rookley. This may have been a separate patrol at some time. 

T A Cowley moved on and could have been patrol leader at Rookley. He was later Lieut T A Cowley.

C Jones was a late arrival in the patrol. He accidentally found the OB when patrol members were there. He was offered the choice of joining the patrol or execution ! He became a member. 

Patrol member Douglas Bernard Oatley. Taken approx 1969.  

The Operational Base has not been found as yet but is thought to have been at Stenbury Manor Farm.

Apparently the main aim of the patrol was to take out “locals” thought able to assist or to be a danger if the German invasion happened. These unfortunate people included local police officers, some Parish Councillors as well as farm owners and the German & Italian POWs working on their land. Observation of the English Channel for German raids and the protection of vital island infrastructure including the Allies PLUTO pipe line to France.

This was done locally with the Sgts. Several patrol members went to Coleshill for weekend training courses.

It is assumed they had access to the standard arms and explosives.

Known they also had with detonators, grenades and explosives as well as a .303 rifle. The arms and ammo dump for the patrol was found in the 1950’s when a field close to a barn at Stenbury Manor farm was ploughed for the first time in years. The plough unearthed grenades and explosives. This was possibly the location of the OB as well but little evidence has come to light.

Douglas Bernard Oatley’s son could remember his father leaving the house late at night on his bicycle with a .303 rifle on his back and returning several days later no questions asked.

Douglas Bernard Oatley Home Guard identity card with 203 (GHQ Reserve) stamp on it.

On January 20th, 1945, a significantly historical dinner was held at the Masonic Hall, Ryde.

Gathered together for the first time in five years were the majority of the members of the Island’s Aux Patrols.

A copy of the post stand-down dinner menu for that Saturday evening offers evidence of the men involved.
Headed '203rd (GHQ Res) Bn. Home Guard. Auxiliary Units’, it shows the area group commander was Capt H. C. Blishen MBE.

Patrol leaders:
Lt T. A. Cowley, Lt E. G. Rapkins, 2/Lt S. Taylor, Sgt H. Foss, Sgt J. Blackman, Sgt A. Newman, Sgt F. Buckett, Sgt C. S. Good, Sgt W. Buckell.

Cpl A. F. Le Maitre (admin), Pte C. E. Herbert (shown as musical director for the event).

Other persons named:
Col R. E. Pickering (guest), Lt Col F. H. Fernie (guest), Maj N.V. Oxenden (guest, HQ Auxiliary Units), Lt Col F. Nevill Jennings.

The following names appear as autographed signatures on the back of the menu:
L/Cpl Jack Riddell, A. F. Maitre, C. L...., R. C. Ward, H. R. Watt, Stan Williams, J. Kennedy, W. Buckell, T. H. Farnie, E. S. Barton, N. V. Oxenden, Edwardson, H. Blishen, A. Shearwood, R. Pickering, S. Thompson, C. W. Brannon, J. Blackman, A. M. Long, A. W. Bowden, B. Keegan, R. Casson, J. W. R...., Edward Raphine, C. F. Rayner.

It appears they then repeated the event the following year.

Pictures kindly supplied by John Riddell.

The National Archives.

Major Hancock.

A big thanks to Stephen Oatley for the photos and information provided.

John Riddell.

If you can help with any info please contact us.