Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Cosham Auxiliary Unit

Auxiliary Unit - Cosham 

A report by Steve Mason for CART. If you can help with any info please contact us

This page last updated at 5:36pm on 17/6/13


North Portsmouth area. See map above.
The number of men living in Cosham in the list of possible members (below) infers that a patrol existed nearby; either with their Operational Base on Portsea Island itself (ie: the island of Portsmouth), or in the Cosham area (which had virtually nothing of the housing it does today), or on Portsdown. It is also possible that some or even all the names given below may have constituted a Purbrook Patrol, of which Don Beave
n has been attributed membership, and he lived in Cosham during WW2. Sydney Adlam of Havant – West Patrol also lived in Cosham, about two miles from his OB in Bedhampton (Map: right hand yellow circle. See Havant – West, here).

This was possibly in late summer 1940 (see earliest Joining dates, below). It is highly likely this patrol had the same instigator/recruiter as Sydney Adlam’s patrol: Lieutenant Donald Brownlee; who lived in East Cosham. If this is so, it is likely that members were recruited similarly to Mr Adlam (see Havant – West).

It cannot yet be confirmed if any or all of the following constituted a Hilsea/Cosham/Portsdown or Purbrook patrol or patrols; but they are all likely candidates, living within only a mile or two from any of these locations that are each suspected to have had a patrol:  

The following are the entries found in the Nominal Roll, with research notes etc, given in [  ].

Exact addresses have been removed by CART.


 Nat Reg




Lt. Brownlee D.L                             EBET 65/1 08/07/40 23/07/07 Burrill Avenue Cosham. (1st Lieut 01/02/41)
Clasby M.H EBDY7/4            20/02/42 07/07/23 Elmwood Rd, Hilsea, Portsmouth
Francis J.H EBIQ 6/1 10/10/42 02/12/06 Manor Park Avenue, Copnor, Portsmouth [note: may be the known Francis in Southwick patrol - or a relative]
Smith A EBEC 60/3 16/09/40 24/08/17 Highbury Grove, Cosham [note: close to the railway triangle]
Thomas J.B EBA-1556153 01/07/44 17/09/11 Highbury Grove, Cosham [note: close to the railway triangle]
Underwood V.J EBEC 60/1 29/03/41 30/11/06 Higbury Grove, Cosham [note: close to the railway triangle]
Williams A.J EDVE 278/5 04/04/42 26/12/24 Hawthorn Crescent, Cosham, Portsmouth

Note: D. Seaton reports: Cyril Norman Dean who served in the local HG, according to his son, agreed to join the Auxiliaries and received training but did not actually become part of a unit. We are trying to establish dates when he was trained, as apparently the number of Auxiliers were increased in the lead up to the D-day invasion (due to the perceived risk of a German counter invasion), and this might explain why he didn't actually join a patrol.

A possible location for this patrol’s operational base might well be somewhere on Portsdown hill. From such a high vantage point any enemy landings on the coast could be seen for miles; a tactical advantage surely not to be missed. However, D. Seaton managed to find someone who recalls speaking to a relative of an Auxilier and the possible location of an OP [?OB] on the Western side of Hilsea. We are awaiting further information.

Observation Post/s:

Currently Unknown

The following are all very likely:

* The railway triangle at Cosham; an intersection/hub for all rail-lines heading east-west and north-south (marked with a green X on map). It cannot be stressed enough how vital this feature is for rail access along the south coast and to and from the essential deep-water port of Portsmouth Dock.

*  Hilsea bridges (west bridge – road; east bridge – rail), both highly likely for demolition by the patrol (orange Xs on map). This would castrate any enemy advance into or out of Portsmouth.

* Portsea Island airfield in the Hilsea area, may well have been a target, should the Germans take the island (blue cross).

* Portsdown Interdiction Battery (depending upon the date of its construction) emplaced by the regular military on Portsdown hill (orange circle). The role of such gun batteries was to lay fire over an area to prevent an enemy advancing to gain possession of it. Destroying these guns to prevent them being used by German invaders may well have been a priority. One of this battery’s tasks was to shell Hayling bridge, should the island be taken; a not unlikely possibility due to the broad, sandy beach on its southern end, a good invasion point. The gun positions are on the summit of the ridgeline of the hill and so other shelling targets might have been the A3 road were it ran through Purbrook, Waterlooville and perhaps Horndean. (See here for further information on the Interdiction Battery on Portsdown Hill.)

Currently uncertain; but likely to be similar to Havant (West) Patrol and Southwick Patrol. The following are estimated training locations:

* Portsdown Chalkpits. The Southwick Patrol diary (see here) tells of their own training in chalkpits on Portsdown (probably the western slopes), and perhaps Cosham Patrol trained in similar chalkpits on the southern slopes (blue circle).

* The two rifle ranges on the northern end of the Isle of Portsea (1919 OS map, above) could have provided locations for shooting practice that wouldn’t raise undue questions from locals (green circles).

* Otherwise, training locations are likely to be similar to the above two patrols. In several instances in the UK, various patrols local to one another used the same training areas, sometimes even without the adjacent patrol’s knowledge.

Yet to be confirmed, but likely to be the Warwickshire regiment. Some of these regular troops were based at Bishops Waltham, and may have provided men to constitute the Hampshire Auxiliary Scout Section/s (Source: J. Budden’s memoir).

Probably the usual for a patrol: each man having a .38 calibre revolver, one .22 silenced bolt-action rifle, perhaps a Thompson Sub-machine Gun, or in later years a Sten SMG. Each man would also have a Fairburn-Sykes fighting knife or its equivalent.

a) Sydney Adlam (auxilier) interview. Held in CART’s archive.
b) The Nominal Roll; held at The National Archives, at Kew. Copies supplied by Will Ward, now held in the CART archive.
c) J. Budden’s memoir of Chalton Patrol. Copy held at Parahm British Resistance Museum and CART archive.
d) David Seaton’s own research.

If you can help with any info please contact us