Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Purleigh Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 10:41am on 29/4/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Purleigh Auxiliary Unit Patrol located in Essex. The info below has been compiled by Dr Will Ward CART CIO for Dorset.

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.

Not known by CART.

The patrol was part of Group 6 along with Danbury and Maldon patrols. The Group Commander was Lt George E Tuker, a fruit farmer from Danbury. His assistant was Lt A Armour, who took over command of the Group towards the end of the war.

Name DOB Occupation   Died
Sgt Frederick Arthur Holmes   14/4/1900 Smallholder
Cpl Whiting
Pte Fred Lawrence
Pte Leonard “Len” Bowen Guiver 1903 Publican & taxi driver Later Cpl 1985
Pte R C Mundon
Pte F C Bowers        
Pte Walter Cook         

Fred Holmes lived in Cocks Clark, near Purleigh and was an engineer/supervisor who went around the various barracks in the area checking the pipework. He had lived there with his wife for most of his adult life.

Fred Lawrence had a smallholding near Kemp’s Wood between Cocks Clark and Purleigh. F Lawrence junior is listed as a member of the ordinary Home Guard, so this was perhaps is father.

Len Guiver helped run the Hurdlemakers pub at Woodham Mortimer and also ran a taxi as well. His parents had run the pub before him. R Mundon also lived in the village.

Walter Cook went on his bike to Home Guard training with his next door neighbour Fred Holmes, but his name doesn’t appear on the nominal roll as a patrol member. However, it seems likely that he was involved in some way. There is a Sgt W Cook listed under as a member of the ordinary Home Guard

The whereabouts of the patrol’s operational base (OB) is not known. There was an underground structure that is said to have been Home Guard in origin on the top of Purleigh Mount, a historic motte to the south of Purleigh. It apparently was largely wooden and had a flat roof, so certainly was not a typical Nissen hut style OB. We know that many of the early patrols in Essex and Suffolk built their own OBs, before being provided with standard ones later. It is possible that this was an ammunition store, for the patrol, or simply a lookout for the local Home Guard unit, since it is located on the southern edge of the village, with an excellent view of the surrounding area. Interestingly, it can be approached from the village by several routes, including a historic footpath that runs through a tunnel of vegetation, providing a potential concealed access to the site. It is known that the patrols in the area had problems with flooding due to the low lying nature of the land. The mount is raised above the surrounding area, within the confines of the village which sits on the highest land in the area, so might have been one of the few dry places to dig!

Purleigh Auxiliary Unit 1

All that is left of the structure that may have been an OB, is this dip on the top of Purleigh Mount.

 Purleigh Auxiliary Unit 2

The covered path leading to the Mount was original created to connect two farms owned by one man.

The targets would likely have included the railway branch lines (now closed) that ran through the area.

Not known by CART.

The patrol would generally have the weapons shown here

The book “Purleigh in Wartime” published in 1946, names 3 members of the “Home Guard Commando’s”. They are Cpl F A Holmes, Sgt E Varley and Pte F Bowers. Two were members of the Purleigh patrol, but Sgt Varley was thought to have been patrol leader at Danbury, before being discharged.

Correspondence with April Orriss, granddaughter of Fred Holmes
Correspondence with Fred Nash, WW2 expert for Essex County Council.
Purleigh in Wartime, B W Shepeard-Walwyn 1946