Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Ringwood B Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 12:31pm on 20/3/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Ringwood B Auxiliary Unit Patrol located in Hampshire. 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.

The patrol was part of Group 1 in Hampshire, Commanded by Captain A J Champion, who was also area commander for all the West Hampshire groups. The assistant commander of Group 1 was Lt L D C Ayles.

Not known by CART.

Name DOB Occupation   Died
Sgt. Arthur Charles Hoskins 29/09/11 Joined May 1942 1951
Pte. Edward Ernest Geary              01/03/1909 1995
Pte. Frederick Samuel Geary 20/12/1904 1972
Pte. Clarence Jack L Hanham 20/04/1905 Joined June 1942, known as Jack 1976
Pte. George P Gale 11/04/1911 Joined Sept 1943
Pte. Raymond Alfred R Withall  29/09/1911      1980 

The patrol names for the west of Hampshire and the New Forest have been identified from National Archives file WO199/3391, but are not divided by patrol. The nominal roll gives the surname, initials, ID card number and address, together with date of birth. The patrols have been arranged according to the addresses and ID card numbers around known patrol leaders. This means the allocations may not be completely accurate. Additional personal information such as first names and dates of death have been added using the 1911 census, and Some men, particularly those from the Ringwood area where there are several patrols, could not be allocated with any confidence to one patrol or another, so are listed here.

Fred Geary worked in the family butchers and grocers shop. At the start of the war he was just over the age for call up and is said to have had a minor heart attack as well. He joined the Local Defence Volunteers, which became the Home Guard. He didn’t speak of his involvement in Auxiliary Units, but would talk about having been in the Home Guard. June Bentley, his daughter, recalls that he enjoyed going out “with the lads” training on a Sunday morning, though they usually ended up in the pub, drinking or playing darts. He would tell tales of how on exercises they had captured another platoon, or been captured himself (though of course it was never his fault). Ted Geary was his brother.

George Gale had moved from Dorset, where it appears he had been a member of a patrol possibly Moreton. He is recorded as leaving in Jan 1942 at his own request, but doesn’t rejoin until September 1943 in Hampshire. Unusually this seems to have resulted in his serving in two Auxiliary unit patrols in two different counties.

Local Historian John Hawkins has also spoken with David Hoskins, son of Arthur Hoskins about his time in Auxiliary Units. He has his father’s papers, which include identity cards showing him as both a member of the Observer Corps and also the ARP Rescue Party leader at different times. He is listed as joining in mid 1942, yet became patrol leader quite quickly. Arthur knew that their life expectancy was measured in weeks. He had copies of the usual Stand down letters issued by Aux Units in November 1944. David recalled that his father served with Fred Geary, Jack Hanham and George Gale. It has been assumed that Fred’s brother Ted and his very near neighbour (4 houses down) Ray Withall were also in this patrol.

 Fred Geary - Ringwood Aux Units Ted Geary - Ringwood Aux Units Ray Withall - Ringwood Aux Units

(Top left) Fred Geary in his Home Guard uniform, around 1941/42. Aux Units often had no insignia on their battledress. (picture courtesy June Bentley)

(Top middle) Ted Geary in his Home Guard uniform without badges. (picture courtesy June Bentley)

(Top right) Ray Withall pictured after the war as President of Ringwood Rotary Club (picture courtesy Jack Hawkins)

After the war, Fred Geary would demonstrate his explosives training on occasion. His daughter remembers a large hole being blown in the lawn one Fireworks night as he set off some left over detonators. His son recalls seeing one or more hand grenades in a drum of oil in the workshop (soaking in oil is one way to deactivate cordite explosive).

The local Ringwood Rotary club contained a number of former Auxiliers postwar. Ray Withall, Ted Geary and Ted Harvey, SDS operator also from St Leonards Hotel were all to become presidents, as was Bill Stephenson from Ringwood “A” patrol.

It is thought that the OB was located near Three Tree Hill on the outskirts of Ringwood, in the Highwood – Moyles Court area.

Nearby Ibsley airfield would very likely have been a target.

The patrol were training at Avon Castle on one occasion when a German bomber was shot down, crash landing in the meadows close to where they were. According to an online record of Hampshire aircraft crashes, the only one to fit the bill was the crash of a JU88A-4 of 2/KG6 at Southmead Meadows, near Westover farm, on May 7th 1943.

The patrol also met to train on Fred Geary’s eight acre field just outside Ringwood, close to Moyles Court. There was a pig sty there where they would also play darts!

Arthur Hoskins attended at least one Patrol Leaders course at Coleshill as he retained the papers from this course. The timetable includes Major Oxenden and Captain Delamere, dating this to at least 1942 as these officers were elsewhere prior to this.

David Hoskins recalled his father had weapons and ammunition in their larder and behind paint tins on the top shelf of the garden shed were boxes of grenades, time pencils and tripwires. The patrol would generally have the weapons shown here

Nothing currently.

Correspondence with June Bentley, daughter of Fred Geary

Correspondence with John Hawkins, History of St Leonards and St Ives project. See here for more details of his research