Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Sproughton/Burstall Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 9:01am on 24/12/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Sproughton Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Suffolk. The info and images below have been supplied by Aux researchers Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye.

The patrol was also referred to as Burstall Patrol and formed part of Ipswich Group (Group No 5 Suffolk) which also included

Ipswich I Patrol, Ipswich II Patrol, Wenham aka Capel St Mary Patrol, Bentley Patrol
Copdock aka Belstead Patrol, East Bergholt Patrol, Hintlesham Patrol and Raydon aka Stratford St Mary Patrol.

CO Capt EG Pawsey, Valley View, Hadleigh Road, Ipswich,
assisted by Lt Harry Edmund Mellor, 66 Crofton Road, Ipswich and
Lt CJ Proctor, Digby Road, Ipswich who later transferred to Beccles Group.

Lt HE Mellor worked for the Alliance Insurance Co at Ipswich. He moved to Oxford after the war.

1940 - the patrols south of Woodbridge are believed to have been the first in Suffolk to have been set up by Intelligence Officer Captain Andrew Croft.

Sgt WR Beaumont
Cpl Jack N Gray
BA Batley  TXKA 141/1
CH Beaumont
FC Green
EJ Keeble
JR Meyer

Ipswich Group 5 Patrols

The image above shows the Ipswich Group 5 patrols which consisted of:- Ipswich I and II Capel St Mary/Wenham, Raydon/Stratford St Mary, East Bergholt, Sproughton, Hintlesham, Copdock and Bentley.

rear L - R 6th from left is a member of Copdock patrol as is 8th and 9th from left. 10th left is Pte. Len C Wyratt (Wenham) 11th left is Pte. Charlie Goodchild (East Bergholt) and the last man is Cpl Reg Airey (Copdock)

Second rear L - R 10th from left is Pte Bill Church (Wenham) and 11th is Pte Billie Smith (East Bergholt)

Middle or third row 2nd left is Ipswich II member as is 4th from left. 10th from left is Cpl Charles A Coe (Wenham) and 11th left is Cpl Ray Abbott (East Bergholt)

Second row 1st left Sgt W R Beaumont (Sproughton) 2nd Sgt Neville Palmer (Ipswich II) 3rd is Sgt Rex Milner-Moore (Hintlesham) 4th is L E Hudson (Ipswich I) 5th is Captain John Anderton Group 2 I/C 6th is Lt Eric Pawsey Group 2I/C 7th is Lt.Cecil James Procter 8th Sgt Horace Clements (Copdock) 9th is Sgt Peter Hutton (Bentley) 10th is Sgt PJ "Jack" Chaplin (Wenham) 11th is Sgt R Neville Devonshire (East Bergholt) 12th is Sgt Dennis Johnson (Raydon/Stratford St Mary)
front row kneeling 1st left may be a Copdock member 3rd is Pte Charlie Ambrose (East Bergholt) and 4th is Pte Bill Miller (East Bergholt)

Mellor and Pawsey were promoted to Captains and 2Lt. C J Proctor who had been Group 2 I/c left and was replaced by John Anderton. The names above have been supplied by Stephen Lewins.

The somewhat vague description of the location given by BROM, according to which the OB was situated ‘near Bullen and Round Woods’ is incorrect - the OB site is located about 5 metres within the western edge of Round Wood, approximately 50 metres north of its boundary with Elms Grove (locally known as Elbow Wood).

The OB is located on private land and was accessed with kind permission of the landowner.

Condition of OB: collapsed and filled in

Size of OB and entrance/exit etc: 2 chambers, each 14ft long

Orientation of OB: N/S

Observation Post: not known

Other physical remains nearby: glazed ceramic ventilation pipe entangled in tree roots

The OB is situated near a woodland’s edge a short distance away from a footpath. During the 1940s the land was owned by Burstall Hall and the woodland surrounded by horse pastures. The OB is described as having been a fairly large affair apparently consisting of two adjoining Nissen huts. Mr Fiske, who kindly took us to the OB site, described to us that the second chamber was aligned at right angles to the first and connected with it by a short passageway. The main chamber had a drop-down entrance shaft and an emergency exit passage lead off at an angle. The structure has long since collapsed and the depression was filled in by the farmer about 20 years ago, effectively blocking access. Sweeping the site with a metal detector confirms that the structure is still in situ. 

Sproughton Auxiliary Unit Operational Base 1

Only a very shallow depression remains on the ground. We found a glazed ceramic vent pipe still in situ, emerging to ground level from in-between gnarled tree roots which are in the process of crushing it.

Sproughton Auxiliary Unit Operational Base 2

Currently unknown

Currently unknown

Sten or Thompson submachine guns, Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knives and .38 revolvers plus a variety of explosives, detonators and fuses would have been standard issue.

Currently unknown

NJ Fiske, Burstall; BRO Museum Parham; Stephen Lewins CART CIO Northumberland

If you can help with any info please contact us.