Stradbroke Auxiliary Unit Patrol
This page was last updated 20/11/13
Thank you for selecting information on the Stradbroke 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 formed part of the Metfield Group which also included
Laxfield Patrol (aka Ubbeston Patrol)
Group CO: Lt Hedley Rusted – he was the local butcher
It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.
Sgt Gordon D Last - for 2 yrs then replaced by
Sgt Robert A Pitt
Cpl Ron S Holmes – farm worker at Valley Farm
Ivan Mower (joined at 16) * - still living Sept 2011
Ralph Clarke (joined at 16)
Russel Catermole (later called up)
Walter E Majoram (blind in one eye, transferred out)
A Mower (transferred out)
• Ivan Mower kindly took us to his patrol’s OB and also introduced us to Edward George Pipe, the only
surviving member of Laxfield patrol.
The OB can be found at Grove Wood, situated about one kilometre to the south-west of Battlesea Green, north of
the B1117 road. It is located in private woodland.
Auxilier Ivan Mower at his Operational Base.
The OB was completed by September 1940 and is situated near the foot of a sandy slope that appears to at some
time have been used locally for sand extraction.
The OB was built by the patrol members themselves and consisted of a main chamber built from timber and
corrugated sheeting, with an adjoining room that housed the bunks. The structure had a flat roof, covered with soil
and well camouflaged. There was only one entrance/exit opening. It was accessed via a trapdoor, with a zig-zag
gully leading away from it into the woods.
The corrugated sheeting is said to have been removed at some time in the past although some can still be
discerned, covered with sand, at the end wall.
A rectangular depression is all that remains. It measures approx 3.50 by 2.50 metres and is about 1.50 metres
maximum deep at one end. It is orientated E/W.
Some timbers and wooden posts remain near the end wall. (Above) They would once have formed part of the roof and
of the sidewalls.
Two short wooden posts are still in place by the NW corner marking the entrance.
Two lengths of ceramic field pipes (Above) have been exposed and can be seen leaning upright against the end
wall, where they would once have emerged above ground near an ancient beech tree.
Other physical remains: Roof timbers, wooden corner posts, some corrugated sheeting, 2
sections of ceramic field pipes (vent) approx 1.60m long
Observation Post/s: Currently unknown.
Horham airfield; railway lines and bridges.
Ivan Mower told us that his patrol was totally on their own and knew nothing about other patrols in their area,
and although they knew Group CO Lt Hedley Rusted - he was a local butcher - they did not associate him with AU but
thought he was regular army. They never went to Coleshill for training. They trained locally. Each of them had a
revolver with one round, they also had a Sten gun, knifes, knuckle dusters and explosives. They practised blowing
up trees but were trained primarily in (silent) man-to man combat.
The furthest away they ever got for training was Dunwich Heath (roughly 30 kilometres distant) where they stayed
at a large house, the kitchen of which they supplied with rabbits that they shot themselves.
This account was corroborated by Laxfield patrol member Edward G Pipe re his own patrol.
DOB record for the site: TM 217 741, Valley Farm (removed). Dr W Ward, 1997
BROM (Parham) record for the site: OB was situated between Stradbroke and Horham in Grove Wood at Valley Farm,
Stradbroke -TM 217 741. It was a flat-top construction. Remains of timber and two glazed drain pipes used for
ventilation. OB was built by Sept. 1940. BROM 1997
Ivan Mower, patrol member (personal interview); Stephen Lewins CART CIO
Northumberland; BROM Parham; Dr W Ward (DOB)
If you can help with any info please contact