Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


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
Metfield Patrol
Hoxne Patrol
Laxfield Patrol (aka Ubbeston Patrol)
Weybread 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)
Basil Hugman

• 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.

Stradbroke Auxiliary Unit Patrol 4

Auxilier Ivan Mower at his Operational Base.

Stradbroke Auxiliary Unit Patrol 3

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.

Stradbroke Auxiliary Unit Patrol 5

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.

Stradbroke Auxiliary Unit Patrol 2

Stradbroke Auxiliary Unit Patrol 1

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.

Currently unknown

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 us.