Thorington Auxiliary Unit Patrol
This page was last updated at 6:14pm on 27/11/11
Thank you for selecting information on the Thorington 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.
Part of Beccles Group
Group CO Lt WDG Bartram
It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.
Sgt Walter E Thirkettle
WE Charlie King (Crown)
Clifford (Jim) Musk
(Info from BROM/Parham who have it from Malcolm (Mike) Thirkettle)
The woodland and adjoining farmland are on private property
The OB site is located not far distant from a track, on a slight incline that has been cleared of trees and at
the time of our visit in mid-July was overgrown with bracken. The clearing is situated in private woodland (Holly
Hills) that adjoins the A12 road immediately to the west.
July Visit 2011
We were taken to the site by Malcolm (Mike) Thirkettle, the son of Sgt Walter Thirkettle, Thorington patrol’s
leader. His father never took him to the OB but Mike managed to find it later (in 1998) and informed BROM/Parham.
Mike told us that when he found the OB, the original tray-shaped wooden cover was still on the
entrance shaft. He had also found sections of badly deteriorated cable there.
Mike was present when volunteers from BROM/Parham surveyed the OB. He told us that the location of the end wall
nearest the entrance was found by digging two parallel trenches, and that the volunteers dug down until they were
able to see inside the main chamber. He believes that the original bunks were still in there. The main chamber was
not accessed and the hole was back-filled.
The size is 3 x 3.65m / 14ft long approx and is orientated N/S – 42ft ASL
It is difficult to establish for certain exactly which features that are evident on the ground were created
during the process of the 1998 excavation and which are due to natural causes, ie collapse. The round depression
where the entrance shaft would have been indicates that the entrance has collapsed. The small size of the exit hole
could be caused by collapse and disuse, the exit passage does not appear to be collapsed, though. The absence of a
depression in the ground above indicates that the main chamber is still intact.
Site Re-visit on 26th November 2011
The dense bracken had died down and the curved rim of the roof of a Nissen-hut type structure could be
discerned, about one metre below ground level, by looking down an animal burrow that we had noticed on occasion of
our first visit in July.
With permission of the woodland owner we opened up this burrow, which leads into the main chamber from above the
north end wall, in order to obtain a view inside.
We found the main chamber intact and in fair condition, albeit a little silted up: soil has trickled in from
both earthen end walls.
The end walls were lined with corrugated sheeting, almost all of which has fallen off and is missing. Apart from
a large section of corrugated sheeting near the south end wall that is currently resting against the east wall, the
chamber is empty.
Other Remains: Piece of cast iron; large, twisted nail found in immediate vicinity (Nov
Observation Post/s: Currently unknown.
According to BROM’s record, the site was visited 17/10/98 with Mick
(sic) Thirkettle: Main chamber still existed. Elephant iron/Tin ends.
BROM/Parham, Malcolm (Mike) Thirkettle, Geoff Dewing, “Suffolk’s Secret
Army” (1996) – marked on map p12
If you can help with any info please contact