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Report - PATROL 4, Feb 2015

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by huey, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    British resistance in WW2 consisited of the Homeguard, Special Duties Branch and the Auxillary Units. The Homeguard were an official army of volunteers equipped to defend against invasion. The SDS were the English version of the French resistance fighters, everyday people covertly helping the cause and discreetly helping to damage Germanys chances.
    The A.U. were a new breed of soldiers, taught how to fight dirty, to hit and run, slowing the invasion down, giving retreating troops enough time to fall back to the last-ditch GHQ line and to regroup.

    THE MEN

    Like the early years of recruiting in the SAS where men of the land who could think outside the box were needed, many A.U. members were farmers, poachers, and local hardmen, recommended by others. Intimate knowledge of the land and the ability to negotiate the forests in total darkness, as well as a 'come and have a go' attitude were vital.
    They were very highly trained (up to Commando standard,) and enjoyed the very latest equipment even the regular army didn’t have. Groups of 4-6 men were taught silent killing, assassination, major sabotage, living of the land etc - they had to be totally self-sufficient operating in complete secrecy. Girlfriends, wife’s, bosses and families were kept in the dark, as were local units operating close by.

    As cover only, they were allocated to the Homeguard ( Battalions 201 for Scotland, 202 for Northern England and 203 for Southern England.) They shared the same uniforms and occasionally trained with them, but they didn’t have to make do with wooden guns ....Their unofficial motto was ‘Terror By Night.

    [​IMG]

    TRAINING

    A.U. training took place at convenient local safe houses and sometimes with regular army but the initial training was done at Hannington Hall. This beautiful mansion, built in 1653, was commandeered for the war. It quickly developed into a huge training ground with dummy tanks and damaged beyond repair aircraft and cars. Stolen enemy vehicles, guns and explosives were used to make it as real as possible. Courses were run to encourage rivalry amongst units. By then, England had learnt to fight dirty and a new breed of guerilla soldier badly needed, rules went completely out of the window. Allegedly a 5’2†Scots Sergeant Major was released from his stint in Barlinnie Jail, in Glasgow, in order to teach the new style of knife fighting and mugging needed.

    Hannington Hall
    [​IMG]

    Another regular training house was Glen Court House, then partially derelict but now fully restored and a private residence.
    [​IMG]

    THE BOOK
    A book was given to each unit – 42 pages of instructions and drawings on how to make fertilizer bombs, best placement of explosive for maximum damage, how to place charges in the same place on each vehicle ( so spares can’t be swopped by the enemy creating one good vehicle,) destroying fuel depots, creating road blocks or booby traps etc. They were experts in explosives, trying to avoid direct contact, instead causing mayhem all around them.
    Disguised as a typical farmers book it was titled ‘The Countrymans Diary’ and wryly issued with the words ‘ with compliments of Highworth & Co’ it has some cracking one liners. On best use of mines ‘aim at killing by splinters, not blast,' and the use of a motorcycle barrel is recommended because ‘..the fins fly well.' On destroying petrol or ammo dumps ‘concentrate on the upwind end of the dump, the heat and wind will help spread the fire.' On trip wires ‘use the thicker, black wire to decapitate a motorcycle riders head.'
    And from the Jeremy Clarkson school of thought on calculating explosives ‘If in any doubt, double the calculated charge.' Nice.

    Any full 28DL member who wants to borrow a photocopy of the book, drop me a pm.
    [​IMG]

    EQUIPMENT
    Each man was issued with one Colt 6 chamber revolver, one commando fighting knife, one knuckle duster as well as each patrol being given a Tommy Gun, two Lee Enfield rifles, two Sten guns, a silenced and scoped .22 sniper rifle, detonators, switches, time pencils etc, 100 lbs high explosives, 150 phosphorous bottles grenades and 150 normal grenades with 4 second fuses not the usual issue 7 second fuses, (less chance of enemy throw back.) Incidentally, the average soldier could throw a grenade 35 foot, but the blast radius was 50 foot…
    Homemade toys were also found after the war, homemade punch knifes, double sided tyre slashers, un-issued mines relieved from other units etc. their favourite quiet weapon was the cheese wire with wooden handles.
    Such was the fear of being captured they agreed to shoot or blow each other up , in case that man hadn’t taken his cyanide pill. The plan was to wait it out, upon the signal of invasion ‘The Balloons Gone Up!' they would quietly go about their job.
    [​IMG]

    Due to the secret nature of the units, bunkers and places involved history is sparse, and ive found three of them!
    As the Official Secrets Act statue of limitations fades away, sadly so do many of the facts. Luckily one particular unit in Monmouthshire have spoken out. Monmouth was a busy place with railways, mines and munition factories all prime targets. It had 8 Auxillary Units, all with biblical names – Jonah, Moses, Esau, Abraham, Lucifer, Jeptha and Isaac, each covering its own 15 mile operating radius.
    Each unit operated totally on its own, unaware of other units, people and locations. Monmouth 202 Battalion, Jonah patrol, were regarded as the best trained and deadliest of all the units.

    JONAH PATROL
    Recruited by John Todd, who was a bit of a lad by all accounts, his methods involved trying to drink possible recruits under the table or throwing a piece of harmless plastic explosive at the wall and seeing who flinched – if you failed either test you were out.
    Ironically, upon invasion, in order to protect A.U. names, he would have been the first to be assassinated by the patrols.
    Jonah members were; Sgt Alan Hollingdale
    Cpl Jack Rudd
    Pte Leonard Escott
    Pte’s Henry and brother Leslie Bulley
    Pte Ralph Jones
    Pte Raymond Skinner
    Pte Henry Lawrence
    Pte D Hall
    Pte H Hando
    Pte TJ March

    One AU member was renowned for catching rabbits with his bare hands, another one armed man ( who had a hook on his belt so he could pull grenade pins out with it,) did the same with moles. All members volunteered and now sadly, all are dead.

    THE BUNKERS
    Jonah were unusual in having 3 bunkers- a radio station and ammo stores, a second ammo stores and the main OB (Observation Bunker.) Presumably they were expected to be kept busy..the two bunkers found are slightly different designs. The ammo bunker is shorter with no escape tunnel, the OB is the same design but longer and with a tunnel. A hidden door or sliding shelves hid the radio set room, making it look like the more usual bunkers to enemy troops if they did find it. The third bunker has yet to be found.

    What the radio bunker would've looked like.
    [​IMG]

    Today the nine foot deep entrance full of debris..
    [​IMG]

    As sadly too is the inside...no chance of exploring the second room
    [​IMG]

    The radio sets back then were huge and sadly most were destroyed after the war.
    [​IMG]

    Onto the main bunker, the roof has collapsed over the second chamber, no sign of an exit tunnel this end although one was supposed to exist.
    [​IMG]

    Looking towards entrance and doorway, note the steel door on the floor (dumped later or adapted by the men?) and iron pipe which connected to a hollowed out tree outside as a chimney for cooking- in the event of invasion they would only have boiled water at night though.
    [​IMG]

    Close up of the left wall, wooden rawplugs still survive where shelves would've been.
    [​IMG]

    Looking back to collapsed section, note the vent pipe and 70 year old original yellow paint.
    [​IMG]

    Wouldn't have been much privacy...
    [​IMG]

    Have I found the missing second ammo storage entrance or tunnel exit? Or is it just a stash hole? Completely choked up with stone and rubbish.
    [​IMG]

    As with most OB’s fresh water was close by, as was a footpath, handy for explaining away recent footprints. The 4m x 3m bunker had a wooden trapdoor, filled with vegetation which opened up in the centre, both sides were hinged. 6 men, bunks, paraffin lights, and an Elson chemical toilet were squeezed in. Along with the 2 weeks rations was an all important gallon of rum.
    Each member of the patrol had a coloured identifying marble he rolled down a tube into the bunker before entering to ensure a safe entry.
    Many wasted and frustrating hours were spent searching for the Llangstone Out Station apparently 'several hundred yards away' carrying a ladder, rucksack and camera kit ready for another exclusive, but alas it was not to be. Part of SDS not AU but the patrol couldn't help themselves raiding the radio station frequently just for fun. Only two pics are in existence of it, copyright Sally Mogford.

    [​IMG]

    Now you see why I took a ladder...looks in awesome condition.
    [​IMG]

    I couldn't find the rumoured AU bunker on a famous golf course either, so maybe its just me!
    As you’d expect from people in their position the strict military rules didn’t always sit well, Jonah Patrol in particular had several ways of letting off steam, nearly always at the regular army’s expense. Being looked down upon by them, despite being better trained and equipped than them, they bit their lip and had their fun. When forced to march with other units they had perfected the wrong way to march-the left arm swinging in time with the left leg and vice versa, just to rile them. Raiding their stores for food or drink didn’t go down too well, nor did breaking into the Captains office and placing horse droppings under his rocking horse which took pride of place. Or the time the Cold Stream Guards came to inspect the army barracks and ‘someone’ had left a huge bucket of manure blocking the office door. A detonator was attached to the bucket and the guards who moved it aside were well and truly covered in it.
    One of Jonah Patrol was a butcher, it might not be fair to point the finger at them but many did when local sheep went missing. All they admitted was ‘ they ate well.' When the war ended all stores had to be returned to the army, which it more or less was, except for the rum which they had syringed off and replaced with cold tea.


    The first annual reunion photo of all Monmouthshire Auxillary Units and people involved.
    [​IMG]

    Constructing them secretly would have been very difficult as was getting rid of the waste soil. Many clever ways were thought up, some units carried it by night and dumped it in rivers or streams, some borrowed an AA gun and filled the shielding sandbags with the waste dirt. Protected from view from the sandbags they could finish the bunker in privacy. The guns were moved around every 2 weeks anyway so the Germans couldn’t learn their locations, with the gun went the unwanted bags and soil.
    They didn’t always use bunkers- unknown caves and tunnels were easily converted with many equally clever ways to hide them. False fall in’s, huge blocks of rock on castors, entire clumps of vegetation pivoting out of the way to reveal the entrance were all used. Possibly the most ambitious was the ‘airship hole’ hideout in Kent. Originally built to house stray Resistance members it had food, water and sleeping for 120 people. During WW1 an enormous airship shaped hole had been dug to allow airship landings. The 60ft x 30ft depression was 30ft deep, known as ‘The Garth’ and a local well documented landmark.
    It was reasoned the last place the Germans would look for a hole was under another hole so the hideout was constructed under it and a vertical entrance shaft, with a connecting tunnel built. The trap door was a six feet high, half ton tree trunk which, when the hidden catch was moved, could be swung aside ‘at the touch of a finger.'
    Another ingenious solution of using ready made structures was Bathampton AU, Patrol 4's idea of modifying an icehouse. This was built in 1750 quite a way from the mansion it served and hidden in massively overgrown woods. The wood needed was 'borrowed' from the local stables...

    Drawn by Dr William Ward in 1998 when the place was officially, ahem, sealed up to prevent schoolchildren and interested adults enjoying or learning from it.
    [​IMG]

    The entrance, today erosion has uncovered the two earthern ware vent pipes
    [​IMG]

    Main passageway, on the left are two holes for the radio aerial- no evidence on the Yew trees outside remains though. Note the new tunnel dug by the Patrol halfway along giving access to the lower chamber.
    [​IMG]

    Access to upper level, lovely red brick dome roof as usual
    [​IMG]

    Stood at new tunnel entrance, looking down
    [​IMG]

    Now a belly crawl because of debris, half way along tunnel
    [​IMG]

    Roof joist holes show where second floor would've been, remnants of 'borrowed' wood still on floor
    [​IMG]

    Bricks removed to make a shelf, scorch marks give exact position of the candles away
    [​IMG]

    Again debris partially blocks the icehouse drain hole/ escape tunnel
    [​IMG]

    The men of Patrol 4
    [​IMG]

    QUOTES
    Some words from the men themselves.
    ‘They didn’t expect us to last long anyway- we were only given 2 weeks rations!
    ‘We expected to cause quite a bit of mayhem, before we were liquidated.'
    ‘I knew how I would attack. I planned to round them and get them in the back.'
    ‘Keep your thumb on the back of the blade, in case it slips.'
    'We had a list of 10 people we had to kill straightaway to stop them blabbing.'

    AS YOU WERE
    As the threat of invasion lessened the men were released from duties, many went on to serve with distinction with the SAS, such was their training, determination and skills. April 1945 the War Office announced there had been a resistance network since 1940. For all their effort, training and hardships the men only received the following letter;
    [​IMG]

    Even today the government doesn’t fully recognise their effort and no medal has been issued.

    The many hours of research pay off handsomely and I meet Mr Richard Richards, a man of the land, who, like all of them refuses to say what he did, only that he ‘played his part’ and ‘knows a few things.' He exudes quiet confidence and has a handshake, at 88, that could crush granite. Time has done little to diminish his attitude or resolve- it’s not hard imagining him even today introducing a rusty bayonet to someone if he had to. My new role model gradually opens up on our second meeting, telling me of a time when spirits resolved, pride and sheer hard work continued through family loss and the whole village pulled together and worked tirelessly for each other despite all the odds, never knowing when something might happen or when it might end. In that small Welsh hamlet I learnt how the whole world should be working. A part of me wishes I could’ve been there and joined them.
    Thanks for looking.
     

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  2. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Interesting read that. Nice report you've put together.

    Those two guys in the first photo look like some of the 'urbexers' I see all over facebook lol.
     
  3. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Very good indeed, and fascinating

    Love stuff like this, thanks for taking the trouble to put together a decent explanation of it all :thumb
     
  4. Saul

    Saul Basterd
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    Awesome report!
     
  5. darn

    darn 28DL Full Member
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    One of the most interesting articles I have read in a long time... brilliant back story; proper journalism :thumb
     
  6. Dragon's Lair

    Dragon's Lair 28DL Full Member
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    huey,
    what fantastic research, well presented. Thank you very much for sharing this. It is an excellent read and totally fascinating.

    Dragon's Lair
     
  7. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator
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    The Homeguard and Auxiliary Units were administered by the War Office, and protected under the Geneva Convention when in uniform and were classed as part of the British Army and as such any member of the Home Guard or Auxiliary Units had the same medal entitlement as a member of the regular army. Unfortunately as the Home Guard did not serve overseas or see active service the only medal which they were definitely entitled to was the Defence Medal.

    The qualifying period for the Defence Medal for members of the Home Guard and Auxiliary Units (as members of the Home Guard) was three years (1080 days)service between 14th May, 1940 and 31st December, 1944 (when the Home Guard was stood down).

    Also read - http://www.stephen-stratford.co.uk/wwii_medals.htm

    As a comparison, many regular soldiers during the 'Cold War' (1947-1991) received no recognition for being on standby for WWIII
     
  8. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    ^ interesting info Ordnance as always, thanks :)
     
  9. urblex

    urblex 28DL Maverick
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    Another highly interesting & detailed report, thanks for posting! :thumb
     
  10. sidibear

    sidibear 28DL Regular User
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    Cracking report, very interesting, well done and thank you.
     
  11. captainwow

    captainwow 28DL Full Member
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    Fascinating as always, thanks mate.
     
  12. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Thank you all,appreciate the feedback. Goodnight and Godbless,that is all.
     
  13. windowslasvegas369

    windowslasvegas369 28DL Member
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  14. Lavino

    Lavino 28ÐŁ ƦEGUŁλƦ U$EƦ
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    Excellent report there very interesting and you did your homework on this very well put together :thumb
     
  15. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks again guys,appreciate it!
     
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