Aylsham Patrol

A.K.A. (nickname)
County Group

Aylsham is a market town 9 miles north of Norwich.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Lieutenant Albert George Abel

Insurance inspector

Unknown Unknown
Sergeant Jack Hamilton Dye

Agricultural labourer & gamekeeper

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Thomas George Bailey

Farm worker (Stockman)

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Arthur John Clark


Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Donald Jack Lee


Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Henry James Stickells


Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Victor Wells

Farm horseman

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The land belongs to the National Trust and was accessed by their kind permission. The OB is situated near the south-west corner of Hercules Wood not far from a junction of tracks by Oulton Belt. These tracks are marked on an old OS map dating from 1946 and hence not new. An aerial view taken in 1946 by the RAF (provided by Norfolk County Council’s E-Map Explorer) shows that this area was wooded at the time and presumably still contains at least some of the original trees. An extensive cleared area adjoining in the north and north-east (also seen on the photograph) has since been replanted.

The site presents itself as a pronounced ovel-shaped depression in the ground, indicating that the roof of the structure has caved in, perhaps due to damage caused by heavy machinery having driven over it during forestry work. A short section of the edge of a curved corrugated roof (entrance or exit) on the western perimeter of the depression has been exposed by burrowing animals.

It measures 9m long approx and is orientated East to West.

The ground appears to be quite uneven at the opposite end where the entrance (or exit) would have been – perhaps a collapsed drop-down shaft.

Stacks of logs serving as wildlife shelters have been arranged on and around the site, presumably in order to mark it.

National Trust are aware of the site, and of it having been an underground structure to do with WWII. Eventually the OB site is planned to form one of a number of features along a military history trail with information boards etc.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Hercules Wood Aylsham
OB Image
Caption & credit
Stacks of logs serving as wildlife shelters have been arranged on and around the site
OB Image
Caption & credit
A short section of the edge of a curved corrugated roof
OB Status
Collapsed with few visible remains
OB accessibility
This OB is on private land. Please do not be tempted to trespass to see it

Aylsham Patrol

Patrol Targets

Targets would have included Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway line, running from Melton Constable to North Walsham between Corpusty and Aylsham North. The line closed in 1916 for passengers and for goods in 1959.


According to “A N Other” (published in: A Hoare), they trained once in the Midlands, and frequently locally, always at night. One of the skills taught was to move silently.

Other information

Published in A Hoare, 'Standing up to Hitler', is an account by “A N Other”, saying about himself that he was a special constable before the war. He continues to say: “I was in charge of a patrol consisting of 6 men, mainly gamekeepers, poachers and farm workers.”  We think that “A N Other” was the one time Patrol Leader, Lieutenant Abel.


TNA ref WO199/3389

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye

Our thanks go to Dave Brady, National Trust Head Forester, for taking us to the OB site.

A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler;

JP Everett, Blakeney;

Jeremy Norman;

Auxilier the late John George Seaman (leader of Baconsthorpe Patrol)