Birch Patrol

Locality

The village of Birch lies approximately 5 miles south-west of Colchester. 

The Patrol members had a professional stand down picture taken by Colchester photographer Oscar Way.

Essex Birch Patrol Stand Down picture.jpg
Bob Strathern, Bill Abbott, Dick Fairhead, G. Ward, David Macauley, Basil Rootkin (Photo courtesy Mary Fairhead)

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant David Fleming Macauley

Farmer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Corporal George W. Ward

Haulage contractor

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private William Alfred Abbott

Heating engineer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Richard Golden Fairhead

Farmer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Anthony Marshall Leonard Howe Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Basil Rootkin

Lorry driver

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Bill Strange Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Robert Strathern

Farmer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

According to Fred Nash, of Essex County Council, the Operational Base (OB) was cut into the north end of an ancient dyke in Woods near Layer. It was a standard elephant shelter bunker and is now apparently partially collapsed.

Very little remains to be seen of the OB on the surface only the edge of part of the roof. The chamber appears almost completely filled with soil, and partly collapsed.

Photos that have been submitted to CART were taken during a survey of WW2 defences in Essex and are recorded as being in Chest Wood. Bob Strathern's daughter recalled the OB was in Butcher's Wood, near what is now Colchester Zoo.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Essex Birch Patrol Stand Down picture (Mary Fairhead) - Strathern, Abbott, Fairhead, Ward, Macauley, Rootkin
OB Image
Caption & credit
The edge of part of the roof.
OB Image
Caption & credit
The bunker appears almost completely filled with soil, and partly collapsed.
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
Location

Birch Patrol

Training

Dick Fairhead is known to have travelled to Coleshill for training.

References

Mersea Museum

TNA ref WO199/3389

Hancock data held at B.R.A

1939 Register

Bob Strathern's daughter Nancy Cannon and son Robin Strathern