Brockenhurst Patrol

Locality

Brockenhurst is a village in the heart of the New Forest.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant John James Charles Kemp Slightam

Huntsman for the New Forest Buckhounds

27 Aug 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private Harry James Burt

Farm Lad & Forester

18 Dec 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Harold Frank Emm

Permanent Way Labourer Southern Railway

27 Sep 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private Arthur Ernest Fisher

Motor Engineer

22 Apr 1943 03 Dec 1944
Private Jack Humby

Head Forest Keeper HM Forestry Commission & Special Constable

29 Jun 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Jesse Moseley

Foreman Forester

09 Sep 1942 03 May 1944
Private Daniel Manson Sutherland

Builders Labourer

01 Apr 1942 31 Dec 1944
Private Arthur Eric R Warr 27 Sep 1941 09 Oct 1942
Private Reginald James Wells 27 Aug 1941 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

Jack Humby described to his family an Operational Base being built in Royden Woods, to the rear of the Filly Inn, though he never gave a precise location. Apparently the Patrol had only just finished the OB when the Army moved in to the area making it very difficult to use. They ended up having to build a second OB and retieve all their equipment and transfer it to the new structure.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
9th Hampshire Home Guard including Manson Sutherland. Although he is definitely in this photograph, exactly where is not known! This is the only photo of a New Forest Auxilier in uniform found to date. (Melvyn Sutherland)
OB Status
Location not known
Location

Brockenhurst Patrol

Patrol Targets

Precise targets are not known but likely would have included the railway line, with Brockenhurst a major junction on the line to the ports at Poole, Weymouth and Portland.

Beaulieu airfield would likely have been a target, particularly as Jack Humby’s cottage was right alongside, with other patrol members nearby. It is likely that the Germans would have used some of the large houses and hotels in the area, such as Balmer Lawn, making these targets as well.

Training

Jack Humby recalled travelling repeatedly to Coleshill House at weekends for training, travelling up on a Friday night and returning on Sunday or Monday. He was taught how to use explosives and firearms.

Other information

Jack Humby refers to a group of men, who were French speakers, being trained further, then sent behind the lines in France, to prepare for the invasion. Some were dropped a couple of miles offshore to row in and check the beach defences. Reportedly some men did not return. 

It is not certain what this refers to exactly. There are persistent rumours of Auxiliers being sent to either France or the Channel Islands, with some being injured or killed. However, there is no firm evidence. West Hampshire Scout Section officer Lieutenant John Jenner Marchant, later served with Jedburgh teams organising the French resistance and would have been well known to the patrol. Another member of the Scout Section, Chippy Saunders, was recruited into the SAS. John Hutchins from the West Dorset Scout Section, also from the Wiltshire Regiment, was trained to canoe into the coast to sample the beaches to assess suitability for landing. Possibly others also undertook the same role and prompted this story. Other accounts mention most of the West Hampshire Scout Section later being killed in action.

References

The National Archives WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

1939 Register

Melvyn Sutherland

http://www.newforestcentre.org.uk/forestry-and-commoning
http://www.newforesthounds.co.uk/history.html 
Keeping the Forest, the life story of Jack Humby
Information from Jack Slightam’s granddaughter, Mrs Newell

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