Great Ayton Patrol


Great Ayton is a village in the Hambleton District on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors at the foot of the Cleveland Hills. From the village it is approximately 14 miles to the centre of Middlesbrough.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Lieutenant John Freeman Pain

Civil engineer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private George W. Brown


Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Frederick George Forster

Hay & straw merchant

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Cyril Raw

Office manager cashier

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Ralph William Whitworth

Electrical engineer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Reginald Scoby Williamson


Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The Patrol OB was to the north of Great Ayton railway station in Cliff Ridge Wood close to the Ayton Ironstone Quarry.

A public footpath cuts through the woods close to the site. The OB was inside an Ironstone mine and entered via a concealed trapdoor on the surface. This dropped down to a tunnel section and the OB chamber with its bunk beds and table. It is not known if the site contained an “Elephant “type shelter or was just a fitted out cave. The tunnel ran away from the main shaft and easy to miss if you did not know where it was located.

The OB was found in the 1960’s when a mining survey of the area was carried out and then filled in by the Army and the shaft entrance sealed. There is now nothing of the OB left to see. The area of the Ironstone mine has now also covered over with vegetation.

There was also a possible Observation Post near Airyholme Farm on the edge of the woodland to the south of the main farm. This would have overlooked the nearby road and South West approaches and to the North East. The site had a view of Roseberry Topping, the local hill and high point. It had a field phone linked to the main base.

OB Status

Great Ayton Patrol

Patrol Targets

The Patrol would have targeted the Esk Valley railway line from Whitby and the Yarm railway viaduct along with the Port of Tees.

Military targets included; RAF Thornaby, RAF Middleton St. George, a number of war effort factories on the south side of Middlesbrough and the nearby Starfish Decoy site.


Some of the Patrol went to Coleshill House for specialist courses. Regional training took place with the Scout Section from the Green Howards at Castleton and at Danby Lodge, the Area Intelligence Officer's HQ.

Other training was done locally at the quarry.

Weapons and Equipment

The Patrol were issued with the Mark 2 Auxiliary Units kit which included; .22 silenced rifle, .38 revolvers, Thompson sub Machine Guns and Sten Machine Guns.

Other information

All of the Patrol members are from Great Ayton and lived fairly close to one another.


John Middleton Harwood and Dennis Walker

The National Archives in Kew ref WO199/3389

1939 Register

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Great Ayton WW2 Defences