Havant Patrol

County Group
Locality

Havant is a large town between Portsmouth and Chichester.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Bert Lewis John Edward Brixey

Electrical Fitter

12 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Corporal Edward James Wiggins

Under gardener

03 Oct 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Sydney George Adlam

Apprentice motor fitter

10 Apr 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private William Burrows

Fitter & turner.

01 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Ernest H Gould

Licenced Victualler & Hotel Manager

31 Aug 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private George Charles Larkham Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Charles H Mitchell

Transport Contractors Clerk

30 Oct 1940 01 Jul 1943
Private Clive Frederick L Rider 10 Nov 1941 20 May 1943
Private Frederick Petts Whittle

Corn & Cake Merchants Traveller

05 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

Sydney Adlam recalled the OB as being around Littlepark Wood, Bedhampton, Havant;  “Among pines at top of hill” . He was sure it has now been built on. It was originally built  by the Royal Engineers.

Sydney recalled his Patrol not using their OB very often for fear of its discovery. At least once they were spotted appearing in the woods thereabouts by local people, but luckily not while exiting their OB. Sydney also reports their OB was damp and cold if stayed in overnight. They stored their explosives and equipment in the OB. He doesn’t recall any other external stores.

The entrance was through a hinged tree stump and an escape tunnel could be crawled through and exited in some nearby bushes.

A second OB is recorded in Soutleigh Woods north of Emsworth on the opposite side of Havant. It is not know if this was a second OB for the Patrol, or possibly one for the East Hampshire Scout Section from Horndean, but being used for training after they left. It is unclear if it lay north or south of the Emsworth Common Road. The area to the north became a landfill site after the war and so the OB would have been destroyed if in this area.

The structure is described as being in two parts, eacxh large enough for 6 men, with boarded walls 6 feet high and covered with at least 6 inches of soil. A venilator shaft opened from each in a nearby bush at least 3 feet away. This sounds as if it might be an early type of OB that did not use the later Eleephant shelter design, this type often being replaced. Apparently German bombs fell nearby early in the war, and there was concern that the site might have been compromised, though in the end it was felt that the bombers had simply dropped their loads on being attacked by British fighters, in order to make a hasty get away.

 

OB Status
Location not known
Location

Havant Patrol

Patrol Targets

Sydney Adlam recalled “Mostly railways and transport” as targets. This would have included the wartime A27 east-west arterial route along the entire central south coast.

The main south coast railway east from Portsmouth, running just south of Bedhampton, and the same extending north direct to London through Havant’s east side.

Training

Initially, theory and assembly of explosives, time pencils and switches and the theory of grenade use was given at Group Commander Lieutenant Brownlee in his kitchen at 'Hillworth', Corsham. 

Later, the patrol would walk to a derelict mortuary in Havant to assemble their explosives and other equipment. They would then walk to a gravel pit near Barton’s Road crossroad with the Horndean Road to practice setting their explosives on old cars in the pit. The pit was often guarded by Regular troops.

The patrol also had the usual exercises, unarmed combat, camouflage and weapons and explosives training at Coleshill headquarters. Sydney recalls visiting the latter twice, each over one weekend.

Sydney (and perhaps other members of his patrol) attended weekly at the Naval New Barracks in Gosport for 18 months of Judo and unarmed combat lessons.

Shooting practice happened in a valley at Butser Hill (including the Thompson sub machine gun) near Petersfield.

Night exercises were held on Portsdown Hill, and with regular troops perhaps “near Aldershot”, travelling there by truck.

Weapons and Equipment

Sydney remembered the Patrol made camouflage suits out of potato sacks which he remembered as highly effective. Each Auxilier had a Colt .38 or a Smith & Wesson. He also recalled having a rubber truncheon and rubber boots.

They were issued with a .22 sniper's rifle with telescopic sight and Thompson sub machine gun. Sydney recalled practice firing with a Bren gun but didn't remember the Patrol having one.

Sydney recalled he often stored his weapons under his bed at home.

Other information

The precise make up of the patrol is uncertain. It has been worked out based on the wartime addresses of the men. Sydney Adlam declined to reveal the other members when interviewed. It is known that Bill Burrows showed the OB in Emsworth to others many years later and he also worked in the same building as George Larkham (Larkham scrap metal merchants) so they were likely know to each other. 

References

TNA ref WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

1939 Register

Steve Mason

Front line Havant by Arthur Herbert Jones. Published by Viridis Services, 82 Southleigh Rd, Havant, Hampshire. Printed by Southern Press (41 Portsmouth Rd, Horndean), 1996, ISBN 1901337 006.
Secret War interview with Sydney Adlam recorded by Martyn Cox

Bill Hibbs