Icklesham Patrol

County Group

Icklesham is a village in the Rother district of East Sussex. The village is located about 6 miles east of Hastings, on the main A259 Hastings to Rye road.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Lieutenant Jack Simmonds Merricks BEM

Fruit farmer

20 Aug 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Donald Buckingham Cooke

Assisting step father John Neve on farm

12 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Colin Merricks Cooke


Unknown Unknown
Private Alan Hunter Cooke


28 Aug 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Walter Leslie Hemming

General farmer & employer

30 Jun 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private John William Jones


25 Aug 1940 07 Jun 1944
Private Walter Richard Merricks


23 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Alfred Miller


30 Jul 1942 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The OB was built by the Royal Engineers close to a sand pit in Guestling Wood which is managed by the Woodland Trust and has public access.

It was built of timber and corrugated iron and measured 15ft x 10ft and was high enough to stand up in. The entrance was a counterbalanced hatch concealed by twigs and leaves with a wooden ladder down into the chamber. An emergency exit tunnel was made from timber and ran for about 15ft to the edge of the sandpit.

The OB contained bunk beds stacked three high,a cooking stove and a chemical toilet. Within the main chamber they stored ammunition, explosives, food and water in milk churns.

Colin Cooke recalled staying in the OB many times. He remembered it was functional but uncomfortable.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Icklesham Trig Point
OB Image
Caption & credit
Trig Point plaque - Iklesham Patrol (Jonglew)
OB Image
Caption & credit
Guestling Wood
OB Image
Caption & credit
Icklesham winning tankard (from IWM)
OB Status
Location not known

Icklesham Patrol


The Patrol trained at many times HQ at Tottington Manor. They attended Coleshill for the basic training.

Auxilier Colin Cooke recalled going to Huntley near Aberdeen in Scotland to train for three days. He remembered this involved flying over an area then using their aerial knowledge of the terrain to perform exercises on the ground.


Other information

After the 50th Anniversary of stand down a scheme was proposed to recognise the Auxiliary Units by adopting a Ordnance Survey trig point. As a result there is a memorial plaque on trig point near Blackland Wood.

The plaque reads “Trig Pillar Blackland Wood, adopted by the Cooke / Wilcox families, March 1995. Dedicated in appreciation of members of SX 203 Icklesham Patrol of the British Resistance Movement 1940-44, known as Auxiliary Units”

Bill Webber, the Firle Patrol Leader, kept a diary of his Patrol's movements during their operational years. Although the entries are brief it gives a detailed account of their training, visits to Coleshill House and Tottington Manor, inter-Patrol competitions and interactions with neighbouring Patrols.

The Sussex final of the inter-Patrol competitions was held at Tottington Manor, on the weekend of the 20-21 December 1941. This was won by Icklesham Patrol, who then went on to represent Sussex in the second competition final at Coleshill House. The Patrol won at Coleshill in 1942 and were awarded a tankard. His is now held at London Imperial War Museum.


TNA reference WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

'The Secret Sussex Resistance' by Stewart Angell

The diary of Auxilier Bill Webber