Matlaske Patrol

A.K.A. (nickname)
County Group

Matlaske village lies 9 miles south-west of Cromer.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Henry James West

Farm labourer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Corporal William Sydney Seaman Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Robert Henry Bix

Agricultural worker

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Leonard Alfred Daniels

General farmer

Unknown Unknown
Private Romney Brian Grubb

Farm assistant

Unknown Unknown
Private Albert Ernest Roper

Agricultural lorry & tractor driver

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Derek Robert Thaxter

Agricultural labourer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Leonard Albert Youngs

Farm labourer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The Patrol’s Operational Base was situated in close proximity of a sand and gravel extraction site, in a small private woodland that is adjoined by fields on two sides. The woodland is skirted by a quiet country lane, and a farm track leads past a short distance away. The structure appears to have been removed at quite some time ago but the site still is clearly marked by a deep depression.

It is believed that the OB was been built by the Patrol members themselves. The main chamber is described as having been a Nissen hut-type structure with corrugated sheeting, held in place by a timber frame, lining the earthen end walls. Judging from the large and pronounced depression left in the ground it would in all likelihood have been a standard sized elephant shelter.

Some 85 metres further to the south-east the remains of the Patrol’s ammunition store can still be found. It was a rectangular dugout measuring approximately one by two metres. Its depth can no longer be established due to soil and leaf mould having gradually filled the hole over the decades. Some of the corrugated sheeting lining the walls is still in situ, as are several corrugated sheets that would once have formed the roof. The overgrown spoil heap can be seen a short distance away.


Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Matlaske Ammo Store
OB Image
Caption & credit
Matlaske Ammo Store
OB Image
Caption & credit
Matlaske Ammo Store
OB Image
Caption & credit
Matlaske OB site
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

Matlaske Patrol

Patrol Targets

Local targets would have included Matlaske and Oulton Airfields. Wolterton Hall, Mannington Hall and Barningham Hall if used as enemy Military HQ sites.

Other information

Sergeant West kept a diary noting Patrol members names and some training. It is most detailed about the Patrols time spent on the Isle of Wight on the run up to D-Day. A full transcript can be read.

An excerpt taken from Sergeant West’s diary allows a glimpse of the Patrol’s activities during the summer of 1942:

June 2nd Hand grenade practice
June 6th/7th Coleshill Competition
June 9th Weekly meeting at OB
June 16th Tommy gun practice for relay race
June 21st Practice for second round of competition
June 28th Group meeting at Cawston
June 30th Hand grenade practice
The following snippets were taken from pencilled notes jotted down in his diary by Sergeant West in 1942 on occasion of a trip to the Isle of Wight, where men from several patrols in Group 3 - Baconsthorpe, Erpingham, Matlaske and North Walsham – attended a training course:

The men travelled in a spacious 3rd class carriage and were collected at Liverpool Street station by an army truck that took them across London to Waterloo station, where they had to wait for the connecting train to Portsmouth. Whilst they were waiting the air raid warning siren went off and then they heard a loud bang. Group Commanding Officer Lieutenant Neave informed them that it had been caused by a robot plane having crashed.

After their arrival in Portsmouth they went straight down to the harbour and saw invasion barges and also HMS Warspite, which looked quite battered. In the evening of the same day they got on board of a big launch that took them to the Isle of Wight.

They were taken to Newport in army trucks and reported to headquarters at Billingham Manor, where the food was good and the beds decent. The following day they went to Sandown on duty. They were inspected by the Colonel and had a long lecture on the shortage of troops on the island. They were put up at the Sandringham Hotel, three in a room. The men visited Shanklin, a famous holiday resort in peacetime, they took walks along the cliff paths, and they also went to the pictures to see “Northern Pursuit”, “Angels Sing” and “Nancy Drew Detective”. Sergeant West notes that although the soil seems poor there are roses everywhere, that the island is full of children and that one can’t help seeing how clean and healthy they look.


TNA ref WO199/3389

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye

Sergeant Henry West's family,

Jeremy Norman;

A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler [2002];

Mr Young