Midsomer Norton Patrol


Midsomer Norton is a town near the Mendip Hills in Bath & North East Somerset, 10 miles south-west of Bath.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Kenneth Albert Hartry

Printer machine minder

20 Oct 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Leonard George Bailey

Sawyer saw mills

24 Oct 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Thomas James Bush

Printing machine assistant

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Ronald Leonard Champion


1940 June 1942
Private Rex J. D. Downes

Accounts clerk

1940 03 Dec 1944
Private William Edgar Gregory

Lorry driver & delivery man

23 Oct 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Frederick Charles Lanning

Printers compositors

02 Jun 1940 16 Oct 1942
Private Stanley Mervyn Powney

Colliery blacksmith

16 Jun 1942 21 Apr 1944
Private John Shean Unknown 1941
Private Arthur Francis Walton

Brick works labourer

21 May 1941 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The Defence of Britain Database records the OB as being in Hilliers Down Wood.

When visited in 1998 the base was already in an advanced state of collapse. Arthur Walton described how it had been built without metal to help avoid detection. It was built from wood and brick with a roof from railway sleepers and the size of a large room. Construction of the base relied on support from the Scout Section at Cranmore. Two holes were started, but the first abandoned due to flooding. At the time of the visit, a pair of parallel brick walls remained, possibly leading to a rotted wooden entrance shaft. There appeared to be the remains of a small corrugated store to the side.

The trapdoor over the entrance was operated by a disguised lever.

Mervyn Powney recalled that the OB was abandoned for another located at Ston Easton Park, though no more is known about this OB.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Sketch of the MIdsomer Norton Patrol OB at Hilliers Down Wood
OB Image
Caption & credit
Midsomer Norton OB at Hilliers Down Wood (Feb 1998)
OB Image
Caption & credit
Surving corrugated iron sheeting in the store area of the Midsomer Norton Patrol Hilliers Down OB (Feb 1998)
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

Midsomer Norton Patrol


The Patrol trained with explosives, practising on old oil drums in an old quarry. They wrapped Cordtex around the drum with a bit of oil remaining inside before blowing them up. They also used a bag of clay they carried with them for "clobbing", that is tamping the charge to make it more effective in a particular direction.

They assessed the viaduct at Radstock for demolition, but it was decided that it would take too much explosive for it to be a viable operational target. Instead they would demolish sections of the railway line. They also visited Chilcompton one night to plan demolitions on the LMS railway line there.

Weapons and Equipment

Arthur Walton recalled being issued with a Colt revolver, a Canadian Ross rifle, and Fairbairn Sykes fighting knife, the latter stuck in the top of his rubber boots.

There were also extensive supplies of explosives, including guncotton, gelignite, Cordtex explosive fuse, time pencils colour coded for their time of detonation. Some were stored in the OB, but others were in the office the Patrol had been leant by the Standard Check Company at Welton.

Other information

Arthur Walton and Tom Bush were among the Auxiliers from Somerset sent to the Isle of Wight around the time of D Day in 1944


TNA ref WO 199/3391 & WO 199/3390

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Defence of Britain Database

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Somerset v Hitler, Donald Brown

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