Midsomer Norton is a town near the Mendip Hills in Bath & North East Somerset, 10 miles south-west of Bath.
|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||
|Private Rex J. D. Downes||
|1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Private William Edgar Gregory||
Lorry driver & delivery man
|23 Oct 1942||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Frederick Charles Lanning||
|02 Jun 1940||16 Oct 1942|
|Private Stanley Mervyn Powney||
|16 Jun 1942||21 Apr 1944|
|Private John Shean||Unknown||1941|
|Private Arthur Francis Walton||
Brick works labourer
|21 May 1941||03 Dec 1944|
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.
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.
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.
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
The Somerset Underground, Tim Wray
Somerset v Hitler, Donald Brown