North Walsham Patrol

County Group

The market town of North Walsham is 7 miles south of Cromer.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Frederic Kidman

Dairy farmer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Corporal Frank Nicholas Tofts

Arable farmer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Alfred Barritt

Senior audit clerk

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Thomas John Durrant Bell

Poultry farmer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Wallace Charles Hannant

Motor engineer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private William Alma Palmer Hicks

Motor lorry driver

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

According to information given to us by Mr J N Tofts, son of Patrol member Corporal Frank Nicholas Tofts, the OB was located by the northern edge of a woodland on the Westwick Estate. We identified the location as an area marked on OS maps as Postle’s Corner. The OB was located about 20 metres from the northern edge of the woodland adjoined by fields. Mrs B E Kidman confirms that the OB was situated in ‘Westwick Woods’.

Mr Tofts visited and accessed the OB on several occasions and describes the entrance as having been a drop-down shaft, with a small room (annex) preceding the main chamber.

The main chamber was an Anderson Shelter. The shelter was constructed by Patrol members themselves in the farmyard at Heath Farm and then carted across the field to the OB site.

The emergency escape tunnel led off the annex and emerged about 18 metres away, running in a zigzag course. The escape passage was constructed from a number of 40-gallon drums with tops and bottoms removed and arranged so that they would form a tunnel.

The structure was pulled out of the ground and all that remains is a shallow depression. Considering that in all likelihood there is nothing left to see on the ground, and also because access to the Westwick Estate is usually not permitted, we decided not to ask for permission to see the OB site but rather to illustrate our text with a photograph depicting Heath Farmhouse (which housed the Patrol’s ammunition and explosives store in its cellar), and two photographs of typewritten letters - kindly shown to us by Mrs Kidman.

According to Mr Tofts, the Patrol’s ammunition and explosives were stored in the cellar of Heath Farmhouse. Mr Tofts also mentioned an ammo dump in the woodland near the OB site but he could not recall its exact location.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
North Walsham Heath Farmhouse
OB Image
Caption & credit
Sgt Kidman's stand down letter signed by Col Douglas
OB Image
Caption & credit
Sgt Kidman's stand down letter from General Franklyn
OB Status
OB accessibility
This OB is on private land. Please do not be tempted to trespass to see it

North Walsham Patrol

Patrol Targets

Local targets would have included RAF Coltishall. The airfield, located about 3 miles distant from the Patrol's OB, was completed as a fighter base in May 1940.  First operating with Hawker Hurricanes, Coltishall later became home to night fighters and in early 1945 it was the base for No 124 Squadron RAF, flying Supermarine Spitfire IX.HF. 

Another target might have been Westwick House if taken over by the enemy in the event of an invasion.

Other information

Some of the Patrol joined Sgt West (Matlaske Patrol) in travelling to defend the Isle of Wight. They are mentioned in his diary.


TNA ref WO199/3389

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye

Mrs B.E Kidman, North Walsham (personal interview);

Mr J.N Tofts, son of Patrol member, North Walsham (personal interview);

A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler (2002);

Jeremy Norman;

The late John George Seaman (leader of Baconsthorpe Patrol)