Snettisham Patrol

A.K.A. (nickname)
County Group

The Patrol was based near Snettisham in north Norfolk not far from the Wash coastline.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant George Rex Carter

Tractor driver & worked for Etna Stone & Shingle Co.

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Sergeant William Arthur Whitby

Sea defence worker

Unknown 1943
Private John Valentine Betts

Kenn Hill Estate farm manager

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Walter Edward Claxton


Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Albert Harry Charles Hazle

Tractor driver & Estate worker

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private David William Jarvis

Labourer on farm

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Derrick Valentine Smith

Estate worker

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Gordon Ralph Winner


Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The OB is located in a private woodland. Accessed by kind permission of the Estate Manager.

According to the Defence of Britain report, the OB has been destroyed. It is described as having consisted of a Nissen hut type chamber which had a wooden floor. It was accessed through a ladder down a drop-down shaft that was covered by a concealed trap door. The building materials used are described as having been corrugated iron and wood. This information cannot be verified.

The OB site is located about 50 yards distant from a track traversing Ken Hill Wood, roughly from north to south. The ground currently is overgrown with brambles. We found a roughly rectangular depression (about 1m deep at the deepest spot), with a rhododendron bush growing at its north-west end, where a short trench-like depression leads away from it, slightly uphill.

An intact ceramic vent pipe emerges from the ground from above where we believe the main chamber would have been, near the northern edge of the structure. The pipe is stuck solidly in the ground and it appears to have sunken lower together with the surrounding soil as a consequence of the roof of the main chamber underneath it having collapsed. For safety reasons the remains of the structure (including contents) were bulldozed and covered with earth by the landowner in the late 1960s.

Mr George Kite, a forestry worker whom we met near the site, by a lucky coincidence, informed us that he was shown the OB by Robert Claxton (brother of Patrol member Walter Claxton) when he was a teenager (in the early 1960s). The OB was reached by walking down a short incline leading to the entrance, and accessed through a not very deep drop-down shaft. At this time the structure was intact and still accessible. It had four wooden bunks, arranged along its sides, as well as soot-blackened candle holders made from tin (possibly army issue), all still in place.


Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Snettisham OB site
OB Image
Caption & credit
Snettisham OB vent pipe
OB Status
OB accessibility
This OB is on private land. Please do not be tempted to trespass to see it

Snettisham Patrol

Patrol Targets

Targets would have included the coast road along the possible invasion beaches as well as Snettisham harbour and the railway to King's Lynn

Besides the RAF Combined Gunnery Range at Snettisham, replaced in 1943 by the 8AF Provisional Gunnery School, there were several RAF airfields in the vicinity. RAF Bircham Newton operated throughout the War as part of Number 16 Group RAF as part of Coastal Command. Two satellite airfields - RAF Docking and RAF Langham - were opened to accommodate units.

The disused WWI airfield in Sedgeford was reused as a 'Q-type' and 'K-type' bombing decoy in order to prevent other nearby, functional airfields from being bombed by enemy bombers.


The Patrol trained locally on the estate and at the coast. Group 7 also trained at Leicester Square Farm, North Creake with the army.



TNA ref WO199/3389

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye

S Marsh (Defence of Britain, 1996);

A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler (2002);

George Kite, Snettisham