Stradbroke Patrol

County Group
Locality

Stradbroke is a village 5.5 miles east of the small town of Eye.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from until
Sergeant Robert Arthur W. Pitt

Farm worker

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Corporal Ronald Stanley Holmes

Farm worker

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Russell Hugh Cattermole

Farm worker

Unknown Unknown
Private Ralph Leonard Clarke Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Basil Hugman Unknown Unknown
Private Gordon Denis Last

Master farmer

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Walter Edgar Marjoram

Farm labourer

Unknown Unknown
Private Ivan J. P. Mower Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Albert Mower

Shepherd

Unknown Unknown
Operational Base (OB)

The OB can be found at Grove Wood, situated about one kilometre to the south-west of Battlesea Green, north of the B1117 road. The OB was completed by September 1940 and is situated near the foot of a sandy slope that appears to at some time have been used locally for sand extraction.

The OB was built by the Patrol members themselves and consisted of a main chamber built from timber and corrugated sheeting, with an adjoining room that housed the bunks. The structure had a flat roof, covered with soil and well camouflaged. There was only one entrance/exit opening. It was accessed via a trapdoor, with a zig-zag gully leading away from it into the woods.

The corrugated sheeting is said to have been removed at some time in the past although some can still be discerned, covered with sand, at the end wall. A rectangular depression is all that remains. It measures approx 3.50 by 2.50 metres and is about 1.50 metres maximum deep at one end. It is orientated East / West. Some timbers and wooden posts remain near the end wall. They would once have formed part of the roof and of the sidewalls. Two short wooden posts are still in place by the North West corner marking the entrance.

Two lengths of ceramic field pipes have been exposed and can be seen leaning upright against the end wall, where they would once have emerged above ground near an ancient beech tree.

In 1997 Ralph Clarke returned to the OB with representatives from British Resistance Organisation Museum along with Ernest Blaxall, a child during the war who had used the OB as a truanting hide out. Ralph recalled that what appeared at the time to be a second, horizontal entrance was a tunnel they had dug for 100 yards to an Observation Post, positioned higher up in the wood to serve as an early warning of approach.

Ernest recalled, when he visited the OB as a child, there were benches around the main chamber and a shelf around the upper level of the walls with "glass jars" on. Most likely phosphorus grenades.

 

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Auxilier Ivan Mower at his Operational Base. 2011
OB Image
Caption & credit
Stradbroke OB site and vent pipe 2011
OB Image
Caption & credit
Stradbroke OB site 2011
OB Image
Caption & credit
Two lengths of ceramic field pipes 2011
OB Image
Caption & credit
Stradbroke OB nail 2011
OB Image
Caption & credit
Some timbers and wooden posts remain near the end wall. 2011
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
Location

Stradbroke Patrol

Patrol Targets

Horham airfield along with railway lines and bridges.

Training

Auxilier Ivan Mower recalled that his Patrol were totally on their own and knew nothing about other Patrols in their area, and although they knew Group Commanding Officer Lieutenant Hedley Rusted they did not associate him with Auxiliary Units but thought he was regular army. They never went to Coleshill for training. They trained locally. They practised blowing up trees but were trained primarily in (silent) man-to man combat.

The furthest away they ever got for training was Dunwich Heath (roughly 30 kilometres distant) where they stayed at a large house, the kitchen of which they supplied with rabbits that they shot themselves.
This account was corroborated by Laxfield Patrol member Edward Pipe re his own Patrol.

 

Weapons and Equipment

Each of them had a revolver with one round, they also had a Sten gun, knifes, knuckle dusters and explosives.

Other information

In 2018, the diary of Major Henry Palgrave Raven of Hoxen was discovered. He was an Officer in the original Local Defence Volunteers (later Home Guard). The diary records the formation of the L.D.V and also the formation of the local Auxiliary Units by Captain Andrew Croft. Raven is not recorded in Auxiliary Unit records but was obviously involved at the start.

Major Raven calls  Hoxen Patrol a "Mobile Squad" and mentions that "Buck" brought a contingent from Stradbroke for training in August 1940.

References

TNA ref WO199/3389

Hancock data held at B.R.A

1939 Register

Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye.

B.R.O.M at Parham, 

Auxilier Ivan Mower

Dr W Ward, Defence of Britain database

The Diary of Major Raven supplied by Hoxen Heritage Society