Wiston Patrol

County Group

Wiston is a scattered village in West Sussex and was dominated by the Estate of Wiston Park.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Lieutenant Harold Webley

Dairy & arable farmer

01 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Frank Clifford Crumpler


31 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Herbert William Deane


21 Aug 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private John Frederick Neville Grange

Chartered land agent. Farm overseer for Wiston Estate

07 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private John Heath


07 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Wilfred John How


24 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Harry Frederick Moore

Customs officer

05 Aug 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private William Edward Sanderson


11 Apr 1942 13 Jul 1943
Private Basil Vernon Sayers

Master draper

09 May 1942 13 Jul 1943
Private John Scragg

Assistant schoolmaster

03 Jul 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Alfred Thomas Small

Gamekeeper & woodsman

16 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Albert Warner

General worker, mixed fruit farm

10 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The Operational Base has now collapsed.

Ron Crumpler, son of Auxilier Frank Crumpler, recalled the OB. "The base was constructed by the Royal Engineers and, on completion, a local Canadian army unit was charged with the task of locating it within a designated mile square. They failed. The entrance was concealed by a weathered tree trunk with a splintered top, a 12 to 15 in diameter trunk and some 20 to 25 ins high.'

'We never entered the base due to safety concerns. There was at least one telephone equipped outpost, wired in a manner so as to frustrate the location of the base by means of the telephone wires. The base was located about a mile or so north of Wiston House, on the opposite side of the A283."

The Patrol also had what they termed a 'forward store' containing extra supplies of food, ammunition and explosives. The store remained fully stocked until well after the war and was regularly checked. It was built by the Royal Engineers near the top of a chalk pit west of the River Adur near Coombes. The chalk pit was used to dispose of the spoil excavated. It measured 12 ft square and was 8 ft high with a small camouflaged hatch as an entrance.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Wiston Auxiliary Unit Patrol OB site
OB Image
Caption & credit
Wiston Auxiliary Unit Patrol OB vent pipe
OB Status
Collapsed with few visible remains

Wiston Patrol

Patrol Targets

Ron Crumpler, son of Auxilier Frank C Crumpler, recalled some targets as Shoreham Airfield; 'where seven planes were 'destroyed' with no Auxiliers detected. My father commented that it was a long way across the airfield and back on ones belly, particularly with time set fuse sticks in your pockets.

Also the Canadian Army Camp at Wiston House. No Auxiliers were detected. A rifle was removed from a billet and later returned to the camp commander with the Patrol's complements. The guards walked up and down. When two met, one advised the other that the auxiliaries were like “snakes in the grass.” How true that guard was, my father could have touched them both.'

Other targets were various radar stations.

Buried at the side of the road leading into Steyning were 50 gallon drums filled with inflammable mixture. The Patrol would have detonated these drums when a German convoy was passing.

All targets were notified of the night on which the attacks were to take place, presumably to enhance the level of defence to that expected of the Germans under invasion conditions.


All the Patrol went to Coleshill to train. It is assumed they trained at the regional HQ at Tottington Manor. Local training was carried out around the Wiston Estate.

Lieutenant Webley was known to have gone to Scotland to take part in specialist training.

Jean Scragg remembered her husband and the rest of the Patrol using burnt cork to blacken their faces before going out on a nights training exercise.. Soon after they went out she would hear explosions from their activities in the area.

Weapons and Equipment

A couple of boys from Steyning Grammar School, where John Scragg was a teacher, found phosphorus bombs by Wiston Pond. Seeing what they thought were a couple of crates of Ginger Beer hidden in the rushes they went to investigate. The boys threw a bottle against a tree and were excited to see them go up in smoke and flames.
The next day they went back and threw one bottle in the air and hit with a branch, like a serve in tennis. This caused phosphorus to spray all over the boy and he jumped in the pond to damp the flames. Once phosphorus dries out it re-ignites so he had to be damped down from Mouse Lane stream on the run back to school. He started to smoulder again as he rushed up the High Street and just about managed to get back to school to jump in a bath. Matron was called and he took a long time to recover. Another school boy went to investigate and threw some at a wall. This boy went on to produce the trigger for the UK's Atom Bomb.

Other information

Ron Crumpler, son of Auxilier Frank C Crumpler, recounts; for obvious reasons, in the event of an invasion, the Auxiliaries families were to be evacuated well away from the area; those at Winston, to Scotland.

There was clearly a good level of camaraderie within the Patrol.

Their means of transport included an Austin 7 and a large American car. The Austin always went first. On encountering a hill, the Austin passengers reported that there would be a sudden surge of power as though God was giving the little car a hand!

On the rifle range, firing a round through the target marker pointing stick was seen as a bit of fun.'

Patrol members were all asked to volunteer to be parachuted into France as a pre-invasion plan. The men all declined, considering themselves unsuitable for such as ambitious plan.


THe National Archives WO199/3391  

Hancock data held by CART

'Secret Sussex Resistance' by Stewart Angell

Ron Crumpler and his father's memories

George Barker and his book “Nudes at Breakfast”

Tony Abrahams