The Sussex Scout Sections were divided geographically, with the Queens Royal Regiment (West Surrey) covering the east of Sussex. As in Kent, the section was known as XII Corps Observation Unit.
The Scout Section was made of Regular Army soldiers with a Lieutenant in command. Their role was train the Home Guard Patrols, but also to go to ground themselves in the event of an invasion.
The section would have attended a training course at Coleshill House lasting around two weeks. A photo shows Lt Ashby attending one of the Officer's Courses. They would have practiced their skills in the local area, including with mock attacks on military targets.
The section would also have trained the local Auxiliary Units Patrols. Firle Patrol Auxilier, Bill Webber recorded in his wartime diary that his Patrol practiced compass work with the Scout Patrol on 17th December 1942 during a night exercise around Hailsham.
They also appear to have joined up with the West Sussex Scout Section on occasion, with at least one photo showing the men from both units together.
The Scout Section also helped in the construction of OBs for some of the Home Guard Patrols in their area. Photos show section of elephant shelter in the back of their lorry as well as the men digging out an OB and sawing timber.
Most Scout Sections would have two OBs, East Sussex Scout Section had one OB at Jevington Holt near Jevington. Another is thought to have been at Beauport Park near Hastings.
|Lieutenant William Ashby||10 Nov 1940||20 Apr 1943|
The names of the rest of the section are unknown. The unit photo that we have shows a sergeant, corporal and 10 others, including Lieutenant Ashby's driver-batman. Possibly one other member is taking the photo.
The Patrol would have been issued with the standard weapons for a Scout Section
The section had a Morris 15cwt lorry, registration Z4302356. Lt Ashby had an Austin 8hp 2-seater car registration M221736 with driver. The Patrol would also have had bicycles.
Bill Ashby (CART)
The Secret Sussex Resistance, Stewart Angell
Jo Kirkham's book Rye at War 1939-1945