Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Fritton - St Olaves Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base.

This page was last updated at 9:37am on 13/8/12

Thank you for selecting information on the Fritton - St Olaves patrol Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Norfolk. The info and images below have been supplied by Aux researchers Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye.

OB situated in the parish of Fritton & St Olaves

We found two names for this patrol: Fritton patrol and St Olaves patrol. Research is ongoing in order to establish the name of this patrol which was one of the Norfolk/Suffolk cross-border patrols, with members from both counties.

The patrol formed part of Norfolk Group 9 which also included

Somerleyton/Fritten Lake patrol and possibly Oulton patrol

CO Lt Wm W Ward, Fritton Old Hall, Fritton (Great Yarmouth)
Sgt EW Longfield, Blocka Hall (Lowestoft)

It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.

Sgt. Hugh Mowbray Salmon, Sharewood, Crown Road, Dereham – replaced by
Sgt George Henry Blyth (New Road, Fritton)
Pte Wilfred Harold Meadows
Henry Frederick Watson (Filby)
John Charles White (St Olaves)
Sydney George Howlett
William “Billy” Leech (Lowestoft) *
WR Grint, Blocka Cottage, Herringfleet
John "Jack" Charles Reeman (Lowestoft)
PJ Gee, 177 The Avenue, South Lowestoft (transferred)

* Billy Leech left Aux in 1943 to join regular army and served with Commandos.

(Also listed in the stand down address lists is CJ Cooper, The Post Office, St Olaves. Ref: Robert Jarvis, “Fortress Lowestoft”, 2002)

Jack Reeman, who is not listed on the stand down list, joined the patrol when he was 18. He was a patrol member for about 2 years and left to join the Royal Navy. During his time with the patrol their sergeant was Hugh Mowbry (Mowberry?) Salmon. He also mentioned that they had a Lt Woods as asstn CO. The name does not appear on any of the lists available to us.

The OB is situated on private land! Unauthorised access may result in prosecution
CART obtained access by kind permission of the owner.

The photograph below shows patrol member Billy Leech beside the entrance into the main chamber which back then was intact and in good condition. The ‘surveyors’ were unable to find the emergency exit tunnel and the question arises whether there ever was one.

Fritton St Olaves Auxiliary Unit Billy Leach

The size of the main chamber is 3.50 x 3m (approx) and it is orientated: NE/ SW -- 8.8m ASL,

Fritton St Olaves Auxiliary Unit 1

We found the OB collapsed and its remains sunken within a crater-like depression in the ground. Access was through a passage, the lower part of which (built from brick) can be seen in an old photograph taken about 25 years ago.

Fritton St Olaves Auxiliary Unit 2

A square section of pipe (Above) made from corrugated iron sheeting emerges horizontally from the ground above, just outside the entrance doorway. By prodding the ground we found its other end in a straight line about 2.50 metres to the east of the entrance doorway. Whether this pipe served as a vent or carried a wire to release the catch or whether it served both functions we do not know.
A section of curved corrugated sheet is leaning against one side of the crater, creating a narrow cavity (inaccessible).

Fritton St Olaves Auxiliary Unit 3

The brick wall to both sides of the entrance doorway appears to be intact. We observed a length of wooden board (painted white) affixed to the wall beside the entrance doorway. Presumably it was used for hanging coats.

Fritton St Olaves Auxiliary Unit 4

The brick wall at the far end of the main chamber is intact but very overgrown. A lintel appears to have been placed across this doorway, over which a section of corrugated sheet measuring 0.90 x 0.90m approx was folded and fixed in place, reducing the height of the opening. (Above)

It appears that a smaller room, the earthen walls of which were lined with corrugated sheeting, painted white, adjoined the main chamber at the far end. An old photograph taken about 25 years ago show what appear to be wooden posts supporting the roof. We believe that this room was used for storage.
We failed to find an emergency exit tunnel opening within the structure and we found no evidence of an emergency exit above ground.

Fritton St Olaves Auxiliary Unit 5

Other physical remains are a wooden board for hanging coats, several nails in wall.

Interview with Jack Reeman (aged 89), 11th  Dec 2011:

Mr Reeman described the patrol’s OB as having had a chamber, with a toilet located at the base of the entrance shaft. The patrol did not have an ammo store and Mr Reeman believes that the ammunition was in all likelihood kept in Lt Ward’s house (Fritton Old Hall).
Billy Leech used a motorcycle to get to the OB.
Mr Reeman mentioned that there was another OB “on the other side of the river”, but didn't know where.
There was a radio station manned 24 hours by Army personnel near the OP site.  It had a drop down shaft and was approached via a zigzag passage before reaching a Nissen hut hideout with bunks and desks with radios.

Observation Post/s:  Currently unknown

 Currently unknown

Billy Leech told his son Glenn that he used to practice stealth at Brooke Marine shipyard at night dodging the night watchmen. Other training was done at Coleshill via the Post Office at Highworth.

 Currently unknown

We first heard about the existence of two OBs in the Fritton Lake area when helping friends with researching structures found on the site of a WWII military training camp in Waveney Forest, a woodland to the north of Fritton Lake.

The finds included a fairly deep crater-shaped depression in the ground, with galvanised netting stuffed into some of the cavities, ends of angle-iron posts sticking out of the ground above, and a length of field pipe lying beside it. It occurred to us that it very much resembled sites of collapsed OBs. Further investigations brought to light that indeed there used to be two, perhaps three, Auxunits who operated in the area. Conversations with local historian Jack Grice lead to names and to old photographs, and finally to two OBs.


Jack Grice (personal interviews); ........................ (gamekeeper of the land); R Jarvis, “Fortress Lowestoft”, 2002; CART CIO Northumberland Stephen Lewins, Glenn Leech (son of Billy Leech), Stanton; Jack Reeman, Lowestoft.

If you can help with any info please contact us.