Fundenhall Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base
This page was last updated at 8:03am on 16/2/12
Thank you for selecting information on the Fundenhall 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.
Part of Norfolk Group 2
CO: Capt. H.W.R. Mitchell, The Vale, Kirby Bedon
It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.
Sgt H.E Bothway (The Grange, Fundenhall)
G Warman (Wymondham Rd, Fundenhall)
Jack Gamble (manager of Wattlefield estate)
The woodland and adjoining farmland are on private property
The small woodland was planted after the passing of the owner, Henry Bothway, and named “Henry’s Wood.
The site was accessed by kind permission of the farmer who is the son of the patrol’s
Because this OB was built by the patrol members themselves, without the help of Royal Engineers, it has a number
of unique and noteworthy features such as wooden lintels, brick-built vents and a 2 metre high, brick-lined
emergency exit passage with a wooden roof.
The OB was accessed through a drop-down shaft built from brick, with single bricks set into one wall so that
they protrude and hence form steps.
The OB measures;
Main chamber: 5 x 3m – Entrance opening: 0.60 x 0.90m – Passage from entrance to chamber: 1.60m – Emergency exit
passage up to toilet: 5m – Emergency exit passage from toilet to exit: 6m – Toilet area: 0.80 x 0.80m (approx.)
Orientation: ENE/WSW -- 193ft ASL
Entrances: Drop-down entrance shaft, brick, with single bricks set into wall to function as steps.
A short passage leads from the bottom of the shaft into the main chamber.
A wooden lintel is set into the entrance doorway which has a rounded top. The roof of this passage was made from
sturdy wooden beams. A section of folded galvanised steel was used for filling the gap between roof and the top of
the doorway. Entrance shaft and passage are in good condition.
A brick-built vent emerges from above the entrance doorway. A length of galvanised pipe (still in place)
appeared to have been hidden in this vent, and from there ran downwards into the chamber. Presumably it carried the
wire that was used to suspend the counterweight/s for the entrance hatch. The vent is in good condition as is a
similar one situated above the exit doorway.
The main chamber consisted of a 3 x 5m nissen hut. Due to the collapse of the structure we were unable to
establish whether it was placed directly onto the ground or if it perhaps rested on a wooden, brick or concrete
Most of the main chamber has collapsed, creating a depression in the ground. A section of roof is still in
place, albeit broken and bent, forming a cavity in one corner.
Both end walls were constructed from brick, still standing and in good condition.
The straight break of the roof across the whole width of it immediately from where it rested on one of the end
walls has exposed in cross-section not only the upper portion of the entrance doorway but also the layer of soil
above, which is approximately 0.60m deep.
It is possible to get a glimpse of the brick wall situated at the far end of the main chamber by looking down a
narrow crawl space in one corner, created by the collapse. It leads into a cavity, formed by a section of the main
chamber’s roof that has as yet not totally collapsed.
And here comes a surprise. The exit doorway – like the entrance doorway it has a rounded top section and a
wooden lintel – leads into a narrow passage that is as high as the roof of the main chamber would have been. It has
brick walls and sturdy beams for a roof. The beams were placed across the passage, resting on top of corrugated
sheets, now much corroded. This passage runs in a straight line for a length of about 3-4 metres.
At its end it widens, forming a small area measuring about 0.80 x 0.80m, where the chemical toilet would once
At this point the passage turns off at an angle, leading in south-easterly direction to the exit which is about
4 or 5 metres further along the way, terminating in the bank of a small pond or marl pit. It too has brick walls
and a wood-lined roof, and it is backfilled with earth and debris. Apart from several cracks in the brick walls,
corroded corrugated sheets and dry rot in the roof beams the passage is in good condition.
We located the opening of the emergency exit passage which is not accessible all the way to the exit due to
backfill. Like the entrance and the doorways, the exit opening has a wooden lintel.
The gap below the lintel is just large enough to hold a camera inside. The photos taken through this gap show
that the wooden roof continues to the very end of the exit passage and that it is in fairly good condition.
Observation Post/s: Currently unknown.
Two meetings per week in the Drill Hall, Wymondham and parades, drill and weapon training on weekends. Many
weekends from Friday to Sunday at Leicester Square Farm, Syderstone. Special army units taught the latest methods.
Duties during the week included to test (at night) security at searchlight units and other military establishments
based in the area.
(Info: A Hoare, “Standing up to Hitler”, 2002)
Information by A Hoare, Wymondham Heritage Museum exhibition (2010): “The OB was built by the patrol members
themselves, mainly on Sunday mornings. A hollow tree stump covered the entrance to the OB. The wire to open the
hatch was hidden inside a pipe. When pulled, the wire released the catch that opened the hatch. Ammunition, bombs
and various items of equipment were stored there but the men never slept in it. Ammunition was removed and all
phosphorous bombs blown up at end of war.”
Stephen Lewins (CART CIO Northumberland), A Hoare, “Standing up to Hitler”
(2002), Display at Wymondham Heritage Museum: “Norfolk’s ‘secret army’ in World War Two”
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