Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Jonah Patrol (Langstone) Auxiliary Unit and their Operational Base.

This page was last updated at 4:57pm on 24/6/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Jonah Patrol Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Langstone. The info and images below have been supplied by CART's CIO for Monmouthshire, Sallie Mogford.

The British Resistance Organisation in Langstone, Newport. 
 
Listen to Sallie Mogford talking about her relatives below.  Broadcast on "Questions, Questions" on Radio 4 28/1/2010 
 
 
 
 
Les Vick of Moses patrol told of how they were recruited by John Todd. John was telling a selected group in a pub stories about Dunkirk etc and buying them a lot of beer. Half way through the evening, he announced that they he would break off for 15 minutes. Some of the group of men excused themselves - presumably to visit the toilet. John Todd stood up and declared to those that remained: 
 
“That’s it, These weak bladdered sorts cannot be trusted, you five men here meet me in the Queens Hotel in Newport tomorrow night”  
 
Another method John Todd used to ascertain suitability of potential recruits, was to throw a lump of harmless plastic explosive at a wall. Any man who ducked would be considered unsuitable. 
On arrival at the hotel the following night, they were issued with a copy of the Official Secrets Act to sign. It was then that John Todd explained what was to be expected of them. They were later identified as 202 Battalion – Home Guard. They were of course, not members of the Home Guard; this was used as cover to explain their absences from home. 
 
Once the patrols had been recruited, an Operational Base (OB) would be constructed by the Royal Engineers. Supplies of food, ammunition, medical kits, bunks, stoves, maps and uniforms were delivered to the dump owners. The dump owner for Jonah Patrol was Alan Hollingdale. 
 
 
 
Jonah Patrol were to emerge from the OB at night, sabotage enemy food and fuel supplies, transport links and aircraft. They were to wreak havoc on the enemy and slow their deadly advance across Wales. Afterwards, they were to return unseen back to the relative safety of the OB. Their mission was considered to be so dangerous that they were not expected to survive for more than 2 weeks. The patrol would only venture to the OB in darkness, moving through thick undergrowth on their stomachs to avoid detection. Their greatest fear if there had been an invasion was the swift discovery of their OB’s by German sniffer dogs. German reconnaissance planes flying repeatedly overhead would have also eventually spotted tell tale tracks. 
 
The Germans would have considered them as spies. They would have either been shot on sight or tortured for information on the set up of other resistance cells. The Germans would have targeted Caerwent for the ammunitions held at the RNPF cordite factory. The Severn Tunnel would have also been a prime target as it links Wales to England. No doubt, the Auxiliary Units would have destroyed the tunnel in an attempt to disrupt enemy advances. 
 
If capture by the enemy was certain, no man from Jonah Patrol could be taken alive into enemy hands. Each man had to agree to shoot each other or blow themselves up using their own considerable supply of explosives. The horrific killing of hundreds of men, woman and children at Oradour Sur Glane in Limoges, France, made it all too obvious how the families of resistance units would be punished. 
 
After the war, it was generally acknowledged that Jonah Patrol was the most highly trained and deadly of all the Monmouthshire Auxiliary Units. 
 
 
 
The Royal Engineers were utilised to construct the Operation Base’s (OB’s) which typically consisted of a semi circular corrugated iron main chamber, a smaller secondary chamber and an escape tunnel. The corrugated iron chamber was sometimes otherwise known as an elephant shelter because of the thickness of the metal. Most OB’s were typically located at least a mile from the shore – because, if the Germans had landed, mustard gas would have been dropped on the beaches. 
 
There is however, an OB at Manorbier Rise in Pembrokeshire that is situated on the cliffs a few hundred metres from the shore. The Royal Engineers were brought in from outside the area, sometimes as far away as Scotland and were ignorant of the true function of the structures they were constructing. Many were told they were storage or look out facilities. Backfilling and camouflage was carried out under the cover of darkness by the patrol themselves. Surplus soil was deposited well away from the bunker and a path was situated nearby. This allowed for footprints and foliage disturbance to be easily explained. All OB’s were situated near a source of fresh water. 
 

 
Coed Y Careau Operational Base 
Deep in Wentwood Forest on Coed Y Careau Common, Langstone lie the remains of the OB used by Monmouthshire 202 Battalion, Jonah Patrol. The base lies off a wooded path, hidden underground and cleverly disguised by beech trees and vegetation. A clean water well is situated close by. From the brow of the hill, eleven counties and the Bristol Channel can be clearly seen. This is no doubt why this location was ideal. It was here that 7 local men lay in wait for the code word ‘The Balloons Gone Up.’ This was their signal to go into action against a German invasion of our shores. The area was isolated and well known to the men from their Rover Scout activities. Situated about 40 metres north east from the main OB, there is a surviving ammunition and storage bunker. 
 
The OB was sunken underground to about 4 metres and measured approx 4 by 3 metres. Ingenious ventilation was installed inside the main chamber. A ventilation pipe to the right of the main entrance shaft connects to a hollowing in the trunk of a nearby tree. It can still just be seen today if you clear away the undergrowth. A hollow tree trunk was fixed above the secondary chamber ventilation pipe and utilised as a chimney. Although the updraft from the tree trunk was adequate, Alan Hollingdale – the Sergeant of Jonah Patrol, told of how cooking would have been restricted to just boiling water had they gone into active service. 
 
A brick built entrance shaft was constructed with an iron ladder for easy access. This 6 foot deep shaft was covered by an ingenious wooden soil filled trough hinged at both ends. The hinged lid opened in the centre just enough for a man to get through and was planted with vegetation. 
 
Coed Y Careau-OB-before-collapse 
 
This photo has been donated by a member of the public now living in the US. It shows the OB before the roof collapse. 
 
Coed Y Careau Operational base 1 
  Coed Y Careau Operational base 2 
 
Coed Y Careau Operational base 3 
 
Coed Y Careau Operational base 5 
 
Images of the Main OB Store 

A top secret circular issued by the War Office stated:- 
 
‘A bad OB with a good lid is a better fighting proposition than a good OB with a bad lid. A good OB with a good lid is the best one of them all’ 
 
The main chamber was fitted out with bunks for 6 men, a table, cooking stove, parrafin lights and a chemical Elsan toilet. Stoves were provided to try and alleviate the condensation problem, but apparently they never worked. It was not known at this time that paraffin would exasperate the problem. The 60 foot escape tunnel which was constructed of corrugated iron and wood came out into a nearby disused quarry. 

From the exterior, the OB was completely invisible. Each member of the patrol had their own identification marble. This was rolled down a ventilation pipe to alert their comrades inside of their arrival.
 
 
Any OB’s accidentally discovered by third parties were subsequently abandoned to protect their security 
 
See the nearby Zero Station bunker here. 
 

 
Supplies and equipment 
 
No special uniforms were worn, but standard Home Guard uniforms and denim overalls were issued to protect clothing. Generally, the Auxiliary Units were issued with Home Guard uniforms to protect their true identity. On some photographs the 201/02/03 Battalion flash can be seen on the right sleeve. It was necessary to allocate a form of identification to the Auxiliary Units as the War Office decided in 1942 that Home Guard identity cards would need to show the Battalion number or county. 202 Battalion was sectioned into areas. Area 19 Group 3 covered the Monmouthshire groups. 
 
Rubber boots alongside HM leather issue boots were preferred as they were waterproof and made little noise. In some cases dark knitted balaclavas were also rumoured to be issued. Drivers in the auxiliary units were issued with fuel coupons and papers in case they were questioned by local police and military for suspicious behaviour. These papers explained that they were acting in an authorised military capacity and would not answer questions. 
 
There were food rations for 7 men for approx 2 weeks. A gallon of rum was also issued with a label warning that it was for use only in dire emergency.
 
Jonah Patrol's Medical Kit
 
 
Each patrol was issued with a medical kit (Above) which included items such as amputation knives, bandages, splints, antiseptic creams, ligatures and in some cases -morphine. Jonah Patrol, did indeed, had a supply of morphine in their kit. The instructions given on its administration are as follows: 
 
• If a man was badly injured but expected to live, he could be administered with a quarter of a grain of morphine. 
• If he was potentially fatally injured, he could be administered with a half a grain and it would not affect any recovery he may make. 
• If the man was most definitely not expected to live, a whole grain could be administered 
This would no doubt hasten death. The medical kit issued to Jonah Patrol is still in existence. It was donated by Vera Lawrence (wife of Charles Lawrence – Jonah Patrol) to Colin Titcombe a local historian. 
 

 
The formation of Jonah Patrol 
 
Alan Hollingdale from Llanwern was the Sergeant of Jonah Patrol, the following men were his ‘chosen few’. All of these brave and patriotic men are now deceased, the most recent being Les Bulley who died in Caerwent at the age of 86 in 2002. 
 
Sgt. Alan Edward Hollingdale
Cpl. Jack C L Rudd
Pte. Leonard Escott
Pte. Henry Charles Bulley
Pte. Leslie Arthur Bulley
Pte. Ralph Henry Jones
Pte. Raymond Skinner
Pte. Henry Charles Lawrence
Pte D G Hall
Pte H Hando
Pte T J Marsh
and maybe Pte D Jones.
 
Alan Hollingdale was born on 8 July 1910 and died on 1 September 1999. He worked as an accountant at the RNPF at Caerwent. Alan received a telephone call at work and asked if he would attend a meeting in the Tredegar Arms Hotel in Newport. He was initially approached by a well known Newport solicitor by the name of Jones. He was asked if he would be willing to undertake a secret and dangerous job connected with the war. If agreeable he was to report to John Todd the following day. 
 
Alan Hollingdale is survived by a wife Molly, 2 sons David and Peter and a daughter Imogen. 
 
Les Bulley was my Grandfather and Charles Bulley was my great uncle. Both were in reserved occupations making dye casts for ammunition at ROF Glascoed. Les Bulley was born on 10 February 1915 and died in January 2002. In later years, Les worked at Alcan in Rogerstone and lived at Five Lanes Caerwent with his wife Kathleen. He had 2 daughters Cynthia and Judith. 
 
Henry Charles Lawrence was born on 18 February 1913 and was a member of Jonah Patrol between 1940 and 1942. He was then drafted into the regular Army Corps as a driver and mechanic. Charles (as he was known) lived in Lulworth House (now the Maltings Hotel), Caerleon. Charles later went on to own a mortar factory on Wharf Road. Charles had a wife Vera and a son John. 
 
Len Escott was born on 15 June 1904 and died in 1986. He was a member of the original LDV (Local Defence Volunteers) which preceded the formation of the Home Guard. He was also in the Observer Corps and the A.R.P. In civvy street he was a teacher in Fairoak, Bonart Town and Church Road Schools in the Maindee area of Newport. He later became the Headmaster at Maesglas School. He had two sons Peter and David. 
 
Ray Skinner was a local well known butcher in the Caerleon Road area of Newport. He had 1 daughter Paulette. Ray was one of the only 2 members of Jonah Patrol that were not members of the Rover Scouts. 
 
Ralph Jones came from the Shirenewton area and worked as a farmer in Earlswood near Shirenewton. He also drove hay and straw lorries during the war years. He had a wife Phil and 6 children Colin, Peter, Alan……….. 
 
Jack Rudd was a joiner and plumber, he also had a shop on Shaftesbury Street that sold bar fixtures. He had a wife Wyn and a daughter Vivian. 
 
Charles Bulley worked at ROF Glascoed and was married to Edith. He had 2 sons Colin and Alan. 
 
Recruitment and mobilisation 
It was Alan’s job as Sergeant to carefully hand pick the men for his patrol. These men were selected on personal recommendation and vetted by Police before being approached. All the men he selected were fellow ranger scouts from the 6th St Julian’s scout troop – or the Rover Crew as they were known. Their base was an old ships foxhall from HMS Collingwood at Gypsy’s Tump, Kemys Inferior near Usk. 
Hollingdale was drafted into the regular army but was released after just two weeks service. The reason for this is unknown - but we can assume that it was because he had already been recruited as the Sergeant of Jonah Patrol. 
 
Each man possessed vital skills such as being able to survive by living off the land, to sleep outdoors without worrying and have an intimate knowledge of the countryside. Most important of all was that they were incredibly loyal, could exercise ultimate discretion and were physically fit. 
 
The Official Secrets Act was signed by the men before they were told what their new role would entail. Wives or loved ones had to be kept ignorant of the duties they had sworn to undertake. Many wives were convinced their husbands were conducting extra marital affairs! They were each later sent to Porthcawl to attend a medical to check they were basically fit for the gruelling training they were later to undertake. 
 
The men used Home Guard duties as cover for their absences. They were in fact not members of the Home Guard, just ordinary civilians, highly trained in the use of the latest array of deadly weapons. Basically, they were an undisciplined crowd - saboteurs with no protection from the Geneva Convention. It was not until around the early 1990’s that the existence of the Auxiliary Units became widely known. Most of the men who served in the units took the secrets of the resistance movement with them to the grave. 
 
Meetings 
Early meetings took place in the Rover Scout hut in the six week period before the completion of the OB at Coed Y Careau. Other meetings were occasionally held in Alan Hollingdale’s workshop. Most meetings took place on Tuesday and Friday evenings and Sunday mornings. Here, the training programme would be discussed along with overviews of previous sessions. Other information from group officers would also be disseminated and discussed. 
 
 
 
Group training courses with target practice were arranged every 4-5 weeks at the derelict Glen Court mansion, Llantrissant near Usk. Locally, Jonah Patrol used Wentwood Forest for training exercises along with Pertholey House near Newbridge on Usk and Belmont House near Langstone. 
An annual training camp with members from other Patrols was held at Southerdown. The men were billeted at Dunraven Castle which was also home to evacuees during the war. 
 
Each member trained at Coleshill House HQ near Swindon at least once. Other training sessions were held every 3-4 months by regulars from Porthcawl. 
 
The men were taught how to make sticky bombs, use a selection of guns, grenades, fuses and pencil bombs. Each patrol was issued with Fairbairn Sykes and Bowie knives which were particularly lethal instruments. The men were taught advanced ‘thuggery’ and became very highly skilled in how to kill silently using knives or the cheese cutter garrotte. The men were basically not meant to be a confrontational unit, but lone sentries would no doubt have been targets for silent execution. 
 
The organisation was so secret that on arrival at Coleshill, the men had to report to Mabel Stranks, who was the post mistress at Highworth Post Office. After checking credentials, she would summon whatever transport was available to take them to the HQ training base. 
 
An innocuous buff coloured book called the Countryman’s Diary - 1939 was issued to the men. It was designed to sit innocently on any bookshelf disguised as a seed and fertiliser catalogue. The true contents of the book were almost literally explosive! The manual gave instructions on how to make nail bombs called bursters and detailed instructions such as how to blow up railway lines, bridges and petrol dumps. Other similar handbooks issued were the calendars 37 and 38 and ‘The Art of Guerrilla Warfare’. This handbook concluded that collaborators could be executed if they posed a threat to the patrol. 
 
Les Bulley told of an exercise that was conducted at Ogmore Castle, which was given the scenario of being an occupied German petrol dump. The men of Jonah Patrol crawled through the undergrowth into the grounds of the castle. Unseen by the regular forces stationed there, they laid a series of thunder flashes, each with a 30 minute time delay. The men watched in amusement from a nearby hillside as each device exploded one after the other. The regular Army stationed there, were ignorant as to who had set the devices and were no doubt somewhat horrified! 
 
A copper hot water tank supplied for training purposes by Les Vick of Moses Patrol, was packed with explosive and detonated in the hills over Llantrisant. The explosion could be heard for miles and shards of hot metal rained down all around the men. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but it was the talk of the locals in the Greyhound pub. Most thought it was an enemy device exploding; of course members of the patrol enjoying a quiet half pint had to let them think that!
 

 
Interaction with the regular army 
 
There was not a great deal of interaction with the regular forces in general. The Royal Engineers helped to build the OB’s and the army provided training in sabotage and the use of explosives etc. Les Bulley told of the march that Jonah Patrol developed. The left arm would swing in time with the left leg rather than vice versa! They perfected this march through determined practice, much to the annoyance of regular army officers who ordered them to stop it! The regular army just assumed they were from the Home Guard and thought they were quite mad. 
 
Jonah Patrol apparently got much amusement from irritating and annoying the regular troops. Les Bulley told of a meeting held in Captain Bucknell’s office. Bucknell had asked the Royal Engineers to make a rocking horse for his son for Christmas. The horse was large and wooden and had pride of place in his office. When he left the room, Len Escott (Jonah Patrol) rolled up some balls of soil and put them under the horse’s tail! Bucknell was furious when he saw it and demanded to know who had done it. My Grandfather Les Bulley apparently replied that “it was the horse!” 
 
Len Escott told his son Peter about a particular course of training on explosives and detonators. The patrol were due to be inspected by 2 rather debonair and immaculate officers of the Coldstream Guards. In the entrance to the ruins someone had left a bucket of manure. The Sergeant stepped forward to remove the offensive item from his officer’s path. Sadly for both, the bucket was attached to the ground by a pull switch detonator – with lamentable consequences!! 
 
Alan Hollingdale arranged a training exercise which involved crawling unseen though the woods at Coed Y Careau in thick fog. Eventually, the patrol got somewhat careless thinking they were totally invisible - until that is, they emerged unexpectantly into brilliant sunlight at Glen Usk House! 
 
  
 
Jonah Patrol was issued with a deadly array of weapons including the newly available plastic explosive (PE) and the dreaded sticky bomb known as the No.74ST grenade. The regular army refused to use sticky bombs as they were so dangerous to use. It consisted of a glass sphere, with 20 ounces of liquid nitro-glycerine in it and covered with an extremely sticky coating. The idea was to approach an enemy tank, with this bomb and stick it to the vital most vulnerable parts. It was primed by removing a pin; and had a 5 second fuse! The operator had just 5 seconds to be far enough away to survive not only the blast, but the wrath of the Germans in the tank! It was observed that the sticky coating worked better on uniforms than tanks, it was almost guaranteed that some operators would get themselves stuck to the bomb with tragic results. They also had Tommy Guns, Smith and Wesson 38 revolvers, rubber truncheons and cheese wire type garrottes. The units were also supplied with 4 second fuse grenades. (The regular army used 7 second fuse grenades). This ensured that there was no time for it to be picked up and thrown back by the enemy. 
 
It has been acknowledged that some members of the Auxiliary Units were taught to make illegal dum dum bullets (filed down regular bullets that caused horrific injuries) at Coleshill. Their use was outside the rules of the Geneva Convention - but it is accepted that the Germans would have paid little regard to the rules of war should any of them have been captured alive. 
 
The following weapons are recorded as being issued to Jonah Patrol: 
 
Each man was issued with 

1 Colt.38 6 chamber revolver,
1 Commando fighting knife
1 Knuckle duster
 
The Patrol as a whole were issued with
1 Thompson Sub-Machine Gun- .45 with 10 magazines
2 L E Rifles .300 Calibre
1 Remington .22 Rifle complete with silencer and telescopic sights
2 Sten Machine Carbines mk 3 with 10 magazines
approx 100lbs of explosives
150 grenades
150 phosphorous bottles will all the ancillary equipment to initiate demolition explosive, booby traps etc.
 
 

The patrol was trained to kill instantly and silently but only if absolutely necessary. Many of the weapons they possessed were not even available to the regular forces. Jonah Patrol was extremely well trained in the use of these weapons, and would not have been afraid to use them. They were also highly skilled in unarmed combat techniques or thuggery as it was known. 

It was feared that ammunition stored in the main OB’s would become unstable due to damp. Jonah Patrol had 2 ammunition bunkers at Coed Y Careau. The location of the third bunker has still to be determined. Secret markers on trees were used by the patrol to mark its position. The Forestry Commission unfortunately, cut down the marker trees just after stand down in 1944. Despite best efforts, the patrol lost the location of the bunker. It lay undiscovered for over 30 years until some children fell through the rotten lid whilst playing. The Bomb Squad had to be called in to clear the weapons. Unfortunately, the MOD could not locate the record of this clearance so what was found there is uncertain. The secondary ammunition bunker remains intact and is located about 100 metres east from the main OB. 
 
Colin Baker Jones who is the eldest son of Ralph Jones recalls that his Father hid a roll of cortex in an over stairs cupboard. Everyone in the house was forbidden to open the cupboard. Curiosity however, got the better of Colin and he defied his father’s instruction. Unaware of what the Cortex was he strung a length of it between 2 cow stalls in their barn. He very unwisely decided to light it and the result was a large bang and a singed face!. Lucky for Colin his father never found out about his defiant folly. 
 
Coed Y Careau Ammo Bunker 1 
 
Coed Y Careau Ammo Bunker 2 
 
Images of the Ammo Store 
 

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False Alarm! 
A message that the balloon had gone up somehow reached the Patrol and they immediately mustered at their operational base. They stayed there for two days stealing eggs and the odd chicken apparently from nearby farms. One of the men eventually casually asked a farmer where the Germans were located. He was very surprised to be told with some confusion that there had been no such invasion 
 
Stand down and beyond 
As the threat of invasion seemed less likely, the requirement for the Auxiliary Units passed. In November 1944 they were ordered to stand down. In May 1944 Jonah Patrol was despatched to the Isle of Wight to allow regular forces to help out in France for the D Day landings. 
 
David Escott recalls that his Father told him and his brother Peter that he was unable to tell them where he had been in May 1944. He however, gave each of them a pencil with a glass tube on it containing the coloured sands from Alum Bay, IOW. David recalls: 
 
“He also gave me a clockwork model of a Polish destroyer and Peter got a model liner. Later he told me us that his group had found a toyshop on the Island which had been closed up since the onset of war, tracked down the owner, and persuaded him to open it up for them – hence our presents, toys which were unobtainable at that stage of the War” 
 
Here is a transcript of a note as it was written by Len Escott about his journey to the Isle of Wight in May 1944:- 
 
“At D-Day we were ordered to report to our Area HQ (which happened to at Bulmer’s Cider Works outside Hereford!) at 4.30 on a Sunday morning. This was compulsory. Any employers, e.g. my own, who quibbled about our release, were ordered to release us. Actually, we went up to Bulmer’s the night before and had a very liquid time.  
At 4.30 next morning, we were loaded into Army lorries and set off. First stop, Newbury in Berkshire, where a meal was laid on. Second stop, a low dive in Pompey, kept by a one-legged ex sailor, for another meal. Then across on the ferry to be lorried to a huge tented camp on the outskirts of Newport. However, we only stayed there one night. That morning, our lieutenant (B H Lyon- the ex-Gloucester and England cricketer-virtually the owner of Rediffusion) was called to the HQ. He found this to be full of brass-hats and sticklers for regulations. This did not go down at all well with him as he was quite unorthodox, but had the most persuasive tongue. How he managed it, I don’t know, but next day we were whisked off to a lovely old country house, at the end of a long drive at Freshwater, where we spent the rest of our time. I couldn’t locate this house now, but the lounge had a most unusual feature – a window over the fireplace, so that you could stand before the fire and look out over the Solent at the colossal convoys on their way to Normandy. Actually, the lanes, copses and woods for many miles before we got to Portsmouth were packed with guns, armour and transport of all sorts. I have never seen anything to equal it.  
 
While at Freshwater, we had a constant rota of patrols, day and night – beach patrols, cliff patrols, and patrols inland, with a system of signals to call on re-enforcements, if needed. It was quite hectic and we had very little rest. To hear all the accents, from the north of Scotland to Dorset, from Wales to Norfolk, was quite an experience.  
 
When our period of duty was up, we were relieved by others from Auxiliary Units. We gathered, at the time, that the island had been virtually stripped of troops to send to Normandy, but intelligence got wind of a mass of German paratroops across the water, and it was suspected that they might be dropped to the island, in order to disrupt the sailing of convoys and cause trouble. So they called in our thugs from all over Britain to replace the Regulars.  
 
I am enclosing the letter of thanks from our HQ, and from GOC Home Command”  
 
Dad 
 
Here are the contents of the stand down letter sent to Sergeant Alan Hollingdale:- 
 
Hollingdale, Alan Edward, Sgt.  
 
From:- Colonel F.W.R. Douglas  
 
To:- The Members of Auxiliary Units – Operational Branch  
 
The War Office has ordered that the Operational side of Auxiliary Units shall stand down: This is due to the greatly improved War situation and the strategic requirements of the moment.  
I realise what joining Auxiliary Units has meant to you: so do the Officers under my command. You were invited to do a job which would require more skill and coolness, more hard work and greater danger, than was demanded of any other voluntary organisation. In the event of ‘Action Stations’ being ordered you knew well the kind of life you were in for. But that was in order: you were picked men, and otheres, including myself, knew that you would continue to fight whatever the conditions, with, or if necessary without, orders.  
 
It now falls to me to tell you that your work has been appreciated and well carried out: and that your contract, for the moment, is at an end. I am grateful to you for the way you have trained in the last four years. So is the Regular Army. It was due to you that more divisions left this country to fight the battle of France: and it was due to your reputation for skill and determination that extra risk was taken – successfully as it turned out – in the defence arrangements of this country during that vital period. I congratulate you on this reputation and thank you for this voluntary effort.  
 
In view of the fact that your lives depended on secrecy – no public recognition will be possible. But those in the most responsible positions at General Headquarters, Home Forces, know what was done: and what would have been done had you been called upon. They know it well, as is emphasized in the attached letter from the Commander –in-Chief. It will not be forgotten.  
 
30 NOV 44 Colonel
C/O G.P.O HIGHWORTH, Commander,
Nr Swindon (Wilts) Auxiliary Units
 
 
 
The attached letter reads:- 
 
The Commander, 

GHQ Auxiliary Units
 
 
In view of the improved War situation, it has been decided by the War Office that the Operational Branch of Auxiliary Units shall stand down, and the time has come to put an end to an organisation which would have been of inestimable value to the country in the event of invasion.  
All ranks under your command are aware of the secret nature of their duties. For that reason it has been possible for them to receive publicity, nor will it be possible even now. So far from considering this to be a misfortune, I should like all members of Auxiliary Units to regard it as a matter of special pride.  
I have been much impressed by the devotion to duty and high standard of training shown by all ranks. The careful preparations, the hard work undertaken in their own time, and their readiness to face the inevitable dangers of their role, are all matters which reflect the greatest credit on the body of picked men who form the Auxiliary Units.  
I should be glad, therefore, if my congratulations and best wishes be conveyed to all ranks.  
 
(Signed) H.E Franklyn
GHQ Home Forces General
18 November, 1944 Commander –in-Chief
 
 

The only recognition the Auxiliaries ever received was the above stand down letter signed by Colonel F W R Douglas who was the Commander of the Auxiliary Units. Supplies were taken back into stores after the war. Jonah Patrol however managed to siphon off the rum using a crude veterinary syringe without breaking the seal. The gallon of ‘rum’ subsequently went back into stores after the war as cold tea!! 
 
My Grandfather Les Bulley, had a hidden supply of phosphorous bombs buried in sand in the cellar of his house at 14 Annesley Road, Newport. On VE night, the bonfire for the street party was damp and refused to ignite. Les went to his cellar and without being seen tucked one of the bombs into the bonfire as a propellant. The result was a horrific stream of melting tarmac which of course accelerated when hosed with water. Eventually, the fire brigade extinguished the flames with foam. Nobody ever knew where the bomb had come from and who was responsible for the large hole in the road! Subsequently, he removed the detonators and in the dead of night, tipped the remainder of his secret stash over Newport Bridge. They remain there to this day! Peter Escott, son of Len Escott also recalls that his childhood bonfire night parties were somewhat more explosive than others! 
 
Alan formed the Monmouth Auxiliers Association and the inaugural meeting was held in the Greyhound Public House, Llantrissant. There were 69 members at the first meeting. By 1993 only 8 remained. The photo below is of an early reunion, the original of which still hangs in the public bar. Other reunions were held at Coleshill House. The handful of surviving auxiliaries continue to attend reunions at the Parham Auxiliary Unit Museum in Sufffolk. 
 
 
Monmouth Auxiliers Association 
 
 
Alan Holingdale continued with his scouting associations after the war. He went onto become County Commissioner and Deputy Lord Lieutenant. Following his death in 1999, rolls of detonator fuse were found in his garden shed. His son David had to call the bomb squad in to dispose of it! 
 
Colin Baker Jones still has a tin containing fired bullets that belonged to his father Ralph Jones. 
The close bond formed between the men of Jonah Patrol continued for the remainder of their lives. Molly Hollingdale is in fact, Godmother to Len Escott’s son Peter. Vivian Munn, who is the daughter of Jack Rudd recalls that her Father seemed to be in communication with the deceased Charles Lawrence as he lay dying. Vivian also lived with Charles and Vera Lawrence for some years as part of their family. 
Ralph Jones continued with his work as a farmer after the war. 
 
No medals were ever issued as their existence was still subject to the Official Secrets Act. My Grandmother died in the late 1980’s still ignorant of her Husbands war time underground occupation. It has however, come to light that the BEM was awarded to Alan Hollingdale in December 1944. This was for his duties in the ‘Home Guard.’ Of course he never was in the Home Guard! He also received a certificate of thanks for his ‘Home Guard’ duties personally signed by King George V1. 
 
Jack Rudd also continued his scouting activities post war as the Group Scout Leader at 6th St Julian’s Scout troop. David Escott who is the elder son of Len Escott recalls that Jack was very popular with the lads. His summer camps always seemed to enjoy excellent weather; people used to ask when he was organising the camp so they could book their holidays at the same time! 
 
Charles Bulley ran a small shop post war and then later moved to Torquay to run the Livermead Hotel. 
David Escott recalls that Ray Skinner was another man of some ‘character’
 
“I thought he was a farmer, but he was certainly involved in some rather suspicious ‘slaughtering’ activities during the war, and I believe members of Jonah Patrol benefited from joints of meat of undisclosed origin during the era of rationing”
 
 
It was thought that most of the OBs were destroyed immediately after the Second World War, but as time goes on, a number have come to light up and down the country. Unfortunately, they are rapidly entering the realms of archaeology, and the men who manned them pass away with many of their secrets undisclosed. 
 
Coleshill House the HQ of the Auxiliary Units was destroyed in the mid 1950’s by fire. Some outbuildings and the site of Highworth Post Officer however still remain. The derelict Glen Court House in Llantisant where Jonah Patrol did most of their secret training has now been completely restored. It is now occupied as a family home. 
 
A memorial plaque has been erected by the Hollingdale family at Llanhennoc. It is to commemorate their Father Alan and the rest of Jonah Patrol. It is located on a trig point pillar specifically adopted by the Hollingdale family and is in sight of the Coed Y Careau bunker Operational Base. 
 
The remains of the Operational Base and ammunition bunker are now protected by Cadw. They are scheduled ancient monuments – category B structures of national historic importance. 
 
Although the balloon did not go up for Jonah Patrol, their unrewarded, secret and silent dedication to the war effort will never be forgotten. 
 
This research is the property of Sallie Mogford and cannot be reproduced in any part without permission from the author.  cartmonmouthshire@gmail.com