Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Maldon Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated on 26/4/16

Thank you for selecting information on the Maldon Auxiliary Unit Patrol located in Essex. The info below has been compiled by Dr Will Ward CART CIO for Dorset.

Research into this patrol and its training is ongoing. The information below is published from various sources and is by no means conclusive. If information is not listed below it does not necessarily mean the information is not out there but normally means CART researchers have not found it yet.

If you have any information on this patrol or can help with research in this area please do contact us.

The patrol was part of Group 6 along with Danbury and Purleigh patrols. The Group Commander was Lt George E Tuker, a fruit farmer from Danbury. His assistant was Lt A Armour, who took over command of the Group towards the end of the war.

It is not known exactly when the patrol was formed, but Bill Broome only moved to Beeleigh from Latchingdon in late1941 or early 1942.

Name DOB Occupation   Died
Sgt. J A "Jack" Smith    Canteen manager
Pte. Philip Hugh Markham 1901 Factory owner
Pte. H Nightingale
Pte. F Rose
Pte. William "Bill" Broome 1916 Joined late 1941, early 1942 2010
Pte. Jock Quilter   Poacher      

Tony Smith gave this account of the patrol.

Jack SmithIn the mid 1930s, my father, “Jack” Smith, took over the family’s butchers business from his father – the Sausage King of Maldon- at 29 Market Hill.

The war kicked off in 1939 and with the introduction of rationing the business was no longer viable .  He stopped trading and became manager of Bentall’s Works canteen, overseeing the kitchen run by a Scottish cook, Miss Hepburn, “Heppy” and her bevy of girls and organising various social functions, dances, variety shows for the Bentall’s workforce.

Early on in the war he became an ARP Warden and spent many a convivial evening at the ARP Post that was situated in a cellar behind the Ship public house at the bottom of Market Hill.
 

Jack Smith and Bill Broome In 1940 he was approached and invited to set up a unit of “Auxiliaries” who were to provide underground resistance if the Germans invaded. It was a secret organisation and there were many groups all over the country with the majority in the south-east. They wore Home Guard uniforms – this was their cover- and the Patrol Leader – my father- was given the rank of sergeant. He had a wide range of local contacts as had the other members of his group. Jock Quilter, the local poacher who lived in Cromwell Lane was chosen for his intimate knowledge of the countryside.

There was also Phil Markham, who owned a soft drinks company in Spital road, Bill Broome, a gentleman called Nightingale who I believe lived in Heybridge and I think there were three or four others.

(Note; Originally known as Markham’s Aerated Waters, Markham and Sons (Maldon) Ltd, Soft Drinks Manufacturers of 19A Spital Road went into liquidation in 1960 and the company was dissolved in 1975)

The Intelligence Officer for the unit was a Captain Darwall Smith, a man for whom my father had great respect and the local officer Lieutenant Tuker from Danbury.

Terry Broome records that his uncle Biill Broome had been in the Home Guard at Latchindon with his father, before they moved to Beeleigh. Here Bill joined the Auxiliary Unit.

Beeleigh Mill

According to Tony Smith the OB was Built in secret by military engineers, hidden under Beeleigh Mill with access via a concealed trapdoor in the floor.  My Mother was shown this towards the end of the war when the risk of invasion had receded.  After the war I was shown where they hid their radio under a hedge in an adjacent field.

The hideout contained the basics (the basics included a barrel of rum) for the group to exist for a week – it had been learnt from similar groups operating in occupied France that a week was the usual time that it took for them to be discovered and captured.

Terry Broome records that the trapdoor was under the third flagstone from the far wall inside the mill, with a short escape tunnel that came out above the wheelrace, where a boat awaited for a hasty getaway.

There was an archaeological dig at the site in 2007. There is a report http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/arch-439-1/dissemination/pdf/essexcou1-23237_1.pdf

Currently unknown

Tony Smith reported, For training, my father was told to report to the Post Mistress at the GPO, Highworth, Wiltshire.  From here he was picked up by army lorry and taken to what turned out to be Coleshill House.  Here he was trained in the use of plastic explosives, time pencils, weapons, the techniques of sabotage, how to kill silently and how to disappear into hiding in an operational base when the time came to go underground.

Bill Brome told his nephew that as well as visiting Coleshill, he had also trained at Wivenhoe Park, now better known as the University of Essex. At his funeral, Terry Broome learnt that his father had used his wartime skills to set up tripwire alarms for the foxes that raided his chicken coops after the war.

According to Tony Smith, The shuttered butchers shop became a munitions store.  The butchers blocks were now piled high with trip wire, booby traps, time pencils, fuse wire, plastic explosive, Colt revolvers, Fairbairn daggers, knuckle dusters, powerful magnets for attaching bombs to tanks, boxes of .22 &.38 ammunition, hand-grenades, and my father’s .22 Winchester snipers rifle with telescopic site and silencer.  In the garage at the bottom of the garden which had once housed his beloved MG Magnette – now sold to an airman in the RAF – were stacked crates of fire bombs.

Luckily, the services of the Auxiliaries were never called upon. At the end of November 1944, the Auxiliaries were disbanded. The War Office took away my father’s much prized snipers rifle and, much to his disgust, the still full barrel of rum, but despite repeated requests, failed to collect the explosives.  These were eventually dumped at sea by a friendly local fisherman.

As noted above, along with a number of other Essex patrols, such as Hatfield Peverel and Mistley, it seems that the Maldon patrol had access to a wireless transmitter. It is not known what type this was and how this would have linked, if at all, to the SDB wireless network. This does not seem to have been a feature of Operational Patrols elsewhere in the country.

Report from Tony Smith, son of Jack Smith.
Additional information from Terry Broome, nephew of Bill Broome and volunteer at the British Resistance Organisation Museum at Parham. BROM Newsletter March 2010
http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/42090/pages/4844/page.pdf
http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/46509/pages/2938/page.pdf
http://coad.perso.sfr.fr/markham/pafg10.htm#10828