Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Metfield Auxiliary Unit Patrol

Thank you for selecting information on the Metfield Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Suffolk. The info and images below have been supplied by Aux researchers Evelyn Simak and Adrian Pye.

Metfield Patrol – the patrol’s codename was “Duck”

Metfield Patrol formed part of Metfield Group which also included

Hoxne Patrol
Stradbroke Patrol and Weybread Patrol

Group CO: Lt Hedley Rusted (local butcher)

It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.

Sgt Vic Seaman
Cpl JW Baxter
Pte Ernest WD Haddingham
Pte W Flatt
Pte K Rusted
Pte M Rusted
Pte Clifford Riches
Pte H Runnacles
Pte KN Runnacles

Metfield Auxiliary Unit Patrol 1

The OB is a solid construction consisting of a Nissen hut-type structure resting on brick foundations, with brick end walls, a 3.70m deep, brick-built drop-down shaft with steel rungs set across the corner, and a brick-lined emergency exit passage at the opposite end. Both entrance and exit openings were made safe by the owner, no trace remains of the original covers. The structure is in very good condition and well looked after.

Metfield Auxiliary Unit Patrol 2

 

Situated approximately 100 yards to the east of the Hall - adjoining a garden, about 20 metres above a landscaped waterfall and ornamental pond, and bounded in the east by The Dell, a deep gully at the foot of a high natural dyke – the good condition of the OB is most likely due to the fact that it is tucked away in the grounds of a property that is a tad off the beaten track and fairly secluded, and also to the various owners who have all had a keen interest in local history and in preserving it.

Middleton Hall was the home of one of the patrol members, Private Ernest WD Haddingham. He was born in 1904. On the death of his father, in 1961, he bought out his siblings and remained living at the Hall until 1971. Due to a fall he was forced to spend the last five years of his life in a retirement home where he died, aged 95, in 1999.

 

 

 

Metfield Auxiliary Unit Patrol 3

Metfield Auxiliary Unit Patrol 4

The brick walls of the shaft (once whitewashed) have moved slightly over time and rusty patches are showing through the corrugated sheeting that forms the roof (originally painted white).

Metfield Auxiliary Unit Patrol 6

(Above) What appears to be the remains of broken concrete counterweights are lying at the bottom of the deep entrance shaft that was accessed by steel rungs, set across one corner.

Metfield Auxiliary Unit Patrol 5

The main chamber immediately adjoins and is accessed through an arched doorway. Its corrugated roof rests on brick foundations.

The smaller exit doorway leads to a brick-lined passage with a 20-degree angle. The emergency exit passage had brick walls and a roof constructed with corrugated sheeting. The roof has collapsed, the sheeting is still in situ.

Soil has trickled into the chamber through the exposed exit opening, and is partially blocking the exit.
No trace remains of the original trapdoors that once covered the entrance shaft and the emergency exit passage opening.

Several rusty steel objects are lying on the floor. We were unable to identify what they are and which purpose they served but we believe that they were left behind when the OB was abandoned rather than dumped here at a later stage.

Metfield Auxiliary Unit Patrol 7

(Above) Remains of bunks can be seen in one corner. The bunks were made from wire netting nailed to a simple wooden frame.

Sizes:

Main OB: 3.70m long; width between plinths 2.10m; total width 2.90m max; 2.10m high

Entrances:  3.70m deep brick-built drop-down entrance shaft with eroded steel rungs across corner. 0.65 x 1m entrance opening. Original cover gone. Broken stone counterweight/s at bottom of shaft.

Emergency exit opening: 60 cm wide and 1.20m high, built at a 20-degree angle to the chamber. Brick-walled passage/crawlspace covered with corrugated sheeting – roof collapsed.

Emergency exit passage: approx 6m long, with a pronounced kink about halfway down. Emerging into The Dell.

Orientation: N/S

Observation Post/s: Currently unknown.

Other physical remains: 3 vent pipes (bundled together); remains of bunk/s – wire mesh nailed to a wooden frame. Broken counterweight/s; unidentified metal objects of unclear provenance, presumably original.

Metfield aerodrome, railway lines and bridges in the vicinity.
Metfield airfield was built during WWII and used by the USAAF 491st Bomb Group and the 353rd Fighter Group.

The group had no rifles but each patrol member had a revolver and one round of ammunition plus knifes, knuckledusters, and a supply of explosives. Training was mainly done locally by army instructors who used to visit the patrols, at Hoxne and Weybread. Some training exercises were undertaken at Dunwich, on the coast.

Currently unknown

Our thanks go to Mr and Mrs Michael Allen for their kind permission to access their property and record the OB site.


BROM Parham; Stephen Lewins CART CIO Northumberland; Michael Allen (personal interview); Michael Allen, Middleton Hall – 700 years of history (1996)

If you can help with any info please contact us.