Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Monkton 'Gherkin' Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base

This page was last updated at 8:28am on 9/5/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Monkton Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Thanet, Kent. The info and images below have been supplied by CART CIO for Kent Phil Evans.

The codename for this patrol was Gherkin

The first I.O for Kent was Grenadier Guards Captain Peter Fleming. He was the man responsible for setting up the Units in Kent under the name of the XII corps Observation Unit. In late 1940 he left and a Royal Fusilier Captain Norman Field then took over as I.O. At some point in Normans command he split Kent in two. West Kent came under the command of Captain George MacNicholl and Norman commanded East Kent. In late 1941 Norman was taken away from the Units and George MacNicholl took over as I.O. for the whole of Kent for the rest of the war.

1941

Sgt Reg Linington  (Patrol leader)
G. M. Fuller
R. D. Rose
F. Pettman
R. Willet
B. H. S. Stephens
T. E. Spanton (Discharged SLLR medically unfit 01/06/43) 01/06/43)

E Spanton

Patrol member T E Spanton can be seen above.

There were three patrols based on the Isle of Thanet, all eventually under the command of W. G. ‘Bill’ Gardner, a farmer, corn merchant and renowned orchid grower who lived in Birchington. However, Bill Gardner did not take command until July 1941. The three patrols in Thanet all had the same target which was Manston Aerodrome. It is not known if the Herne Bay patrol had any targets.

The patrol's O.B. was built by the army at Monkton chalk pit, now a nature reserve.  No signs are left of this O.B.  It could well have been destroyed when material from the quarry was excavated to build a new runway at Manston Aerodrome in 1944. The chalk pit was owned by the Willet family. Tom Willet was also involved in the Resistance although not in the sabotage side. He had a hide on his farm at Gore Court farm where he had a radio set hidden. Along with him Jim Lamont, another local farmer from Nash Court farm, was also involved in this secret radio side of the movement.

The main target for this patrol was Manston Aerodrome.

Shooting practice was done at Quex Park as well as The Garth.  Also Gherkin trained alongside Savoy patrol.  Norman Steed,  the Leader of the Savoy Patrol, remembered meeting up with Reg Linington and his men at the Gherkin Patrol's site in Monkton Chalk Pit.  Exercises were also carried out in and around Thanet, with local Army units 'acting' the part of the enemy.  It is not known if anyone from this patrol attended training at Coleshill

Patrol members personel equipment

Ground sheet                                                 1
Steel helmet                                                   1
Waist belt                                                       1
Pistol holster                                                 1
Haversack                                                      1
Braces                                                            1
Regt mess tin                                                1
Lanyard .P                                                      
Rod cl. Pistol
Blouse B.D.                                                    1
Trousers B.D.                                                1
Greatcoat                                                       1
Blouse Denim                                                1
Trousers Denim                                             1
Anklets prs.                                                    1
Cap F.S.                                                          1
Badge cap                                                      1
Boots leather                                                 1
Boots rubber                                                  1
Field dressing                                                1
Blankets                                                         2
Respirator                                                      1
Eyeshields                                                     6
Outfit A.D.                                                      1
Ointment A.G.                                                1
Cotton waste                           
Knife                                                               1
Fork                                                                1
Spoon                                                             1
Titles shoulder                                              4
Letters K.T.                                                    4
Flashes .203                                                  4
Arm bands HG                                             
Fighting Knives                                             1
Sterilisers W.                                                 1
Face viels                                                       1
Emergency R.                                                1
Revolver .38                                                   1
S.A.A. .38                                                       36
Camm.net.S.H.
Chevrons. 3 bar
Arm bands. HG

Guns
Thompson Sub Machine Gun  1
Rifles .300  2
Rifles .22  1
Sten Guns   4

Ammunition
.46 Thompson Sub Machine Gun  1200
.300 Rifle   100
.22 Rifle   200
9mm Sten   1200

Explosives
Aux Unit mk2   15
Grenades .36   48
A.W. Bombs   24
Pull Switches   50
Pressure Switches   50
Release Switches   50
L Delays. 1Hr   300
L Delays. 3Hr   750
L Delays. 1 ½ Hr
L Delays. 4Hr
Ammonal   21lbs
A.P. Mines   50
Gun Cotton
Smoke Gen   4
P.E.    20Lbs
Detonators   50
Cordtex   50ft
Trip Wire
Trap wire
Incendiaries (large)
Incendiaries (small)
A.T. Mines
Primacord

Equipment
Pouches basic   2
Slings Rifle/Thompson   3
Pullthrough   2
Weights   2
Gauze wire   2
Bottles oil   2
Rods. cl. Rifle   .22
Adaptors brush   .22
Magazines Thompson Sub Machine Gun 5
Flannelette
Oil m.   80

Special Stores
Monoculars   1
Field Telephones   2
Telephone cable   ½ mile
Cells Dry (Telephone)   4
Compass, pocket   1
Thermometer   1
Goggles, N.P.    3
Truncheons. R.    3
Knobkerries (spelling unclear)   3
Knives circular   1
First aid set   1
Cream camm   9
Hammocks   1
Maps
Dummy Grenades   6
Torches, hand
Batteries, spare
Bulbs, spare

R.A.S.C. Supplies
Lamps, Hurricane   2
Lamps Tilley   1
Stoves heating   1
Stove oil wickless   1
Primus repair 0
Rum
Paraffin
Candles
Petrol
Ration packs
Meth spirits
Tin openers
Bins galvanised

Bill Gardner: “We had every explosive you could think of. I had a pass that allowed me to do anything. I would drive to the airfield in full evening dress with my car loaded with explosives. If the Jerries took over the airfield we were to blow the bloody lot up. Jerry was no fool, however. It would be bloody lucky if we did survive. They would have found us. It was no joke. It was bloody serious. It was bloody frightening.”

After the war Bill Gardner kept some explosives on his farm at Upstreet and was known to use them to blow up trees. He once set a booby trap to stop a thief stealing his broccoli but injured himself in the arms and groin when the trap went off.

In 1984, Bill Gardner's house, Garfield, in Green Road, Birchington, was sold to a Mr. Eric Griffiths. Mr. Gardner was aged 77 at the time and had just moved into Turret Court nursing home at Westgate. The contents of his old house were put up for auction. An arsenal of detonators, explosives, cordite fuse and phosphorus grenades were found in the garage and garden shed.

Two hundred people were evacuated from neighbouring streets while bomb disposal experts made the area safe. The munitions were moved to Grenham Bay, Birchington, where they were destroyed by controlled explosion.

A document has come to light recently that was made by Group Leader Bill Gardner during the war. It lists all the patrols under his command, men involved, patrol code names and stores. This has been a great help in finding out more about the patrols in his group.

Nothing at this time.


Kind Thanks go to Adrain Westwood for letting us use information from his website.  Also to Norman Bonney and Ron Stilwell for helping me put the patrol report together and providing Information.
Other information is from Phil Evans own research into the patrol.

If you can help with any info please contact us.