Ringwood B Auxiliary Unit Patrol
This page was last updated at 12:31pm on 20/3/13
Thank you for selecting information on the Ringwood B Auxiliary
Unit Patrol located in Hampshire. The info below has been compiled by Dr Will Ward CART CIO for
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
The patrol was part of Group 1 in Hampshire, Commanded by Captain A J Champion, who was also area commander for
all the West Hampshire groups. The assistant commander of Group 1 was Lt L D C Ayles.
Not known by CART.
|Sgt. Arthur Charles Hoskins
||Joined May 1942
|Pte. Edward Ernest
|Pte. Frederick Samuel Geary
|Pte. Clarence Jack L Hanham
||Joined June 1942, known as Jack
|Pte. George P Gale
||Joined Sept 1943
|Pte. Raymond Alfred R Withall
The patrol names for the west of Hampshire and the New Forest have been identified from National Archives file
WO199/3391, but are not divided by patrol. The nominal roll gives the surname, initials, ID card number and
address, together with date of birth. The patrols have been arranged according to the addresses and ID card numbers
around known patrol leaders. This means the allocations may not be completely accurate. Additional personal
information such as first names and dates of death have been added using the 1911 census, Ancestry.co.uk and
FreeBMD.com. Some men, particularly those from the Ringwood area where there are several patrols, could not be
allocated with any confidence to one patrol or another, so are listed here.
Fred Geary worked in the family butchers and grocers shop. At the start of the war he was just over the age for
call up and is said to have had a minor heart attack as well. He joined the Local Defence Volunteers, which became
the Home Guard. He didn’t speak of his involvement in Auxiliary Units, but would talk about having been in the Home
Guard. June Bentley, his daughter, recalls that he enjoyed going out “with the lads” training on a Sunday morning,
though they usually ended up in the pub, drinking or playing darts. He would tell tales of how on exercises they
had captured another platoon, or been captured himself (though of course it was never his fault). Ted Geary was his
George Gale had moved from Dorset, where it appears he had been a member of a patrol possibly Moreton. He is
recorded as leaving in Jan 1942 at his own request, but doesn’t rejoin until September 1943 in Hampshire. Unusually
this seems to have resulted in his serving in two Auxiliary unit patrols in two different counties.
Local Historian John Hawkins has also spoken with David Hoskins, son of Arthur Hoskins about his time in
Auxiliary Units. He has his father’s papers, which include identity cards showing him as both a member of the
Observer Corps and also the ARP Rescue Party leader at different times. He is listed as joining in mid 1942, yet
became patrol leader quite quickly. Arthur knew that their life expectancy was measured in weeks. He had copies of
the usual Stand down letters issued by Aux Units in November 1944. David recalled that his father served with Fred
Geary, Jack Hanham and George Gale. It has been assumed that Fred’s brother Ted and his very near neighbour (4
houses down) Ray Withall were also in this patrol.
(Top left) Fred Geary in his Home Guard uniform, around 1941/42. Aux Units often had no
insignia on their battledress. (picture courtesy June Bentley)
(Top middle) Ted Geary in his Home Guard uniform without badges. (picture courtesy June
(Top right) Ray Withall pictured after the war as President of Ringwood Rotary Club (picture
courtesy Jack Hawkins)
After the war, Fred Geary would demonstrate his explosives training on occasion. His daughter remembers a large
hole being blown in the lawn one Fireworks night as he set off some left over detonators. His son recalls seeing
one or more hand grenades in a drum of oil in the workshop (soaking in oil is one way to deactivate cordite
The local Ringwood Rotary club contained a number of former Auxiliers postwar. Ray Withall, Ted Geary and Ted
Harvey, SDS operator also from St Leonards Hotel were all to become presidents, as was Bill Stephenson from
Ringwood “A” patrol.
It is thought that the OB was located near Three Tree Hill on the outskirts of Ringwood, in the Highwood –
Moyles Court area.
Nearby Ibsley airfield would very likely have been a target.
The patrol were training at Avon Castle on one occasion when a German bomber was shot down, crash landing in the
meadows close to where they were. According to an online record of Hampshire aircraft crashes, the only one to fit
the bill was the crash of a JU88A-4 of 2/KG6 at Southmead Meadows, near Westover farm, on May 7th 1943.
The patrol also met to train on Fred Geary’s eight acre field just outside Ringwood, close to Moyles Court.
There was a pig sty there where they would also play darts!
Arthur Hoskins attended at least one Patrol Leaders course at Coleshill as he retained the papers from this
course. The timetable includes Major Oxenden and Captain Delamere, dating this to at least 1942 as these officers
were elsewhere prior to this.
David Hoskins recalled his father had weapons and ammunition in their larder and behind paint tins on the top
shelf of the garden shed were boxes of grenades, time pencils and tripwires. The patrol would generally have the
weapons shown here
Correspondence with June Bentley, daughter of Fred Geary
Correspondence with John Hawkins, History of St Leonards and St Ives project. See here for more details of his