Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Stansted Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 10:05am on 27/3/14

Information kindly supplied by Stewart Angell, author of 'The Secret Sussex Resistance' as well as our internal archive.

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.

Intelligence officers in charge of Sussex have included Captain John Gwynne, Major C F C Bond, Captain Ian Benson and Captain L Roy Bradford.

At stand down Sussex was area 13 Stansted was part of group 3 under the Area Group Command of Captain A Cooper of Small Dole, along with Small Dole, Goodwood, Warningcamp, North Stoke, West Stoke, Clapham, Arundel, Wiston and Selsey (South Mundham) patrols.

Currently unknown.

The Stansted Patrol was the most westerly sited unit in West Sussex and consisted of six members. The Patrol Leader was Bill Wolfries, the head keeper for Stansted Forest. The other members were George Huxham, a farmer, Ronald Peel, a farmer, Forest Side; Jim Rowsell, a driver from the Rowlands Castle area and Mr Butler a gamekeeper from the Lordington Estate.

Former patrol members Ron Peel and George Huxham recalled using the hideout regularly for overnight stays, and the many visits to Tottington Manor as part of their training. Ron Peel also remembered going to Coleshill and having to set fake charges on a plane as part of his basic training.

Stanstead Auxiliary Unit - Joe Penfold

 

 

Another patrol was Joseph Penfold. He joined the unit on 27th June 1940 and although lacking two fingers of his left hand he was appointed the tommy gunner of the unit.

The lookout point they used when the invasion was expected was Racton Tower.
 
Joseph later told his son that Regular Army officers training them in the use of explosives etc. Sadly he was burgled in 1946 and his clothes were taken. In his sports jacket that was taken were bits & pieces of keepsakes from his Home Guard/Auxiliary times.

Jim Rowsell
Joseph Penfold of Stansted Park

Aiming to place all Auxiliers in their Patrols, CART has used the home addresses recorded on the nominal roll to include:

G A Nancarrow of Forestside
S F Bate of Petersfield

Though they could have been in a nearby Patrol.

The patrol's hideout was sited in a shallow chalk pit in the north-eastern end of Stansted Forest. It was built of wood and corrugated iron with one small entrance hatch and an emergency exit tunnel which ran out to the bottom face of the chalk pit. About 400 yards to the west of the hideout, the patrol had a small underground lookout. Both were connected by a direct telephone line and constructed by the Royal Engineers. The lookout commanded a good view of the main Stansted road. 

Stanstead Auxiliary Unit 1

 

 

 

The hideout, is very shallow with only a few inches of soil covering the corrugated iron structure. It can currently be accessed from either end. It is difficult to find although quite close to a public footpath that runs through the wood. The emergency escape tunnel has collapsed but its course can be traced as a ditch running from the hideout with two wooden posts at one end where the door was located.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stanstead Auxiliary Unit 2

Main chamber looking towards entrance

Stanstead Auxiliary Unit 3

Stanstead Auxiliary Unit 4

Main chamber looking towards escape tunnel

Stanstead Auxiliary Unit 5

Original posts where hatch was fixed to

Stanstead Auxiliary Unit 8

I was suprised to see a brick stove with a chimney in the entrance chamber

Currently unknown

Localised training often took place within Stansted Forest. This included firing practice with the patrol's various guns and learning how to make up explosive charges, often joining three together over a given distance so that they would all detonate at the same time.

Currently unknown but it is assumed they had access to to standard arms and explosives.

Stewart Angell and the sons of Joseph Penfold. Images provided by: REEF from 28 days Later.co.uk, TNA reference WO199/3391
Hancock data held at B.R.A. CART researchers Stewart Angell, Bill Ashby, Will Ward & Nina Hannaford.

If you can help with any info please contact us.