Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Stody Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 12:21 pm on 23/12/12

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

Stody Patrol formed part of Norfolk Group 3 which also included

Matlaske Patrol, Baconsthorpe Patrol, North Walsham Patrol, Thorpe Market (aka Calthorpe/Alby) Patrol, Aylsham (aka Oulton) Patrol and possibly Ingham Patrol

CO Lt P N Neave
2nd Lt A G Abel
Capt Duncan took over from Lt Neave as CO

It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.

TRKF 41/1 Sgt Albert Edward High (Stody Estate, Hunworth) *
TRFK 67/1 Fred Andrews (Green Farm, Hunworth) *
Sgt William Davies à was killed when cement mixer fell off a lorry onto him
Sgt Jack C High (Stody Estate, Hunworth)
TRKF 24/3 William Kendle Emery (Hunworth)
TRFK 31/7 Ernest Robert Hazelwood (Thornage)
TRFK 78/3 Wallace “Carol” Shayler (Hunworth)
TRKF 78/3 Harold Ernest Sewell (Hunworth) ** - he was called up and replaced by WC Shayler, who was assigned his registration number

** Our contact, patrol member Mr H Sewell, cannot recall Fred Andrews and Sgt AE High as having been patrol members.

The OB site is located on strictly private land belonging to the Stody Estate and accessed by kind permission of the owner, Mrs Adel MacNicol.

Stody Auxiliary Unit Patrol 1

The OB was built into the side of a disused sandpit by the patrol members themselves, on what would have been heathland in the 1940s. An RAF aerial photograph taken in 1945/46 (provided by Norfolk County Council’s E-Map Explorer) shows a much less wooded area than we see today, interspersed by clusters of trees and a strip of what appears to be mature woodland growing alongside the southern edge of the slope where the sandpit and OB site are located.

The main chamber is intact but filled with sand to almost roof-height. It measures 3.70 x 3 metres and is orientated SW/NE.

Stody Auxiliary Unit Patrol 3

The main chamber was accessed by a ladder down a drop-down shaft that was covered with a trap door. The shaft’s earthen walls were lined with corrugated sheeting which appears to still be in place and can be seen where it has been exposed. (below)

Stody Auxiliary Unit Patrol 2

The top section of the shaft is missing. Presumably it was swept away, over the years, by rainwater running off down the slope. A narrow opening near the top edge of the roof of the main chamber is all that can still be seen of the entrance doorway which was also the exit. The OB had no emergency exit tunnel.

Generations of rabbits as well as foxes have created numerous burrows along the sides and on top of the OB, resulting in large quantities of sand having trickled into the main chamber and filling it to almost roof-height, leaving a crawlspace only.

The chamber appears to be inhabited by foxes that have left the remains of pheasants strewn about all over the very much raised floor.

The main chamber is of standard 3.70 x 3m size and has a curved roof made from corrugated iron sheets. Our impression is that the curve of the roof is less pronounced than observed in other OBs. The side and end walls are lined with corrugated sheeting, much still in situ.

According to patrol member Harold Sewell, who left the patrol when called up for regular army service, the chamber was later somewhat enlarged at the rear end in order to accommodate an explosives store, now covered by sand.

Dim light coming from two burrows above illuminates the end wall of the chamber. The corrugated sheeting lining the end wall is bent and appears to have been displaced. Two deep holes (created by foxes or badgers) can be seen leading downwards into the ground near the corners.

Stody Auxiliary Unit Patrol 4

Because some of the corrugated sheeting lining the top of the end wall is displaced, part of the earthen wall behind it has become exposed. The wall appears to have been lined with what looks like carpet underlay or felt (presumably to keep out dampness), held in place with wire netting, before it was covered with corrugated sheeting. (see left)
 
According to Harold Sewell a 3-inch water pipe provided some ventilation. We found no trace of ventilation pipes.

Observation Post/s: An Observation Post was situated within sight of the OB, a short distance further to the south-west. It consisted of a dugout that was covered with corrugated sheeting and well camouflaged. The OP had a field telephone connection with the OB.

LNER (London and North Eastern Railway) railway line and its Melton Constable railway works - a railway maintenance and production facility which also produced items of railway furniture and station buildings at its concrete division. Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway line to the north of the village.

Training included blowing up railway lines, they had a short section of railway track on which to practise.
Patrol members were ordered to spend weekends in the OB to acclimatise themselves – they were always glad to leave on Sundays to get some fresh air.

Sten or Thompson submachine guns, Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knives and .38 revolvers plus a variety of explosives, detonators and fuses would have been standard issue.

We would like to express our thanks to Mrs Adel MacNicol for giving permission to access her land, to Mr Ross Haddow, the farm manager of Stody Estate, for his kind assistance and to Allen Lambert, the estate’s gamekeeper, for taking us there on a Sunday in his own free time.


Harold Sewell, patrol member (Hunworth); Hedley Smith (Stody); A Hoare, Standing up to Hitler (2002); Stephen Lewins CART CIO Northumberland; Allen Lambert, gamekeeper, Stody Estate, Jeremy Norman; John George Seaman (leader of Baconsthorpe Patrol, died June 2011)
 

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