The Hidden Heritage of High Lodge

Brandon Auxiliary Unit Patrol

During the Second World War, there was a base on the edge of High Lodge for the Brandon Auxiliary Unit Patrol which consisted of fifteen men whose task it was to destroy the railway line and bridges in the vicinity in the event of an invasion and to patrol the area around Brandon which would have made an ideal landing area for parachutists.

The Base was situated on the edge of Lingheath, in a forestry plantation because it was thought that the invading German Army would rest up and regroup in the cover of the Thetford Forest.

It was a 12 foot underground structure that was reached by clearing brush from the ground and opening a trapdoor to the bunker. Trees were cut down and used for the rafters, corrugated iron laid for the roof and earth covered over with a final layer of leaves and pine cones to disguise the underground base. There was an air vent that ran up alongside a tree. The patrol had a primus stove for cooking and eight bunk beds.

The patrol formed part of Norfolk Group 10 which also included East Dereham, Fakenham, Hockwold and the Lakenheath and Thetford Patrols.

Training took place on Sundays, generally in the chalk pit on the Elveden to Bury St Edmunds road. Soldiers of the Regular Army showed Patrol members how to prime and throw Mills Bombs; to wrap plastic explosive around rail tracks to cut 3-foot lengths of rail; to track their targets; use a .38 revolver and how to sabotage enemy tanks and defuse enemy bombs.

Patrol Members included

  • Sgt. Philip R. Field (Thetford Road, Brandon)
  • Cpl. S. William "Bill" Baker (Railway Terrace, Brandon)
  • Roy D. Budden (Garage owner from Elveden)
  • Albert L. Drewery/Drewry
  • George A. Eagle (Bury Road, Brandon)
  • George H. Holden
  • D Smith
  • YTZ147825 Billy Stead, Brandon
  • Walter "Wally" Blake, Weeting
Members of the Brandon AUP

Back row from left to right: Billy Stead Group CO Walter Gentle Wally Blake
Middle row from left to right: Sgt Philip Field assnt CO Eric Field Roy D. Budden
Front row from left to right: George A. Eagle Cpl. S. William "Bill" Baker

Image © John Field