Jonah Patrol - Monmouthshire
I am researching my grandfather Leslie Bulley’s involvement in the Auxiliary Units in Monmouthshire. He was a member of Jonah Patrol as was his brother Charles. Regretfully, both are now recently deceased.
Jonah Patrol was headed up by Allan Hollingdale who was the acting Sergeant. My Grandfather and Alan Hollingdale were both scoutmasters so knew the surrounding area well.
My aunt has quite a lot of amusing stories relating to my grandfather and uncle’s time in Jonah Patrol. Apparently, he kept phosphorous bombs buried in sand in the cellar of the house. Nobody knew they were there and my aunt told me that she and her sister (my mother) were the only children in the street not allowed to play in their cellar. During the VE Day celebrations the bonfire would not light properly. My grandfather secretly used one of the bombs to get the fire going! Apparently the fire brigade had to be called because it melted all the tarmac on the road and burnt a big hole! Nobody knew what had caused it and my grandfather kept it secret for 50 years. The other bombs were tipped over Newport town bridge in the dead of night and are there to this day. The detonators were found in Alan Hollingdale’s garden shed shortly after his death in 2001. Here is a link to a posting my aunt made on the Peoples War Blog regarding the VE bonfire and the phosphorous bomb incident:
Another story is that the patrol was issued with a demijohn of rum in their supplies. They were forbidden to touch the rum unless it was a dire emergency. The top was sealed with wax. The patrol however found a way of getting the rum out using a large syringe used by vets. They replaced the rum with cold tea! Another secret nobody ever found out!
I believe there was also Esau and Moses Patrols in Monmouthshire. According to the book 'The Last Ditch' there were 15 OB's in Monmouthshire with 93 members.
There were 3 bunkers in all. 2 are still in existence in a field at Coed Y Careau, Langstone, Newport Gwent. The 3rd is positioned in Wentwood Forest near Newport. I have yet to locate this bunker but am working with the Forestry Commission to ascertain if it still exists. It was lost by the patrol as the FC cut down their marker trees! It was found by children accidently some years ago and was still full of weapons.
The bunker appears to have been built in phases. The second part was added on at a later date from the construction of the main chamber. I think the bunker was one of the earliest to be constructed in Wales so maybe it was later modified to fit regulations or standard agreed design.
The location of Jonah's bunker is in woods with no other buildings nearby. You can see across the Bristol Channel from there and 11 counties. It sits on Forestry Commission land so it is very isolated.
There is a SDS bunker about 500 metres away from Jonah Patrols bunker, but it is on a private farm.
They visited my Grandfather's bunker recently. Unfortunately, it has deteriorated somewhat since my last visit and the second chamber and escape tunnel have collapsed. The main chamber however is still intact and we spent about 2 hours there. They took lots of photos and made very precise measurements and drawings etc.
The escape tunnel between the main chamber and the collapsed second chamber.
The entrance hatchway
Interior of the main chamber
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