Alec Rogers - Ugborough Patrol diaries (Devon)

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Alec Rogers of Ugborough Patrol in Devon kept a diary and mentions some Patrol activities. Below is a transcription of the Home Guard / Auxiliary Units mentioned. The originals can be seen in full.


Sunday Oct 11th 1942 Went by lorry to the rifle range at Totnes. Fired 5 rounds grouping, 5 rounds single marking. I got an 8 inch group, and 16 out of 20. Got in the 4 heifer yearlings tonight as we fear a frost!

Monday Oct 12th Awoke to the sound of rain once more. The weather’s been very bad for some time and we hear of corn not yet cut. Dad & I dug a few potatoes. Went by lorry to South Brent to see some Home Guard films.

Tuesday Oct 20th Picking up potatoes this morning. After tea banked out 4 more rows of potatoes. Finished work at 8.15.

Thursday Oct 22nd Just returned from "secrets night" at Bittaford. Learning how to right & left turn etc. Very important UGH !!

Sunday Oct 25th Picked up Mr Ough & went up to Bittaford for Home Guard Parade. Pouring with rain and nobody there the rest being at Hillhead. Sergeant May sent us home.

Tuesday Nov 3rd Picking up and bagging apples. This evening had first Home Guard meeting at Broadford Barn. Illuminated by candle. ORANGE LINE, CORDITE & BICKFORD 2ft per minute.

Sunday Nov 8th Over at Broadford this morning at exercise. Set a 1/2 hour time pencil to an incendiary which duly went off. Also fired single round each from sub machine gun & Tommy Gun. Hitler makes a speech and I made a German soldier for target practice.

Tuesday Nov 10th Broadford Home Guard

Wednesday Nov 11th Went to Home Guard training film at South Brent this evening.

Sunday Nov 15th Down on the range at Cleeve this morning. Firing Sten Guns which are very cheap things.

Tuesday Nov 17th Over at Broadford. Arrived home at 9.15. Shortly after terrific barrage from Ack-Ack. Went out with tin hat. Dad & Mum very frightened.

Sunday Nov 22nd Our squad met at Cross in Hand [now the Rugby Club site] at 9.45 and went to Langstone Manor via Yealmpton. We were pleased with our new equipment and arrived home at 4 o'clock. My heifer calved.

Sunday Nov 29th Went to Harford this morning. Was shown Harford Patrol's O.Base. All crept underground like rabbits. We are going to have a much more up to date base. Their's being one of the first built. Just going to listen to Winston Churchill.

Tuesday Dec 1st Home Guard met at Kings Arms for lecture. Wrangton Home Guard.

Sunday Dec 13th Chose a site for our O.Base

Tuesday Dec 15th Went Home Guard tonight. Wrangton

Tuesday Jan 5th 1943 Home Guard at Kings Arms. My promotion to Corporal going forward.

Tuesday Jan 12th  Wrangton Home Guard

Sunday Jan 17th  Drove all our squad on a search for an OB. Went to Fowlescombe and worked over the ruins of the Elizabethan Mansion. Very fine house in its day.

Sunday Jan 24th  Home Guard at Wrangton then on to Ugborough Patrol site for OB

Thursday Jan 26th Home Guard met Lieutenant J. to Wrangton

Wednesday Jan 27th At dinner as an army lorry brought heaps of stores & weapons. 4 Stens, a .22, a Tommy gun. Sergeant Ough and I up in the barn all evening sorting it.

Thursday Jan 28th Sergeant and I went to see Jim [Lapthorne] tonight. He is joining us.

Undated. 3 consecutive evenings I spent on Home Guard work.

Sunday Feb 14th Home Guard here. Threw hang [sic] grenade each from Pump House etc.

Tuesday Feb 16th Went to Wrangton for Home Guard. Kingsbridge raided again.

Sunday Feb 21st Home Guard with .22 on Golf Links at Wrangton.

Tuesday Feb 23rd Home Guard met at Rutt Wood.

Sunday Feb 28th Home Guard tried the Sten Guns in the orchard.

Tuesday March 2nd Home Guard met at Rutt Wood. Took Stephens home.

Monday March 8th In the evening I drove the Patrol down to Flete. Sergeant Baker and his men attacked us who were on sentry duty. We captured them all. After cider at Mr Baker's, Alf Luscombe singing on the homeward journey.

Saturday March 13th This evening the Patrol attacked the camp. Hine and I had the unwelcome duty of covering the rest with Sten guns so we didn't go in. The others got in and chalked several vehicles. Home at 2am

Sunday March 14th  No Home Guard today.

Friday March 26th I attended an N.C.O's meeting at The Kings Arms.

Sunday March 28th  Home Guard here. We exploded a stick of gelignite.

Tuesday March 30th Home Guard at Wrangton. I finished milking at 9.10 pm.

Saturday April 3rd At Harford until 3pm doing drill under Sergeant Baker of the Flete Patrol. Hine and I gained top marks for Sten shooting at a moving target. Weather glorious.

Thursday April 13th Home Guard here. Sten gun practice.

Tuesday June 6th 1944 As Dad and I were driving the cows up to the meadow this morning Mrs Brown told us that the invasion had begun. The 8 am news reported large airborne landings by the Allies. Things were very quiet as we drove to Plymouth, without any signs of the great events taking place across the channel.

I had been expecting a stand to order for the Patrol but non is issued so far.

At nine this evening we heard the King give a more or less religious address to his people. Then the news, the landings on the beaches have been surprisingly easy. During the day only 56 enemy planes were seen. After the news came recordings of General Eisenhower, General Montgomery and inspiring General de Gaulle. How different the day has been from what I imagined.