Anderson Manor, in the small village of Anderson, near Blandford in Dorset was home to the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF), also know as No. 62 Commando. The SSRF was formed in Feb 1942, following the success of SOE's Operation Postmaster, when a few men crept into the neutral harbour of Fernado Po, in West Africa, and seized two Italian ships, because of concerns they were signalling the passage of British shipping to U Boats. The SSRF was tasked with cross channel sabotage operations using small parties of men, causing confusion on the European mainland and causing the Germans to tie down troops guarding the coast against such raids.
Anderson Manor, a Grade 1 listed manor house, provided a quiet venue for the men to plan their missions and relax afterwards. As part of the cover it was known as No. 62 Commando. Initially the SSRF consisted of just 30 men, almost all officers. They expanded folloowing early successful raids, including on the Channel Islands. Captain NV Oxenden, whose home was on Jersey, was linked with these raids, by Norfolk Auxiliers, with claims that a couple of them had been taken along on one raid. With a complete lack of evidence this can only be considered a rumour at best. John Hutchins of the West Dorset Scout Section recorded that it was said in his unit that Auxiliary Units had participated in the raid on a lighthouse of the coast of Jersy, surely a reference to Operation Dryad, the raid on the Casquets Lighthouse conducted by SSRF. The Scout Section was very near the SSRF Headquarters so perhaps the men socialised together in Blandford. The list of men on Operation Dryad includes no known Auxiliers and the boat was too small for any anymous extra passengers.
Later the SSRF would also use other properties in Dorset and Devon as it expanded, including training some of the men of Lord Lovat's No 4 Commando in its small raids techniques.
The house is Privately Owned and is NOT open to the public. Occaisonally the gardens are open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme.
The Small Scale Raiding Force, Brian Lett