Bovey Patrol

A.K.A. (nickname)
Stafford Common Patrol
Locality

The Manor House of Bovey is located at the head of a long coombe leading down to Beer, East Devon 

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Frederick James Bastone

Fruiterer

04 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Sergeant Leonard Charles Pike

Tractor driver

24 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Corporal Walter Henry Denslow

Farm worker

24 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Herbert Kittow Cligg

Farm worker

21 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Charles Luke Denslow

Dairyman

24 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Richard Edgar Iles

AA Motor mechanic

28 Nov 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Harold Frederick Pike

Milk roundsman

24 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Edwin Reginald Pike

Carter

09 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private George Salter

Farm worker

Unknown Unknown
Private Edward John Sexton

Builders lorry driver

06 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

Walter Denslow's written testimony and interview transcript both point to there being two Operational Bases. One in Morganhayes Cover about one mile away from Bovey House and one, possibly a cave, near Hangman's Stone around 0.5 miles from Bovey House.

This is further backed up by a transcript of a recording on George Salter who mentions both locations.

There is a picture of Charlie Denslow emerging out of the entrance of the Operational Base, possibly at Morganhayes Cover, with another showing the interior. These are likely to have been taken in the 1960's. The Operational Base was dug-out and filled-in by the landowner with virtually no sign of it remaining, other than some brick-work and corrugated iron on the surface.

The Hangman's Stone Operational Base has yet to be discovered.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Bovey House 1940s
OB Image
Caption & credit
Bovey House
OB Image
Caption & credit
Morganhayes Cover Entrance
OB Image
Caption & credit
Morganhayes Cover OB 1960s
OB Image
Caption & credit
Morganhayes Cover site
OB Image
Caption & credit
Morganhayes Cover site
OB Image
Caption & credit
Morganhayes Cover site possible remains
OB Image
Caption & credit
Morganhayes Cover site possible remains
OB Image
Caption & credit
Morganhayes Cover site possible remains
OB Image
Caption & credit
Morganhayes Cover site possible remains
OB Image
Caption & credit
Morganhayes Cover vent pipe
OB Image
Caption & credit
Charlie Denslow in possibly Morganhayes Cover OB (from Ralph Cox)
OB Image
Caption & credit
Richard Iles joining Auxiliary Units 1942
OB Status
Destroyed
OB accessibility
This OB is on private land. Please do not be tempted to trespass to see it
Location

Bovey Patrol

Patrol Targets

Targets presumably would have included the old A35, a key route in and out of the South West during the war. There is also the possibility that Bovey House would have been been requisitioned by the Germans as happened in occupied Europe, making the place where many of the Patrol worked a target.

RAF Beer Head, a Chain Home Low radar station consisted of a 200 foot high tower with technical buildings, a cook house and billets for the guards. These were often targets for Auxiliary Units.

Training

In George Salter's transcript of a recorded conversation from 2005, he recounts attending Coleshill but also practicing and setting up booby traps in a group of derelict buildings at Higher Gatcombe Farm between Holyford Wood and the A3052 (now demolished).

He also mentions blowing up old farm machinery!

Weapons and Equipment

It is assumed they were issued with the standard kit, arms and explosives.

Other information

All of the Bovey Patrol worked on the Bovey Estate.

In the book Colyton at War by Geoff Elliott, Frank Soanes recalls; "There was a simulated attack by the Home Guard special services, these were mainly fit and strong farmers, that were trained better than us. In the event of an invasion, they were meant to act like commandos, causing much havoc. They had secret dug outs, like the buried Nissen hut at Morganhayes".

In the enrolment letter sent to Richard Iles from Group Commander Lieutenant Howes, dated 28 Nov 1942, Howes calls this Patrol "Stafford Common Patrol". He also notes Sergeant Bastone is the Patrol Leader. As Leonard Pike and Bastone are both recorded as Patrol Leaders at stand down on the list compiled by Major Hancock there is some confusion over who was in command of this Patrol and at what time. Both live very near to the OB and both are remembered as being associated with the Patrol. One of them may have moved on to create a new Patrol though both address are still recorded in Beer and Bovey at stand down.

As some of the 9 Patrols within Group 6 in East Devon were based very close together there maybe some confusion over Auxiliers and their exact Patrols.

References

Ralph Cox

TNA ref WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Written and recorded testimony from Walter Denslow and George Salter.

Colyton Parish History Society and Colyton at War by Geoff Elliott

The History Department of Colyton Grammar School

The late Richard Iles

1939 Register