Braunton is a village 5 miles west of Barnstaple in North Devon.
|Sergeant George Edward Martin||
|12 Aug 1941||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Geoffrey Ernest Bradford||
|01 Jul 1944||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Bertie Henry Hooper||
|10 Jul 1942||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Frederick Gordon Joslin||
|20 Jan 1943||03 Dec 1944|
|Private William Victor Martin||
Groundsman on golf course.
|22 Nov 1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Albert Reginald Yeo||
|11 Jun 1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Thomas J. Yeo||
Student later blacksmith
|17 Sep 1940||03 Dec 1944|
Geoff Bradford recalled that the Operational Base at Spreacombe, north of Braunton had been compromised when American troops occupied the area for D-Day training. The metal ladder leading down had been acquired from a railway signal. The Patrol were, half-heartedly, constructing another by utilising a derelict underground farm structure where the stone walls were in good condition and which only required roofing. The project was abandoned shortly before stand down.
Bertie Hooper took some friends to show them where their Operational Base was. It was off the Ilfracombe Road towards Spreacombe in a field on the left hand side. The farmer had ploughed over the entrance although there was a visible mound there.
Many Auxiliers from Group 1 have recounted the story of a practice raid on RAF Chivenor. Braunton Patrol took boats up the River Taw and landed on the coastal side. Time delay switches were placed and primed and some of the men went to the front gate and demanded to be taken prisoner. They were being ridiculed by the defending forces when the devices blew up.
Local targets would have included the Southern Railway and the A361.
In his memoirs Bert Verney (Tawstock) recalled he trained with 4 Patrols in Group 1.
It is assumed they had access to the standard kit, arms and explosives.
Geoff Bradford recalled he kept some explosives under his bed. He was issued with a Smith & Wesson.38. He recalled the Patrol had a single, silenced high-velocity rifle while he was in the Patrol. It wasn't very popular as the telescopic sight soon went out of alignment. The regular rifles were fitted with a "cup-discharger" for firing Mills grenades. Again this wasn't popular. All the Patrol had, and wore, their Fairbairn Sykes fighting knives buttoned just above the knee.
He was told to use time pencils in pairs as they were often unreliable. One Auxilier threw a sticky bomb during training which stuck to his trousers, causing him to undress rather quickly.
Many Auxiliers retained what they could in respect of equipment. When Victory in Europe day came, Geoff Bradford's "souvenirs" were becoming an embarrassment. A large bonfire had been constructed in the town to celebrate. This was guarded by Council workmen to prevent vandals setting fire to it before the celebrations could commence. Bradford and an unknown comrade decided on a final act of sabotage. An incendiary device, hidden in a newspaper was surreptitiously inserted in the heart of the bonfire with the hope it would go off in the middle of the Mayor's speech. Such devices were notoriously unreliable but it did produce a brilliant white fire !
The Patrol had the code name "Seymour".
TNA ref WO199/3391
Hancock data held at B.R.A
The late Auxilier Bert Verney from his book “Reflections – A trilogy of memories” ISBN 1 874448 20 5
The late Auxilier Geoff Bradford.
Angie Squeira, daughter of the late Auxilier Bertie Hooper
John Bradbeer, nephew of Auxilier Francis Bradbeer