Bures Patrol

County Group

Bures is a village that straddles the Essex/Suffolk border.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Herbert Patrick Baker

Meat purveyor's clerk

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private David Chambers Unknown Sept 1941
Private Rowland Frederick Goldsmith


Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Walter Smith

Butchers slaughterman

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private William Paul Twitchett

Civil servant

Unknown Unknown
Private Ernest Henry Gordon Webber

Farm Manager

15 Dec 1941 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The Operational Base was originally planned to go in the grounds of Dr Woods house, as he was a leading figure in the local Home Guard (though better known for his musical arrangement of “Waltzing Matilda”!), though apparently this was felt to be too exposed to approach unnoticed.

The OB was then built in the wooded grounds of Little Bevills on the edge of the village. It was described as being five feet underground and was built by the Patrol. The entrance was through a trapdoor and along a tunnel. The trapdoor had 12 inches of padding to prevent it sounding hollow if stepped on. The ventilation shaft ran up inside a hollow oak tree. It was equipped with bunks, oil lamps and a Primus stove. It is reported to have contained “a quarter ton of explosives and a couple of hundred hand grenades”


OB Status
Location not known

Bures Patrol


Normally the Patrol met in Gordon Drake’s house. The Patrol went to H.Q at River House at nearby Earls Colne for training. Gordon Drake mentioned going to Wiltshire, so he almost certainly went to Coleshill House.

Weapons and Equipment

In around 1957 or 1958, Mr Utting, who then was a teenage friend of Gordon Drake’s son, visited to find them both cutting length of cordite fuse and burning them on a fire. Mr Drake was also taking apart some WD issue single ball shotgun cartridges to dispose of these as well.

He explained that the supplies were accidently left behind when the Army had cleared the OB at the end of the war.



TNA ref WO199/3389

Hancock data held at B.R.A

1939 Register

Correspondence with W R Utting, former resident of Bures

Bures at War  and Bures LDV