Butleigh Patrol


Butleigh village is situated near to Glastonbury and Street.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Leonard Bond Haimes

Highways foreman SCC

31 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Frederick Charles Ball

Boot & shoe maker

27 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Robert Charles Burrough

Farm worker - general milking

08 Nov 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private William Harding

Water works plumber

Unknown Unknown
Private Stanley Jesse Higgins

Bricklayer's labourer later grocer

09 Feb 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Henry George Marsh

General farm labourer

08 Aug 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Herbert James Whitehead

Cycle dealer

Unknown Unknown
Operational Base (OB)

The Operational Base was located in Catwell Wood, on the Granville Estate, Butleigh Wootton. “Cedar Walk” is a well known local landmark of a mile long avenue of Lebanese Cedars which runs through the Wood.

It is known the Operational Base was destroyed and dug out after the war. There are two possible sites within Catwell Wood, the first being a 22 foot by 11 foot depression filled with loose soil. This is in the far west corner away from Cedar Walk. The other possible site is a 20 foot by 12 foot depression on the north east side of the wood, close to the ditch on the edge of the wood and 280 foot from the nearest tree making up Cedar Walk.

Harold Lane of Ebbor Patrol remembered helping to dig the OB site and his son Mark remembered waiting in the car near the “avenue of trees”, most likely while it was being destroyed.

In the past a possible OB site was recorded at Combe Hill (other side of the road to Butleigh Wood on the map) but upon investigation of the site these remains are most likely connected to the pre-existing rifle range in the same area. The site has been documented so if any further evidence relating to this as being an OB comes forward, this can be reviewed. (Somerset Historic Environment Record ref 15636).

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Butleigh OB near Cedar Walk
OB Image
Caption & credit
Somerset Butleigh Catwell Wood OB sites sketch (from Chris Perry)
OB Image
Caption & credit
Butleigh Cedar Walk (from Chris Perry)
OB Image
Caption & credit
Butleigh Cedar Walk (from Chris Perry)
OB Status
OB accessibility
The OB site is publicly accessible

Butleigh Patrol

Patrol Targets

Obvious local targets would include the roads A37 Fosse Way from Dorchester to Bristol, the A39 and A361 from the North Devon coast along with the B3151 from south towards Street and the B3153 east to west.

Other targets could have included railway lines around Somerton and Glastonbury and military camps in Street and Glastonbury.


Group 11 were trained by the Scout Section for North and East Somerset based at the stables of Southill House, Cranmore under, initially Lt John McCue (Wiltshire Regiment) and later Lt Keith Salter (6th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry).

The regular Home Guard units used a pre-existing rifle range and training area on the bottom slope of Combe Hill on the Compton Dundon side. This could have been used by the Patrol also.

Other information

Home Guard records show the men were “transferred to Aux Unit - 4th April 1941” and a note made at a reunion after Stand Down records Haimes, Burrough and Ball all served “since formation”. Whitehead and Harding are noted as “former members”.

This appears to indicate Butleigh was a later Patrol, formed after Baltonsborough Patrol was disbanded in April 1941.

Lieutenant Edward Harrison was a geography teacher and assistant Headmaster at Wells Cathedral School and seems to have recruited quite a few ex-pupils into the Patrols under his command.

The Patrols of Group 11 under Lieutenant Harrison: Dinder Patrol, Green Ore (Wells) Patrol, Ebbor Patrol and Butleigh Patrol met at The Bekynton Cafe in Wells on Friday 15th December 1945 for a reunion meal. The men enjoyed steamed cod and parsley sauce with peas and Brussels sprouts. Pudding was damson pie and custard and they were each presented with a letter of thanks from the Commander in Chief Home Forces, General Sir Harold Franklyn.

They met again on Thursday 19th December 1946 at Wickenden's Restaurant where the Wells Journal openly calls them Aux Units.


TNA ref WO199/3390 and WO 199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Donald Brown Research for “Somerset vs Hitler” and Defence of Britain Database.

Mr Charles Rendell

“The Somerset Home Guard, a Pictorial Roll Call”, by Jeffrey Wilson.

Somerset Heritage Environment Record ref 11293, 15636, 16671, 42393

Newspapers and 1939 Register

Mrs B Butt – daughter of Sergeant Haimes