Chandler's Ford is a village 1 mile north of Southampton.
|Sergeant William R Escott||
Cycle Shop Owner & Engineer
|27 May 1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Sergeant Sidney F Scott||
|01 Jun 1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Roy Edward John Budden||
|13 Sep 1941||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Ronald John Cooper||
Agricultural Engineer, Mechanic
|20 Jun 1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Montague Edward George Dymott||
Agricultural Engineer & Lorry Driver
|10 Jun 1941||03 Dec 1944|
|Private John Stanley Foster||
Costing Clerk Pirelli General Cable Works
|23 Jun 1942||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Clarence Ernest F King||
|29 Sep 1941||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Mark James Richardson||
Open License Public Service Vehicle Driver
|26 May 1940||14 Sep 1942|
|Private Cuthbert T Williams||19 Nov 1942||03 Dec 1944|
The Operational Base was built by the Royal Engineers in the Chandler's Ford Brickworks. The entrance was concealed at the base of a hollow stump of an Elm tree. The hollow lead to a trap door, which then lead to a tunnel. It has been recalled that this tunnel was often 6 inches deep in water so the men were often soaking wet before they entered the main chamber.
The main chamber was a store for ammunition and explosives as well as food and a sleeping area. Cupboards and bunks were cut into the earth walls of the hide (note there is no mention of the regular “Nissen” structure) and there were cooking facilities as well as a chemical toilet.
The OB was so damp that they did not leave weapons there.
The OB was destroyed after stand down by the Royal Engineers. The site of the Brickworks is now Chandler's Ford Industrial Estate.
Chandler's Ford Patrol
Roy Budden recalled that the men knew every bend in the rail line from Romsey to Eastleigh and all the bends in the local roads were they could set up an ambush.
Looking at the 1945 map it would seem the rail and road links would be obvious targets along with bridges.
Roy Budden remembered training 2 nights a week and at weekends. He recalled; “Mother didn't know what was going on. Good job really that she didn't look under my bed as when we had been out training over night my rucksack was full of explosives and weapons.”
One night the Chandler's Ford Patrol met with another Patrol in some sand pits at North Baddesley to try out some new shaped charges named “Beehive charges” which could punch a hole through armoured plate.
To test the charges they had a bomb case brought up from Portsmouth to practice on. They fitted two charges and backed away slowly to take cover. There was a tremendous explosion and Monty Dymott watched as it flew through the air, clean out of the quarry. When the dust had settled they decided to call it a night and climbed aboard their truck to return home.
They were flagged down by a couple in their night clothes about a mile down the road. As their bedroom ceiling had collapsed there had clearly been an air raid but they were worried as there had not been any warning sirens.
The next day reports came in of 32 houses damaged by this “mystery air raid” on 22nd June 1941.
Sometimes night exercises took place travelling across country undetected. This would often involve fording rivers which the men would strip for, wrapping their clothes in waterproof sheets and pushing in front while swimming the river. One night two of the men emerged from a river to encounter a woman walking her dog.
The Patrol often trained with others in the area. One night exercise was conducted near Bishops Waltham under the command of IO Major Clive. At the end of the exercise Major Clive suggested the men may just catch a pint in the local pub if they were quick. The group trooped to the pub still carrying various explosives, detonators and time pencils.
The landlord was not very welcoming to the slightly dishevelled group and refused to serve them. The disgruntled men left a small device in the fireplace and were half way down the road when the pub windows blew out.
Roy Budden remembers his commando knife and a .38 Smith and Western “not bad for a 17 year old nipper”
Monty Dymott would always carry his Colt 38 revolver in a concealed holster in his trousers. In the evenings he would leave his home in Leigh Road, where he lived with his parents, to train with the Patrol, regularly devoting 70 hours a month on top of his already arduous day job.
One evening, on his way to the OB and heavily armed, Monty passed two Canadian Officers. He was promptly called to account for not saluting, something that was impossible considering his load. The outraged officers quizzed him as to what he was up to and where he was going, questions he was unable to answer. His shoulder flash of “203” was not recognised and did not exist. They later tracked him down to his home and arrived to ask more questions. Thankfully secrecy was preserved.
With hindsight, Monty Dymott recalled the four years as great fun. After stand down the group went back to their day jobs and nothing of what they had done or the engineers built was spoken of again. Mr Dymott proudly displayed his Defence Medal he finally received 50 years later.
TNA ref WO199/3391
Hancock data held at B.R.A
Ray Cobern and John Edmunds.
Dr W Ward
Newspaper article interview of Ray Budden: thisishampshire 7/3/2003