Charborough Park is a large country house estate now belonging to the Drax family. It is seven miles east of Wimborne. It is thought that the members almost all came from the Charborough Park estate staff. Most of them did not serve in the armed forces during World War One, most likely as their work would have exempted them from conscription. Charles Hoare was the chauffer to the owner, Admiral the Honourable Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, KCB, DSO, JP, DL. Admiral Drax had a long and distinguished career in the Royal Navy during both World Wars, though between 1941 and 1943 he had a brief spell in the Home Guard, having been officially retired, before going back to sea again as a Convoy Commodore! The estate is well known to visitors to Dorset for the long wall that runs alongside the A31 road that borders the deer park. The corner entrance gate is known to Dorset residents for its five legged stag (though in truth the fifth leg is a support for the statue that sits high above the gateway!).
|Sergeant Ernest Charles Hoare||
Chauffeur Mechanic private service
|19 Jul 1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Corporal Albert Harold Webb||
Head Forester private estate
|17 Jul 1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Private George Cherrett||
|18 Jul 1940||08 Oct 1943|
|Private Henry Albert Jones||
|27 Mar 1942||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Reginald Frederick Penny||
Farm Tractor Driver (Gamekeeper)
|03 Jun 1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Private James William Tabberer||
Estate Woodsman ARP Service (Poacher)
|14 Jun 1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Sidney M Wilson||
|01 Oct 1941||03 Dec 1944|
The OB for the Patrol was reportedly on the large Charborough Park estate, though is thought to have been destroyed.
It is likely that Charborough House itself would have been a key target, since the German’s would undoubtedly have identified it as a likely Headquarters or as an area for a troop encampment. The Patrol was also close to all the main east-west and north-south roads in the area, so it is likely that demolishing the bridges would have slowed any German advance.
Ernest Hoare kept his duties a secret both during and after the war. His daughter only knew that he was in the Home Guard and recalled him blackening his face before going out. His granddaughter was aware that he knew how to kill people, but not how he came by this knowledge, until a book about Sturminster Marshall during the war was published.
As the Patrol photo shows, the Patrol members were armed with Sten guns, with Sergeant Hoare having a Tommy gun. All but Albert Jones wear pistols, with pistol lanyards visible. The pistols are worn on the left to allow a quick draw with the right hand. Sergeant Hoare’s daughter recalls one occasion when he fixed a bayonet to a rifle and practised a charge, so he must have had a service rifle at some point as well. Many Patrols were initially issued with two such rifles, though these were found not to be terribly useful. Most Patrols were also issued with a .22 rifle often with a telescopic sight and silencer, though these could not be fitted with a bayonet.
The Patrol was sent a Christmas Card by Colonel Major and his staff for Christmas 1941. It isn’t clear if this was posted or delivered by the Intelligence Officers in person, but does suggest that the Headquarters had a clear idea of how many Patrols were in existence. It may even be that the list in David Lampe’s “The Last Ditch”, sourced from Colonel Major, was actually his Christmas card list!
Sturminster Marshall; The War Years by Bill Coomer
Correspondence with Pamela, granddaughter of Ernest Hoare and the recollections of her Aunt, also John Pidgeon and Christine Paterson