Cooksbridge Patrol

A.K.A. (nickname)
Weasel Patrol
County Group

Cooksbridge is a village in East Sussex centred around its railway station.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Lieutenant Frank Reeves Martin

Dairy farmer

10 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private George Cook


25 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Ralph Cook


25 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Bernard Eede

Agricultural engineer

26 Nov 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Charles John Gearing

Master builder, undertaker, carpenter & joiner

23 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Richard Victor Giles

Bank worker

18 Aug 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private Lewis Pearce Greenwood


23 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private John Kenward Harmer

Dairy farmer

09 Aug 1940 15 Nov 1943
Private John Gilbert Herbert Monnington


06 Mar 1941 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The Patrol had two OBs, the first in Warningore Wood had to be abandoned.

The second OB was built by the Royal Engineers in the area of Coombe Plantation below Mount Harry, near Offham. It was remembered as L-shaped with bunks down the long side of the L at one end with the rest of the space being used for storage and cooking. Around the corner was the ammunition and explosives store along with an Elsan chemical toilet. It was lined with corrugated iron sheeting and had a wooden floor.

The entrance was a square hatch which was attached to a branch lying on the ground a fixed number of paces from a tree. When the branch was lifted it revealed a wooden ladder leading down into the OB. 

Close to the OB, further up the slope was an Observational Post. This too was built by the Royal Engineers and disguised to look like a bomb crater by scattering chalk around it. The OB and OP were linked by a telephone line.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Cooksbridge OB Coombe Wood 1980's (from Mary Parker)
OB Status
Location not known
OB accessibility
This OB is on private land. Please do not be tempted to trespass to see it

Cooksbridge Patrol

Patrol Targets

Local bridges, railways and any German vehicles or installations in the area.


It is assumed they trained at the regional HQ at Tottington Manor.

Bill Webber, the Firle Patrol Leader, kept a diary of his Patrol's movements during their operational years. Although the entries are brief it gives a detailed account of their training, visits to Coleshill House and Tottington Manor, inter-Patrol competitions and interactions with neighbouring Patrols.

On 29 November 1941 an inter-Patrol competition was held at Bishopstone. Competing were members of the Bishopstone, Cooksbridge, Ringmer and Abbot's Wood Patrols. The events included Mills bomb throwing, pistol, rifle and Thompson sub-machine gun target shooting; and a night patrol efficiency test. Cooksbridge Patrol came first, with 84 points, Bishopstone second, with 81 points; Abbot's Wood third, with 55 points; and Ringmer last with 43 points.

On 26 March 1942 a Patrol Leaders meeting was held at Allington Farm, East Chiltington. This was where the Cooksbridge Patrol Leader, Frank Martin lived. After the meeting they all visited the Cooksbridge Patrol's OB.

30 April 1942 saw another Patrol Leaders' meeting at Allington Farm. The men were issued with the silenced .22 rifles, with telescopic sights, for the first time at this meeting. They were also given a new pass-word. Bill Webber could not remember what this was but recalls that such phrases as 'Rule Britannia', 'South Down' or 'Sussex Weald' were used at any given time.

On 25 June 1942 a Patrol Leaders' meeting was held at Offham. They learnt that Captain Bond was leaving to take up a new appointment. They also heard details of another inter-Patrol competition that was to be held on 12 July

On the days 28 June, 2 July and 5 July, 1942, the Patrol trained for the forthcoming competition. The competition was held on the 12 July at Mary's Farm, Falmer. The Cooksbridge Patrol won. Bishopstone and FirIe finished third after leading. They lost valuable points on the last event called a 'relay'. This involved each man running at a target, while firing a Sten gun at the same time. Out of a possible 40 points they only gained 10. This put them into third place. After the competition they were introduced to Captain Bond's replacement Captain Benson.

On 31 July 1942 there was a Patrol Leaders' meeting at Offham. This was the first to be chaired by Captain Benson. Another Patrol Leaders' meeting was held at Offham on 25 September 1942 and the next month's programme arranged.

On 22 November 1942 a meeting of Patrol Leaders from all over Sussex was held at Tottington Manor. Captain Benson laid down a training programme for greater efficiency and to forestall any staleness that might be affecting the Patrols.

On 16 February 1943 there was a Patrol Leaders' meeting at Allington Farm with Captain Benson as chairman. They all heard that Lieutenant Ashby and the Scouts were leaving the Auxiliary Units to return to their regiments. The reason given for this was that they had to prepare and be available for the Normandy landings. Soon after this the Auxiliary Units were asked for volunteers to be parachuted into France as a pre-invasion plan. This would entail two weeks of intensive parachute training which the Auxiliary Units lacked.




Other information

George Cook could remember one morning after they had stayed in the, barely tolerable, OB the men had a big fry up of bacon and eggs. A passer by smelt this and reported it to the Police. The men got into trouble over this.


TNA reference WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

'The Secret Sussex Resistance' by Stewart Angell

Diary of Sergeant Bill Webber

Mary Parker