Cosham is an area in the north of Portsmouth.
|Sergeant Donald Arthur Beaven||
|04 Apr 1942||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Richard Derek Akehurst||31 May 1940||05 Sep 1942|
|Private Peter Desmond Aylett||
|27 Sep 1941||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Richard Calvin Booker||15 Apr 1942||15 Mar 1944|
|Private Maurice Herbert Clasby||
Shipwright Apprentice H M Dockyard
|20 Feb 1942||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Albert Newnham- Smith||
|16 Sep 1940||03 Dec 1944|
|Private James Bengree Thomas||01 Jul 1944||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Victor James Underwood||
Cost Clerk Local Authority
|29 Mar 1941||03 Dec 1944|
|Private Alan James Williams||
Evacuated Schoolboy from Portsmouth
|04 Apr 1942||03 Dec 1944|
Remembered by Sergeant Bevan as being in The Downs, just inland from Portsmouth.
Likely targets would have included; the railway triangle at Cosham; an intersection/hub for all rail-lines heading east-west and north-south. It cannot be stressed enough how vital this feature is for rail access along the south coast and to and from the essential deep-water port of Portsmouth Dock.
Hilsea bridges (west bridge – road; east bridge – rail), both highly likely for demolition by the Patrol. This would castrate any enemy advance into or out of Portsmouth.
Portsea Island airfield in the Hilsea area, may well have been a target, should the Germans take the island.
Don Bevan recalled; "I was Sergeant leader of the Purbrook Patrol whose OB was located in the Downs just inland from Portland.
On Saturday June 3rd 1944, one Major Clive, our liaison officer with Intelligence Corps, visited us on exercise to ask for volunteers for a special assignment. Incidentally the exercise was a debriefing on what we had observed in regular army movements which would have allowed a German spy to predict the date of D-Day. To summarise his words; 'The army is on the move. Every regular soldier is committed. There is an installation on the Isle of Wight which needs guarding. There is a small number of soldiers from the Welsh Regiment which needs supplementing. We have just heard of a possible pre-emptive strike by German paratroopers from the Brandenburg Air-bourne Division'.
The next morning I sought leave from H.M Dockyard where I was an engineering apprentice and that afternoon mustered at the car ferry port at Portsmouth. With me were two other apprentices, one from my Patrol and one from a neighbouring Patrol. The other Auxiliers came from many parts of the UK. and were drawn from over 30 trades and professions. There were quite a number from Northumberland who did not know that they were destined for the Isle of Wight. When the saw the shipping and landing craft in the harbour Spithead, they feared the worst. They had not reckoned on going to France. We duly sailed through the invasion fleet, bobbing up and down at anchor in the harbour and Spithead, waiting for the signal to sail - delayed by 24 hours as we now know.
On arrival we were taken to the South-West coast of the Island and billeted in various empty houses waiting for us. We quickly marked out our own territory on the floor with our straw mattresses, tipped the cook and waited.
When news broke of the Normandy landings we put ourselves in readiness for 'we knew not what'. We were not even sure of the exact location of the pumping installation. All we knew was that the most likely area of attack was the coastal strip running about 5 miles east of the Needles. Neither the Welsh Regiment or ourselves had been given any information regarding mutual recognition. We were lucky we did not shoot each other in mistake for Germans on our nightly patrol of the cliffs. Liaison took place in the pub.
During the day we practiced Tommy gun shooting at oil drums in the sea or for some of us revisiting our forthcoming engineering exams on which our future depended. As the week proceeded the army consolidated its position in France and our presence in the Isle of Wight became less and less necessary and we were stood down. We lamented the lack of action but we enjoyed a flutter of excitement, took pride in being involved. We made some new friends and the food was good.
On the fifteenth anniversary of D-Day the three of us from Portsmouth had a quiet reunion lunch." (Don Bevan, Peter Aylett and Jim Bouch)
TNA ref WO199/3391
Hancock data held at B.R.A
The late Don Bevan