Dymchurch Patrol

A.K.A. (nickname)
Toadstool
County Group
Locality

Dymchurch village is 3 miles north-east along the coast from New Romney.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Charles Donald Symonds

Agricultural labourer

02 Jun 1940 21 Apr 1944
Private Albert John Ovenden

Shepherd

Unknown 1944
Private Alfred George Ovenden

Shepherd

Unknown 1944
Private Edward Vincent Piddock

Shepherd & farm bailiff

22 Oct 1941 21 Apr 1944
Private David Octavius Symonds 22 Oct 1941 21 Jan 1944
Private Cecil Watts

Market gardener

27 Jun 1940 21 Apr 1944
Private Frank J Watts

Market gardener

10 Dec 1940 21 Apr 1944
Operational Base (OB)

This OB is on private land and is located on the edge of a field by a dyke. There is foliage around it now but during the war the location was void of any cover. The size of OB is 20 ft x 8 ft x 8 ft and it is in a good condition, still structurally sound but prone to flooding.

From Edward Carpenter's book “Romney Marsh at War”: 'The three Operational Bases, designed by Captain Field and built by Corbens of Maidstone, were identical in size, being 20 ft long, 8 ft wide and 8 ft high. The external walls were of reinforced concrete lined with bitumen, and white bricks were used on the inside, with a ventilating downpipe in each corner and three air outlets along the centre of the chamber. There was an entrance at either end, with dwarf walls at the bottom in case the enemy should drop a grenade into the entrance shaft. Iron bars were let into the shaft brickwork to form steps. The entrances had camouflaged wooden covers.'

There are two improvised metal covers that when removed revealed vertical shafts about 10 feet deep with metal rungs built into the corners for access.

You can see the ‘tide mark’ around the walls showing how high the water must get in there, and a timber batten still fixed to the wall where the candles are.

It has brick lined walls and a concrete floor and roof. The OB was discovered by Canadian troops in January 1944 and the patrol were stood down at that time.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Inside OB – note tide mark around walls.
OB Image
OB Status
Location not known
Location

Dymchurch Patrol

Training

Auxilier Albert Overden: 'I enjoyed the training at Bilting (The Garth). That was usually on a Sunday. We were taught by the Lovat Scouts to blow up trees so that they fell on a certain part of a road as road blocks, also to blow up a convoy of vehicles. They had some old vehicles in the woods to practise on, things like that. We very rarely went to our OB; we were told not to in case it was discovered and, as you know, it was by troops in 1944. We were then disbanded and returned to the Home Guard.'

Other information

This Patrol consisted of three sets of brothers; the Symonds, Watts and Overdens.

References

TNA ref WO199/3391 and WO199/3390

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Phil Evans

Adrian Westwood

“Romney Marsh at War” by Edward Carpenter

Martin Male