Motcombe Patrol


Motcombe is a village 2 miles north-west of Shaftsbury.

Given its proximity to the home of the first Dorset Intelligence Officer, Captain The Lord Ashley, it seems likely that this was one of the first Patrols to be formed in the area.

Several of the men lived at Motcombe House. The house was the property of Mr Charles Prideaux, who died in 1940. That year, Pinewood School was briefly evacuated to Motcombe House.

In 1942, a Prisoner of War Camp was erected in the park, housing Germans, and after the war, Polish refugees.

In 1947, Motcombe House became Port Regis School, a prep school that had been evacuated from Broadstairs for part of the war to nearby Bryanston.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant William Fred Arnold

Driver Public Service Vehicles

20 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Ronald Arthur Arnold

Milk drier Milk Factory

19 Jul 1940 14 Apr 1943
Private Percy Barter

Linesman Wessex Elect Co

05 Jul 1943 03 Dec 1944
Private Henry Robert Blaker

Clerk, Goldfields Ltd

19 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Arnold Vernon Ridler Howe

Motor Mechanic 1894 ID

13 Jan 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Christopher John Kavanagh


02 May 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private Thomas W Maskell

Builders Labourer

02 Apr 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Raymond Arthur Roberts

Clerk, Goldfields Ltd

17 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Motcombe House (Shaftsbury Remembers)
OB Status
Location not known

Motcombe Patrol

Patrol Targets

Motcombe House was a likely target. German occupiers would very likely have taken it over. Obviously the men were very familiar with the location and would have been able to get in and out without being noticed. We can be fairly confident about this as in 2017 a set of papers from the Commander of Motcombe Home Guard were auctioned on eBay. One document was a request for volunteers to defend Motcombe House against a party of 7 men led by Mr Arnold, the lorry driver. There were six names that had been been added to the notice. The practice attack was carried out on 15th April 1941.

Other information

The Motcombe Home Guard papers referred to above also records requests for HR Blaker (on 31st May 1941) and RA Roberts (14th October 1941) to be transferred from the Motcombe platoon to Auxiliary Units. This suggests they were not among it's earliest members. Percy Barter joined in July 1943, possibly as a replacement for Ron Arnold when he went into the Forces. This confirms that dates recorded in the Auxiliary Units Nominal Roll as starting dates actually relate to the start of service in any branch of the Home Guard.


National Archives WO 199/3390, 199/3391

1939 Register

John Pidgeon…