Roadwater Patrol


Roadwater is a village 3 miles south-west of Williton, on the northern edge of the Exmoor National Park.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Walter John Taylor

Agricultural worker

12 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Corporal Wilfred Thomas Parsons

Farm carter

03 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Donald Cecil Beaver

Farm assistant

13 Jan 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Edwin Leslie Beaver

Tractor driver

28 Jan 1944 03 Dec 1944
Private Gerald William Beaver

Farm assistant

24 Apr 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Stanley John Beaver

Farm assistant

03 Feb 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Charles James Burge

Farm labourer

13 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Colin Carpenter


Unknown Unknown
Private Leonard Coles

Farm labourer

23 Jun 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private Robert J. Reed


1940 April 1942
Operational Base (OB)

The main OB was within a tunnel or adit at Treborough Slate Quarry. This has since been filled in.

Bob Reed; " We were taken to Treborough Quarry. entering the wood from the road on the east side to the left of the old lime burning kilns. We came to a very high cliff, the base of which was banked up to about 12 feet. We crawled up the bank and got into a hole like the entrance to a badger's sett. Inside was a good sized tunnel about 8 feet wide, very long and high enough to give standing room. We were made to go right through to look out on the inside of the deep quarry. The tunnel was very eerie because of the cobwebs and hundreds of bats hanging from the roof. In the next few days the army came but they were not allowed to meet us for security reasons. They installed shelves, some of which could be used as bunks if needed."

Bob also recalls two other bases built some time later, which he describes as stores. These COULD have been the OBs for the nearby Patrols. They were at Felon's Oak, Croydon and in the middle of Lodge Rocks Quarry, between Roadwater and Washford at Draggers Cross. These he only visited once so he could be aware of where it was to use in an emergency. "The base at Felon's Oak was on high ground and was described as a metal bunker set in a high bank several yards from the low lane road. The entrance was through a earth covered hinged trap door on the roof and down a ladder. We visited this base a few times, covering it with earth to camouflage it."

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Plan of Treborough Quarry OB (from Bob Reed)
OB Image
Caption & credit
Plan of Felon's Oak store (from Bob Reed)
OB Image
Caption & credit
Roadwater Patrol doctored photo (from Bob Reed) Rear L-R; Donald Beaver, Leonard Coles, Sgt Walter Taylor, Wilfred Parsons. Front; Stan Beaver (changed to Bob Reed), Charlie Burge.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Roadwater Patrol original photo (from Bob Reed) Rear L-R; Jim Burge, Leonard Coles, Sgt Walter Taylor, Wilfred Parsons. Front; Stan Beaver, Charlie Burge.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Felon's Oak location though it is further up the lane than this indicates(from Bob Reed)
OB Image
Caption & credit
Somerset Washford area OBs map (from Bob Reed)
OB Image
Caption & credit
Roadwater Treborough Quarry OB location (from Bob Reed)
OB Image
Caption & credit
Treborough slate quarry 1990 (from Bob Reed)
OB Status

Roadwater Patrol


Sherwood House, Goathurst

Bob Reed; "I was issued with a revolver and ammunition for my own use but I had to keep it a secret and not carry it openly. It was hidden in my bedroom at home. We reported to a large house near South Petherton for weekend training with explosives. I enjoyed the hard training; there was plenty of good food and we were well looked after.

We trained at weekends and evenings in the quarry on the right hand side near the old buildings. A few inquisitive people were told to leave and keep away. I trained on firing the revolver and the Browning machine-gun, a very accurate gun at long range, and throwing grenades. A lot of practice was done with explosives on an old lorry chassis, railway lines, girders and a thick metal plate. Soon after the unit was formed a large supply of advanced plastic explosives were issued, some for practice, the rest to be stored in Treborough Quarry underground tunnel with the other supplies. Timing fuses came as well, from a few seconds to a much longer time, identified by colours or a number". 

Bob was adamant he never went to Coleshill House.

Weapons and Equipment

Bob Reed required to carry revolver at all times though making sure it was carefully concealed.

Other information

Bob Reed served for a short time in the Local Defence Volunteers when it was first formed but was soon approached by Sergeant Taylor to join, what was at the time, 6 men in the Patrol. These were Taylor, Burge, Carpenter, Coles, Parsons and himself. A Group photo taken shows Donald Beaver, Coles, Taylor, Parsons, Stan Beaver and Burge. Bob Reed changed the photo, replacing Stan Beaver with himself as he never believed Stan had been in the Patrol. Stan joined after Bob had left.

Auxilier Bob Reed wrote his memoirs of his time in Auxiliary Units. They are available at Somerset Heritage Centre 


TNA ref WO199/3390 & WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

1939 Register

Bon Brown and The Defence of Britain database

The late Bob Reed

Somerset Heritage Centre A/BJS/3/49 and ABUI/1

Adit Now photos of Treborough Quarry