Rodmell Patrol

County Group

Rodmell is a small village in the Lewes District of East Sussex, three miles south-west of Lewes, on the Lewes to Newhaven road.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Frank Seymour Dean

General agricultural blacksmith

24 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Sergeant Guy Henry Woodman


Unknown Sept 1940
Private Reginald Philip Baker 08 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Tom Lees Barton

Hotel manager & retired police officer

03 Oct 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private Wilfred Beagley

Farm tractor driver

30 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private William Dennis Carr


16 Oct 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Harry Carr

Milk delivery & assisting father on farm

18 Aug 1942 13 Aug 1943
Private Arthur Lesley Costick


05 Jan 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Henry Gregory

Head gardener

23 May 1940 13 Nov 1943
Private Clifford Pettit

Farm tractor & lorry driver

24 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Rowland Alger Potter


26 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The OB was at Breaky Bottom, on the Downs, east of Rodmell village.

The Patrol dug the hole in the chalk for the Royal Engineers to build the OB in. 20ft by 12 ft wide and 9ft high it was lined with corrugated iron and wood. The roof was made of 9 by 4 inch timbers. One end had a square hatch for an entrance and the other end had an emergency exit, both with wooden ladders. The covering hatches were filled with soil and vegetation. Ventilation was provided by 4 pipes leading to the surface.

The OB contained bunks, a water tank, cooking stove and an Elsan chemical toilet. It was used to store ammunition, explosives, food and a jar of rum.

The OB was remembered as being constantly damp and Sergeant Frank Dean devised a system with silica gel to try to keep it dry.

On one occasion an army vehicle parked on top of the OB, the entrance hatch gave way and a gun wheel got stuck. The soldiers entered the OB and stole the Patrol's rum ration. Sergeant Dean reported it and there was an enquiry.

In 1945 Sergeant Frank Dean removed the roof timbers for various building projects.

OB Status
Location not known

Rodmell Patrol


The patrol went to Coleshill to train along with at the regional HQ at Tottington Manor. Local training took place by making mock attacks, sometimes on tanks based at Stanmer Park near Falmer

Auxilier 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 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 31 January 1943 the Firle Patrol visited the Rodmell Patrol to see their OB and OP.



Other information

The Patrol were presented with their lapel badge at a dinner party in Brighton.


TNA reference WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

'The Secret Sussex Resistance' by Stewart Angell

Diary of Sergeant Bill Webber