Starcross Patrol

Locality

Starcross is a village on the west shore of the Exe estuary in Teignbridge, South Devon.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Frederick Goodridge

Farmer

13 Oct 1942 03 Dec 1944
Corporal Norman Frank Rowe

Farmer

27 Oct 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Gilbert William Sidney Bright

Fish roundsman

24 Nov 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Wilfred G. Burch

Market gardener

10 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Jeffrey Goodridge

Farmer

13 Oct 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Reginald William Lintern McClaughlin

Railwayman

30 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Ernest G. Mummery

Rail porter

30 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Francis James Wotton

Farm worker

27 Jun 1942 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The Operational Base for the Patrol was between Starcross and Exminster and the Auxiliers lived in the surrounding area. The OB was located on land farmed by Auxilier Francis Wotton at Tawsington Farm. The farm has now been split and the land divided up around neighbouring farms. Situated just below the brow of a hill, the area has views over the River Exe Estuary and almost up to the City of Exeter.

Known to have been built by the Royal Engineers, local children discovered the OB while still intact during the 1950s. It was entered into by a trap door in the middle of a Laurel copse though nothing could be seen from the surface. Embedded in the entrance shaft were 5 metal rungs leading down to a Nissen hut type structure containing a cast iron stove, a cupboard and four bunk beds. Ventilation pipes led to the surface. A 3 foot diameter concrete pipe lead away as an escape tunnel, exiting at the surface.

The structure is thought to have been destroyed. At one time it was seen as only rubble remaining, along with the intact escape tunnel leading away.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Starcross Patrol
OB Image
Caption & credit
Starcross rifle range
OB Image
Caption & credit
View from OB site over River Teign
OB Image
Caption & credit
1940s Starcross targets map
OB Image
Caption & credit
Exeter canal bridge
OB Image
Caption & credit
Starcross rail target - Auxilier's homes on right
OB Image
Caption & credit
Countess Wear bridge
OB Status
Location not known
OB accessibility
This OB is on private land. Please do not be tempted to trespass to see it
Location

Starcross Patrol

Patrol Targets

The railway line running through all the Group 5 towns would have been better targeted at Teignmouth or Dawlish but having railway workers knowledge could have given this Patrol an advantage.

The Patrol's most obvious targets could have been the main A379 road and the A38 bridges over the rail line, the Exe Estuary at Countess Wear and the Exeter Canal. A plaque records the role of this bridge in the rehearsals for the D-Day landings in Normandy. "They were used, over a period of three days and nights, for rehearsals of the famous and crucial glider borne attack on the bridge over the Canal de Caen (Pegasus Bridge) and the river Orne (Horsa Bridge) by the Second Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, on the night of 5/6 June 1944." 

The nearby Powderham Castle could have been used by an invading force.

River traffic up the Exe Estuary to the City of Exeter could also have been targeted.

Training

Shooting practice took place at the rifle range at Starcross. Suspected training areas for all the Patrols of Group 5 are the many forests and plantations on and around Great Haldon Ridge.

 

Weapons and Equipment

Unknown, but it is assumed they had access to the standard kit and arms and explosives.

Other information

Starcross group photo shows; Back row left to right: Norman Rowe, Jim Burch, Jeff Goodridge, Sergeant Fred Goodridge - Front: Ernest Mummery, Reg McClaughlin, Gilbert Bright.

References

TNA ref WO199/3390

The Hancock data held at B.R.A.

1939 Register

Douglas McClaughlin, Robin Thorp, Tim Mole, Tricia Whiteway, Tim Whiteway, Peter Ponsford,

The Western Times.