Swainswick Patrol


Swainswick is a small village 3 miles north east of Bath on the A46.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Lieutenant Malcolm Thomas Shackell

Dairy farmer

25 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Cyril James Cryer

Quarry owners clerk

31 May 1940 14 Apr 1943
Private Henry George Davis

Market gardener

31 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Edwin Hugh Gibbs 30 Jan 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private George Henry Pow

Dairy farmer

30 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private John Leslie Shackell

Farmer assisting father

20 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private John Campbell Taylor 04 Nov 1941 Unknown
Operational Base (OB)

The Defence of Britain Database records the OB as being south west of Tadwick. Between Tadwick Lane and Gloucester Road. The OB is in at wood at Upper Swainswick , possibly Bear Wood or Slate Wood. Remains were still there around 2015, but it is thought to now have been filled in and the site is overgrown with badgers in the area.

This wood used to be owned by the Shackell family.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Swainswick Patrol. Rear; Cyril Cryer (Note pistol holster) Sgt Malcolm Shackell, Unknown. Front left Henry Davis, John Leslie Shackell (from Caroline Davey)
OB Status
Location not known

Swainswick Patrol

Patrol Targets

Local targets would have included RAF Charmy Down and the A46 main road going north from Bath.


They trained at Yoxter Military training area. Yoxter training area / rifle range (see Somerset HER PRN 25665) nr Priddy, on the Mendip hills. This was a pre war Military camp, that was used all through WW2 by the regular Army, Home Guard, and the Auxiliary Units, at it is still marked on modern OS maps in Red and Danger, so it is still being used.

Weapons and Equipment

The Patrol improvised with some of their equipment. It was known they trained in silent killing using a hat pin and they had at least one privately purchased hunting knife. They had revolvers and a .303 rifle.

The home of John Shackell, Tourneys Farm .303 ammunition and thunder flashes were found after the war. There is also a gas mask and tin hats still there at the farm.


TNA ref WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Defence of Britain Database.

Chris Perry

Somerset HER