Ugborough Patrol

Locality

Ugborough is a village in the South Hams, Devon. All the Auxiliers come from the surrounding area.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant John Edward Ough

Horseman

10 Jul 1940 20 Oct 1943
Sergeant Alec Richard Rogers

Farmer

14 Aug 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private William Anthony Talbot Daniels

Farm hand

14 Aug 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Arthur Harold White Hine

Farm hand

01 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Edward James Lapthorne

Farmer

31 Jul 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private Alfred William Luscombe

Farm hand

06 Jul 1942 18 Jul 1943
Private Maurice Edward Pepperell

Butcher

30 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Percy Arthur Stephens

Farm hand

07 Aug 1942 15 Nov 1943
Operational Base (OB)

The Patrol rarely visited the OB as it was considered damp. Stores and explosives were mainly kept at Alec Rogers' farm at Filham.

The OB was built by the Royal Engineers. It was entered via a moss covered man hole cover and a short ladder down into the first chamber which was a store and kitchen. A corrugated iron passage lead to another chamber containing bunks. An escape tunnel ran off this chamber.

The land slopes quite gently on the OB site south east to north west then drops away quite steeply down to a small stream from escape tunnel exit. The ground is mostly shale.

The OB was blown up by the Patrol post stand down. The passage way between two chambers seems to have collapsed rather than been demolished.

Where the main chamber would have been is a large circular depression 2m deep and diameter of approximately 8m with a 20m passageway, 2m wide, leading from it in a south east direction. This shows signs of having been lined with corrugated iron. This leads into a smaller circular depression 1.75m deep and diameter of approximately 4m. This is slightly offset from the passageway.

Exiting this smaller chamber is the escape tunnel which again seems to have been lined with corrugated iron and is 20m long. This exits just as the ground begins to fall away steeply to a stream below.

Just above the OB at the top of a hill there is a fine view of both the railway line and the main A38 and down as far as Plymouth.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Main chamber of OB
OB Image
Caption & credit
Looking down passageway towards main chamber
OB Image
Caption & credit
Collapsed Passageway
OB Image
Caption & credit
Smaller chamber with passageway leading away to left and escape tunnel to left
OB Image
Caption & credit
Sketch of Ugborough
OB Image
Caption & credit
Looking down the escape tunnel. Note watertank.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Filham Farm
OB Image
Caption & credit
Ugborough Patrol often trained at Alec Rogers barn and lower orchard and stores and explosives were stored in the barn
OB Status
Collapsed with few visible remains
OB accessibility
This OB is on private land. Please do not be tempted to trespass to see it
Location

Ugborough Patrol

Patrol Targets

Targets would have included the main A38 road from Plymouth to the east, various viaducts carrying the main rail line from Plymouth especially London Bridge and any of the few bridges that cross the River Erme.

Training

The Patrol trained with the other Patrols of Group 3

Ugborough Patrol often trained at Alec Rogers barn and lower orchard, Broardaford.

On a night exercise at Flete Woods, trip wires were laid by the Ugborough Patrol for the Flete Patrol to try to find. The evening was finished off with bread, cheese and cider at the Sergeant Baker's home, the Flete Estate head keeper's lodge.

Ugborough kept up their training schedules until the Patrols were disbanded and the bases blown up.

Weapons and Equipment

It is assumed they were issued with the standard kit, arms and explosives. Stores and explosives were stored in the barn of Alec Rogers' Farm. In his diary, Alec Rogers talk unfavourably about the Sten gun.

Other information

Sergeant Alec Rogers kept a wartime diary which can be seen here it details the activities of the Patrol.

During Local Defence Volunteer (later Home Guard) rifle practice at Bittaford, Lieutenant Pearson asked for seven volunteers. They met at Alec Rogers' farm barn at Filham a few days later along with Lieutenant Alwyn Robertson (Harford Patrol) who spelt out their intended role. On receipt of this news some volunteers left.

Even with strict petrol rationing, Alec Rogers remembers he was able to drive where he liked. Every Patrol leader carried a special pass. On Alec Rogers was written “ Sargent Rogers is on Special Duty. No question should be asked of him but should be referred to ….” there followed an address in the London area.

At stand down Captain Falcon supervised the destruction of the bases. They went underground and fixed explosives to points in the base. Six men were dispersed to keep all clear. Fuses were lit followed by a great explosion throwing timber and galvanised iron in the air, killing one fir tree and toppling another. These are still in situ.

On V.E day the Patrol members took some explosives from the Auxiliary Unit stores at Filham and went to a hill above the nearby hamlet of Penquit. The more agile young farmers climbed the ash poles and lit the flares. A burst of light was briefly followed by the total darkness everyone had been accustomed to for the past 5 years. Then everyone’s eyes became aware of the lights of Ermington and Ivybridge and all around, a truly moving sight. Little lights were twinkling where cottages and farmhouses were celebrating this great victory. A night never to be forgotten for Alec and his young farmer colleagues.
V.J night was celebrated on Western Beacon (edge of Dartmoor) exploding ¼ lb sticks of Nobel's 808 Dynamite.

 

References

Memories of Alec Rogers kindly shared by the Rogers family,

Ivybridge during the Second World War by Arthur Clamp,

Book of Cornwood and Lutton by Meriel Dodinson.

The kind help of Noel Thornton and Mike Barber for taking me to this and another OB.

TNA ref WO199/3391

1939 Register