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markh
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I hope the following might be of some interest and use, to those whose Royal Marine relatives trained at Dalditch camp during WW2. The site of the camp having links to Commandos both past and present.

Also the maps might make it easier to find some of what remains of the camp

See bottom of message for links to the references in square brackets [].

Apologies for any mistakes!


I recently stayed in small village of East Budleigh, Devon, UK. Famous for being the birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh. East Budleigh has another, more personal association for me, being a couple of miles down hill - remember it being downhill, I will explain later - from the site of RMITC (INFANTRY TRAINING CENTRE) known as DALDITCH camp, where according to my granddad's service record, he spent a week or so - see [6]

Today, what little remains of the once sprawling camp can be found on Woodbury Common, to the west of East Budleigh, Devon, UK, and east of Exmouth. See [1].

The area is still used today from time to time by modern day RM Commandos -I perhaps saw a few signs of this eg discarded ration packs, and a couple of very low flying Merlin helicopters with soldiers peering out- whose base at Lympstone is around 7 miles away to the NW. During WW2 Dalditch camp was used not only by Royal Marines, but Royal Marines destined to become 41,46 and 48 Commandos, as well as Royal Navy Commandos see [2]

Armed with a copy of "The Royal Marines in East Devon" by Anthony John Perrot see [3] which has a map on page 37. By spending an hour or so each day, over a period of a few days, I sought out what I could find of the camp.

From the book, I understood the camp was temporary and so not much remained. Also that it was built on the slopes of Woodbury common, suffered from terrible mud and poor sanitation. Due to gravity, much to the concern of residents, some of that sewage water ended up in the watercourses of the water serving Budleigh Salterton and East Budleigh ! See [7] From my time in the area, I could see that some of the surrounding lanes are a little muddy and water logged even in June.

Today the area is an undulating landscape, a mixture of gorse, heather and trees, both planted and natural. From the few photos from the time, there would have been many less trees

From the map in the book [3] and on the website [2] , I eventually found the "triangle" shown see the street view see [4]. Which is now a mostly wooded area, part of a plantation which slopes down to the south. Perhaps as evidence of modern day usage, I found by the road sign a spent modern 5.56 round, which of course I left where it was !

Not far to the SouthWest of the "triangle", along a track, in the now deciduous wood, amongst the undergrowth, I found a substantial brick built "decontamination" block, which you can not enter as bats lives there. Near by are some very small remains of rusting corrugated iron, perhaps from Nissan huts. See pictures. The ground is muddy in places and very overgrown, with occasional patches of bricks giving a hint of what might have been there.

Along the south east of the "triangle", near a bend in Hayes lane, there is a small sandy track see [5] , which leads uphill southwards, with the private Hayes Wood to your left . You can imagine troops running up this hill, indeed it seems popular with runners today ! About 300 m along this track, on your right, you can find a small brick building. Continuing along the sandy track another 300m and on your left you will see a an odd looking curved, brick wall, odd given its height. Closer inspection shows a number of bullet holes, and this was the wall behind the firing range. See pictures.

If you are ever in the area, its worth spending a few hours walking around here. Its a fairly large area, so be prepared, rain coats, sturdy boots ! Today, in June at least, its a pleasant walk, popular with runners and dog owners. Lots of trees, plants, and a few rabbits and deer. What remains of the camp is all out in the sticks, so not suitable for the infirm, or prams !


So with a bit of imagination, if you can spare the time, you can turn a seemingly dry entry from a service record, into something just a tiny bit more real.

I hope that was of interest and use to somebody, I certainly enjoyed "discovering" what remains of the camp.

PS
I just read about a danger of Woodbury common.

The skin infection, known as Woodbury Rash and suffered by generations of Royal Marines, has now been identified as a Group A streptoccal infection

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1518810/Grandmother-dies-after-scratch-from-gorse-on-dog-walk.html



[1] Satellite view of the area, showing the "triangle" at the top. The firing wall is down near the bottom right, on the tree line of Hayes wood, with the brick structure north of the wall.
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=google+maps+east+budleigh&ll=50.656344,-3.355443&spn=0.006904,0.016512&hnear=East+Budleigh,+Devon,+United+Kingdom&gl=uk&t=h&z=17

[2] http://www.exeterflotilla.org/history_misc/east_devon_rm/part2.html

[3]"The Royal Marines in East Devon" by Anthony John Perrot, ISBN-13: 978-1908123022

[4] Street view showing the "triangle"
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=google+maps+east+budleigh&ll=50.659058,-3.356506&spn=0.003452,0.008256&hnear=East+Budleigh,+Devon,+United+Kingdom&gl=uk&t=h&z=18&layer=c&cbll=50.659016,-3.356371&panoid=-Z6yPN2MhU9p0Lh0hQfqRg&cbp=12,53.84,,0,11.59

[5] Sandy Track leading to firing range wall
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=google+maps+east+budleigh&ll=50.657595,-3.351218&spn=0.001592,0.004128&hnear=East+Budleigh,+Devon,+United+Kingdom&gl=uk&t=h&layer=c&cbll=50.657595,-3.351218&panoid=C226PmCqUvuegwmsiah9Vg&cbp=12,187.31,,0,-0.88&z=19

[6]
George Norton Barnes

From my Granddad's RM service record, you can see that after being hospitalised with 40/"A" Commando, he moves to 41 Commando then quickly an entry is made for 104 Bde on 7/12/1942 where he stayed for about a week. I understand 104 Bde was a Royal Marine Training Brigade based at Dalditch at the time of my granddad's assignment. See [2]

[7] National archives ref ADM 1/14937
MEDICAL (56): Complaints regarding sewage disposal from Royal Marine camp at Dalditch: remedial measures taken in accordance with advice from Ministry of Health
[Thumb - 2013 june dalditch mud.jpg]
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This message was edited 6 times. Last update was at 03/04/2016 18:30:42


The more I learn about the Commandos, the less I realise I know.

Grandson of George Norton Barnes
PLY/X 107640 Royal Marines
14987370 Fus. Barnes G.N Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Royal Marines 8 BN, Royal Marines No. 40 and No. 41 Commando, LST 320, The 9th Buffs, Army No. 5 Commando and X Lists.

markh
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Some more pictures, as I could only upload 3 at a time.

[Thumb - 2013 june dalditch sandy path leading to firing range wall.jpg]
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 Description Sandy track leading from Hayes lane up to the firing range wall and small brick building
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 Description Some debris near the triangle
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The more I learn about the Commandos, the less I realise I know.

Grandson of George Norton Barnes
PLY/X 107640 Royal Marines
14987370 Fus. Barnes G.N Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Royal Marines 8 BN, Royal Marines No. 40 and No. 41 Commando, LST 320, The 9th Buffs, Army No. 5 Commando and X Lists.

markh
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A couple of links to other forum articles on Dalditch.

after acceptance for Commando training he was sent to Dalditch, a nissen hut camp on top of Woodbury Common. He mentions assault courses, death slides, river crossings, speed marches, unarmed combat and group PT as being order of the day there

http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoForum/posts/list/1374.page

http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoForum/posts/list/3329.page
[Thumb - 2013 june dalditch structure on way to firing range.jpg]
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 Description Small brick structure near firing range.
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[Thumb - 20130526_080525.jpg]
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 Description The triangle. Carry on and to left is a track leading to the decontamination blocks.
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The more I learn about the Commandos, the less I realise I know.

Grandson of George Norton Barnes
PLY/X 107640 Royal Marines
14987370 Fus. Barnes G.N Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Royal Marines 8 BN, Royal Marines No. 40 and No. 41 Commando, LST 320, The 9th Buffs, Army No. 5 Commando and X Lists.

markh
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Joined: 01/08/2012 18:17:44
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Memorial on Woodbury Common

http://www.commandoveterans.org/GibraltarStone

The more I learn about the Commandos, the less I realise I know.

Grandson of George Norton Barnes
PLY/X 107640 Royal Marines
14987370 Fus. Barnes G.N Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Royal Marines 8 BN, Royal Marines No. 40 and No. 41 Commando, LST 320, The 9th Buffs, Army No. 5 Commando and X Lists.

markh
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Joined: 01/08/2012 18:17:44
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I was recently back in Devon, UK, and paid a visit to the new Gibraltar stone, sited on the site of the old Dalditch Royal Marine training camp, and currently still used by the Royal Marines Commandos today.

The public are free to access the land, its popular with dog walkers, runners etc. and the occasional WW2 Commando history buff...

You can park in the carpark shown here - note the Royal Marine recruits shown in the street view link below.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.666616,-3.358292,3a,75y,30.33h,65.78t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sIzmJBRvpEaHOL9QsRmkJ5w!2e0

Cross over the road and go through the new wooden gate, which keeps the ponys in. The gate is not shown on streetview images at the time of writing.

Walk along the track and, in good weather you will see the gleaming white stone in the distance over a bank in front of you.

You soon will realise the stone is further away than you think, and that you need to descend one steep hill, cross a boggy area and go up another steep hill to get to the stone.. Its part of the modern Commando Endurance course , so be prepared with sound shoes, and a waterproof coat.





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This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 04/05/2015 14:11:01


The more I learn about the Commandos, the less I realise I know.

Grandson of George Norton Barnes
PLY/X 107640 Royal Marines
14987370 Fus. Barnes G.N Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Royal Marines 8 BN, Royal Marines No. 40 and No. 41 Commando, LST 320, The 9th Buffs, Army No. 5 Commando and X Lists.

markh
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Joined: 01/08/2012 18:17:44
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More images of Gibraltar Stone
[Thumb - gibraltar_stone_dalditch (8).JPG]
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 Description Gibraltar Stone
 Filesize 343 Kbytes
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 Description Gibraltar Stone with site of firing range in background
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[Thumb - gibraltar_stone_dalditch (7).JPG]
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 Description Gibraltar stone looking in direction of car park
 Filesize 339 Kbytes
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The more I learn about the Commandos, the less I realise I know.

Grandson of George Norton Barnes
PLY/X 107640 Royal Marines
14987370 Fus. Barnes G.N Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Royal Marines 8 BN, Royal Marines No. 40 and No. 41 Commando, LST 320, The 9th Buffs, Army No. 5 Commando and X Lists.

markh
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Joined: 01/08/2012 18:17:44
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Few more pictures. I hope for those who can't visit, this gives you a taste of the area.

Phone camera gives the position of the Gibraltar stone as

Lat: 50.6649
Long:-3.3622
[Thumb - gibraltar_stone_dalditch (10).JPG]
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This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 04/05/2015 13:58:51


The more I learn about the Commandos, the less I realise I know.

Grandson of George Norton Barnes
PLY/X 107640 Royal Marines
14987370 Fus. Barnes G.N Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Royal Marines 8 BN, Royal Marines No. 40 and No. 41 Commando, LST 320, The 9th Buffs, Army No. 5 Commando and X Lists.

DalditchDiscoverer
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Hi,

Interesting thread, Markh.

I have been visiting the site since I was a little man. I live about 5 miles from the camp ruins and make visits frequently and have found it all very fascinating from a young age, .
I'm doing some research into Dalditch camp, I just wondered if you (or anyone reading this thread) might have any information on the camp. I am in the process of compiling a book about it, mostly containing wartime artefacts that I have found on Woodbury common, which I have researched, as to what they were and where they were made etc. I have already been in contact with Exeter Flotilla which has given me permission to use wartime photo's of the camp in my book (I have mentioned the organisation on the acknowledgement page), any more photographs of Dalditch camp and any information would be greatly appreciated. I am hoping to have my book published in the near future, as it will be a lasting record of local history in East Devon, and to document the artefacts found from the site.

Many thanks,

Simon

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 10/07/2016 23:38:24

markh
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Hi Simon,

I'd certainly buy a copy of your book.

Woodbury common is a lovely place to walk, made more interesting for me due to its historical and family connections. I visited again this year, explored both ends of the firing range. The "hot" side ie target end still has a long mostly brick, but concrete roof shelter, for the soldiers manning the targets. The firing side has numerous trenches, remains of brick steps etc.


In East Budleigh Church yard there are a number of WW1 and WW2 military graves, one that caught my eye is of a poor 18 year old

GRIFFITHS, RICHARD MICHAEL [1]


Who was killed at the camp on 26/05/1942 . He was part of 8th Battalion RM. There is no mention of this death in the war diary (I have a copy Simon if you don't)

So the camp and surrounding area was a very serious place.

My granddad was part of 8th Battalion RM at this time according to his service record, and one old picture we have of him has VIII on his battledress sleeve.
Some members of 8th Battalion [4] went onto to form 41 Commando, although from my granddads service record he went to 40 Commando for a period.


A picture of his grave is here [2]

He attended Dulwich College, there are some more details here [3]



[1] http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2441458/GRIFFITHS,%20RICHARD%20MICHAE

[2] http://www.rm-badges.com/DAPShowGraveFile.php?id=132001770&location=images_graves

[3] http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/WWII/library/Dulwich-College-War-Record-1939-1945/files/assets/basic-html/page84.html

[4] http://www.w.royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk/item/researching-family-and-royal-marine-history/unit-history-summaries


PS from rereading [3] I just noticed that Michael was just a few weeks older than my granddad who lived to almost 90, yet poor Michael was snuffed out in an accident having really only just left school.


This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 11/07/2016 08:59:00


The more I learn about the Commandos, the less I realise I know.

Grandson of George Norton Barnes
PLY/X 107640 Royal Marines
14987370 Fus. Barnes G.N Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Royal Marines 8 BN, Royal Marines No. 40 and No. 41 Commando, LST 320, The 9th Buffs, Army No. 5 Commando and X Lists.

DalditchDiscoverer
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Many thanks for the reply and information, Mark.

Thanks for your interest in my book, it has become a labour of love in the past 18 months! I'm doing it to document and preserve the history and of artefacts found there - As too many 'scrappers' wonder around the area . It's very nice to have a family connection to Dalditch, unfortunately, none of my relatives were ever there, all were other branches of the service.

That is such a sad story about Lt Richard Michael Griffiths. Never known of a fatality to happen at Dalditch, A PM copy of the war diary would be great. I live in Exmouth, so east Budleigh churchyard is almost literally just around the corner from me.

I like looking around the Butts of the rifle range, as you mentioned. Still lots of copper jackets from the .303's dotted around there. Just wanted to add a couple of pictures of my own to the thread.
I recently came across a climbing wall, which I had no idea was there (Or I forgotten!). Love 'Before and after' photo's.

Regards,

Simon
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This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 12/07/2016 01:43:28

DalditchDiscoverer
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Don't know whether you ventured slightly outside of Dalditch? There's what I call 'The Bunker' near to an area that was a grenade range area (A small building further away is still being used for live fire grenade practices, I don't look for artefacts there for obvious UXO and byelaw reasons!). It is still partly accessable, any idea what it was used for? I'm guessing it's an ammo storage area.

Regards,

Simon
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This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 12/07/2016 01:27:08

DalditchDiscoverer
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Hi Chaps,

Long time no type!
Just a quick update, really.

I have got my book published on the camp, also with all the various objects I have found on the site, and have been pleasantly surprised with the amount if interest.
Since it's publication, I have recently given the Dalditch camp knowledge I have gathered an online presence with a website, and even a Facebook group with regular updates (Just search 'Dalditch Camp').

https://wartimedalditchcamp.wordpress.com/

Which I hope might be of interest and useful for research.

Best regards,

Simon

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 01/03/2018 00:32:48

[email protected]
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My Father (Victor Wilfred Loveless - "Vic" Ply/x 113 651 - who passed away at 93 on 12/7/18 did training here in March 1944 with Royal Marines. He was 6'3" and the Right Marker. He talked about another Marine SID CARTWRIGHT (a good Boxer Dad said) who was in his training batch. He also trained at Exton, Lympstone, Officer Cadet Training Thurlestone & Saundersfoot (signals). Was stationed Barry P.W.S.S. communication centre Signals and Docks and on board SS Bounteous. Shipped out on Devonshire to Bombay 1944 to join up 34th Amphibious Support Regiment RM.
Dad. His Notice: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/announcements/deaths/deaths/16366521.Victor_Wilfred_Loveless/

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 27/07/2018 14:11:11

 
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