An Intelligence Officer - Roy Bradford
Auxiliary Unit Intelligence Officer, Captain L.R. Bradford. Captain
Bradford and several men from this group later joined 1 SAS Regiment. Bradford was killed
in July 1944 while operating behind the German lines in central France.
The SAS found the Auxiliary Units a useful source of recruits, already trained in
sabotage and guerrilla warfare and volunteers were sought from the Regular Scout Sections
and from the younger ranks of the Auxunit patrols. Among those so recruited were Captain
L. R. Bradford
Roy Bradford was born in Barnstaple in 1916 and trained as an Architect. He
enlisted in the Devonshire Regiment, Territorial Army, in April 1939, at the time of
Munich and was embodied with them on the outbreak of War.
After receiving his commission in March 1940, he returned to his battalion, at that
time stationed on the South coast as an anti-invasion force. In June 1942, he was posted
to GHQ Home Forces as a Scout Officer with the Auxiliary Units, responsible for the West
Sussex area and based in Tottington Manor, Edburton.
He was promoted to an Intelligence Officer in July 1943, taking over the Devon and
Cornwall region from Col. Stuart Edmundson, and based in Thorverton, near Exeter.
He responded to the SAS recruiting drive, joining A Squadron, 1 SAS Regiment in
February 1944, his duties in Devon and Cornwall being taken over by Major W.W. Harston, an
older officer, who had been Unarmed Combat Instructor at Coleshill.
Roy Bradford and his troop parachuted into the Morvan area of France on 21 June
1944 as part of Operation Houndsworth, to carry out attacks on the German forces,
assisting the local Maquis in preventing reinforcements from reaching the invasion
On 19th July 1944, he, with two of his troop, a REME mechanic, and a
young maquisard, set off by jeep to contact a Maquis in the area north of Clamecy.
They travelled by night, avoiding the main roads as the RAF was strafing anything
that moved on these. Driving through the small hamlet of Lucy-sur-Yonne early the next
morning, they were waved down by two Germans, not realising that they were British
soldiers. As the jeep raced on they found themselves in the midst of a stationary German
troop convoy, breakfasting at the side of the road.
Too late to turn back, they blazed away with their jeep-mounted machine guns,
causing considerable casualties amongst the unprepared Germans.
As they cleared the end of the convoy, a Spandau in the last truck opened fire,
Bradford and-the REME craftsman were killed instantly-and two of the others were wounded.
These escaped into the nearby woods and subsequently rejoined their units.
The dead were buried in the cemetery at Crain and in 1994, on the 50th
Anniversary of this action, a memorial stone was erected by the local community beside the
road, now named the Rue du 20 Juillet.
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