Auxiliary Unit and Operational Base
Thank you for selecting information on the Harford
Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Devon. The info and images below have been supplied by CART's
Devon CIO, Nina Hannaford. If you can help with any info please contact Nina
by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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Harford was one of the first patrols in the area to be formed as Lt Alwyn Robertson helped to recruit Auxiliers
into the other nearby patrols.
Harford Unit trained with other patrols in the area ( Ugborough, Cornwood, Flete, Diptford, Yealmpton and
Plympton) under the command of Captain William Falcon (of Cornwood Patrol ) based at “Slade” in Cornwood.
(Image taken at Captain Falcon's house "Slade". Shows Ugbrough, Cornwood, Flete, Diptford and Harford Patrols.) Image from The
Book of Cornwood and Lutton © Halsgrove 1997
Capt. Alwyn Philip ( “Robbie”) Robertson of Harford Ash Farm
(2nd Lt, then Lt 1st June 1943, Capt from 1st August 1944 )
Howard Howell of Lukesland
Roy Howell of Lukesland, son of Howard. Discharged 24/11/1943 to join Royal Marines.
Ferrer Loveridge of Lukesland Farm
James Snell evacuated to Lukesland
Clifford Andrew of Wisdom Farm
A John Andrew of Wisdom Farm
Cyril Wellington of Plympton Patrol, who trained
alongside Harford Patrol was also made Captain on 1st August 1944
John Howell, through his Uncle Roy Howell has been able to pin point the possible location of the OB as being in
a rough field on the edge of open moor (Dartmoor) called “Sentries” not far across the “Butterbrook” from “Torr
Harford is a small scattered villiage in the valley of the river Erme 2 ½ miles North of Ivybridge and consists
of mainly outlying farms.
The OB was in a field called “Sentries”. Opposite, and the other side of “The Butterbrook” from Torr Rocks. In a
rough and scrubby field next to open Moorland (Dartmoor)
The Butterbrook is a delta of small streams leading from what is now a reservoir, supplying some outlying farms
with their water supply.
We were accompanied on one of our field visits to “Senties” by a dowser Brenda Thorning. She used a
dowsing pendulum over a map of the area and dowsing rods on the ground. Without any prompting she sugested
and led us to an area we had already decided was worth a more comprehensive search.
Possible main body of the OB showning only as a vague depression in the ground. This is looking
towards where the escape tunnel would be.
Possible exit of escape tunnel in ravine of The Butterbrook. Immediately
to the left of the centre tree is a distrubed area the size of an escape tunnel. Above it is a long thin depression
in the ground.
The ground has a thick coverage of brambles etc.in one small area that is a deeper pit. General grass
covering but field does consist of many gorse bushes which may well have covered the area in the past.
Roy Howell remembers the OB as being very well made and completely camouflaged on the surface. It was
entered through a trap door and a ladder took you down into it. He remembers bunk beds, food, ammunitions and
explosives. He thinks it would have been quite possible to live there for some time.
We could not find any remains from it being blown up therefore we consider it may have been removed unless any
further information comes to light. The structure could have been made use of around the farm.
Vague, long, thin depression leading towards the ravine of The Butterbrook.
Size of OB and entrance/exit etc: The larger depression in the ground is approx 20ft by 10ft ending in the south
with a 9” thick raised strip which follows the natural contor of the land. The other side of this strip is a
smaller, deeper pit. Leading from this is a vague thin depression in the ground exiting as a disturbed area high in
the ravine of The Butterbrook.
Orientation of OB: Lands slopes North East to South West in a gradual decline, getting steeper after
the OB location. There is a verticle but easily climbable drop from the exit of the escape tunnel down into the
Butterbrook of approx 15tf. The OB was orientated North to South.
View from the OB looking South West. The clump of trees on the skyline is
Hanger Down. This is where Corwood Patrol were based so the two patrols would have had a visual
is the view from the observational post on Harford Moor at Western Beacon. Nothing remains in the
Observation Post: On Harford Moor, near Western Beacon. Dartmoor. Nothing Auxiliary Uniit
related remains on the site but there are various carins, small quarries and typical dartmoor rockie
out crops that they could have utilised. Nearby Torr Rocks is made up of a mass of granite outcrops that,
knowing the area, would have made a fabulous lookout and hiding point.
The area of the Cornwood Patrols OB would have been easily visible and possibly communicable.
The Andrews brothers certainly trained at Coleshill as their sister can remember them going away in a lorry for
some weekends. For them to leave the immediate area of Ivybridge was very unusual.
Weekend training was carried out at Captain William Falcons house “Slade” near Cornwood along with Ugborough
Patrol, Cornwood Patrol, Diptford Patrol, Flete Patrol, Yealmpton Patrol and Plympton Patrol.
Night exercises were often undertaken against the other patrols in the area.
On one occasion the patrols all met in The Kings Arms in Ivybridge to receive medical training in the event of
serious injuries and not being able to get access to first aid facilities. This was carried out by a Captain of the
Army Medical Corps who gave instructions on how to deal with a wounded man. The volunteer who lay “wounded” had
been shot in the stomach which the Captain described in great detail. It was a warm evening and secrecy demanded
all the doors and windows to be fast shut. The atmosphere became very oppressive to the extent that an Auxilier
Possably the main A38 leading East out of Plymouth and the various railway viaducts of the main train line
leading out of Plymouth linking to the rest of the country.
Howard Howell was a Canadian Officer in World War 1. He was a JP and very “correct” in his views.He
settled in Exeter and later moved to Lukesland in 1931. His son Roy was also an Auxilier until he was allowed to be
discharged into the Royal Marines in November 1943. Lukesland gardens are now open to the public at various
times of the year http://www.lukesland.co.uk/index.htm )
Lukesland had two German POW's and was a Red Cross Depot during the war and had a constant stream of service men
and women staying there.
Ferrer Loveridge was the nephew of Howard's wife and managed Lukesland Farm.
James Snell's house in Ayreville Road was bombed out in the Blitz of Plymouth and he and his family were
evacuated to Lukesland. He was the secretary of Plymouth Coal Company. The area saw a never-ending procession of
people who came out from Plymouth during the blitz. They were looking for a place to sleep, anywhere away from the
ruins of their homes.
Clifford Andrew had a “certificate from the King” that states he served from 8th August 1940 to 31st December
1944. He and his brother were both farmers.
Alwyn Robertson, known as “Robbie”, contracted polio as a young man in China. This left him with a weakened arm
and nearly paralysed hip. He overcame these disabilities to become Captain and lead a very active life in farming
after the war and traveled extensivley.
Jimmy Dalling, the gardener at Lukesland once claimed to have been in the area of the OB and heard someone say
“Its alright men, the coast is clear”. Looking over some rocks he saw some men emerge from a hole in the
After the patrol was disbanded, local people remember that a digger was about to remodel the pond at the front
of Captain Falcon's old house “Slade”. Andrew Wotton (Cornwood Patrol) suddenly appeared shouting “STOP”. Captain
Falcon had arranged for some of the surplus explosives to be dumped in the pond after stand down.
Twas as Twas by Gillian Venables, John Howell, The kind help of Noel Thornton and Mike Barber with their local
and tactical knowledge. Brenda Thorning for dowsing