Pontardawe Auxiliary Unit Patrol
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Pontardawe – "bridge on the Tawe is a town in the Swansea Valley in south Wales, the county borough of
Neath Port Talbot, Originally West Glamorganshire.
The Area: No 20 GLAMORGAN to PEMBROKE – Groups: 1. Glamorgan. 2. Glamorgan. 3 Carmarthenshire. 4.
The patrol was part of GLAMORGAN GROUP 2: which consisted of four Patrols: Ystalyfera, Pontardawe, Cwmgorse,
Group commander of these Patrols was Captain N.Ll. Barker + Assistant Group Commander Lieut. T.
Sgt. T.J. Williams
Cpl. J.E. Williams
Pte. D.G. Jones
Pte. R. Morgan
Pte. E. Morgan
Pte. M.W. Kingdon
Pte E G Rees
(M W Kingdon joined August 42 from 8th Bn Glam.
The creation of a ‘coastal crust’ of defended and obstructed possible landing sites was
supplemented by a series of ‘stop lines’, exploiting natural barriers enhanced by obstacles and strongpoints, to
delay an invasion force and protect the central areas. The most significant of these lines was the GHQ line,
running from Edinburgh and Bridgwater to London. In Wales, successive rivers were chosen, including the Rivers Wye,
Usk, and Neath. The limited number of crossings were protected by pillboxes, and arrangements were made for the
demolition of unwanted bridges.
The OB located at Cilybebyll, in woodland 100m northwest of Plas Cilybebyll house (SN 750
043: it is on private land), survives in good condition (fig. 1); the author was invited to investigate the site by
the landowner. On the surface, the OB is visible as a slightly-raised area; at the north end, the shafts are
visible as brick features, no longer hidden by a trap door. There is little doubt that when constructed it
would have been concealed from all but the closest scrutiny (fig. 2).
The interior now has a flooded floor. A winch arrangement on the entrance wall
survives; this may have been attached to an aerial for radio communications or to the trap door. An alcove on
the east side of the door may have been for the radio equipment.
Figure 1. Interior showing corrugated iron roofing and escape opening.
Figure 2: The surface, showing escape shaft
THE ROLE OF THE CILYBEBYLL SITE
Although no documentary evidence for the OB has been located, its location is significant, in
wooded land to the north of the Neath valley. Had an invasion force arrived in southwest Wales (perhaps using
Milford Haven as a deep-water harbour, and perhaps starting from Eire, as was feared at the time), it would have
encountered resistance at Carmarthen - New Quay , Ammanford, the River Loughor, the Swansea valley, the Neath
valley and the River Taff.
Each stop line would have forced a delay while a set-piece assault was prepared. If the
small number of bridges strong enough to take tanks were demolished, temporary engineering works would also have
been required; one of the key functions of the pillboxes guarding river crossings was to prevent their seizure by
parachute forces to forestall their demolition.
Thus it was planned that the invading force would have been held up on the west bank of the
Neath valley for days or weeks; in the meantime, the Auxiliary Unit patrol would have numerous opportunities to
cause further disruption and delay.
The occasion for use did not occur; there was some discussion in the latter stages of the war
about the future of the OBs, along with the disbanding of the Auxiliary Units, and although demolition of the sites
was proposed, many seem to have been simply abandoned, and survive as monuments to a short period when the tranquil
landscape of the Neath uplands was viewed as a possible battle zone.
Article kindly donated by http://www.walescottages.com/auxiliary_hideout.htm#_ftn1
Unknown, but it is assumed that they had the standard weapons and explosives issued to all patrols.
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