Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

St. Breward Auxiliary Unit

This page was last updated on 11/5/15

Thank you for selecting information on the St. Breward Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base. The information below has been supplied by our Devon CIO Nina Hannaford and a member of the public called 'Highcannons'. It also appears on the derelictplaces website.

St Breward is a village in North Cornwall on the Western edge of Bodmin Moor.

From the very first meeting in Whitehall on July 1940 the Intelligence Officer for Devon and Cornwall (named Auxiliary Units SW Area) was Captain (later Major) J W Stuart Edmundson an officer in the Royal Engineers. He liaised with the regular army and received supplies and equipment and formed all the Patrols. He was assisted by Lieutenant (later Captain) John “Jack” Dingley who became IO for Cornwall in 1943 though he may have assumed the roll before that.

In November 1943 Devon and Cornwall were separated and  Edmundson was succeeded in Cornwall by Captain John Dingley and in Devon by Major W W “Bill” Harston who would remain in command until near stand down. At the end of Harston's command he would cover “No 4 Region” being the whole of the South West Peninsular and Wales.

The IOs were being withdrawn from around August 1944 leaving the Area and Group Commanders.

After 1941 a “grouping” system was developed where some patrols within a demographic area would train together under more local command. St Breward was part of group 4 along with St Teath and St Issey under the group command of Lieutenant R Drew.

The area Commander was Captain Harry W Abbiss from Truro who controlled two thirds of the County.

It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.

Ben Welch
Jack Matthews
Jim Matthews
Cpl. Jack Old
Reg Burnard
Morley Tremayne ( Tremaine)
William James Pooley
Bill Meager


Thomas E Sleeman discharged to join HM forces February1943.

Please note this location is on private land

St. Breward Auxiliary Unit had three hide outs. A main unit which utilized an old mine origanally cut looking to investigate if ore was there. The entrance was made smaller and the natural enviroment made it hard to find. A back-up hide out was located away elswhere 'between two small rocks' with a third hide-out as the bomb store. This was also in a disused mine.

St. Breward Auxiliary Unit Patrol 1

The area the OB is located in.

St. Breward Auxiliary Unit Patrol 2

Patrol entrance 1

St. Breward Auxiliary Unit Patrol 3

Patrol entrance 2

St. Breward Auxiliary Unit Patrol 4

Inside the OB

St. Breward Auxiliary Unit Patrol 5

What is left of the bunks.

St. Breward Auxiliary Unit Patrol Escape

This picture is looking up from the main tunnel at the 'lookout' exit. About half way along the tunnel a smaller tunnel runs upwards at about 70 degrees with an opening into an area of scrub. The exit has been blocked, I suspect for safety reasons.

There is some information available on the internet and it occasionally gets a mention in local press. The press reported the existence of the main unit on private land and that the local historical unit had visited. The report also stated the whereabouts was being kept secret. The main hide-out is by it's nature hard to find but given the location in the mine it has been able to survive. Untill recently there was mention even of bunks remaining.

I spent some time looking for the back-up hide-out only getting scratches and torn clothing from gorse and brambles for my trouble. Assistance was brought in for the remaining units. In the case of the main and the back-up hide-outs thet are both located on steep hillsides leading down to a river. Both areas are thick with undergrowth which means you are not going to spot them unless directly by. We searched by spreading out in a line to transect the area.

We have not located the back-up base.

The upward shaft from the main base for lookout/escape purposes hidden away in the gorse. And has been blocked by tin/rubbish.

At the end some 120 feet later are the burnt remains of the bunks with the rusty ironwork.

Observation Post/s: Currently unknown.

Currently unknown

Currently unknown

Unknown but it is assumed they had access to the normal weapons and equipment seen here.

Currently unknown

Stephen ('HighCannons') from DerelictPlaces website, Auxiliers name provided by Stephen Lewins (CART CIO for Northumberland), TNA ref WO199/3390, Alwyn Harvey recorder for Defence of Britain Database. Hancock data held by B. R. A

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